Ruining friendships: I'm so upset and... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Ruining friendships

Mmagusin profile image

I'm so upset and disappointed with my son. He seems to have no concept of the damage his behavior can have on relationships. Last week, we visited dear friends we hadn't seen in a long time. They have two daughters a bit older than my son, around 10. The daughters complained that my son asked them to 'pull down their pants'. Needless to say, he's in big trouble, but he fails to understand why it's a big deal. I explained that while it's natural to be curious about body differences or think it's funny, it's completely inappropriate to do what he did. I told him Now I can't trust him to be alone with other kids. Worse, our friends who are like family, won't trust him. I told him he could go to jail. We had this situation when he was much younger, but ten years old is too old for this kind of thing. I thought we were past it. Even with the lack of impulse control of ADHD, he knows better which is why he tried to deny it. No excuse. Now, two of their kids have ADHD, so they understand more than most parents, and they accepted our apology, but I know this has damaged our relationship. I'm so sad and pissed at my son for hurting our relationship with this family. We will recover, but it will take time to earn back trust. Worse, his apology was so fake and lacked any remorse. I love my son. He can be the most loving and compassionate kid. But it's times like these that really test us. I'd never say it to him, but sometimes I feel like screaming at him to stop being an asshole!! I fear for his future if he never learns from mistakes like this. Any advice? Anyone in my shoes?

9 Replies

I totally get it. Over the years a Lot of relationships with other families have ended. I stopped attempting to mingle families in any way. When my son was young (earlier than 10), he would lose his temper and hit other kids. That sure did not fly. Oh and then there was the time the kids were playing with air soft guns and my son hit the other kid in the face on accident. Of course, all the parents look right at me! I sure didn’t provide the air soft guns! My advice would be to keep your friends seperate so that you can still have friends! And make sure you lock up computers bad sites bc if we have kids who can’t make good decisions doing anything wrong on the internet, there really will be jail time. I’m sure behavioral therapy or counseling will help in some ways. Try not to bring it up too much about this incident. He might get a complex that something is very wrong with him. Try to think of it as a 7 yr old doing these naughty things, not a 10 year old. The ADHD kid is at least 2-3 yrs behind in maturity. Good luck.

Great advice from Courtney. Our kids live in the moment without foresight or hindsight. Dr Russell Barkley talks about this in his 2+ hour YouTube video. Link on my profile.


This is such a hard experience to go through and I hope that since they really are friends and long term friends they will stay that way. I also know you are here for advice.

I would make sure that he is seeing a counselor and start exploring this issue with them. Since this has happened in the past it would be really important to have a Thearpist work on this topic with him, not you. Discussing issues with the thearpist helps our son to have another person and not me.

When we have done this we see real positive change in him.

After discussing this with a counselor (they will give you guidance also) has been done, I would set up play type situations, but monitor/ structure them and have yourself there to watch how he interacts with other kids especially girls. You want him to be able to safely interact, with you providing a good role models. I would have more discussions about the rules before they play together.

You son will need to learn how to live with and be around the opposite sex and in a healthy positive manner. It would be best to prepare him for these experiences and to make sure he has not had any negative experiences in the past.

Hope this helps.

Thanks! We plan to bring it up with his psychiatrist next visit. He's on ADHD medicine which does help with impulsivity and boundaries, but we see wreckless choices when the medicine wears off. No coincidence. I honestly don't believe anything traumatic happened to him but we will explore again. I do believe there is a dynamic just with these two friends and so we can't leave them alone, and unfortunately, he won't get to play with girls at all until he earns trust. That means demonstrating boundaries, modesty, and avoiding what is not socially acceptable behaviors. It will take time but I think he will develop some skills to control impulses. It just takes more work for us.

I am curious how old your son is? No matter how old he is.. middle school is close or he is in it.. middle school changes everything for children and in that school in this environment we have no control over them. Yes they are supposed to behave in a certain manner both boys and girls but there is open lunch.. and plenty of time for them to hang around without supervison.

I am not saying anything happened to your son, but he already understands certain things about sexuality and this is an area that should be discussed. Better to do it appropriately with a professional and make sure everything is all good. I am not saying give him a sex ed class. I am saying have the counselor have a conversation about what is appropriate for boys and girls. I think him hearing that from someone else (if there is a Male available that would be great also) would be very valuable. I also think he would benefit from seeing a counselor to help him learn how to control his impulsive behavior. We have regular appt.s becuase me telling my son things goes in one ear and out another. In these appts. we lay out a plan and really get to the bottom of important issues.

I was told by our son'd pediatric psychiatrist that medication controls only %60 of issues and %40 must be controlled by him and that counseling is very important.

Best of luck.

I have been exploring social thinking, since ADHD kids have difficulty with peer interactions. I am going to enroll my 12 yo daughter into social skills course. It is a small group of 3-5, similar aged children with similar needs, who are monitored by an experienced behaviorist. It took a lot of effort and time to locate, but I am hopeful it will help her to maintain friendships. It always makes me sad to see groups of girls having fun, and my daughter does not have a lasting friend.

I agree with therapy, but definitely research this to make sure you find a good psychologist who has a lot of experience with treating ADHD children. I have gone through so many therapist and social workers who were not helpful at all.

We tried therapy. I'm not a fan. Its not that our kids can't learn from mistakes, it's more that they can't control impulses in a given moment. So, unless the therapist will be around 24/7, it's not very helpful in my opinion. But, teaching us to be 'the therapist' is the best way I think. I need to do a better job setting my son up for success. When I get too comfortable, loosen control a bit to play like other kids, that's the time he blows it.

Just curious were you there working on the issues with them. I bring up the issue in sessions and we work on solutions so as you said when they come up I can be the thearpist when needed. Our son is 11 years old. Not sure how old your son is.

He's 10. Yes, I'm all for family therapy!

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