Category Archives: 1st Quarter 2014

Top 5 Resolutions for Troubled Teens in 2014

Many younger people take resolutions to better their lives extremely seriously. Of those teens, many of them have struggled in the past and realize how difficult it can be to come back after hitting bottom. One such group that may be taking positive changes seriously are troubled teens who are attending boarding school. These may be great resolutions for teens to consider to make their 2014 a great year!

  1. Make a Positive Contribution – Many boarding schools require that the teens in attendance positively contribute to the community and the campus in different ways. However, it is possible for teens to go beyond the requirements for volunteering by doing something they are passionate about. Some ideas might include holding a fundraiser or drive to raise money for people in need, or being a positive role model for a younger child in need.
  2. Get Healthy – Many teens take their health and well-being for granted, especially if they have succumbed to peer pressure and have gotten involved with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, or other types of addictions. Learning to care for yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually is a great journey to begin undertaking in 2014. Consider starting with one small change and adding a new one every week or every month until you have attained many of your goals.
  3. Commit to Education – In today’s competitive academic and career marketplace, it is never to soon to start planning for the future. Considering that grades, extra-curricular activities, and community involvement make a huge difference in your post-secondary education years, now is the perfect time to buckle down and start putting forth maximum effort regarding your studies and grades.
  4. Re-connect with Family – Many students who are attending boarding school for prior issues have some bridges to mend with family. Although it is likely that some of the troubles you were involved with came from the friends you associated with at home, chances are that your family wants to love and support you and will do anything to help you. Now is the perfect time to reach out them and mend those broken relationships. This will make it much easier for you to return home over spring break and during summer break, which will be here before we know it.
  5. Save for the Future – Part of bridging into adulthood is learning how to manage money and develop a good work ethic. If your boarding school allows it, consider getting a local part-time job to contribute to the community, serve others, and save for your future. It is a good time to learn how to manage money and save for college, living on your own, or even a rainy day.

Helping Teens with Attention Deficit Disorder

Living with a teen that has ADD/ADHD can be somewhat aggravating and overwhelming to deal with. However, as a parent, there are plenty of things that you can do to help keep the symptoms at bay or at least to a minimum. There are tools, resources, and methods that can help parents assist their teens in getting through life’s challenges, refocusing on positivity, and hopefully bringing a clam to your family. The sooner you address and learn to help your teen, the better chances they have for lifelong success.

What You Should Know

A teen with ADD/ADHD typically has a deficit that hinders their ability to think, plan, control impulse, and follow through on tasks. As a result, you will need to step up and take over the responsibility of providing your teen with the guidance that they need until they are able to successfully execute things on their own.

While it can be downright hectic to deal with the symptoms of a teen with ADD/ADHD, it does help to keep in mind that they are not acting out intentionally. They want to do things right, but are unable to execute them properly. Therefore, keep in mind that your teen is likely just as frustrated, if not more than you are.

 

 

ADD/ADHD and the Family

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

Part of effectively parenting a teen with ADD/ADHD is knowing how their symptoms will affect their environment, which is especially important if your teen is at boarding school. Some of the common issues within family life are:

  • Hearing instructions but not following them
  • Easily distracted and disorganized
  • Rarely cleaning up after themselves
  • Interrupting conversations and demanding attention
  • Outbursts of embarrassing comments
  • Ripping and running around the home

There is also an impact that siblings go through as well. Because parents are dealing with the teen with ADD/ADHD, siblings are often left feeling as if their needs aren’t being met.

  • Siblings feel that their errors are extremely punished and their successes are overlooked
  • Siblings are often left with the responsibility of helping to care for the teen with ADD/ADHD
  • Siblings often become very resentful or jealous at the attention the other teen receives

Impact of ADD/ADHD on Parents

I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught. – Winston Churchill

  • The teen’s demands become exhausting
  • The constant need to watch the teen can become psychologically damaging
  • The teen’s inability to listen becomes aggravating
  • Frustration turns to guilt

 

Staying Positive and Healthy

It is going to be important that you set a good example for your teen as it pertains to emotional and physical health. The best tool for helping your teen deal with the challenges of ADD/ADHD is a positive attitude. The calmer you are when dealing with your teen, the better chance you have of connecting with your teen and getting them to stay focused with you. Some ideas on how to stay positive are: remember that your teen’s actions are the result of a disorder, don’t harp on small things, be willing to make compromises, and believe in your teen.

Another important factor as a parent is that you maintain a healthy life. When you’re health is not the best, things can easily get to you, which can cause you to lose patience and structure. You can take care of yourself by eating right, finding ways to decrease stress, exercising, get support from others, and take breaks from time to time.

Establishing and Following Through with Structure

When a teen has ADHD, it is best that tasks are presented to them in a structured and patterned way. Therefore, your responsibility is to create and maintain structure within your household so that your teen is easily able to understand what to expect and how things are supposed to go. In order to set structure and get your teen organized, you should consider things such as creating a routine to follow, use clocks and timers as reminders, simplify your teen’s schedule, create down time, and set your home up in an organized way.

Set Expectations and Rules

A teen that has ADD/ADHD requires consistent rules that are simply to follow and comprehend. When creating your rules, be sure that they are simple and clear to understand. Place the rules in an area where your teen can easily review them if necessary. The best type of method to try is the reward and consequence system which works well for teens.

Keep in mind that teens with ADD/ADHD are often reprimanded, corrected, or put on punishment as a result of their actions. Therefore when setting your rules, you want to look out for the positive behavior and praise it as much as you can. When teens receive positive reinforcements, they are more likely to behave in the long run.

Encourage Movement and Sleep

It is quite obvious that your teen has a lot of energy to burn off. Instead of trying to always prevent them from moving around, getting them involved in activities such as organized sports can help to get rid of that energy and focus their attention on positive things. Physical activity does wonders for teens with ADD: decreases depression and anxiety, promotes brain growth, and improves concentration.

Lack of sleep can make the average teen less attentive to what you’re saying. However, it is extremely difficult for teens with ADD who have not had adequate sleep. Your teen needs to get a good amount of sleep each night. By implementing a consistent bedtime they are able to get the sleep they need and better handle their symptoms. If you’re having difficulties getting your teen to sleep early, you might try things such as:

  • Reduce television time
  • Remove caffeine from their diet
  • Create a downtime
  • Cuddle with your teen 10 minutes before bed
  • Use relaxation tapes for soothing the teen at night

Help Your Teen Eat Right

While what your teen eats is not a direct effect on ADD, food can easily affect their mental state which ultimately affects their behavior. By modifying and monitoring what your teen is eating you can help them to decrease the feelings. Start incorporating more fruits and veggies into their meals. Also, making sure that they eat small meals throughout the day is ideal. You can prevent the unhealthy eating by removing junk food from the home, refrain from eating fatty and sugary foods while dining out, and provide your teen with a vitamin daily.

Teach Your Teen to Make Friends

Believe it or not teens with ADD have a hard time making friends. They are often not reading social signals; they can over talk their friends, or interrupt a conversation and become aggressive which is offensive to the average teen. By showing your teen how to develop positive friendships they will feel less depressed about their disorder and also not be the target of bullying and isolation. You can help your teen improve their social skills by teaching them to become a better listener, pay attention to body language, and how to best interact in a group of peers.

Parenting a teen with ADD/ADHD can be trying, but with the right tools in place you will soon see that your teen can overcome this disorder and learn to navigate through life just fine.

Resources

Teens and Internet Addiction

Internet Addiction by Darry DToday the internet is used for just about everything from checking an email to running a business. It may seem as if internet usage on the daily basis is productive, however, it if becomes too much it can be a problem. There are some who use the internet so much that it has interfered with their personal and professional lives. When a person prefers to be at home on the internet gambling, surfing the web, or engaging in other online activities over doing something with friends and family this could be a problem. However, when a person is not willing to stop the excessive internet usage despite the trouble its causing, this is more serious and needs to be changed.

What Does it Mean to be Addicted to the Internet?
Internet addiction covers several different problems. Cyber-sex is an addiction to pornography chat rooms, or adult role play sites. Cyber relationship addictions are when a person is addicted to social networking, instant messaging, and chat rooms. Net compulsions are a person who has a serious problem with online gambling and stock trading. Information overload is for those who are addicted to surfing the web vs. getting real work done. Computer addiction is when a person is addicted to playing computer games off line.

What is the Difference between Healthy and Unhealthy Usage?

Internet:  absolute communication, absolute isolation.  ~Paul Carvel

The internet is necessary to accomplish many things in today’s technological age. It is used on phones, tablets, laptops, and computers around the world. Determining what regular usage vs. excessive usage is will depend upon the individual. There are some people that need the internet to operate their businesses, and some that rely on social media networks to talk to friends and family members. Unhealthy internet usage only occurs when the person is online so much that it hinders their ability to be productive in school, work, and elsewhere.

Risk Factors of Computer Addiction

There are some risk factors that make it more likely for you to become addicted to computers and internet usage. If you are suffering from anxiety, depression, other addictions, no social support, experiencing social stress, or the inability to move around as you once did.

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.  ~Andrew Brown

Symptoms and Signs of Internet and Computer Addiction

The symptoms you feel for internet and computer addiction will vary from person to person. Below are some warning signs that you could be on your way to a problem:

  • Often lose track of time while using the internet
  • Difficulty completing work or home tasks as a result of internet usage
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Defensive when asked about internet use
  • Sense of euphoria when using the internet

Cyber-sex and Porn

Both pornography and cyber-sex are sexual addiction issues; however, because they can be easily accessed online, they can also become an internet addiction. It is very easy for abusers to get stuck on the internet for hours on in engaged in sexual fantasies that could not happen in real life. As a result of the constant internet stimulation it begins to eat away at real life relationships.

Online Gambling

Gambling has been an ongoing problem for many years, however, in recent times the availability of gambling games online has surged the addiction to new levels. Virtual casinos are open 24 hours per day 7 days per week and anyone with the internet is able to access it. It becomes easy for addicts who believe they will hit big to lose thousands of dollars while sitting in front of a computer screen.

Cyber Relationships
Many people take to the internet as a way to find social relationships and even romantic ones. This ever popular method of meeting people is okay if done modestly. However, there are some who would prefer their “virtual” relationships to real life relationships, which is when it becomes an addiction. Because they can use their imaginations and be who they want to be to a person online, it seems much more stimulating than dealing with real life.

Self Help Tips for Internet Addiction

There are plenty of ways you can try to get your internet usage under control. While you can conquer this addiction alone, it is always best to have some support on board to guide you. This way you don’t run the risk of slipping back into your old ways. The first thing you want to do is make sure that you identify the underlying causes of your internet addiction, figure out whether or not you’re dealing with loneliness, depression or anxiety, or simply longing for a personal connection. From there you want to develop new ways to cope with the real issue, seek out for internet stress relief and finally build a strong support system to help you get past it.

Modifying your internet usage is also very important. To do that you want to begin by first keeping a log of how much time you use the internet for non productive reasons. Then set new limits on when you can and cannot use the internet. Lastly, you want to find healthier things to do with your time to replace internet usage so that you don’t become bored and relapse.

Treatment and Counseling for Internet Addiction

Therapy when dealing with any form of addiction is advised. It can provide you with the tools you need to control your internet usage. Cognitive behavioral therapy is often used for this. The process involves step by step methods for stopping compulsive behaviors that cause you to use the internet. It will help change the way you think about computer usage and help you find better ways to cope with unexpressed feelings.

Group Support

It might be difficult for you to find some support groups for internet addiction as the idea is still very new. However, if there are simultaneous programs that can help you, it would be great to join them. For instance, if you’re using the internet to find relationships because your addicted to sex, sex addicts anonymous might be ideal. If you’re dealing with marriage problems, couples counseling would be best.

Helping a Child with Internet Addiction
When you’re dealing with children who are addicted to the internet, it is your job as the parent to set the rules and assure that they abide by them. You want to monitor how much they use the computer, encourage other healthy social activities, talk to your child if they appear to be abusing the use, and get help the moment you notice something is wrong.

Help for Overcoming Internet Addiction

 

Dealing with ADD/ADHD in Teens

It is quite common for a child to periodically forget to do their homework, become dazed in class, antsy while eating meals, and to act impulsively. However, when all of these things happen more frequently these could all be signs that your child is suffering from attention deficit disorder. This effects the way in which your child learns and copes with others. If you are a parent who is concerned about your child, the initial step is to learn what the signs and symptoms are.

What is ADD/ADHD?

Often children who have not been properly diagnosed with ADD/ADHD are labeled as troublemakers. There are lots of us who have heard of children that will not sit still, do not pay attention in class, and act on impulse. However, the problem is many of them are not troublemakers and are simply suffering from ADD/ADHD. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder usually occurs early on in childhood. This disorder makes it complicated for individuals to control their spontaneous responses.

Normal Childhood Behavior or ADHD

Children who suffer from ADD/ADHD will generally show signs and symptoms before they reach seven years of age. However, for many parents and educators determining the difference between normal behavior and a disorder can be tough. If you notice only a few signs or symptoms on occasion, chances are it is not ADD. However, if your child is experiencing many symptoms in various situations including home and school, you may need to have a deeper look. Once you are able to pinpoint what your child is going through you are better able to help them find solutions.

Primary Characteristics of ADD/ADHD

When most think about ADD, they envision a child that is out of control, always in motion, and disrupting everyone around them. However, that is not the only scenario. There are some children with ADD that are hyperactive, while others are quieter and distant as their attention is somewhere else. There are some that place so much focus on one task that they have difficulties moving on to the next, and there are other children who are only a bit inattentive and seriously impulsive.

“Those of us with ADHD need your support! We are not ‘lazy,’ ‘stubborn,’ ‘willful,’ ‘disruptive,’ ‘impossible,’ ‘tyrannical,’ ‘a space shot,’ ‘brain damaged,’ or ‘stupid.’”

– Dr. Hallowell

There are three primary characteristics of ADD/ADHD: inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. The signs and symptoms a child will have will depend upon which characteristics stand out the most. For instance, a child can be inattentive but not hyperactive or impulsive. They can be hyperactive and impulsive, but pay attention. Also, children can exhibit all three of the characteristics at the same time.

Those children that are inattentive, but not hyperactive or impulsive are often overlooked as they are not openly disrupting anything. However, there are serious consequences for a child that does not pay attention well, such as getting in trouble for not paying attention to instructions, under-performing, and clashing with other children.

Spotting ADD/ADHD

It might be difficult in preschool ages to decipher whether or not your child has ADD/ADHD, because many of the characteristics are common at a young age. However, when a child reaches about four years of age, they should have some control over sitting still, being quiet, and paying attention. So once they have reached about school age, the three characteristics should be watched more closely.

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Inattentive Signs of ADD/ADHD

It is important to understand that children with ADD/ADHD lack the ability to pay attention. Reason being because things that are interesting they can pay attention to, it is when things are repetitive and boring that they become displaced. It is very hard for children with ADD/ADHD to stay on track. They generally go from one task to the other without finishing either one. They also have difficulties concentrating when other things are going on around them. Other symptoms of inattentiveness are:

  • Failure to pay attention to detail
  • Makes careless mistakes
  • Easily distracted
  • Appears to not listen
  • Complications remembering and following instructions
  • Difficulties staying organized and finishing projects
  • Becomes easily bored
  • Frequently loses or misplaces items

Hyperactivity Signs of ADD/ADHD

One of the most obvious signs that your child could be dealing with a disorder is hyperactivity. While children by nature are active, children who suffer from hyperactivity are always trying to move around. Even when told to sit still by an adult, they still struggle to listen. Symptoms of hyperactivity include:

  • Constant movement
  • Leaving the seat when supposed to sit still
  • Runs and climbs on things inappropriately
  • Talks constantly
  • Trouble playing quietly
  • Quick temper

Impulsive Signs of ADD/ADHD

Impulsivity in children with ADD are likely to develop problems with self control. They are known to interrupt conversations, invade others privacy, shout out in the middle of class, and even ask inappropriate questions because they simply do not have the self control that other children would have. Children who have impulsivity issues are more likely to act out on emotion. Symptoms of impulsivity include:

  • Acting without thought
  • Disruptive in class
  • Lacks patience
  • Says inappropriate things
  • Interrupts others
  • Unable to keep emotions in order

So Does My Child Really Have ADD/ADHD?

A child that has symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity does not necessarily have to have ADD/ADHD. There are other medical conditions and psychological disorders that could be the result of their behavior. If you want to have your child properly diagnosed, you will need to meet with a mental health professional. They can rule out other issues such as learning disabilities, traumatic life experiences, psychological disorders, medical conditions, and behavioral disorders.

“For children with sensory disorders, over-stimulation can cause symptoms that mimic those of ADD/ADHD. This can lead to a misdiagnosis.” Source: Twitter – ADHD Answered

Benefits or Positive Effects of ADD/ADHD

While there are a lot of challenges that come with children who have ADD/ADHD, there are some positive traits that can come from this disorder.

  • Children who have ADD are more creative and imaginative. They are able to daydream about many different things and come up with great and new ideas.
  • Children who have ADD are also known to be more flexible. Since they do not focus in on one thing, their “open mindedness” allows them to consider other options.
  • Children who have ADD are enthusiastic and spontaneous. There is never a dull moment in their lives.
  • Children who have ADD are also more energetic and driven towards accomplishing goals. This is especially true when the task is something that they enjoy doing.

Assisting a Child with ADD/ADHD

Whether your child has been diagnosed with ADD or simply shows the characteristics, getting treatment is important. Children who are unable to focus and control their actions will ultimately have a very difficult time in school and in life as they get older. These complications lead to lower self esteem and depression. That is why you should not delay in getting your child the treatment they need. The first things to try are talking with a therapist, maintaining a good eating diet and exercise plan, and modifying your home to cut back on the distractions.

Learning new parenting skills and ways to help your child cope with ADD/ADHD is the best thing you can do for them. Providing them with structure, clear communication, consequences and rewards for their behavior is one way to help them through their problems. The sooner you begin adapting and learning how to help your child adapt, the better of they will be.  For more information on ADD/ADHD you can visit these resources below:

For more literature on helping your child with ADD/ADHD, consider these books: