Thoughts on using emotional consequen... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Thoughts on using emotional consequences for verbal vileness... Acting hurt


Hi, ok so my 11 year old daughter called me some pretty crappy names this morning. In addition to calling me the names, she proceeded to text me same crap complete with little monster emojis... Which were suppose to be me.... Again and again.. Had to shut my phone off. Now, 8 hours later, she says "sorry".. Not very sincere...but whatever. This time I decided to say, I'm not ready to talk about it yet, I'm very hurt. I know she craves my affection, but I want her to understand words and actions affect how other people feel towards her. I said I loved her, but right now I feel hurt and need to heal. Honestly, I'm not hurt, does make me sad of course. Anyone else use this technique or do you accept the sorry and move on right away?

29 Replies

People with ADHD lack levels of multiple neurotransmitters. From my studies I have learned that the neurotransmitter Serotonin (which we lack) plays a great deal in our empathy levels. I have Inattentive ADHD and remember doing and saying some pretty messed up things in my teens and not really feeling much empathy. I also recall that when the majority of my peers got saddened or angered by something I was apathetic about it. People with ADHD lack stimulation, and at times need to do or say certain things in order to stimulate themselves. And unfortunately a majority of us ADHD'ers are really good at pushing someone's buttons, and that can be stimulating to our understimulated brains. Tie that in with the Inattentive subtype or sometimes Combined subtype of Adhd and our low levels of empathy, you got a match made Heaven. Try to never take it personal, and explain to your daughter that words and phrases can affect people immensely, and not everyone is as strong or tough as they project. I wish someone would have told me about this in my youth, it surely would have helped. Talking to someone with ADHD is very important, and helping them understanf that they are not alone, and that there are consequences for their actions (follow up consequences are a must)

A great supplement to help with Serotonin would be L-Tryptophan, I have a few links on my profile to other helpful supplements for ADHD as well in case you are interested.

Thanks for the reply. Great point about stimulation. I wonder about the Serotonin. Looking at her genetics testing. I wonder if it would have an effect. Results and cautions below.

The serotonin transporter protein (SLC6A4) is a presynaptic transmembrane protein responsible for serotonin reuptake [1-9] 􀂇 Higher risk of poor response, slow response or intolerance to SSRIs and potentially higher rates of PTSD and reduced stress resilience 􀂇 Therapeutic options such as non-SSRIs may be used as clinically appropriate.

So, anyway, thank you for your insight, great to hear from someone who has been through this.

No problem.

I'm not sure whether your daughter is taking medication for her ADHD or not, but regardless of this, studies have demonstrated that people with ADHD lack multiple neurotransmitters, ones that stand out and are quite important are: Dopamine, Norepinephrine, Serotonin, Acetylcholine, GABA etc. If your daughter is taking a small dose stimulant medication (something I highly recommend when entering middle school), there will be issues with a decrease in Serotonin since most stimulant medications work with Dopamine and Norepinephrine, and after continuous use without the help of supplements, those neurotransmitters can become depleted, especially Serotonin since it is part of the brain's reward system (Dopamine & Serotonin) and its levels start to be lowered if one keeps on augmenting Dopamine, same thing vice versa. Unfortunately if one has ADHD and does not take medication or supplements, life becomes extremely difficult and irritability and emotional outbursts become quite frequent. This is when people with ADHD start shutting people off and sometimes say some pretty terrible things to keep others away because of wanting to be alone. I am in grad school training to become an MFT Psychologist and have been studying ADHD for over 3 years now, and from the people with ADHD I have worked with, both adults, parents, and children, the results are usually the same. Serotonin deals with uplifting the mood and helps a good amount of people with ADHD relax the body/brain; it also helps people like myself with Inattentive ADHD become more friendly, increase levels of empathy, and feel more of camaraderie with people. I was a bitter and angry person 40% of the time throughout all of middle school through my undergrad years in college. It was not until I got diagnosed and combined my medication with supplements, including L-Tryptophan that I finally felt at ease and actually had things to look forward to. L-Tryptophan is not an SSRI, and no where near it. L-Tryptophan is a precursor to Serotonin. It helps the brain make more of it, which is helpful since we lack it. Unlike an SSRI which is a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor, meaning that the brain uses what little serotonin we have and inhibits its re-uptake. I have advised many people with ADHD who both take medication, and don't take medication; to give L-Tryptophan (for increasing Serotonin) and Tyrosine (for increasing Dopamine & Norepinephrine) a try, and have thankfully been told good results. Here is a really helpful link with lots of insight on how L-Tryptophan works

I cannot tell you how appreciative I feel about the time you took to write all of this, and how open you are about your experiences. Your recollection of your middle school years sound exactly like my 14 year-old son, who I worry about so much. He is flat-out mean to his younger brothers much of the time -- sometimes me -- and I struggle with my anger at him for this. He can push buttons like nobody I have ever known, and I usually do not understand it. I need to constantly remind myself that he would be nicer and more empathic if he could. Also, this makes me wonder if we should be considering having him take his meds on the weekends too...not just for school. Anyway, thank you for a considered and educational response to Crunchby.

You're very welcome. I'm glad the information could be of some insightful help. Not sure what subtype of ADHD your son has, but stemming from your description it sounds like he might have the Inattentive subtype, or perhaps the Combined subtype. I have a series of videos on youtube that describe the struggles people with Inattentive ADHD go through from Elementary school through Adulthood, I made these because there is very little information on the Inattentive subtype (there's a link to the videos on my profile). There is also a link to helpful ADHD supplements I take with my medication to help fight off negative side effects, and help the medication work to it's full potential. If you're having trouble with your son on days where he doesn't take the medication, I would reccomend he take Tryptophan for Serotonin, Tyrosine for Dopamine and Norepinephrine, and R-Alpha Lipoic acid (powerful antioxidant that fights off oxidation from continued stimulant use, and helps the body/brain feel at ease).

Thank you for this...we see his psychiatrist on the 23rd of this month and I will ask her about Tryptophan, Tyrosine and Norepinephrine. My mindset has been "the fewer and least amount of medication, the better", but perhaps I am wrong to assume so.

I am unsure what subtype he has, but he was diagnosed in December with depression, GAD and ADHD. He was diagnosed as a toddler with Sensory Integration Disorder and had sensory help for years both at home and at school. I am embarrassed to say, I actually wondered a few times if he had ODD, even though I do not like that diagnosis, nor do I find it particularly useful for kids. I am going to check out your videos on youtube for sure. Thank you so much.

No problem. Also just one small correction, the supplements are Tryptophan, Tyrosine, and R-Alpha Lipoic acid. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter in the brain

Unfortunately all those other conditions you mentioned are largely caused by having Inattentive ADHD, they are all mentioned in the videos as you'll see, and were things I struggled with myself before getting diagnosed and taking my med and supplements.

Watching your Inattentive ADHD and causes right now and am having 'Ah HA!' moments...also laughing a lot. You were right. This is my son...from the complete incapacity to give a shit about doing anything he isn't totally into, to the easy loss of focus and attention that baffles us...this is him: inattentive subtype.

Glad it's insightful and also entertaining haha.

Thanks. I will give it a try.

Interesting. So, she is on Vyvanse for dopamine and Seroquel...lowest dose there is. I'd love to dump the Seroquel, scary stuff, and go with a supplement to work on Serotonin. I had a pretty thorough dx done, at least I have a huge report...nothing about typing her ADHD, just 'moderate ADHD'. I do have the genetics testing that confirms a VAL/VAL on COMT, so dopamine getting broken down, Vyvanse for that. I'll have a look at your videos. As an aside, you sound legit and like your really just trying to help, but posting a website where you can buy the recommended supplements make me a bit suspect of your motives for being here.

Sounds like you're doing a thorough analysis on her condition.

That website link I have up on my page about helpful ADHD supplments has lots of information located in just one website, and that is honestly the only reason I have it on there, for ease of access. Otherwise I would have a bunch of articles from ncbi and other sites. Sorry to have to correct you, but you CANNOT buy supplements from that page, once you look, you'll see what I'm talking about. No specific brands or companies of supplements are mentioned either. Your comment demonstrates to me that you haven't really looked at the page. The site only provides information on supplements and creating a person's ideal nootropic stack. I have nothing to gain by mentioning that site, just found it useful and helpful for myself and thought I'd share it to help those like myself who have ADHD.

Ok, good to know...forgive me for being so suspicious. I've seen a few posts fly through here that were clearly people 'faking' it about having a kid with ADHD only to lure the poster to their website to buy something. Thank you for your time and super helpful info!

Gotcha. Well that's unfortunate, yet unsurprising. Thanks for the heads up, I'll make sure to note that when recomending a link to a website, and no probelm, glad the info is helpful

Great information! I wonder if this explains my son’s severe addiction to certain video games & extreme reactions to stopping the game! Like taking drugs away from an addict, they crave the calming micro rewards in games like Fortnite. When it’s time to quit...crash!! Thoughts?

Thank you! And you hit the nail on the head. Video games raise the reward system quite a bit, just like being on the phone, social media etc. Once that the stimuli is taken away, the drop in the reward can cause negative symptoms. This is why I recommend being gradual when taking away or turning off certain things. Setting boundaries as a parent, like setting a time limit, or giving your son a heads up that he has 15min left of playtime, can be quite helpful. Granted, follow up, patience, and encouragement will also be needed. Best regards!

Yep! I do all that. In Fortnite, I typically let him finish the round with multiple warnings that ‘this is last game’. If he tries to start a new one, then I shut it. Unfortunately it’s like a gambling addiction where he ‘needs’ to try again if he didn’t get the Victory. At this point, I’ve removed the PS4 because he simply can’t handle it, & it’s causing too much conflict in the home

My first question is are you sure she should have a phone? If she is texting you names, etc, this says she is most likely using her phone inappropriately with others. My other thought is is that it sounds like she may have the upper hand in your house? This is not good for kids and it's really bad for ADHD kids. There have to be consequences - immediate and fairly short. Do not get into a long discussion with her about why her actions were bad, etc. She has very little insight into her behavior at this age, and it's not going to change for many many years. This does mean she's a bad kid - but true insight does not appear until much later for ADHD kids. She knows what she did was wrong, but at this age, she just lives in the moment. She needs to know YOU are in control. I would take her phone away for a day - no argument, no discussion. Be clear and brief about any consequences if she repeats her behavior and then follow-through - no matter how much she begs, pleads, or threatens.

Crunchby in reply to seller

Thank you for your response. Hum, insight..yeah, I guess that is what I'm seeking here. Your right, she is in control to a degree. Meaning, it feel like we are navigating a land mind so as not to accidentally trip an explosion. Too much to say here, but those explosions have been WAY worse than just hateful names. Yes, we have her on meds...mood and others. Her names came from a calm controlled state, which is why I find it so troubling. I've been driving the discipline for sure..and husband supports, but definitely not seen has the 'discipline villian' like I am..thus..the Mom Monster names. We were in therapy, but the therapist would be completely fooled and lend support to her complete fabrications of the facts. Anyway, looking for another more 'adhd' versed therapist now. As for the cell phone, I have MMguardian on it, and control everything remotely. She can only call and text me and my husband and has lost access to all her apps. She has a phone to track her when she walks back and forth to school. I'd put a chip in her if it were allowed. LOL.

Nokilissa in reply to Crunchby

Your daughter is the female version of my son. I am in awe that we are not alone!

Try not to take anything she says personally...meaning don't get into a "back and forth" with her. She can't call you names, etc and not have consequences. I have very mixed feelings about severe punishment because our kids are constantly punished, nagged, criticized, etc. But this does not mean she gets a pass on this kind of behavior - just nothing really severe. (Like don't take her phone for 2 weeks!) You have to be able to set the limits and then stick to them. If you ground her for a Friday night, then she is grounded from her phone too and you can't give in. And here's what I have to say about therapy: it's fine for you, but kids and teens have almost no insight into their behavior - that's the nature of adolescence - they are self-absorbed and self-serving and this will not change for years! So it will help you and she may take in some of it, but I predict it will not translate into the behavior you want. Older ADHD kids may benefit from a life coach but your daughter is too young now. Just be prepared to ride this out for about 4 more years. Do not have long discussions - she won't listen. This is like training your dog - give short, kind, concise directions! Tell her what the rules are in the house (and not too many) and then STICK to them!! I was also the "monster mom" in our house, but my husband also backed me up. If I had to do it over again, I would be easier with school and harder on the back-talk. That really wears you down over time. But nothing severe - just immediate and brief. My son is now 23 and I can really see some maturity now, but the teen years were just awful for us. And good for you about the phone!!

Great advice from someone who has been there. Love the dog analogy...I'm going to keep that in mind. I have heard that about therapy too. Sometimes a 3rd party is needed though b/c her emotions so high. We do have simple rules, but she somehow finds ways to defy against them, even if agreed to ahead of time. So, a simple checklist of what needs to be done to get ready for school, becomes a battle. "I don't want to make my own breakfast. I don't want to help with lunch. I don't want to pick my dishes up..." and on and on.... It's so funny, she will do really messed up abusive stuff, then get mad at us and blame her behavior on us. I know what station that train ends up in, if that is allowed to continue. How is your son now? On his own? relationships?

It becomes a total power struggle.....and it's so hard to decide how much to battle. Things like having a granola bar or Pop Tart for breakfast can work, with no prep time. I think my son ate breakfast at school everyday because he never got up early enough and we were always in a hurry to leave for work. And he bought his lunch at school because I know he rarely ate the lunch I packed. I think he ate a honey bun for breakfast and pizza for lunch. He wasn't too hungry for lunch with his meds on board. It was just easier to pay the lunch tab than to argue about food. I used to give him his meds (he took Adderall) about 20 min before he actually had to get up and that helped because the Adderall had started to work by then. The thing to remember is this: she can't ague with you if you're not in the room or arguing back. If she goes without breakfast or lunch, then she just comes home hungry - not ideal, but it might make her decide to eat a granola bar on her way to school..... It's all about whose in control and you want to allow her to make certain choices on her own. You can then pick the big battles. Our son was SO defiant, I still shudder to remember him. Today he is pretty much okay.....he is finally back in college (after multiple attempts) and getting good grades on his own. He decided he had to get back on his meds, so he's taking his Vyvanse again. (70mg) He lives in a small apt in our town and we help him with his rent. He works part-time. He has lots of friends and the occasional girlfriend. We get along pretty well, mainly because we don't have to tell him what to do! But he's turned into a nice young man and I am grateful for that.

That is great to hear! Love success stories. Good point about battles for sure. She has gone to school with no lunch, no breakfast, no pill and a silent prayer from me to her teachers. :). A few times of that and she learned. Her teacher asst. told me she made her a bagel from her stash one day...ha! They all know the issues and are on board. I did walk away this morning A LOT! for the reason you said. When she started being crappy, I said 'I'm not attending this fight'. Favorite line from Total transformation: "You do not have to attend every fight you get invited to."

I hear you! We had a hard time figuring out why he would be such an ass about things.....we finally realized it was just all about control. And sometimes now I wonder if he pushed back so much at home because school was not fun and hard for him. He had detentions from tardies, F's for not turning in work, and teachers who never followed his 504 plan (this was high school), so maybe home was the only place he could try and have some power. I would be happy to share more!!

I agree with seller. I’m going through the same situation with my son, minus the name calling...yet. We went to behavioral counseling with him for a couple years and the main point was choices and consequences. If she chooses to not make breakfast, then the consequence is she goes to school hungry. If she chooses to abuse her phone “privileges” then the consequence is she loses her phone. Something to remember also is that at 11 she is probably going through all kinds of hormonal imbalances, and her emotions are going even more crazy! Although you shouldn’t take it to heart, she does need to know that every choice she makes has consequences. Good luck!!

My grandsons are also going to Behavioral Counseling is slowly making an impact with them. But when my younger grandson is unstable, he mood swings once or twice a day, he will say things like ooh you stink. Then a few minutes later he will be as sweet as pie. I asked him why he says such mean things and he says he doesn't know. But I know he will tell me he hates being unstable.

My son is 10 and has ADHD and severe ODD particularly targeting Mom. We have now a strict rule in place. Number 1 is to Be Respectful. There is a consequence for breaking that rule. My son loses something, typically related to the thing he's being disrespectful about. We do give a warning, 'are you being disrespectful?' This gives him a chance to correct but if not, to the timeout chair and loss of something. If it was mine, he'd lose the phone for a bit. Then he'd know I meant business. Even if struggling, it's unacceptable to disrespect you. The warning is important for ADHD kids because they need reminding

CrunchyBy- Here is how I deal with it.. I show not emotion. Each time I am treated poorly, the next day (clearly it is when he is sleeping) I take the phone) and he doesn't get it for 1/2 day. If the insults continue it's a full day..

I tell him, I am not a dog so you will not treat me that way, I do not treat you that way and I expect you to be kind and respectful.

We move on.. then 1/2 he gets it back.

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