Self-Care for Teenagers with ADHD
There’s a reason why there are “self-care” posts everywhere you look on social media and self-care for teenagers with ADHD is equally important.
There’s a market for coaches who teach the self care – ADHD version because, unfortunately, we parents of ADHD teens don’t know how to practice it ourselves.
What do I mean by self-care?
When I talk about practicing self-care, I mean using coping skills that help get you through times of stress and overwhelm without completely falling apart.
Maybe you’ve mastered your self-care routine, but your teen struggles to stay on top of everything and withdraws when stress is high.
Well, summer is the perfect time to start sharing those skills even if you’re not sure where to start.
But self-care for teenagers with ADHD, like most other things, doesn’t look exactly like you think it should.
How to talk to my teen
Teens in general have heaping piles of stress on them from school expectations, home expectations, social expectations, etc. And even though summer is in full swing, some of them won’t have a totally chill summer break to reset their anxiety before the fall.
So what can we do?
- Start with yourself.
- Give them permission
- Legitimize their stress
First of all, if you don’t have any coping strategies as an adult, I would start there. Do you muscle through your anxiety, or do you model self-care in front of your kids?
Find the thing that helps you cope when you have a lot on your plate and practice it in front of your teens so they know what a healthy response to stress is.
If you need to take a spa day or get in a really great work-out or a walk to relieve stress, get your teen involved. Let them know why you’re kicking back for the day.
Second, give them permission to take a break too.
Give them permission to remove an activity from their schedule if it feels like too much over the summer. (Give yourself permission to! An overloaded schedule is so 2019.) You remember what it was like to be a teen. There’s nothing like a footloose and fancy free summer to relieve stress.
I might not be popular when I say this, but I give our sons a ton of time to do nothing over the summer. I have a short list of things they need to do every day like exercise, read a book, do some research on a topic that interests them. But it’s their responsibility to decide when and how they are going to do it.
For myself, to keep my summer light and relaxing, I plan on coaching only one day a week and doing a lot of things together as a family.
Just remember, our teens have been doing their work for more than 10 hours a day and they need a break. It’s okay to let them kick back and do nothing.
And finally, legitimize their stress and help your teens find the coping mechanisms that work best for them when they are in an anxious state, depressed, or need to decompress.
Check out this mom’s guide to self-care with adult ADHD. It’s helpful for the neurotypical mom too.
The best way to avoid having an ADHD meltdown teenager is to give them the gift of coping skills.
I help my teen clients uncover coping skills like…
Having their pets around them
Watercoloring or other art forms
Listing to podcasts, Google music, playlists
Going for walks, exercising
Being alone in their room listening to music with their headphones on
Everybody needs to figure out how to let go of those emotions that surface with stress so it doesn’t manifest as something even more serious.
Legitimize their stress. Let them know it’s okay to feel like they need a break, and it’s okay to ask for a break when they need it.
You can help them learn to self-soothe by giving them the space they need to try it out and being supportive of their process.
And maybe you’ll even learn some things about your own self-care routine along the way.
ADHD Coach Near Me
For more teenage ADHD tips over the summer, be sure to jump in the Facebook group and click through the guides section for in depth videos on teenage ADHD.
And don’t forget to take some time off and just relax this summer! We can get back at it in the Fall.