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Bouncing Off the Walls:  Coping With a Hyper-Active Teen

Because there are many tools in place to help the hyperactive teen in the classroom, I am going to focus this article on helping your hyperactive teen cope in social settings.

Fortunately, most teen social settings are pretty raucous and don't require much quiet sitting.  However, this in itself can be a danger because activity can feed hyperactivity until it is out of control.  That is why it is important for your teen to be aware if he begins to feel out of control at a party.  Help him come up with some coping strategies for handling those feelings.

One idea that works well is to go in the bathroom for a few minutes and take some deep breaths.  Being away from the activity and the noise will give him a minute to calm down and reset.  Then when he returns to the party he will be more able to enjoy himself in an appropriate way.

Should your teen find himself invited to a party or event that will require him to sit still for a while, go over what is expected of him ahead of time and help him come up with some coping strategies.  If he is going to be eating with a group, encourage him to take his time eating and to chew his food carefully. This may sound silly, but by concentrating on the food from time to time he can distract himself from the activity around him.

Another coping strategy that I used to employ is sitting on my hands for a few minutes.  This allowed me to regain a sense of control over my actions and made me feel more in control of my surroundings.

The important thing for your teen to realize is that it is OK to feel hyper and that he can manage it.  This will give him the confidence and self-esteem to function well in social situations for the rest of his life.

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