Child wont move on after told "no" - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Child wont move on after told "no"

Rosie232 profile image

Any tips for what to do when a child refuses to accept that a prefered task is not allowed at this time?

Examples: child wants to watch a movie, I say "no, it's not movie time right now."

He carrys on and on and screams "let me watch a movie!" The child has gotten physical trying to bully us into giving him what he wants, or just tries to go do it anyway.

20 Replies

Short of medications that might help with emotional regulation, I've found the best thing to do is to say it once and walk away. Take the remote control with you.

This lets your child know that it is not a negotiation, and that you have the power in the situation.

We've also seen some benefit from the therapy sessions we've done to teach emotional regulation and how to move on when they hear "no" or don't like something.

Rosie232 profile image
Rosie232 in reply to JJMom16

We do ignore it, and then our child comes at us hitting and spitting. I've just locked myself in my room sometimes, then he beats on the door. We're in a rental and I'm worried that he is going to break our house.

Welcome to the group..What tools are you giving your child to help him?

Children with ADHD need special parenting becuase they are not Neuro-typical.

I would guide him to find something else to do without saying no. If he loves movies use that as a reward when things are going good.

Thearpy, medication and some type of educational plan help children with ADHD deal with daily life.

We are always here for you when you need us.

We have no tools, that's why I need help...I've been looking for help since February. Symptoms have been escalating since then. We have seen 4 doctors and have been on a waiting list for therapy since February as well.

I assume his Pediatrician gave him the diagnosis? I would recommend you discuss medication with them. In addition, redirect him when he wants something. I would not recommend ignoring him, that will make the situation worse. Then reward him when he responds well. If you x you get y.

Find something he likes to do: hobbies, sports.. get him active indoors or outdoors to help him get his energy out.

His medication has helped decrease the violence and screaming. But he still has a hyper-focus and irrational determination to get what he wants.

It's been hard to talk him in to wanting anything other than what he is interested in at that time.

We do spend a ton of time exercising. We bike for miles each day and/ or go to the park 2 times per day.

What type of medication does he take?Hobbies?

Yes, many children hyper focus on things.


His hobbies are biking, reading, and playgrounds.


he gets is 1 sticker each day for reading. For a summer reading program through the library, 15 stickers gets him a prize.

Money for doing chores.

I can't think of any other rewards that would be appropriate.

Soundd like you are already doing a great job!

Not sure of the medications he is taking. Some kids benefit from taking both a stimulant ( Ritilin, adderall, etc) and non-stimulant (Intivi)- this is used as a mood stabilizer, can help with sleep and also helps with focus.

Please consider having him see a child psychiatrist, who specializes in medications.

Another suggestion is giving him only 2 options when you know he is going to explode. So you said he wants to watch a movie.. you can say we will watch a movie at another time, but what about.. building legos or building a fort? So you are not telling him no, you are giving him the options that you will allow at that time.

Also its really important to consider why you are saying no. For example if it is 20 min before bed that is a great reason to say no and explain why, without and arguement, just move on quickly.

But it's really important to be flexiable, more than ever.

Hope these suggestions help.

I do try to limit my "no's" and give as many "yes's" as possible.

I will try to be more intentional about always offering choices when a boundary is set. (I thought I was, but could probably do more so.)

Nats2005 profile image
Nats2005 in reply to Rosie232

Last year we had started a rewards program for our son based around avoiding "unsafe" behaviors (including hitting and spitting) and following directions. Each hour he could earn up to 2 points. If he hit or spit, he'd get no points for that hour. If he didn't follow a direction, he'd get one point. Depending on how many points he accumulated he could get a reward after dinner, which could include a snack (e.g. pretzels or a low-sugar fruit snack) or a certain amount of time with a special activity (e.g. 5, 10 or 15 mins with Kinetic Sand depending on the number of points). More favored activities or more time require more points.

The daily reward program did seem to have some impact on reducing hitting/spitting though there were other factors too (like a new nanny he had better rapport with).

We still have the program but (with our behavioral consultant's approval) we simplified it. Now it's just based on how many "reds" (e.g. hitting) or "yellows" (not following a direction) he gets during the day. No reds or yellows earns the best rewards, if he has three or more reds he gets the lowest reward.

In both programs, a "red" behavior in the dinner hour means no reward for the day. Otherwise, he gets at least the lowest level.

To be fair it probably helps our son attends a private school focusing on children with learning challenges including attention/executive functioning. The school itself uses a reward system similar to the point system we were using. So the two reinforce each other. I'd say on average we're down to a couple of "reds" total over a week; when we first started it was 3-4 a day plus some "yellows" for not listening.

We deal with this all the time. Medication helps but the problem is usually these issues occur in the evening once medication has worn off and it’s getting close to bedtime/after dinner. Redirection is it really the only thing that helps. We’ve tried to be direct and as others have said, state the instruction and MoveOn but he seems to fixate on whatever it is he wants and will bully us and sometimes get abusive if he doesn’t get his way. It’s not like other kids where you can just send them to their room LOL. We love trying to explain that to people. Anyway, redirection, providing options can help. “We cant do that right now. Would you prefer x or y instead?” (Not “do you want” but “here are the options”. It seems like splitting hairs over language but my husband and I discuss it often because I try to reinforce the need to characterize options as the only options, not as and offering to be accepter or declined.). GOOD LUCK. ❤️🙂

Rosie232 profile image
Rosie232 in reply to Reeeba1

Thank you for sharing your experience. It's comforting to know that others are going through the same thing. Most people don't understand that my child is not like other children and think traditional discipline methods should work.

I agree that words are very important. When a child hears "do you want to jump on trampoline or read a book?" They reply "I want a movie." I think that changing the words may help redirect from what they "want."

I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this. My child also gets hyper focused/fixated on an idea or desire, and can fly into a violent rage if he doesn’t get what he wants. It’s can be quite scary - he can turn non-verbal and just hit/scream/spit/throw things for 30 minute. (Like you said, traditional behavioral techniques don’t always apply to kids like this.)

Behind what has been shared above, I would add two thoughts:

- I try to stay as calm and dispassionate as possible. I’ve found that raising my voice (even the smallest bit) backfires and escalates the situation. A sharp tone might work for other kids - but not for mine when he is in the red zone.

- We’ve worked for a while on Collaborative Problem Solving. We engage him in coming up with a joint solution (eg he can watch a movie later in the evening, if he helps put away dishes.) I sometimes say, “Let’s make a deal,” and he helps to come up with the terms of the deal. Admittedly this only works when he’s in the green or yellow zone - not the red zone.

Good luck. I imagine this must be very difficult for you and your family.

Thank you for sharing.

My child tells me I "shouted" at him when I even use my serious voice. I am very aware of what shouting is and when I'm shouting or not.

So it's a good reminder to be careful not to escalate with time.

Same here. If I barely raise my eyebrows and firm up my tone, my son will shout, “stop yelling at me!!!”

I’ve struggled with this too. I’m the last 6 months, we finally decided to start guanfacine for Rejection sensitivity disorder (which sometimes goes with ADHD). When we finally got to the right dosage, it made a big difference for him to take feedback (still very gently expressed) from us and his counselor. Our 16 year old has very low self esteem.

You might want to read up on oppositional defiance disorder (ODD). Dr. Russell Barkley has a book that lays out a plan for implementing positive reinforcement and a tokens system (rewards) to help address the type of behavior you’ve described. I have been exactly where you are. Also, I’m fairly defiant myself, so it helps that I’m able to kind of see I side my oppositional and defiant child’s mind (yup, she’s both).

I know what you’re looking for is ways to address the difficulty accepting disappointment, but I can’t overstate enough the importance of positive reinforcement throughout the day. With kids like ours who are so emotional and sensitive, they need to hear praise every ai for time they are cooperating, practicing emotional regulation etc. Also, they need to believe you are on their side; I remind my kids often that we’re on the same team and that I want to work together. I don’t mean to imply that these tactics will eliminate the challenging behavior altogether, but they are more powerful tools than they sound.

Let me say again—I can relate. I know how hard it is to have a child who gets violent and destructive. Meltdowns are other level and they are exhausting. It’s really, really hard to parent kids like ours sometimes. There are strategies that can help, and in my experience, it can be possible to see big improvements faster than you might think. I believe the ADDitude Magazine website has links to some useful information, if you haven’t already checked there.

Happy to brainstorm with you more. Hang in there! Big hugs to you and your kiddo.

It looks like you got tons of great suggestions and are already doing a lot to support your son. We have struggled with similar and the things that have helped the most are to talk through when calm, the plan to comply with the requirement that he go to his room when asked, as well as consequences for not following going to his room when asked. It's key to do this during a calm time though.

Then when noncompliance happens, I have non verbal cues (sticky notes are helpful) because processing spoken things seems to further escalate behavior. It seems like the impending consequences and an inability to manage his emotions around those consequences fuel a horrible downward behavioral spiral.

The other thing that helps is to have a Calm Down Kit. I have had my son create a book where there's pictures of what calm feels like, pictures of what he feels like when he's out of control, and a reminder note to himself that he won't always feel like this, so a return to a calm picture. I also had him write his own affirmation with things he likes about himself.

Talking through plans for how to deal with it when he becomes upset while he's calm is really helpful but it's still been REALLY hard to watch my son struggle with his big feelings. Hang in there! You're doing great!

I always ignore this kind of behavior. It takes time but finally a child realizes that it won't work no matter how much he/she screams.

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