Can a ADHD teen ever go out unsupervised?????????? - FamilyEducation
Can a ADHD teen ever go out unsupervised??????????
02/23/2008 at 13:15 PM

My son is 14 yrs.  Everytime I try and trust him to do anything responsible he lets me down........I sit on pins and needles waiting for the dreaded phone call. I tell him your not capable to go away from home and be able to make the right decisions.  Last night after much debate I said ok I'll give it another try.  He was with another trusted teen friend.  We went through our normal drill of the rules and expectations.  Phone rings,  Maam this is security from the mall.  We have your son here for shoplifting!!!!!!!  Shoplifting I wanted to just DIE right on the spot.  He met up with someone totally different in the mall and decided to steal.  The trusted friend said mom I don't know why he did that.  I said i don't know why either.  I have such a great fear that he will end up in a Juvinile Detention.  What am I supposed to do keep him home with me at all times?????.  Can he ever be trusted again???????  I am praying for some answers?????? I prayed to God,  Lord this is your child,  You said you will not leave him or forsake him.  Show us the way!!!!!!!!   $300 later and a Down and out Mom. I can't even speak to him.  I have no words!!!!!!!! 


It depends on the severity of the ADHD. I have two sons with this and they are leading normal enough lives now. My youngest son also has Asperger's. He is now 18 now and at college doing very well. Although not on medication now, he took Ritalin for nearly 7 years. I think that helped him enormously and gave him a good chance. Unlike his older brother who is still finding it difficult to fit in. Is your son on medication? If not, it might be worth considering it.


Yes, Concerta.  But at a low dose 36 mg.  He could be on 54 mg according to his weight.  But the higher dose snows him.  We have not tired to rasie the dose in about 6-8 mos.  Maybe we should give it another try.  Once I explain that the impulsive behaviors are getting more severe.  Maybe my Pediatrician can change it to another med.  I will do some reasearch on a med called Strattera, and maybe even Ritalin.  It  really is hard to determine I don't like the side affects of any of them. 


Good luck anyway. There are various meds that can be of help. Maybe just finding the right one will be all you need. I don't say this lightly because I know how medication probably saved my son's future. It was never easy, but it gave him the chance to focus and learn different strategies to help himself. If you get a chance, read some of Dr Christopher Green's work. He is a world renowned expert in ADHD but explains things in a very easy and clear way. He wrote a book called 'Understanding ADHD' which would be a good starting block. Hope things work out for you. You have my greatest sympathy because I know the hell it can be.


I think the medication alone does not help your child...behavior intervention by a qualified professional can really help out. Sending out a positve message is important and teaching the child alternative behaviors is vital!!!


I too find it hard to trust my 14 yr.old son to make the right choices.  He is ADHD, ODD and gifted.  He is also an underachiever.  He HATES school.  He started high school this year and I had such high hopes that a different atmosphere would change his attitude.  Needless to say it didn't.  He says he feels he is going to prison every day.  All the sitting and rules and people telling him what to do is not working.  His grades re-cently plummeted.  He was keeping a good GPA because we linked it to his motorcross racing.  At this point that will be out this year.  His interest are few and require a LOT of energy.  I'm at a loss.  He says he is not happy but refuses to use the word depressed.  He took med. in third grade for about a year.  We never did find one that suited him.  He says he will never take med. again or go to counseling.  He would rather die.  I just don't know how to help him anymore.  I worry about his future.  His dream right now is quitting school.  Any advice from anyone would be appreciated.  Good luck to any parent who has an ADHD child.  It truly is heart-breaking.

I don't think that anyone said that medication alone was enough, but it will help the child to focus on the work that needs to be done by all involved. Yes a qualified professional's help should be sought. You have to be very careful in the way that you try to introduce alternative behaviours though.
Another thing which could help is introducing Omega 3 into the diet. I know there have been some very good results in children not only with ADHD but also in ASD and other areas. My son tried it and he noticed the difference himself as did all of his family and friends. Worth a try anyway.
Do you have some experience of ADHD Frankii?

Sorry this is a month after the fact.  I hope you read it, and some of it helps. 

My son has ADHD (diagnosed at age 5) and is now 15.  I would say, given what your son has done, NO he should not go out unsupervised until both of you have worked through a behavioral modification program and he has EARNED that. If you want to keep him out of Juvie at this point, you need to get strong with this.  He will pressure, beg, plead, yell - what I have done is make arguing about restrictions earn more restrictions, such as "no you cannot go out with friends unsupervised.  You have not earned the privalege" and if he argues, "OK , now stop or you loose something else (TV, Computer games, whatever is meaningful to him)". If he doesn't stop, you have to enforce the consequences or nothing will work to help him modify his behavior.  He is the kid, you have to drive the bus. As others here have said, you need a behavioral management  program, with the big prize at the end, after much work , being allowed out with peers. If you cannot afford professional help, try clergy or other groups, or buy some books and get family involved. If you have any trusted adult males around, have him spend time with them alone doing guy stuff. Men find it much easier to call boys on whining, immaturity, and general disrespect.  The boys need that.

Otherwise, when he does something serious, the world will enforce the consequences without pity, and he will end up worse off. Otherwise he is going to follow his impulses, which are not good at this point (why don't they ever have an impulse to clean up their rooms? Take out the garbage?).  He may have actually planned to meet the other kid, so don't necessarily take the "I don't know why I did it " for an answer.  That can be just smoke, these kids can plan just fine when they are hyperfocued by sufficient motivation, and at this age have no problem using ADHD as an excuse.  He may just want very badly to succeed at something, to be accepted, even if its by a bad crowd.  ADHD kids ususally don't have many friends, they don't do all that well socially. So this may be his way to get into a peer group that would not otherwise take him. He may be trying to earn his "street cred".  Also, ADHD kids are often "late bloomers", ie clinically delayed in development.  My son is 15 months younger physically and mentally than his calendar age as determined by bone age Xrays.  This is a common problem, but unless you have been to an endocronologist or have a really good pediatrician, you might not know that.  Eventually they catch up, when their peers stop growing, in their early 20s, so its not permanent. But it does mean they are much younger than their Birthday age.  Your son might be 13 or even younger mentally and emotionally.  You have to factor that into everything.

Would you let a 12 or 13 year old go to the mall unsupervised?  One with impulse control problems, and a strong motivation to find a way to get attention from his peers?  I think not.  Don't let what other kids are allowed to do guide you too much - ourt kids are different, we have to find our own way. I don't really think any 14 year old should be going to a mall unsupervised, ADHD or not. There is too much opportunity for mischief, and risk of predation. Plus they get too into chasing "stuff" as a lifestyle. None of the mothers of my group ever allowed that, even for "normal" kids.

You can help your son.  But its going to take a lot of work on your part.  I know how exhausting it is, after 14 years you just want the load to ease a little (why can't they Grow UP already) but really they need us to be strong for them now more than ever, as mistakes now can be unrecoverable, even deadly.

 Stay Strong!


I too have a situation with my grandson 17 yrs. He doesn't like school, did get into a vocational school but soon dropped out. He is now in the DH for 90 days viotating his probation. He stays in the yard and then all of a sudden disappears, last time for 9 days we were able to locate him through some of this friends. He seems to be lost and just wants to wander around from place to place. I fear that he will get in with the wrong people and something awful will happen to him. He will be 18 in Jan., so there won't be much I will be able to do for him. What are the best jobs for his type of personality? I know how easy it is to just want to pull away from them, you can only take and do so much for them. He has stolen from us, been to court to many times to count. My husband is not his biological grandfather which doesn't help at all. He feels unwanted and is very afraid.

We adopoted 4 ADHD children, who all have other problems as well. Our 14 yr old son has many of the same issues as the original writer of thread. We have finally decided to start homeschooling within the next month. These children have had such a horrible time trying to "fit in" in the classroom that it took much time away from actual learning. Knowing that at least 3 of the 4 will never go to a conventional college, we felt that hs'ing was best for us. They can be learning various skills which will help when they are ready to enroll in a trade school. I too found this boy to be starting behaviors which were just not acceptable. These kids are normally very intelligent, just unconventional. We have no idea if he will ever be to the point where he can drive (it makes me way too nervous to even CONSIDER that) but we do know that he has many strengths and hs'ing allows him the opportunity to explore those strengths. Good luck.

We've found that even though we love these kids, they are ALWAYS going to feel "unwanted" due to not being with bio parents. I'm 58 and still feel the effects of my parents having my g-parents raise me for several, early years. These children are also very susceptable to getting in with the wrong crowds, in trying to fit in. We can only do so much grandma. Please don't beat yourself up over this. He's going to do what he's going to do at this point. Just please do not enable his misbehavior by giving him chance after chance to steal from you. Let him know that if it happens again, he will be on his own to take the natural consequinces and DO NOT BACK DOWN!

I am raising a now 14 year old "niece" who was a drug baby, was emotionally abused by an uncle, diagnosed with PTSD and Major depression and I see many ADHD traits with her. Possibly Bipolar. She has been rejected by some many family members and sadly I am the only person who will take her in. She has been to a psychiatric facility twice, cuts on herself, has failed the 8th grade and has no friends. I have had her in counseling (doesn't seem to do any good) I have her on a slew of medications including strattera, prozac, seroquil and trazedone to help her sleep. Two days ago she became aggressive with me and demanded to go live for a while with a family we know. I gave in because I am at my wits end. She does listen to men better than women, and the father of this family is graciously going to "work with her." She tells me she wants to die because she has no self esteem and hates herself. I don't think there are pills for that. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

rockdoc What I liked about your "long" post (how did you get past the 10000 character limit?) is that you suggest that the parent: take charge, learn things, be assertive and responsible and other changes or improvements IN THE PARENT as well as the child. What I see in here and elsewhere is a focus on the child, drugs, behaviors, punishments and other things BUT nothing about what the parent could do or change about them self. I applaud your suggestions for helping the parents IMPROVE & EDUCATE them self as well as fixing their broken kid.

Jim, is your child ADHD? Tell us how your own advice helped in raising your ADHD child.

Jim, unlike you, I have children. Two of my children have ADHD. One additionally has Asperger's Syndrome. ADHD is not a psychological disorder, it is a physiological one. Hope you can understand that. ADHD is a malfunction in the brain which can be picked up on brain scans. It is a chemical imbalance. Some children can exhibit signs of ADHD through things like artificial additions in their diet etc but true ADHD has absolutely no link to bad parenting or anything else. Please get your facts right before you start bad mouthing people.

Jimrich said:"I applaud your suggestions for helping the parents IMPROVE & EDUCATE them self as well as fixing their broken kid." Fixing their "broken kid"? Spoken like someone who hasn't a clue of what they are talking about. You must like the taste of your own foot.

I think that Jimrich came to a message board specifically about parenting in order to work through some of his issues with the poor job of parenting that his parents did. When he addresses the people on this board, they are just shadows and he is really writing to his own parents. My problem with that is, he says things that are very hurtful, and says them to people who are: 1, already seeking the kind of input his parents never sought. 2, already feeling fragile because their families are struggling with a problem, 3, not guilty of the particular crimes of his parents, and 4, not HIS parents. Jim, I would be very interested in seeing an outline or draft of a letter that YOUR parents deserve to receive. I believe that when you start a board, the character limit is quite high. If there are things that are private, of course you should edit them out of anything you put on a public forum like this. I think that this would be helpful to a lot of people.

Jim, you're a child. You remind me of the scared kid on the playground that likes to cause problems, and then run and hide behind a teacher when things get a little too hot. You speak your mindless drivel, and then when someone calls you out, you put a link up that tells us that we are to respect each other. Pull up your big boy pants and act like a man, if you wish to dish it, get ready to take it. Personally, you have given me zero reason to show you any respect. If that gets me kicked off of this forum, so be it.

SnglDad, I wholeheartedly agree with those sentiments.

SnglDad junieg mayamay Ask Host Marti to add an “ignore member” button to this forum to solve your problems with other members. good luck, jim

Jim, you have all kinds of “advice” to solve everyone else’s problems, have you solved any of your own recently? Just curious. Good luck.