HELP FOR PARENTS WITH STRONG-WILLED, OUT-OF-CONTROL CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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How do I get an over-achiever to slow down?

I have taken the quiz and surprisingly found that I was a severely over indulgent parent. This angers me because I didn't think I was. The question is: How do I get an over-achiever to slow down? There's more to the story but that is the 'gist' of the situation - she is not sleeping because of work and she wants more money.

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Hi R.,

Overachievers rarely express their genuine feelings. They are driven to succeed and try fiercely to be independent. But many are actually very dependent on outside accomplishments to justify their existence. These teens can crash emotionally when they experience rejection or failure such as the break-up of a relationship or failing to be admitted to a "competitive" university. The most important message a parent can send to an overachieving teen is "I know you are human and struggling just like everyone."

“Overachieving behavior” is often a mask for depression. The onset of depression during the teenage years can be gradual or sudden, brief or long-term; and it can be hidden or "masked" by other clinical conditions such as anxiety, eating disorders, hyperactivity, and substance abuse. Although the incidence of more severe depression is less than 10 percent in all teenagers, many of the symptoms (sadness, poor appetite, inability to sleep, physical complaints) are seen more often. In fact, research has shown that up to a third of all teens experience some of these symptoms, even so-called "normal" teens.

If you suspect that your child is struggling with signs of depression, there are positive ways to help. Some of these ways include:

```Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings; listen to their concerns without being judgmental; acknowledge the pain and suffering.

```Share similar unpleasant experiences that ended positively to provide a basis of hope; but make sure not to minimize their concerns and worries.

```Seek professional help from someone experienced in normal adolescent developmental changes.

```The possibility of suicide is always there. References, threats and attempts at hurting oneself should always be taken seriously.

Mark

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