If you are on this page, call now and find answers rather than guessing. Being proactive saves everyone from unnecessary pain, and phone consults are free. The symptoms may look different than those we are familiar with as adults because kids can’t always express what is going on, even when they become teens. Anxiety and Depression often get misdiagnosed as ADHD or the symptoms get dismissed as some form of “kids being kids” or puberty. No one provided the kid/teen manual . . . I can be the next best thing.
Teens have developmental tasks that can make them impulsive, pleasure seeking, moody, banging heads with authority and testing rules. Keep your teen safe. Having them connect with a therapist when life is starting to cause stress sets the groundwork for asking for help when needed, before a crisis hits. Parents can gain a better understanding of brain development in real world terms by coming for an information session to determine what is normal and what is significant. Not all therapy has to be long term, and even “Great Kids” can be silently suffering.
If you are noticing any changes in your child that make your parent radar go off, look more closely and err on the side of caution. Sometimes it’s developmental, and others times not. Bad decisions can have life long consequences.
High achieving academics and athletics (Seem odd? Ask me why this may be an indicator)
Oppositional or defiant behaviors
Constant motion / hyperactivity
Lack of homework completion
Lack of motivation
Changes in eating patterns (more, less, pickiness)
Great in one behavior and challenging in another (perfect student, difficult to parent)
Anger or emotional outburst
Wondering if your child has ADHD
To medicate or not? Alternatives to pills
Seem unhappy, not typical self
Victimization by “mean girls”, social media, peers
Video game obsession
This list is not complete, but offers many of the common symptoms I hear during the initial calls from parents. Contact me today for clarity about what is normal for your child’s age and stage. Phone consults are always free.
Boys vs Girls
When difficulties at school or home surface, many parents of boys wonder about ADHD, because boys’ behaviors are often externalized. We see them, we hear them and we try to figure out what to do with them. How do you know when boys really are “just being boys” or when to seek help? On the other side, your son may be soft, sensitive and easily rattled, easily victimized or easily defeated. Anxiety and depression are very real even at a young age, Find out how to help your son build resilience and self control.
Girls, on the other hand, usually internalize, which means they allow thoughts and feelings to fester inside. Their developing brains innately drive the need to connect socially, which is why there is such hyper-vigilance with girls and comparison to others. In the fourth, fifth and sixth grades puberty is already kicking in, as is a pecking order. Hyper sensitivity to the behaviors of others can easily be dismissed by adults while a daughter’s self esteem crumbles. Girls are far more stealth in their ability to hurt others; all it takes is the raise of an eyebrow, a tone or seeing others talking. Girls in the tween stage who get ousted from a social group can take months to recover. Unlike physical aggression we see in boys, the term associated with girls is “relational aggression”. Learn how to support your daughter sooner than later.
Child/teen stress is real. Our youth need tools to navigate the era of instant messaging and instant gratification. Set them up for success by reaching out at the first sign of distress. If you’re not sure, call and ask. Proactive is always better than having to be reactive.