Hi I have an 11 year old son with ADHD/anxiety. He is currently on meds, which we are still working to see what works best. Everything I read says not to respond to his behaviors, which is extremely hard but it does work. We know he is looking for a reaction, so I simply say I’ll talk to you when you are calm. Each episode he seems to take things to a new level because he is not getting the response he wants. Now it has become verbally abusive, cursing and yelling the most horrible things to my husband and I and his sister. It is so incredibly hard not to correct him or react, but I know this is what he wants us to do. How do you handle this type of behavior? It seems so wrong not to correct it, but I know he is trying to trigger us which has worked in the past. My biggest concern is the abuse my daughter takes. His behaviors begin when he doesn’t get what he wants and will continue for hours.
Foul mouth: Hi I have an 11 year old... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...
CHADD's ADHD Parents Together
Is he seeing a thearpist? I would request to be in sessions with him. Keep working on the medications. Does he have an educational plan at school, maybe the stress at school is impacting his behavior.
Also, does he have fun activities outside of the house/school? This might help to balance out the stress.
All behavior is communication so I think a thearpist getting to the bottom of it and helping you make a plan would be a great idea.
One last thing..are you working with a child psychiatrist to work on medications? They can help so much.
Best to you.
We are working with different support systems such as mobile crisis and recently found a therapist that has experience with adhd. We have tried several therapists but they are never able to help him. The new one isn’t seeing patients in person right now and only talks to him for a few mins each week just to build the relationship. It’s a process.
We recently got an IEP to help with the school side, but the behaviors are all at home.
He plays sports which are just starting up again thankfully. He needs to be busy every minute of the day otherwise he tortures us.
The medications only started in Sept so it’s still new trying to figure out what works. The developmental pediatrician is managing his meds currently.
I don’t think completely ignoring inappropriate behavior is a good idea either. His behaviors should definitely be addressed, after he has calmed down and the outburst is over. Have you tried a rewards system? If he enjoys playing video games or using a phone... those are things he can earn based on behavior. It would be best to provide him a checklist because individuals with ADHD are more visual learners and need to see it.
I agree but I feel like it’s such a fine line. I can’t stomach his mouth but the therapist says to be deaf to it. They are only words and he doesn’t mean any of them. He is literally just looking for a a reaction. I can only handle so much and absolutely can’t handle when he turns it on my daughter.
He is remorseful afterwards and we do talk about it. He seems to listen, but he repeats the behavior over and over again. I truly feel he can’t control it.
We are trying a behavior chart and earning things but it’s so hard. Every part of this process is exhausting. Most days he just turns around and says he doesn’t care.
I completely understand. Sending positive vibes your way. I know it is absolutely exhausting. There’s good and bad days but just know you are doing a good job because you’re trying your best and that’s all that matters. There’s no quick fix, it’s a daily battle. Try to celebrate the small victories and engage in meaningful discussion about inappropriate behavior after he’s cooled down. It may be beneficial to give him a list of things he can do when he feels he’s going to erupt such as going to his room and punching a punching bag, listening to music, writing... but get him to recognize that when he feels like he’s going to explode he needs to disengage and channel his energy into a different task until he cools down.
Thank you for those suggestions. It all happens so quickly and we find ourselves in the middle of what feels like hell asking how it got out of control so quickly. What I know now that I didn’t realize for so long was that our reactions were fueling his. I feel like we are on the right track but his mean words dig such deep wounds especially for my daughter. Thanks for all the support!
The therapist is right.I’m still trying to figure out things myself but I’m reading The Nurtured Heart book on recommendation of someone I highly trust and it’s making improvements in our home already!
Oh! Also, I would get your daughter a therapist to just help her process living with a challenging sibling.
Yes we have decided to do that for my daughter. I know she doesn’t want to, but I think it’s important for her.
We ignore him in the moment, but there are still consequences. When he treats us like shit, he doesn't get to benefit from family time. No respect goes both ways. If he uses foul language and is verbally abusive then he eats in his room and is excluded from family games and movies.
If he wants respect and to be included, he needs to give respect and include us, ADHD or not. This extinguished these behaviors at our house. I explained that the same thing would happen at work or school, it is life. You cannot treat people like shit and have no consequences. It took a full year, but it did eventually sink in. We haven't had but one blow up with foul abusive language in a year bc he knows what will happen. The time he did blow up, he immediately apologized and he was forgiven and not punished.
Wow thanks for the input. We definitely struggle with finding consequences that work. I had this conversation with him this morning and he always seems to understand at the time. I know all of this will take time. We have made progress but he isn’t the kind of kid that will go to his room never mind stay there. He does what he wants when he wants. The more we say to do something the more he pretty much says f u. Right now he is still ruling the household. I’m hoping the therapist can help.
Yes it will help. It was a literal battle but my son will now go to his room and stay there. We specifically did Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and find it has been even better than medication for our son.
We haven’t tried that yet but it has come up in conversation with therapists before. I think it’s something we need to try. Thanks!
Where did you do the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and is it right for an older teen? My son is 17 and really not open to therapy. He is mostly cooperative and funny. He really struggles with the daily grind of homework (he gets quite alot). He often misses assignments (some forgotten but most just not caring and doesn't want to do them) and I was wondering if he would benefit from therapy for needing to be more responsible and accountable. TIA!
At a Child and Family Psycologist. It's for ages 7 plus. Even adults do it. That's precisely what it is. No specific to you feelings talk and couches, etc. It's...this is expected behavior and this is unexpected. Which do you exhibit and how can we change that.
It's very, tackle the problem, not talk it to death. We work on executive function skills, emotional regulation, appropriate responses, etc. Skills based training basically. It's not meant to be life long either. We've going nearly two years and that's about as long as it generally takes to develop the base skills as a family to cope.
Hello! I recognise my son so much in your words and the truth is, it feels good someone else faces the same issues as I do or as my family does. I think you'll understand why. That's how we, as parents, feel supported.My son is 14 now and I still get the verbal abuse even though the language is a little softer. He hasn't used the C word for a while.I too was advised to ignore the bad language as he does this to provoke me/the family. I agree with you it is horrible and you feel so depressed when you ear these words but the bottom line is you win the situation because he is not getting what he wants.
My son saw a therapist once a week from the age of 11 and it definitely helped. He's on medication too but there's no magic pill.
I agree with the other comments, speak to him once the storm is over. I usually do at night before bed and I ask him open questions like: how do feel after verbally abusing us? And how do you think I feel? I don't provoke him and if my questions annoy him, I don't insist but I tell him that I'll ask him again because it has to be addressed. We can't pretend it didn't happen.
He's a little better now.
My new problem is the video game addiction now. I see a psychologist who specialises in that and she's training me to get him to reduce the amount that he plays and his phone usage too. It's not easy but it has to be done.
Why didn't I impose stricter limits before? I think you've guessed. Bad temper, foul mouth and violence were too much of a deterrent.
Good luck to all of us xx
We have similar behavior with our 10 yo daughter. It seems to occur when her medication is wearing off. So, I try to be careful about what we are doing after school and early evening when her meds are wearing off. She loses privileges for a few days or a week (screentime) if she continues with the tantrum. The next day when she is remorseful, if she wants her chromebook back, she has to do an extra chore to earn it back early. Also, when she uses bad language, she has to pick up the dog poop in the backyard. She only picked it up one time and she stopped the bad language. We have also added another medication (guanfacine) in the evening to smooth out the transition when her medication wears off. It's a subtle change but she seems to be less explosive/emotional. We've been working with a social skills coach for 6 mos. It has helped but now we are winding that up and going to try to start family counseling because my husband is clueless about how to deal with her and also because of my concern for my other daughter who gets less attention and also mistreated by my adhd daughter. It seems that this is a never ending challenge/process. The skills coach said, having an adhd child is like having 2 kids. Just want you to know that you aren't alone and there is support here. Hang in there.
Thanks for sharing. I’m so glad we are all here to support each other. It’s so hard and seems never ending. I love the idea of making them do something like taking care of the dog knowing they really won’t want to do that. The conversations we have with him don’t seem to help, and since he is an active kid making him ‘do’ something might help. Thanks for the suggestion.
I completely understand what you mean about going through the same thing. For so long I felt so alone. This group has opened my eyes and my heart to so many people suffering. We have had several different therapists but I never knew to find out with specific experience with adhd. Most therapists are not trained for these issues and therefore have not helped one bit. Each step of this process has been a learning curve. I just get so heartbroken when he talks like this. I know he has so much love for us but I question who he is really is some days.
We have had issues with video games and anger. We had to remove video games at home for several months which was hell but had to be done. He would just go to his cousins and play anyway. He always finds a way to get his way. He have since reintroduced video games but restrict which ones he can play. We still have issues with setting time limits.
Best of luck to you! If you have any good pointers about the video games and phones please let me know!
Can you share some of the strategies you and your doctor are using to curb video game playing.
It's so hard not to give into them bc it all is just too much sometimes. I found myself in a pattern where I'd let him annoy or bully me into saying ok to something I'd already said no to and I never even realized it. They can be so determined and pig headed it just wears you to the bone and you want to yell just shut up and do what you want.
Exactly. It's totally that happened with me and what is still happening. This year, however, I'm trying to not give in so much and be more consistent. Won't be easy as any change of routine against him is a huge drama.
Can you respond with something like “wow you are so angry! You are so angry. When you say that i feel so hurt. How can I help you feel better?”
Anything we say during the episode just fuels him and he wins. He doesn’t care if it’s negative, he only cares about winning. We literally have to sit and take in all of his words. If it’s during the day, I’ve left the house before. This episode happened at night and we just had to endure it. I talked to him in the morning when he was calm.
Our first therapist had us respond like this (feelings talk) and it just made things 1,000 times worse. They want to piss you off, they want to make you feel as bad as you just made them feel. They need the hammer with some of their behaviors and the compassion with the ones they truly cannot control. She kept saying it was an attachment issue, Dad was working too much. It was the worst two years of my life.
He plays sports which are just starting up again thankfully. He needs to be busy every minute of the day otherwise he tortures us.
This is the key with our 15yo daughter. If she has been alone too long and not interacted with people, or it is late at night (suspect her meds have worn off) she goes into a profanity-laced rant that is impossible to interact with. It is helpful to know the triggers so you’re ready when the profanity hits. Her psychologist has said that by this point she has “flipped her lid” so there is no reasoning with her and to excuse yourself from the area. I like the poster who suggested predetermined consequences for this. It hard. You’re not alone.
He seems to need constant interaction with people. He will seriously go house to house in our neighborhood until someone can play. Without sports it’s a complete nightmare because he has so much time to fill. I try to explain to him that he can’t harass people to play because friends will get annoyed. He doesn’t seem to care. The profanity is new for us to deal with. With each episode he takes things to new levels and his words have gotten so much worse.
I'd also suggest having the sister write him a letter or speak to him about how he makes her feel when he acts this way. He may care more about her feelings than he does yours.
Our boys have got to step outside themselves and see the impact their actions have bc there are no excuses when they hit 18. We've been having that conversation with my son since he was 5. Sorry doesn't cut it for some of the threats that come out of your mouth once you're 18 and some things you just cannot take back. He's lost two friends over his mouth and that was a lesson learned as well. Sad, but a lesson learned nonetheless. It's so hard parenting these kids but we love them unconditionally.
That’s a great idea, thank you. She holds everything in and I worry so much about her. I also worry so much about when he is older and like you said, he just can’t apologize for things said or done. I feel like he is going to have to learn the hard way with friends and different situations. It makes me so sad but I know I can’t shelter him either.
I'm sure she will be more compassionate bc of watching him struggle but it doesn't mean it is fair. My youngest is the most empathetic person I have ever met.
It took my son saying something VERY stupid at school and getting sent to the office and the counselor to reign in his mouth. That helped get us on the path to fixing things. It's like they don't beleive us that these things arent socially acceptable until someone else gets on them about it.
Since it sounds more like attention seeking behavior, it’s likely he is in complete control so it is not a matter of waiting until he’s calm. With our son, we address it but the key is for US to be calm in addressing it. He needs to see he has not gotten to you and not only his attempt at pushing buttons failed, but he also got a consequence. So CALMLY like this: ‘I’m your mother & u can’t speak to me that way. If you continue you will lose (something dear to him) for the day’. If he keeps it up (& he will & likely worse!) follow through calmly with the consequence. After that ignore him until he engages in a positive way. Tell him you’re ignoring him. After he finally changes his tone (he will eventually because he’ll want something) then have a calm discussion around his abusive behaviors & that every time he treats others this way, there will be a consequence & a requirement to make amends.
He is absolutely in complete control and this is what we are trying to overcome. It’s such a hard process. Staying calm has been the hardest thing. I calmly walked into his room and said he can’t speak like that and he will lose the games on his phone. It ended up triggering him and he got physical. In the past I would react, but now I just said nope not doing this and walked out. It was the first time he didn’t follow me and harass me. His mouth kept going and he started banging on things in his room. We just continued to ignore him. This went on for almost 2 hours late at night. The only thing that calmed him down was to let him sleep in my room. I knew at this point he was just overtired but he wouldn’t calm down in his room. When I talked to him in the morning we discussed consequences and earning things back. I need to find a good way to track those consequences and follow through. I’ve failed at this many times😔
It's so hard bc a few hours passing for them is like days. It's hard to connect the consequences to past actions for them and the tantrums just make it impossible to deal with in the moment. I've gone outside only to have him open the window and swear at me for the whole neighborhood to hear. Hang in there. A year ago I was taking my younger son into my room and locking the door and blasting the TV just to drown him out. It will get better. The complete lack of attention and reaction from you should eventually sink in.
These lockdowns are not doing our kids any favors. They NEED sports and social interaction to feel normal. They NEED the stimulation and there's only so much we can give them by ourselves.
Thank you for the reassurance. I know it will take awhile but some days I just feel like I can’t do it. I love him so much but it’s such a struggle every day.
It's hard bc somedays you just dont like them. You always love them, but some days it is hard to like them. I have ADHD too so there are times I snap back at him with something awful or swear at him and then it's just like uhhh! He got to me. Hang inthere. .
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