The teen years are an exciting and challenging time of rapid growth and development. Peers become more important, and parents gradually less so. Demands and expectations rise, and the symptoms of ADHD and executive functioning issues may pose increasing challenges.
Parents often have provided structure and support for planning and organization throughout the elementary and middle-school years. And parents are often reluctant to let go of the reins in the teen years and, in many cases with good reason, are concerned that letting go may result in chaos and failure for their teen with ADHD Yet, teens appropriately want more independence. This can lead to tension in the parent-child relationship.
Recently, a parent contacted me concerned about her teen’s organizational abilities and also concerned that if she continued to be her teen’s support in this arena, their relationship would deteriorate beyond their current level of annoyance with each other.
An ADHD coach can step in to relieve this tension and provide support for teens who do not yet have the executive functioning skills they need to function independently with success.
A coach can partner with a teen without “threatening the teen’s pride or making the teen feel babied as she might when a parent tries to play this [support] role during adolescence, ” say Guare, Dawson and Guare, promoting coaching in their book Smart but Scattered Teens.
As a coach I help my teen clients teen identify their goals and develop the skills and strategies that they need to support the development of problem-solving skills, responsibility and forward movement towards goal attainment.
An ADHD coach is similar to a sports coach in some ways—encouraging teen clients and exploring strategies that work for each individual. But, it’s also different in some ways. For one, as a coach, I do not yell or blow a whistle! And I am not upset if something does not go as planned. Instead, I help my clients get back on track figuring out, together, what will support skill development and goal achievement.
To learn more about ADHD Coaching for teens, see the Teen Page of my website. From there you and your teen can also link to a number of videos showing teen coaching in action.
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