Preserving the Emotional Well-being of ADHD Girls

Encouraging adolescent females with ADHD to become self-aware, cultivate emotional intelligence and resilience, and seek out appropriate therapies are the first steps in protecting them. Curate this handbook for your teenager.

“I have trouble blending in. I make a great effort to appear normal, yet I feel like a complete fraud.”

“I feel foolish. I constantly have mental blockages. Asking for assistance is pointless.”

“I am overloaded all the time. When I lack discipline, everything goes awry.”

It is impossible to discuss ADHD in teenage girls without addressing feelings. Many teenage females discuss the emotional fallout from ADHD even before they receive a diagnosis. They refer to themselves as “dumb.” Their confidence crumbles to the ground. They burn out or go insane trying to be flawless.

Adolescent girls with ADHD suffer greatly emotionally from it, particularly if it is not identified at an early age. Furthermore, we cannot discount the impact that teens’ menstruating hormone fluctuations have on their emotions, actions, and overall functioning. Is it any surprise that so many young ladies and girls in their adolescent years report that controlling their emotions and energy levels is the largest issue they have with ADHD?

A fundamental characteristic of ADHD is emotional dysregulation. The first step in protecting the mental well-being of teenage girls with ADHD is realizing this. Follow the actions below to support them in pursuing healthy lives and to help them build emotional intelligence and resilience.

How to Safeguard and Strengthen Adolescent Girls with ADHD

1. Recognize Your ADHD Profile

A neurodevelopmental condition with a strong hereditary component is ADHD. It is not an indication of frailty, sloth, or low drive. The first step is to understand how the brain functions and how information is processed in an ADHD person. To assist your child in understanding their inner world in a nonjudgmental manner, use basic language and concepts. Be patient and optimistic when trying to break free from toxic, negative thoughts since the ADHD brain’s “gearbox” occasionally becomes stuck.

Furthermore, emphasize that no two teenage females with ADHD have the same symptoms, emotions, strengths, difficulties, or co-occurring disorders. Urge your child to have an inquisitive mind about their own ADHD brain and profile.

2. Recognize the Hormone-ADHD Interaction

The increase and fall of estrogen during the menstrual cycle might impact your child’s symptoms, behaviors, mood, ability to function, and even the effectiveness of treatment. Give your adolescent this self-knowledge so she can freely and shamelessly get ready for her own highs and lows.

It is incorrect to believe that all naturally cycling youth with ADHD are equally impacted by hormone variations. For some teenagers, particularly those with PMS or premenstrual mood disorder (PMDD), symptoms and functioning may deteriorate during the two weeks leading up to menstruation, when estrogen levels are at their lowest. Because youth who experience high levels of estrogen and dopamine are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, high estrogen states may be the cause of their impulsivity issues.

Assist your child in tracking their cycle so they may observe the way their particular ADHD profile interacts with shifting hormones. Consult your child’s doctor about cycle dosing, which involves modifying a medicine’s dosage based on hormonal status, if your child’s ADHD medication seems to be less effective at different times of the month. You should also provide any supporting documentation.

3. Use Self-Monitoring to hone Self-Awareness

One regrettable consequence of girls and women hiding their ADHD or imitating their peers to get social acceptance is a lack of self-awareness. Your youngster could feel overpowered by inquiries like “What are you feeling?” and “What do you need?” as a result of these coping techniques.

Assist your child in tracking the ways that lifestyle choices affect their mood and day-to-day functioning to begin developing self-awareness. When your daughter sleeps for eight hours, what changes does she observe in her capacity to control her emotions? Six? After basketball practice, are they happier? When the effects of the ADHD medicine start to wear off, how does it feel? Have your youngster use a calendar, an app, or a journal to keep track of their good and bad things.

4. Evaluate Circumstances to Reduce Rejection RSD, or sensitive dysphoria

Difficult beliefs can become self-fulfilling prophesies when they are reinforced by RSD, an element of emotional dysregulation associated with ADHD that results in painful emotional reactions to actual or perceived rejection, failure, or criticism.

Even while your child may have a strong desire to make new friends, RSD may lead her to interpret a classmate’s answer as a source of irritation when in reality the student may simply be timid or worn out. Even still, your youngster believes that “I am obnoxious to everyone.” Why even attempt, you ask?

Reappraising situations with your child has power, especially when you keep their emotional dysregulation from ADHD in mind. Urge your child to wait until they feel emotionally anchored before acting, and to think of other possible causes.

5. Use Self-Compassion to Boost Self-Esteem

If you look into the head of an adolescent girl suffering from ADHD, you will undoubtedly discover a harsh, pessimistic chorus of voices singing about feelings of inadequacy, humiliation, impostor syndrome, and self-doubt. (The chorus gets louder the longer it takes to acquire a diagnosis.)

Self-compassion repairs a damaged self-image and turns the mean choir into a kinder one. Try creating a gratitude practice together as a way to cultivate self-compassion. Share three things about yourselves that you are thankful for every day, either at the dinner table or during the way to school.

6. Invest Time in Mindfulness

Impulsivity and emotional dysregulation can occasionally result in bad decisions. Your child can learn to reflect, accept that feelings pass, and react to circumstances in healthy ways with the support of mindfulness. When combined with distress-tolerance techniques, mindfulness practices, such as breathing exercises and progressive muscular relaxation, can help your child learn to tolerate uncomfortable feelings without turning to destructive coping mechanisms.

7. Establish and Honor Empathetic Limits

Establish compassionate boundaries to safeguard emotional well-being. For example, you can request a timeout during a contentious conversation to prevent tension from rising. Although practice is necessary for this profession, the benefits are worthwhile. Your child will show that they can manage their emotions and maintain self-control, which boosts their self-worth and encourages positive interactions with others.

8. Watch Out for Bad Advice

Be wary of advice that is detrimental or ineffective for neurodivergent brains in a world where neurotypical people are the norm. It is not necessary to tell adolescent girls with ADHD who battle emotional dysregulation, social difficulties, and RSD, “If you are furious, stand up for yourself and speak what is on your mind.”

One more awful recommendation? Drinking helps you “live a little” or “take the edge off.” Older teens and young women with ADHD need to be aware of the dangers of drinking and using other substances because addiction is a common condition in this population.

9. Create Happy, Healthful Lifestyle Habits

Long-term, healthy habits can help your child manage symptoms, intense emotions, stressful situations, and the demands of life. These habits can include proper diet and exercise, sleep hygiene, routines, and friendships. Locate inclusive, safe groups where your kids can engage in hobbies, sports, and other interests. Assist your child in discovering situations and settings where they feel their contributions matter.

10. Parents: Get Better at Listening

Interaction with people who appreciate us and give us a sense of security helps us develop our emotional intelligence. Engage in mindful, attentive, and impartial hearing when your offspring communicates with you. Try to just mirror back to your child what they are telling you, rather than jumping to conclusions and recommendations. Being understood and taken seriously increases emotional self-efficacy and is incredibly powerful.

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