places on you. The objective is
to fade out your help over time,
but not so quickly that your teen
fails at a task.
A Start with a problem that
is small and easily tackled.
This will build your teen’s confi-
dence and will increase the like-
lihood that he will be willing to
work on other problems. In the
morning routine, you can move
from waking your teen to having
him wake himself.
S Address a problem that
puts your teen at immedi-
ate risk. This is when parental
judgment and decision-making
LEFT: ISTOCKPHOTO/THINKSTOCK (2), RIGHT: BRAND X PICTURES/ THINKSTOCK
must override teen choice. If
your teen has trouble control-
ling emotions or sustaining
attention, which you fear may
pose a risk of unsafe driving or
substance abuse, closely moni-
tor his behavior. This will strike
your teen as intrusive, but a par-
ent’s job is to keep the teen “in
the game.” This does not mean
that parents should lock up their
teen during his adolescence, but
it does mean that parents find
ways to balance choice and risk
D Be open to negotiation.
If you have approached a prob-
lem as a “have to” or a “do it
or else,” consider offering an
exchange. You’ll give up some-
thing you want if the teen will
give up something she wants (or
do something you want). If you
want chores done in exchange
for using the car, change the
chores to errands you need done
and offer the car if she’ll run a
couple of errands for you before
she goes off with friends.
F Use your teen’s personal
goals to teach executive skills.
Virtually any goal requires planning, time management, sustained attention, task initiation,
and goal-directed persistence.
Focus on personal goals that are
a high priority for your teen—
saving to buy a car or going to
Europe next summer. These
are ideal vehicles for learning
executive skills, and have the
advantage of built-in motivation
if they come from your teen.
G Consider more rewards.
Parents are often cheap in terms
of what they will offer their
teen, because they are annoyed
at having to offer anything at all.
If you accept that these are difficult skills for your teen to learn,
understand what is needed for
her to make the effort. A
Excerpted from Smart but Scattered Teens: The “Executive Skills”
Program for Helping Teens Reach
Their Potential, by Richard Guare,
PH.D., Peg Dawson, ED.D., and
Colin Guare. Copyright © 2013.
Reprinted with permission of The
Guilford Press, Ne w York.