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Teenage Daughter Struggles in School


My 13-year-old daughter has a terrible attitude about school. She shows a lack of interest, motivation and desire to be a part of the classroom. Her teachers complain that she plays with her hair more than she pays attention in class. She has been diagnosed with ADHD, so it has been difficult trying to set rules and expectations. I don't think she thinks I am serious. I need some direction on what to do. It is difficult as a working parent to know what to do. Her father agrees, but he doesn’t help because he doesn't want her to hate him.


It is not uncommon for youth with an ADHD diagnosis to come off as having a poor attitude toward school. Sometimes it's easier to give off the vibe of "I don't care" instead of just saying "I don't get it." If she is still struggling with schoolwork or if she's still having a hard time concentrating, that may be where this sort of attitude is coming from.

If she hasn't had a medication management checkup recently, we would suggest that you schedule one to assess how her current medication (dosage and type) is working for her. At 13, her body is changing, and her ADHD can change along with her. It's important to monitor that closely because medication can have a huge impact on her concentration.

If you would like to help your daughter succeed in school, consider the following suggestions. Ask about her day, visit her school, volunteer at school events and/or attend sporting events. Studies have shown that the level of parental involvement is closely tied with a child's success in school.

Focus on your daughter’s homework by establishing a central location for completing it. Make sure the workspace is clean of clutter. Try to keep the area as quiet as possible. Shut off the TV, and try to limit distractions such as phones and computers. Set aside a specific amount of time (45 to 75 minutes) for studying and homework each school night. If she struggles with concentrating for that long, you can break these up into smaller sessions. If she doesn't have homework to do, then encourage her to read a book.

Set a positive example by using this same block of time to write a grocery list or pay bills, or use it as quiet personal computer time. As parents, we encourage our children by always setting aside time for learning and reading.

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