ADHD is like Dungeons & Dragons

It's no surprise that playing games and having a good time improves our mental health. But the parallels and benefits of playing Dungeons and Dragons go deeper than just fun. Especially for those diagnosed with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. D&D provides opportunities for players to develop social-emotional skills, build confidence, and learn to express themselves.

Today, parents who have a teenager diagnosed with ADHD, may be concerned about how to help their teen have a successful and happy lifestyle. Following are a few tips for parents looking for help with teenager ADHD.

Tip #1: Understand what ADHD is and how it affects your teen

Parents can help with teenager ADHD by better understanding the signs and symptoms. ADHD can affect every aspect of a teen’s life. Symptoms include difficulty maintaining attention and hyperactivity.

  • Behavioral symptoms may include aggression, excitability, fidgeting, hyperactivity, impulsivity, irritability, lack of restraint, or persistent repetition of words or actions.
  • Cognitive symptoms may include learning disability, absent-mindedness, difficulty focusing, forgetfulness, problem paying attention, or having a short attention span.
  • Mood symptoms may include anger, anxiety, boredom, excitement, depression, or mood swings.

Tip #2: It’s all in the approach

Parenting a child diagnosed with ADHD can be challenging, frustrating, and even confusing. It is important for parents to focus on long-term development. Parents can help their teen to understand that they have the ability to choose who they become. Although, ADHD may cause a teen to have trouble focusing or remembering, there are many mental strengths that come with the condition.  Among other things, individuals with ADHD are very creative and spontaneous. Parents can help with teenage-ADHD by allowing their teen to discover the unique “power” that comes with ADHD and can help them to channel it. By focusing on their child’s special creative abilities, letting their teen try new things, and being flexible with their teen’s spontaneity, they can help their teen progress toward a successful future.

Another way parents can help with teenage-ADHD is to set realistic expectations. Parents can talk with their teen about what their teen wants to accomplish and become. Then, help make goals of what the parent and child can do together to achieve them. Parents can set realistic expectations by helping their child understand that it is okay to be the way there are, but that some of their behaviors are not okay. It may be difficult at first, but parents of ADHD teens should focus on separating the behaviors from the child.

Tip #3: It’s OK to turn to professional help with Teenager ADHD

Some parents with ADHD teens may not feel like their efforts are working to help their child. In such instances, it can be helpful to turn to sources of professional help.

Today, statistics show that 80% of ADHD teens have found help through medication management, and 60-90% have found help through behavioral therapy from a professional therapist. Both medication and behavioral therapy are key to addressing ADHD symptoms.

A good game of Dungeons & Dragons always helps too!