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New Here and running out of patience with my 13 year old

BRsMom profile image
BRsMom

Hi, I am new here and this is my first post. I have a son who is 13 and as many of you have likely experienced with COVID and remote learning, stress level is high and so are emotions.

I am finding that my son will go from person to person in our house and push each person's buttons. I asked him if he is doing this for attention. He said yes. I told him I would rather shower him with attention as soon as I am off work (did I mention both my husband and I are working from home also because of COVID).

I make it a point to dedicate time and attention to him as soon as work is done for the day. But even then, he pushes my buttons.

He refuses to take medication. Is there anything else to do?

15 Replies

Welcome to the group-These are very challanging times for everyone.

Just curious what tools you are using or have tried for your son to assist him in being able to manage his ADHD symtoms?

The 3 most common are: a school plan (504 or IEP), thearpy and medication.

In addition it takes a lot of teaching and learning from the people involved in the child's life.

We hope we can help you and share our experiences.

BRsMom profile image
BRsMom in reply to Onthemove1971

Thanks for your reply. He is on an IEP at school. It works great when he's in person. When he is remote, he is a mess.Even outside of school, it's really been hard to not get frustrated with him.

His energy is high, and despite anything we do (lots and lots of exercise) he doesn't get the attention or support he needs.

What therapies are there for ADHD?

We do CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) with our son and with a therapist. The big thing our therapist said was that by giving him attention for his negative behavior, we're just reinforcing it. We're teaching him that it's a good way to get our attention, and basically "feeding the beast." and also that "It takes TWO people to fight."

I personally had a mantra that I repeated silently in my head:

"I am almost 40 years old. I am an adult who knows how to manage serious situations. I will not get in to a shouting match with a literal child. I will not let a child control my reaction to a situation. I do not need to prove my point or justify my reasons to my child."

This has helped me so much! So often my son would fight back and say, "Why do I have to do brush my teeth!?" And he'd fight about it. Before-times, I would get frustrated and argue back about why brushing your teeth is important. That's totally unnecessary. He wasn't even asking it as a question, just protesting the fact that it had to be done. Now it's much more simple, and there's zero argument and conversation. If there's pushback, I explain the consequences. "Brush your teeth or no TV today." That's it. No conversation. No arguing. Swift and impactful consequences.

The other BIG thing I would do this to make time during your day to give him dedicated, 100% attention. When you were in the office, you probably took a couple breaks, and a lunch. For me, I have noticed that a little positive attention goes a long way. And a game of checkers takes 5-7 minutes, or a game of Go Fish. But the attention has to be dedicated or it doesn't do any good. Maybe ask him to show you what video game he's playing and why he likes it, if he has found any cheats or shortcuts (teen boys :) or challenge him to see who can get the highest score in Doodle Jump. This is just my theory but I think for ADHD kids, waiting for the end of the day is impossible.

I try to do this every hour, but my son is younger than yours. Good luck, we're all here for you!

BRsMom profile image
BRsMom in reply to Late2Party

Thanks for your reply. I really took what you said to heart. I agree, I am the adult he is the child. I have let him get to me a lot lately and I know better.

I dedicated 30 min the last couple night to just him. I have told him "tonight between 7-8p I want to see if just you and I could play a game, or just hang out together"

We spent the time together, and it was actually great, but I know I need more of that to make sure he gets time he needs. I told him I would take him fishing (which he LOVES) one day soon too.

I know I won't see immediate improvements, but hopeful overtime I will.

Thanks for sharing and listening.

Klmamma profile image
Klmamma in reply to BRsMom

I'm a stay at home mom and we homeschool. Most of the time I am great with my son, other times he has driven me near the brink of insanity and my husband and I both yell and argue with him. Nothing makes ADHD worse than giving them a person to argue with, I know this, but it's still hard. They're wonderful, but it takes a lot to deal with them constantly so when we're tired or worn out etc it's rough. I also swear my son can sense the weakness and purposely pisses us off when we're down. Hang in there!

BRsMom profile image
BRsMom in reply to Klmamma

You are so right! Thanks for your reply. I am for sure doing my very best to stand firm and be the adult. I can say for sure I would engage him when I should have taken a stance of "This is it, and it is because I said so." I have found myself feeling the need to explain, and I do not need to do that. I told my husband last night, it's like the tail wagging the dog (if that makes sense) we are just following his lead and it should be that we are the adults, he is our child, and he needs us to be firm and loving.

Klmamma profile image
Klmamma in reply to BRsMom

It's hard and mine is only 7. We found ourselves arguing with him like he was an adult at just age 3. He has always been very verbal and honestly, sometimes his arguments have merit but still..... we have found ourselves swearing at him occasionally. We all make mistakes, we apologize and talk about it. It's hard. You are not alone.

You’ve probably already tried so I’m sorry if this question seems dumb but what things have you tried to get him to take medication? Does he understand that managing himself is hard and he needs extra help? Does he know that a part of his brain needs to wake up a bit to help regulate himself? Since he is a bit older maybe if he read some information about ADHD he would see what a big difference it makes to be on medication. Just a thought :)

BRsMom profile image
BRsMom in reply to Momtrying

Thanks for your reply. I actually sat him down several times and explained that the medication is there to help him. It isn't the same as "drugs" which is what he calls them. I had his pediatrican talk to him too and explain how the medication works and why it's important. I finally today, walked up to my son with his medication and a glass of water and said, take this today and for two weeks, if it doesn't help, we will talk to your doctor. I think I am going to have to insist and facilitate him taking it.

Momtrying profile image
Momtrying in reply to BRsMom

I don’t know if the fear of something being taken away or the anticipation of getting a reward might work? maybe if he I knew that if he took his medication for a few weeks he might be able to earn something that he’s wanted?

BRsMom profile image
BRsMom in reply to Momtrying

Taking things away has temporarily worked in the past. He is a smart guy. He has called our bluff on many occasions and said "ok, take that away, I don't care."

I have tried the opposite too and said "hey if you do these 4 things, you will get this (something he highly prefers) and it worked for a day, then he took the same stance of "Nah- I don't want that enough to do all that"

So it's all about figuring out the right recipe to motivate him.

Hi and welcome. I know for me, the most difficult/frustrating part of this whole journey is that it is such an individual one. Each child is unique and while some strategies/therapies can be commonly used, there is still the need to customize them to the child for their needs in the moment. Have you had the opportunity to invest in counseling for your son and your family so that you are all working together as a team? Since he is 13 and since he is self-aware enough to recognize that his need for attention drives his actions, he is probably at a good stage to benefit from working with a counselor. Thoughts?

BRsMom profile image
BRsMom in reply to kvolm2016

Thanks for your reply. He is in weekly therapy. We aren't as a family at the moment, but have been off and on over the past year.

kvolm2016 profile image
kvolm2016 in reply to BRsMom

Glad to hear that you are taking advantage of this resource. I know it's not the complete solution but definitely an important part! Can you come up with other ideas for how he can get the attention he needs in those times when others at home are not available? Pet, grandparent, friend interaction?

BRsMom profile image
BRsMom in reply to kvolm2016

We have an older daughter (she is 28 and lives on her own) and she has at times had him spend the night with her and her fiance and that worked as a good "special" time for him to get their attention. I might ask her to help out again. Great idea!

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