KEEPING TRACK OF YOUR TEENAGER
ADDitude magazine is an excellent resource for all individuals with ADHD (www.additudemag.com to subscribe).
In a 2002 issue about teenagers with ADHD, one article by Kim Watts, addressed keeping track of your teenager. Now, in 2016, there are more ways to keep track of your teenager. This article has been updated to reflect some of these chasnges. As all parents of teenagers know, particularly ones with teenagers who have ADHD, keeping track of your teenager is a daunting, but very important task.
1. Cell Phones - Teenagers love cell phones. If your ADHD teenager can keep track of their cell phone, this may be a helpful tool. As teenagers often do not keep track of the number of texts they send of the time they spend on social media, a parent must carefully select a calling plan that can keep costs manageable. Some teenagers send up to 18,000 texts in a month!
Another option is the pre-paid plan that limits talk, text and data time to what has been paid for, to reign in the most impulsive teens. Set up very clear rules of use before the phone is purchased (e.g. the phone must always be left on and answered when they are out with their friends) and stick to them after the phone is in use. If the rules are violated, spending a few days without their phone should be motivating enough to get back to following the prescribed rules.
The down side? When your teen call and tells you they are at the coffee shop they may really be at a party.
2. Most phone come with a Global Positioning System. It will track your teens whereabouts as long as the phone is in the same place they are.
3. Finally, there are a number of non-technological interventions that can be of help. Having clearly defined and consistently enforced rules from a young age is important. The longer this is in place the more helpful it will be.
Consistently enforcing rules about where your teen will be and checking up on them is very important as well. If your teen is supposed to be at the movies once in a while check the parking lot to see if the car they are riding in is there. If it isn’t, clarify this with them and let them know if that happens again there will be an immediate consequence. There will be a hundred excuses and protests but stick to your rules. Immediate consequences for rule violations and lavish praise and rewards for rule following are extremely important. Know your teen’s friends and communicate with their parents.