Helping ADHD Teens Overcome It

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Q: “I don’t know if it’s related to ADHD or just my teen’s personality, but he simply cannot lose. He has to be perfect in everything, or else he has a meltdown. When he struggles with anything, he often reacts by wishing that he could be someone else, because ‘everyone else gets everything right’ while he’s ‘failing.’ How can I help him overcome his fear of failure?”


A: It’s regular to wish to get issues proper and keep away from making errors. Many teenagers with ADHD, nonetheless, battle with shedding and failure as a result of they’ve acquired a lot data and suggestions, straight and not directly, about how they get issues flawed.

ADHD and Negative Messaging

It’s estimated that, by age 10, a child with ADHD could receive 20,000 corrective or negative comments. This kind of messaging takes a toll on their vanity and their beliefs about their private capabilities.

ADHD and Emotional Dysregulation

There can also be different components at work right here. Many people with ADHD battle with emotional regulation and coping, which might clarify why failure is laced with such sturdy and debilitating feelings in your teen.

Along with emotional dysregulation comes the thought of rejection delicate dysphoria, a time period used to explain the extraordinary and excessive emotional ache linked to emotions of rejection and disgrace that generally have an effect on these with ADHD. Add in a still-developing teen mind to the combination, and it’s straightforward to see why your teen reacts this technique to failure.

ADHD and Perfectionism

Fear of failure can also rise from a need for perfection. If your baby needs to be good on a regular basis, then that is possible his means of warding off criticism that he could have heard and lived with at massive. They could also be hypervigilant about their efficiency and any criticism, actual or imagined, constructive or dispiriting, coming his means. They can also battle with recurrent ideas: At what level will I mess up? When am I going to disappoint myself?

[Read: You’re Not Perfect, So Stop Trying to Be]

This battle for perfectionism implies that your teen gained’t wish to interact with an exercise he thinks he can’t do “perfectly,” resulting in a sort of procrastination the place he’ll shut down to guard himself.

How to Build Up Self-Confidence and Resiliency In Your Teen with ADHD

For your teen start to embrace the potential of failure as a pure a part of dwelling and studying and fear much less about when it occurs, they have to be in an surroundings that actively celebrates and reminds them of their successes and achievements.

This doesn’t need to occur in a single day – and it gained’t. Small check-ins and doses of positivity by means of the week add up over time to extend his confidence.

At the dinner desk, for instance, ask your baby to call three good issues that occurred to him that day. This will finally rewire his mind to recollect and give attention to what he is ready to obtain, regardless of bumps alongside the way in which.

[Click to Read: How Can My Teen Stop Spiraling Into Negativity?]

One person I do know does “one happy and one crappy” at dinner each night time, which I like. Have everybody within the household identify one good factor that occurred to them that day, and one not-so-good factor. Perhaps you are able to do two “happies” and a “crappy” to additional offset unfavorable messaging.

Placing the positives towards the negatives might be a reminder to your teen that it’s not about getting it proper on a regular basis, however about persevering and figuring out that you simply typically must fail and journey up – onerous – to succeed. This is how all of us study and it doesn’t imply we’re failures in any respect.

Fear of Failure for Teens with ADHD: Next Steps

Do you may have a query for ADDitude’s Dear Teen Parenting Coach? Submit it right here.


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Updated on November 20, 2020



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