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Regular Features

Dr. Steven Richfield provides articles on many different aspects of raising a child with ADHD.                                   

Each month we our advocate will be answering questions from our visitors about yours and your children's rights in the educational system.    

A mother is trying to help her teenage son learn anger management.   

Five great ideas for motivation, including The Shoe Race, Trading Places and more.  

Organize your child at home, and maybe find some tips that will help you as well.  

Headlines about ADHD, Learning Disability and Mental Disorders

Study on ADD and TV
The recent study published on watching television between the ages of one and three and the possible link to ADD/ADHD did not take many considerations into account. The author of the study even admits that he cannot conclude that television watching and ADD/ADHD are linked.

Read the Article

Parent Coach Archives

Removing The Barriers Between Generations

Dr. Steven Richfield

The Parent Coach: Removing The Barriers Between Generations

"How can I stay connected to my teenager? The last thing he wants to do is to talk to me. Especially in today's world, I'm worried that we're growing too far apart."

Keeping the doors of communication open with an adolescent is tricky for most parents. This transitional time between childhood and adulthood tends to place barriers between generations. Among other things, parents must set limits, request information, and supervise activities. Our intention is to guide and stay informed. Yet, often the effect upon our teen is that they feel policed and intruded upon. What's a parent to do? I offer a few pointers that pave the way to a smoother and more open dialogue.

Control your own reactions to unwelcome news. The quickest way to shut down communication channels with a teenager is to become harsh, blaming, and close-minded. Once we adopt an adversarial stance we trigger the same in our teen. A better rule-of-thumb is to remind yourself that to stay connected we must ensure that they view us as on their side even when we disapprove or feel disappointed in them. To protect the bond, I suggest that parents position themselves as coaches who review events, identify problem sources, and discuss strategies to prevent future trouble.

Use bridge-building language. Teens are extremely sensitive to being lectured and "talked-down-to." Once they feel demeaned they may strike back with words that turn discussions into verbal battlefields. Parents can help keep communication free of conflict by using non-judgmental and bridge-building language. Expressions such as "let's try to figure out why this happened" or "maybe you have some ideas about how to solve this one" support the teen's self-esteem and communicate a parent's respect for their perspective. Parents are wise to avoid the typical traps that erode communication: jumping to conclusions, dragging up past problems, and predicting future mistakes.

Take advantage of connecting opportunities. As much as teens crave their privacy they remain dependent upon us for many wants and needs, including our approval and involvement. Pathways for connecting often present themselves to parents who keep their eyes and ears open to these opportunities. The currents of teenage life, such as peculiar music, racy television shows, and suggestive humor, are often staring us in the face. Next time, consider taking some time to stop, look, listen, and yes, even enjoy.

Pay careful attention to timing. Teens may be moody and sometimes unpredictable but observant parents can determine when it's best to introduce difficult issues for discussion.

In many cases, timing is everything. Try to pick up on the signals suggesting that the doors to interaction are open or closed, such as their expression, tone of voice, and the present circumstances. If you're not sure, ask. Questions such as, "Is this a good time to talk about...?" communicates your understanding of their feelings and preferences. The result may be a more open and productive dialogue.

Dr. Steven Richfield is a child psychologist in Plymouth Meeting, PA. His column appears monthly.  He can be contacted at 610-238-4450 or