15 yr old ADHD son w/Oppositional be... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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15 yr old ADHD son w/Oppositional behaviors

ConcernedCaliMom profile image

Brand new here! My son was diagnosed just this year, after a few years of struggling w/school. Most pressing issues are his verbal outbursts and disrespect for mostly me, sometimes Dad & rules in general. He's on adderall XR 10-15 mg/day, tried Concerta & natural Fish Oil route to no avail. Getting 3 D's in classes. He punched a large hole in my wall & had a cursing rage when we were discussing school 2 nites ago. Said when we talk about grades, it makes him even more unmotivated for school. My questions are how to appropriately consequence? How do better discuss things with him so the rage doesn't happen? We have grounded him for the weekend, and he is repairing the wall w/dad today, with his money. It for his anger & disrespect why he is grounded, not the grades. He is a huge Fortnite gamer as well, and does mostly online school, plus 2 classes at reg HS. I'm completely a burned out mom here. Getting resentful often, and causing my depression & anxiety to suffer. Help is very appreciated. TIA

33 Replies

First of all, Welcome! I am so sorry for what you have gone through and what you are going through! Everyone here is super supportive and I think you will find, have a ton of useful information. Honestly, just my perspective, but what else could you have done? making him fix it with his own money is a good consequence. I struggle with this on a daily basis. It's so hard to know that line, yes, they struggle, but really?! a hole in the wall? Disrespectful language (this is what I struggle with) No, not ok, but how far do we push? ugh. Just got progress reports here and it's just demoralizing when you are trying so hard. I'm not sure I have answers, just wanted you to know you are not alone.

Welcome!! These kids can be so tough. Nice job on punishment for hole in in wall. Wondering, do you have a reward/punishment system setup? So what's the punishment for talking crappy to you guys? I wonder is there is not a co existing learning disability here. Maybe he needs to understand why D's are not b ok?? Conscience of D's. Good luck mom. Hang in there

Others may not agree but I believe the meds are responsible for his rage. My son is 16 and also oppositional defiant and is not doing well at school but we have taken him off meds for now and we have our son back. No rages, no disrespect, lot less OCD. We have tried three ADHD meds and all have caused the worse side effects, ultimately changing my son’s personality.

Sframe1 profile image
Sframe1 in reply to corster


123boys profile image
123boys in reply to corster

Similar experience here. Took son off ADHD meds and have seen dramatic improvements in outbursts. Need to treat any underlying conditions first.

I am sorry to hear of his reactions. What has been helpful for him academic wise without meds? How does he do in his classes? What strategies does he try?

his focus isn’t great but better than hating the person he becomes on meds. He finds listening to music with one ear bud (so he can hear the teacher) helps as well as standing at the back of the class and using balls he can squeeze

Hi there

So sorry you are burnt out. I can fully relate. My son is ADHD now 25 and still living with me and still on meds (now Methylphenidate). When he was 15 I went through the exact same as you he was struggling at school that the education department gave him a home school teacher in his last year (as he developed social phobia - mainly due to not coping and being bullied when younger) and even then he opposed the home teacher and was only getting 5 hours per week. Same happened when he started college. He was never diagnosed ODD but I knew he had it and I had no help at all. I was and still am a single mom but one thing I can say to you is I am glad your son does have a Dad and making him pay for damages himself and having a dad to show him how to repair things is really beneficial for when he is older and less defiant. My son had no male role model so it was extremely difficult for me and no outside support despite the fact I was always running crying to the GP. He was transferred to the Adult ADHD services which the only one is miles away and because we missed a couple of appointments they discharged him and am battling to get my GP to do another referral. I feel that you are doing a good job and have found ways to reach out. Id always wished for a support group for him and one for me as a parent in the area but there were non and still none. Keep up the good work, I know your exhaustion I really do, take one day at a time and try get time and rest for YOU as well.


Thank you so much for your generous reply! What do you mean the Adult ADHS services he was transferred to? I’m not familiar with that? Are you in the US? I know there are support groups through CHADD.org. I really appreciate your insight....my best to you and your son! Sounds like you have done an amazing job with parenting!!

I am in the same position as you with my 16 year old son who is ADHD and ODD. Getting A's in math and F's in history, and just compromised his whole college entrance prospects. He is extremely disrespectul, swears and yells at me, or just ignores anything and anyone when he feels like it. I can't remember when I last felt joy in parenting my kid, sigh. He is currently on 20mg of Adderall and 20mg of Prozac for depression, and has chronic eczema. I really feel for him and the inner rage and discomfort he is experiencing between his condition plus teenage hormones, but I honestly don't know where to go from here, or if it ever gets better. Sorry not have any helpful tips, but know that you are not alone in navigating this precarious situation.

There is rarely any joy these days....it is so sad. Most days are very hard to motivate. I look at his young childhood pictures (and reminisce)& just cry sometimes, b/c they loved us so much then and were so sweet & innocent & parenting was wonderful! I know this will get better, and for now, the med’s are making an incredible difference in his attitude, focus, family communication & his general mood.

Thank you all so very much for your kind support. It means so much to me. Listening to your stories it does make sense, and I am taking everything you all say into consideration!

Does anyone have tips on how to approach conversations w/your teen? Especially during the anger outbursts? Sometimes I just ignore it until he calms down.

in reply to ConcernedCaliMom

This is just making me so sad for us. I too look at pictures and just wish sometimes it was simple again...tonight we just watched a movie and laughed and snuggled. I wish we didn't have to go to school and work tomorrow.

Alliea79 profile image
Alliea79 in reply to

That can be both the hardest part (remembering and enjoying their most sweet and loving sides) and the craziest (the simple Jekle and Hyde problems). Our children are so loved and more or I doubt any of us would be in this group supporting and reading and learning. It is painful to watch them so violently reject that love at the tough times.

I can relate to everything you wrote.....we had the same issues. He was so disrespectful to his dad and me that I couldn't believe it when it first started. (Which was about age 14). I don't think it's the medication....although coming "down" from stimulants can cause severe irritability, but that does not last. And unfortunately, our kids need their ADHD medication in order to get through school. Medication also helps with impulse control - another big problem that occurs with ADHD. We had the same experiences - our son was such a sweet little boy and then he was a monster for about 5-6 years. I still tell my husband I have PTSD from all the trauma in high school and several years beyond! (And I am a psychiatric nurse!) It does gradually decrease - our son is now 24 and pretty respectful to us, for the most part. My advice is this: lower your expectations considerably. Develop a really thick skin - try very hard not get hurt feelings from the back talk. Don't talk too much to him - he doesn't want to talk, but he does need to know you're there in the background! Walk away from the rude comments - he can't argue with you if you're not standing there! We've talked about why our son became so mean and ugly to us and we're still not sure. Part of it is school, I think, because that's always hard for our kids. Some is due to teen hormones and perhaps some to our kids' immaturity and their struggle to keep up and fit in. Keep your rules to a minimum, but then STICK TO THEM!! No matter what! I would not allow him to drive at 16.....no control at all then. If you can, allow him to have friends to your house - that way you get to meet his friends and have some control over what happens. Lock up your alcohol and anything else that might taken. We still have a lock on our bedroom door and our son doesn't even live with us! It will be a tough few years, so don't beat yourself up - there's nothing you can do about this. Some kids do take an anti-depressant, so if you think he's depressed, he can be evaluated. I do believe that my son was very unhappy for many years, but unfortunately, there's only so much we can do. He really had to grow out of that phase, which took forever (in my opinion!). So.....buckle down for a rough ride, but do know that your sweet little boy is still in there - he's just hiding that side of himself for a few years!

Thank you Seller! I think the lowering of expectations is key. I didn’t know about the coming down effect on Adderral. Are u referencing if he skips a day or when dose wears off same day?

As the stimulant medication wears off, people experience a "let down" and can become really irritable. Adderall is especially bad for this, but it worked so well for my son that he took it all through high school. He is now taking Vyvanse, which is slightly better, but he warns us about the "mean stage" as his meds are wearing off! It lasts a few hours and is then gone because once a stimulant has gone through your system, it's gone. But it doesn't matter if he misses a day or a week....when it wear off, kids are often very cranky. At his age he will have no real concept of this happening; he will just know he's angry at the world. It will take a while before he has the insight to realize this is happening. The truth is that boys this age have no insight into their behavior so you can't really explain too much - they won't listen anyway!

niknak3 profile image
niknak3 in reply to seller

Try supplementing with L-Tyrosine in the afternoon to take the edge off the come down from the meds.

Aniusia profile image
Aniusia in reply to seller

Wow, thank you seller! My son is 14, so I have a few years ahead . I don’t know how I will survive. How did you survive his high school? I am so afraid, he will do something stupid, get himself in trouble, that we won’t be able to help him. He has no motivation, no effort. He says he can manage, but he doesn’t know what’s going on in school. If I didn’t check his school websites , he wouldn’t even know he has homework, or wouldn’t care to complete it. I am very tired...

Alliea79 profile image
Alliea79 in reply to Aniusia

It is the same for my 11 year old daughter. First year in middle school and to top it all off the major social struggles that come not only from being in middle school but on top of that we moved to a new state over the summer. For all of that my heart is broken to no repair. But she also has no care at all for academics. None. Like you if it weren’t for my husband combing through her internet Work from school, she would never say or do homework. It even turns out that for two months she missed every homework assignment because she wrote none in her paper planner! Finally her Special Ed teacher referred us to google classroom! Now it is the daily screaming tantrums at home when we ask her to do anything school related. Our house is in a sort of hostage situation every evening. And when I tell her to go to her room she refuses and continues her shit fit right in the living room which is all “open concept “ (which I hate!). Oh, and back to the drop offs with stimulant meds— we can’t use any simply because of the major monster my sweet girl becomes as the med wears off each evening. No advice. Just commiseration.

Crunchby profile image
Crunchby in reply to Alliea79

Shit fit.. Good description. We found Vvyanse was much smoother and Seroquel for the anger. Have you tried a token economy? So a point if she gets her math done (be specific), put em on a board where they are visible. Let her cash em in for cash or other things she likes. Mine is 12, and this works. Our points=.50 or 30 min on electronics. Good luck!!

Alliea79 profile image
Alliea79 in reply to Crunchby

I have been thinking about a sort of point system lately out of exhaustion of everything else. Here is where I get stuck: she is already regulated to a pretty perfect point with her internet use. I have an app that turns on and off access for me which has taken the blame off me thank god. But any more use would take away from the things she really needs to do. We are new to our state and I feel aweful that my girl who has always been so outgoing has no friends/social life here yet. This has been bad not only because she misses it but also it doesn’t leave us much she cares about to take away. Anyway long story short, what do you think? Are we left with the only point awards being money or bought stuff, or is there something I’m just not thinking of? I’m thinking maybe money might not be a bad thing as I’m typing, I’m realizing that given her weakness in counting money maybe it will kill two birds with one stone. My only prediction is that it won’t work when she gets into the “I don’t care” mode she goes to which she thinks will hurt us but actually punishes her 🙄🤷‍♀️

Crunchby profile image
Crunchby in reply to Alliea79

Hum. I think we have the same app, and its great for punishment. On rewards, not sure it matters 'what' the reward is, just that she wants. Dr. Russell Barkley talks about point of performance and that Adhd'ers need this type of motivation. If you haven't listened to his 2 hour free video on YouTube, id do so. You can skip around parts. Link is ok my profile.

seller profile image
seller in reply to Aniusia

We barely survived high school - it was the worst experience ever. I could not believe my kid could be so angry and so mean. And our large public high school was just as bad - they didn't follow the 504 Plan, and they acted like it was a huge inconvenience to even talk about it. They also treated my son like he was a juvenile delinquent because he was always tardy to his last class (which I asked them to change because he was coming from PE and dawdled, but they refused.)

But there are ways to keep your sanity and your son safe. First of all, be prepared to be a constant presence in the school - either emailing or in person. Insist on a 504 or IEP and ask for reduced or no homework. Get a tutor or use a resource room. One of the worst times of the day is around dinner, when the meds have worn off, everyone is hungry, and you're trying to make your teen do homework, which he hates and now he hates you by extension! We had a tutor the last year and it was a big relief to all of us! Plus, my son actually did his work! Be nosy - look through his backpack, in his room, etc for homework that never got turned in. Consider going to school and checking out his locker yourself. About the mental illness: yes, it is true that ADHD is listed on the DSM-IV as a diagnosis that can be listed. Although this sounds scary, it's a good thing because this gives the disorder some actual validity, which means we are more likely to get our insurance to cover things like medications and testing. ADHD can be seen as an actual disorder that deserves real treatment and not something that's "made up" by parents who can't get their kids to behave. (I used to hear this from extended family members whose kids did not have ADHD.....)

I totally understand what you feel. My son is 14, adhd . Disrespectful. He doesn’t swear, but would say things like “ you are lazy”, “ you are a butt hole “ etc. I cry . I can’t even look at the pictures, because then I can’t believe what had happened to us , to my sweet little boy. There is very little good moments, almost no days without tears. And he seems not realizing that something is wrong. I really see an adhd as a mental illness, and it is so painful to think of your own child as mentally ill. I cry. Where should we get strength from ?

To answer the talking to when he is in cra cra land... No way. Walk away, far away. We had horrible anger/physical issues in Jan/feb. Physical abuse toward me.. The Mom.

We were ready to send her to in-treatment, it was that bad. 9 months later and no violence... Yes, not perfect, but way way better. She switched to Vvyanse vs Ritalin, for a smoother off and started taking Seroquel. The psychiatrist said with Seroquel she will still get mad, just not as mad. That's exactly how it has played out. We increased dose once to 100mg Seroquel, but that's it. I will add, i took her butt to the police station when she was hitting. They were great. They took her in back to a cell where a prisoner had been. There were claw marks on the wall from where he tried to get out. That shook her up. So, I know that plays in her head and the meds help too. Good luck!!!

Isbael profile image
Isbael in reply to Crunchby

I am in the process of taking my son out of the home. He has ADHD and ODD. He just started meds. Meds are not the issue with my son. He hasn't been taking them long enough for me to tell. I just feel torn because he is my son and Ido love him but he has become destructive, breaks picture frames against the wall, throws bottles of fingernail polish on wall, well of course it splattered on the white walls, door, and carpet. he has fits of rages, on the day he did all the above, he knocked over a dresser drawer and threw a remote to my tv and damaged it. This he did all on Christmas day. A week before that, he locked me out the house and told me that he was going to knock me on the ground. He was arrested for threatening me. He went to juvenile jailhouse where they kept him for 4 hours, he was a different person, when he returned. It only lasted a week. He is wild, late to school often, doesn't wash his body, groom himself, steals from me, money and credit card, friends are negative;he was holding a bb gun on Snapchat, under the influence of peers. He doesn't care about any rules and does not do any chores, will tell you hes not going to do it. I just cant live like this anymore. He was diagnosed a year ago with the ADHD, but I knew he had it several years ago, but the Children's Hospital did not diagnose him as such. He tells me to shut up, stop talking to him, get out of his face... I just can't live like this anymore. He is going to a residential therapeutic foster home for 6 to nine months. Our relationship is severed. We go to church and everything. I have become so overwhelmed with dealing with him and getting no support from outside sources.

Isabel, I am so, so sorry to hear of your immense struggles with your son. To me it seems very extreme and needs way more intervention. Your safety is very much at risk. I am certain he can learn better coping skills while he is away at his residential home. I would encourage you to seek help from a therapist to help you cope while he is gone, it will be hard. I went thru my 15 yr old being away at residential, for other reasons (severe depression, suicidality, anxiety)— so can empathize with your pain. She is thriving in life post-residential!!! I am glad you found this group for support!!!

We deal with anger all the time. Also had a hole in wall experience with 12 year old this week. They go to a behavioral counselor to learn to deal with anger but in the heat of the moment can't seem to remember anything she tells them.

My grandsons psychiatrist says mid teens ADHD usually levels out but things like depression and bipolar disorder start getting worse.

Physical activity and getting out in nature can help symptoms. Do you think you can get him to go running outside or some other activity? I’m so glad to hear him and his father are fixing the wall. He needs to know that behavior is unacceptable and with the yelling I think at least for me growing up I never felt like I was being heard. Maybe you guys can schedule a time to sit and talk once a week or something but make it a plan so he’s prepared and you are too and what you may try is listening to what he has to say the say then show him you heard him by relaying what he just said and then you explain your side so now he understands you heard and understand what he is trying to say and then you explain your side he might be calmer and more open to hear you out

Isbael profile image
Isbael in reply to Lovinit

Yeah, my son is now 14, I first noticed his rebellion around 8 or 9 years. He is in ninth grade now, I agree physical activity helps, my son was conditioning for basketball, the coach found out about his behaviors and told him to get himself together before thinking about being on his team. It hurt my son's feelings, but he needed to know this. Many think he is acting out because his dad died two years ago, but the truth be told, he was acting out so bad that in 2015, I got fed up and took complaints to juvenile courts. They keep giving him the benefit of the doubt because his dad died, but I think the opposite, that he is doing this because his dad is not here to support me.

My parents never called anyone like juvenile stuff, I had my mom and dad growing up and mom raised us while dad worked to provide, for some reason my parents were able to make us believe that if my mom told my dad something We did that was really bad, he would kill us, my mom only pulled the I won’t tell dad if or do you want me to tell dad, that got me to behave. My dad never beat us, he did warn us about the ultimate beating but how he said it just sounded so scary to us it’s funny looking back.

I really hope you and your son work though these tuff periods, if my mom new everything I did growing up she would have shit bricks. What was important to her was that we told her where we were, she wanted to know I was safe. My mom didn’t helicopter parent me. I had freedom but I do believe I always new she was there and always yelling at me to clean my room and how I couldn’t do anything right.

courses.lumenlearning.com/a... here are to things to check into chadd.thinkific.com/collect.... Try reevaluating his med regimen maybe adding a mood stabilizer or something like that. You can research meds at Webmd.com, Drugs.com etc. Talk with a Psychiatrist and such as well.

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