25 Ways to Help Your Teen with ADHD

Some teens struggle socially and teens with ADHD must have good people skills in order to live life to the fullest.  After all, building relationships is one of our primary functions as a human being.  In order to help your teen I recommend using the book 25 Ways to Win With People, by Drs. John C. Maxwell and Les Parrott.  It’s packed with practical ways to build relationships.  The writing is readable and not at dense or technical. It includes many stories to illustrate the 25 key points.  And the book is small.  It won’t overwhelm teens that are immediately turned off by thick, textbook-style volumes.  I encourage parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and important adult friends to read the book ahead of time, or together with the teen. This allows for important common grounding. In other words, everyone has the same information. That opens the way for discussion and shared experiences or ideas. How might your family work this valuable book into your routine? There are two ways you might do so:

Save this book for summer reading, when the academic demands of school lessen.  Read the book in advance, and let your son know that over the summer he’ll be reading an excellent and potentially life-changing book called 25 Ways to Win With People. For the first 25 weekdays of summer, he’ll read a chapter a day. Reassure him/her – the chapters average less than seven pages. It will take five weeks to complete the book. Each day, you’ll ask him/her to write a short summary of the key point and discuss it with you.  Role-playing is another effective practice tool. You can practice these new skills within the supportive context of your home, where he/she shouldn’t be as self- conscious as he/she might in public. 

 Make learning and applying the 25 points a family project. Together, the family agrees to read one chapter per week. Some parents set aside part of the day on Saturday or Sunday to have a short talk about the key point. For the entire week each family member works on applying the step. Family members practice with each other as well as out in their school, work, or daily activities. If the family has dinner together, they should talk about their experiences.  

Even though a new point is introduced each week, it’s important to keep in mind that earlier points don’t get discarded. Apply them as much as possible, especially if there are one or two you have found highly useful. This is what I call the “rent to own” philosophy.  We are teaching our teenagers to try the point out (or rent it) for a week.  If he/she finds it useful, he continues to rent it and use it. At some point your teen may decide that this point is so helpful that they’ll decide to own it and apply it on their own, because he/she has recognized its value in his/her life. 

 Think about your family and decide which way would work best for you.  Your teen will soon have 25 ways to become more successful with people.