Frantic Mornings: Some months ago I... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Frantic Mornings

SFBiker profile image

Some months ago I posted about my son and I having frantic morning when we had to leave for school/work. Since then, the morning have gotten better however there is some behavior he does with me that is unacceptable.

I have the following question, have you found that yelling at your child helps or hurts? For some reason my son will sometimes wake up and be in the mood where he will directly tell me “no!”, “shut up!”, hit me, mock me, and yell things like “you’re not my boss!”

I need to know, have you found this behavior is just something I should roll with the punches, or do I need to be affirmative? If I raise my voice (basically yell) he freaks out and will start crying and tell me to be quiet but after that he doesn’t hit me anymore, yell at me, and overall listens better. This leaves me feeling incredibly guilty as I hate when people yell, but sometimes he refuses to even eat, and he’s already skin and bones. Thank you for your thoughts.

14 Replies

Sorry you have been having such a rough time, it sounds hard. My situation is a little different as our son doesn’t yell at us, he stonewalls and refuses. It’s maddening because it’s impossible to tell when he’s being defiant and when he’s actually too frozen and spaced out to act. I have heard all the advice against yelling. I believe it. But sometimes, I yell. I am looking for other ways to manage situations, constantly strategizing and trying to motivate. But he’s 8. I can’t grab him and pull on his clothes if he’s defying me or actually being helpless. And I can’t quit my job or leave him at home alone because he won’t get his butt together and get to the bus. Yelling does snap him out of it to a degree.

His counselor and my husband talk constantly about how yelling just scares and upsets him. That it’s bad for his mental health. I get it. Leave my husband alone with him for 1/2 an hour and he’s often yelling too though.

Our whole lives can’t stop for this and motivating, praising and rewarding only get us so far. We’re hoping medication will start helping soon. Mornings will still suck though.

In short I’m not going to encourage you to yell because it’s not a good long term strategy. But I wouldn’t forbid yourself to yell ever either. This condition puts you in impossible situations and it’s not realistic that no one is ever going to be upset with your kid for that type of daily behavior.

You could be taking about my son he does the same thing I am still trying to figure out how to deal with it

I feel like the worst person ever when I yell, and if it’s the weekend when we have time to spare I send him to his room for him to relax. The problem is morning when we have to leave or he and I will both be late.

I often wonder how this issue fits in with missing social cues. Our son, socially, is a disaster. He doesn’t see when he’s irritating others, talking too much, or hogging things. And he doesn’t see when adults are repetitively asking him to do things and starting to get irritated. My two year old can tell when she’s stepping over the line and will immediately get huggy and start saying “sorry”. The eight year old with ADHD—never gets it. This has been going on since he was 1-3 and would get “bullied” by a couple of kids in daycare, even after changes in daycare. Talk to his teacher and he would just irritate the crap out if these kids, and they’d bite or hit him. Again, I’m not advocating yelling, but all his counseling and social skills training isn’t helping this. Can we exaggerate our response to try to show him exactly when he needs to pay attention to peoples faces and voices. Can we talk him through it? What will finally bring some learning here?

I know each situation is different but my secret tool or weapon is to be sure my voice is unwavering and strong and clear—- but in a level just above a whisper. It kind of makes mine stop almost scared of what is happening and has to shut up to hear. And it is pretty freaky if you picture a really elevated situation suddenly getting quiet lol.

I can relate to most of the posts here but I agree with Alliea79. I have gotten the best results when my voice is firm but calm. I used to yell a lot more but it definitely agitated my son more and things would usually get worse. Now, my firm and calm demeanor at least doesn't escalate things and if he still doesn't do what he is supposed to do then punishments ensue. I don't get angry about those either, though. I am very matter affect about "These are the consequences of your actions, son." I am not saying this is easy because sometimes it is very difficult to do in the heat of the moment, but based on the results I've seen, it has encouraged me that this is the right way for us. His mom is not very good at this (we are divorced) and so she continues to have a more confrontational relationship with him. I also feel better knowing that I am teaching by example and that hopefully he is learning the right way to treat others. I wish you all the best with your kid! Hang in there and love, Love, LOVE!!!

So, it’s probably better not to yell, but let’s face it- we all lose it sometimes. And he should learn that it is not ok to speak to you poorly (which he likely already knows and probably feels bad afterwards). It’s best to try to discuss these things when not in the heat of the moment (cause there is absolutely no listening or learning going on at that point). Maybe on a Saturday when you find a time conducive to a conversation (I used to drive with my kid to a nice park and just sit and talk in the car while looking at the nice serene landscape) you can discuss. Like - I want to see if you can help me with something. I think I yell too much and I really don’t like yelling at you. It makes me feel bad afterward- probably the same way you feel after you say certain things to me while you’re upset. I’m sure you really don’t want to say those things either. Can you help me think of ways we can help each other so we can both feel better? .....,this way he has buy in on the plan. Then try to come up with ideas that will help ( ie set up clothes, backpack, lunch, or take shower at night before bed so mornings there is less to do; pick out a new alarm clock together and show him how to set it up (look at the sconic boom on amazon. It shakes the bed also lol). Use an egg timer in the bathroom if he stays in there too long. If needed provide a visual list. Make a game if it (beat the clock) add a small reward if he wins and if he doesn’t -say well you can try again tomorrow. Pick one thing at a time to try, otherwise it will be overwhelming.

Make sure there aren’t other reasons he is delaying (ie bully at the bus stop that he is in no rush to encounter).

Also explaining some of the aspects of ADHD and executive functioning disorder(EF) with respect to differences and brain chemistry/ function could help him understand why he is struggling. EF effects many things- time management, transitioning etc. If he understands why- then maybe he would be more willing to try different strategies to compensate.

Good luck!!!

My kid is in 11th grade. We are at the point that once he gets up he is basically on auto pilot and is really good at getting out the door on time without intervention. BUT the getting up part is still a work in progress. I think he has 3 alarm clocks and I still have to shout up the stairs 2-3 times. But considering how far he has come - I’ll take it!!

This is unacceptable behavior regardless of age or disability. Please do not let him get away with this. Consult with a therapist to help get to the root of the hateful behavior. The therapist will help you find ways to de-escalate so there is less yelling. I yell every single day. It seems the only way to get action. Afterwards I feel awful about it and wish I could stop. I know it is not helpful but it seems he only reacts to yelling.

BTW, my 11 year old still gets up 5 minutes before departure and has to rush. I am generally arguing and yelling at that time. Mornings are still very stressful because of his ways.

Our kids are struggling and the hardest part with my son is that I will never fully understand or comprehend what is going on in his “inner world”. His push back is a reaction from what is triggering him.

I too yell at times, and this follows with immense guilt. Yes, they need to understand manners and respect and this will only transmute by “example” from us.

With much research and counselling we have found a new way.

The new motto with him is instead of ordering him around we are his “cheerleaders and motivational coaches.” We approach him as a motivational coach. We encourage so much and are mindful of how we speak and operate around him.

Example at wake up.... “good morning sunshine, are you ready for another fantastic day?!” (Big smile on our faces and a huge hug). We have lists posted of things we need to do in order of the morning routine and we encourage with love and kindness. It works way more effectively. I also have everything I possibly can have prepared the night before, from his clothes laid out to his breakfast. At this pint we pick our battles. Im not going to get caught up with executive functions on school mornings.

I can only speak for my son and he responds much better to kindness and humour. Then we keep that ball rolling. Humour can turn him around in a second.

Yes it takes a lot of energy from us but the results say it all. We are all happier.

Reset and recollect, start over, have a heart to heart with him the next time you are in a good space with him. Ask him “how can we work together so we can both be happy?” Ask of him what his needs are, listen and then share your needs with him. You may be surprised with his response.

My son already feels different and less than in so many other aspects of his life. This is a disability. Especially at this age and the world environment. They are growing at such a rapid pace and struggling so much. When I give him space to have more say in his life, he feels more empowered and we get better results.

I would hate being told what to do every minute of my life too.

Start over, you can do this! Find your “in” with him and begin there. Open heart and a lot of patience, one step at a time. ❤️

We are all in this together.

I know it’s so hard when you’re feeling rushed and frustrated in the morning but the best course is not to yell or meet his aggression with aggression. However, you can be both firm and calm in not accepting that behavior. So what I do is get him fed first thing. Then I give his medication. I try not to ask too much of him while I wait for it to kick in. In that time, I get myself together, showered, coffee, take dog out, etc. Then I tell him it’s time to get ready. He gets to use my phone to play a game in the car if he gets in on time. Normally this works out ok. He’s absolutely bananas from 6:30am to 7:30, so I typically ignore his behaviors unless blatantly aggressive or disrespectful. In this case he’s taken over to timeout, physically if needed. I’m not violent, but calm and firm. He usually will swear at me from the chair but eventually does the time. I ignore him. Then when he’s calm I’ll ask him if he’s calm and ready to move on. It’s important to address the disrespect & any aggression with a consequence. At that point, that learning is way more important than being late for school.

Thank you all for the advice. It’s nice to know that there is a support group. It’s so frustrating, and I think the hardest part is letting go of your expectations and accepting the reality. He has had a tough child hood with his mom and I not being together. He’s expressed that before but I think maybe it’s easier if he were just in one household for the majority of the time and right now he’s 50/50 and his mom and I want two different things.

555jms profile image
555jms in reply to SFBiker

This must be so hard the split between two parents while raising kids like ours. Is your ex open to counselling? So you can work with someone to encourage you both to be on the same page with your son.

SFBiker profile image
SFBiker in reply to 555jms

Thank you, it is very hard. It’s tough on him because I know I’m more strict than his mom is.

She doesn’t like it when I suggest that we or she change something for his benefit. Unfortunately I don’t think counseling is an option for all of us together.

You seem like a caring father. I wish you grace and patience. One moment at a time ❤️

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