Coping with ADHD can feel challenging sometimes. When you have ADHD, it is important to surround yourself with people who can give you a little extra help when needed, such as your parents, counselor, teacher, coach, therapist, and doctor. It can also help to keep some tips and tricks in mind:
Work on controlling your emotions
Kids and teens with ADHD often struggle to control their feelings. Using these five steps may be helpful in managing your emotions:
- Ask yourself: What makes you upset?
- Try to prepare yourself if you are going to be around something that upsets you.
- Try to catch your emotions earlier. Try noticing what happens to your body and your behavior as you become more upset.
- Take some time away from the situation.
- Help yourself gain control back using stress relief practices. For example, take a walk, imagine you are in a comfortable, relaxing place, or use deep breathing.
Help yourself stay focused
It can be hard to stay focused for kids and teens with ADHD. Try these things when you find it challenging to stay focused, especially in school:
- Fidget (move around if appropriate, or use a fidget object if you need to sit in one place)
- Drink sips of water
- Sit at the front of the class
- If you do not understand something, ask for help right away.
Improve your ability to keep track of things
It will be helpful to talk with an adult about your struggles with organizing and come up with a system you can stay on top of. Some ideas kids and teens have had include: having one specific place for each item, such as books, folders, and backpack; color coding school folders by subject; and selecting a specific day and time to clean out your backpack. Organizing yourself will make it easier to get through the day and make you more independent!
Ask for help
A therapist, such as a psychologist, social worker, or counselor, can help you understand and manage your struggles with focusing, paying attention, and keeping track of things. Effective treatments for ADHD include Behavioral Therapy and Parent Training. For some people, medication can help. You can talk with your doctor or a psychiatrist to learn more about medication and if it is a good choice for you.
If your child expresses thoughts of wanting to harm themselves or others, call 9-1-1 or visit the nearest Emergency Department.
MHSA Suicide Prevention Line:
(877) 7CRISIS or (877) 727-4747
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
Crisis Text Line:
Text “HOME” to 741741
Find a mental health provider
Check your insurance website or the back of your insurance card.
Explore Psychology Today’s “Find a Therapist” tool.
Call CalOptima Behavioral Health (Orange County, CA).
National Institute of Mental Health
ADHD Statistics & Information
ADHD in Children and Teens: What You Need to Know
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry – ADHD Resource Center