Puberty sucks. We all remember the awkward preteen years, right? It’s not fun, but we survived…even if we thought it was the end of the world at the time! Now combine puberty and ADHD. “While a small group of children actually seem to “outgrow” their ADHD, the majority continues to have significant problems with regard to attention, concentration, and impulse control.”1 But there are many things you as a parent can do to help your child overcome these challenges and give them useful tools for later in life.
5 Tips for Helping Your Preteen with ADHD
1. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
We’ve all heard this, but it’s extra important for preteens with ADHD. Getting a good night’s sleep, a balanced diet with proper nutrients, and regular exercise can greatly help your child as they navigate new experiences. It provides a solid base and allows them to better self-regulate when the friend drama or school pressures arise.
2. Find Activities that Boost Self-Esteem
Another part of a healthy lifestyle is finding an activity or two they enjoy doing and scheduling time for them. Doing activities that they excel at can be a much-needed self-esteem boost along with providing an outlet for all that ADHD energy. Whether it’s sports, art, or anything in between, when they’re passionate about something and feel good doing it, it helps maintain a balanced mood and a good mindset. A little self-care and fun goes a long way, especially with the isolation we’re experiencing these days. This is good for us as adults to remember as well!
3. Open Communication Lines
Of course, we always want our kids to be able to come to us with anything, but this is the time when it may start to become more challenging for them to open up. When things are bothering them, you can often tell, but it can be hard to get to the root cause. Asking specific questions like “What is bothering you the most right now?” can help them focus on the main issue and better communicate it.
One big topic of conversation we think about at this stage is the puberty discussion. Sometimes a long conversation about it can be too much for the ADHD brain, so trying to communicate in multiple shorter, non-invasive conversations can be a good method to try. Informing them about the risks associated with social media, drugs, peer pressure, internet use, etc. is super important at this time, especially for those with ADHD who may be tempted by the excitement of these risky behaviors.2
4. Make Medication/Supplement Changes if Needed
When kids begin the major growth spurts or various hormone changes, you may find that their ADHD medications (if they are on them) may wane in effectiveness.3 You may need to talk with their doctor and discover if the present dosage is still best for your child. Maybe medication is not a factor for you, but nutritional supplements like Accentrate® are used to help manage symptoms. With Accentrate® the ingredients are dosed by weight, so you may want to switch to Accentrate110® if your child is now over 110 lbs. As always, we recommend speaking with your child’s doctor before altering any treatment plans.
5. Help Them Accept and Manage ADHD
At this stage, kids’ need to be accepted and fit in is their utmost priority. But sometimes it’s hard to fit in when you have accommodations for ADHD in the classroom or hyperactivity/impulsivity becomes “annoying” to classmates. You might see your child start to deny the things that help their ADHD tendencies like taking medications/supplements or in order to better fit in with peers. In these times, it’s great to encourage them that ADHD is not a bad thing or something to be ashamed of. ADHD is no one’s fault and doing some simple steps can help them better cope with their symptoms.
At times, it may seem like a lot to handle as a parent, but you’re doing great! Take some deep breaths and remember it won’t be this way forever. No matter where you and your child are in your ADHD journey, we wish you the best! Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have, as we have been there too.
If you’re interested in learning more about which supplements are right for your child, check out the article below.
 Mdfaap, J. S. V. (2016, July 19). Parenting adolescents with ADHD: An M.D.’s advice. Parenting. https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/md-parenting-adolescents-with-ad-hd/
ADDitude Editors, McCarthy, L. F., Silver, L., MD, & Williams, P. (2021, August 26). Boys vs. Girls: How Puberty Affects ADHD Symptoms. ADDitude. https://www.additudemag.com/puberty-and-adhd-symptoms-teens/
5 Ways Puberty Can Affect Kids Who Learn and Think Differently. (2020, October 22). Understood - For Learning and Thinking Differences. https://www.understood.org/articles/en/ways-puberty-can-affect-kids-with-learning-and-thinking-differences