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Broken Hearted & Lost


I have posted on here before and received alot of good advice, so I need to reach out again.  My fiance’ and I have custody of his 13 year old son that has ADHD.  We had a GREAT week last week.  Last night we had our IEP meeting with the school.  A week from Friday we are trying a new Psychologist.  Last night was rough trying to get homework done.  It was a fight tooth and nail.  Maybe 2 weeks ago Cody got into a fight at school.  This morning we get a call that when Cody got to school, he was picking fights with everyone until someone would physically fight him.  We have tried everything and don’t even know what to do anymore. I want to do everything I can for Cody, but I feel like this is such a losing battle.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Replies

So glad you had a great week last week!  Imperfect progress is the goal, right?  Does Cody know how much it meant to you that things are going better?
Does he have someone he trusts to talk to at school when he feels like fighting?

If homework is a battle, you could let the natural consequences take care of it.  It isn’t the end of the world if he has to retake a class, and it will be less stressful for all of you at home.

Posted by Jen7 on Nov 12, 2013 at 8:30pm

He does know. We made a huge deal out of it.  Started a money “reward” jar for everyday he did well.  From the IEP meeting last night it sounded like he did have a lot of peers and adults that he trusts and talks to.  The school has given him in school suspension and the next time this happens they will completely suspend him.  They are trying to work with us.  At this point I agree about the battle with his homework.  I would love him to face the consequenses.  I’m just so worried about the anger and his fighting.

Posted by Cberry99 on Nov 12, 2013 at 9:15pm

Remember that ADHD is neurobiological AND developmental. Several sources recommend thinking of a child’s emotional maturity as 3 years behind so you have to think of his emotional abilities as someone who is 10! It is something quite difficult for me as my son towers over me and has quite mature masculine features, including a very deep voice. It’s difficult to think of him as a “little boy” still but emotionally he is, yet soars intellectually. My son is 14 and has been through a similar “phase”. His psychiatrist kept telling me that it was probably anxiety masked as defiance and anger. I didn’t “buy” the explanation until I read an article through Empowering Parents.com that said one should try to see the emotion underneath the anger/defiance as there is always another emotion that precedes it. So I gave it a shot. I ignored the swearing, name-calling, threatening stance, etc. and “it” suddenly dawned on me; the psychiatrist was right. Rather than act indignant myself about what names I was being called, my voice was calm and consoling and I asked him, “You’re afraid of being left out, aren’t you”? He immediately broke into tears and sobbed and poured his heart out to me. It was a major turning point for us.
I hope that this helps!

Posted by TamTam on Nov 12, 2013 at 9:54pm

Perhaps Cody is scared….scared to succeed because it’s a new place to be and new expectations that will come and he may be afraid of the how to handle that?  As bad as it may have been in the past, it is familiar and he knows what to expect.  Success…that’s new territory.  Focus on that great week…try to ask him how it felt and why it seemed to go so well.  Sometimes the littlest thing (to us) can set them off and upset them so much they just can’t handle it.  I agree with TamTam….these kids are way more complicated than something on the surface triggering their meltdowns.  Let him know that no matter what he thinks he can tell you….that you won’t judge him or tell him “it’s no big deal”.  Sometimes they want to be heard, but they don’t know how to say what it is they want to say.  Mine does alot of yelling still and I do all I can to keep my voice low and unemotional so he can calm himself down as we talk.  As for the money jar…..it’s a good idea, but it may not be what really drives him.  Hate to quote Dr. Phil, but his talk about finding the other person’s “currency” is very true.  My kids hated cleaning the house every week——until I figured out they would gladly do it if I sprung for donuts or ice cream every 3rd or 4th week.  Good Luck and Hang in there—-Cody is so worth it.

Posted by greyhairedmom on Nov 12, 2013 at 11:59pm

I’m sad that you are feeling broken hearted and lost.  Parenting our ADHD kids is really hard!  Have you been taking good care of yourself?  Do you need a little extra right now?  I find that my son (14) is aggressive when he needs stimulation to organize his brain.  After figuring this out—the way he uses negativity to stimulate himself to help his ADHD—life has gotten better. In addition, your son may have picked a fight because he needs to feel powerful in the face of not being able to concentrate on his homework the night before!  An IEP has to include accommodations for homework.  I’ve learned that when it comes to homework, IT IS NEVER WORTH A FIGHT OR EVEN A STRUGGLE.  I think you all need a reset.  Can you watch a fun movie or go for a good walk or something non school and non ADHD related?  Also if he is not on medication, you might want to consider it.  All the best.  You are in good company here!

Posted by Ilana on Nov 13, 2013 at 2:45am

I think it’s really important to ask him why he acted that way. I’m a firm believer that there’s always a why. I also really like Ilana’s suggestion to do something together that has nothing to do with ADHD and school. My son’s behavior improved when I stopped making ADHD the center of our universe. It’s tough, no doubt, but it can be done.

Tell Cody you understand school has been really tough on him lately. Ask him why he thinks he shows it with anger and violence. Tell him you don’t want his life to be all about ADHD and school and ask him what he’d like to spend time doing. Showing empathy will make a huge improvement in and of itself.

Penny
ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Nov 13, 2013 at 2:29pm

Thank you everyone!  Last night at home after all this was tough.  I love the suggestions and I will try each of them.  When we ask Cody to open up and tell us why and let him know that we are there all we get is shrugs and “I don’t know why I did it.”  With all his lies it is so hard to believe anything he tells us.  The school is telling us he was picking fights and he told us this kid picked a fight with him.  We are counting down the days untill he gets to go to the therapist.  I know it’s not a fast fix, but I really hope it helps him.  My heart breaks everytime something like this happens with him and it seems to be more and more lately.  I am starting to wonder if he is scared to do well.  Thank you again everyone, I love this group!

Posted by Cberry99 on Nov 13, 2013 at 6:51pm

I just have to say, as an adult ADDer, the amount of effort and work it takes to have a good week REALLY takes it’s toll emotionally.  It is not easy to have a good day, let alone a good week. The strain on the system and the brain always leads to an emotional break.  As an adult I have more acceptable ways to deal, but a child has much more work to do before they arrive.  Perhaps after each good day some kind of physical activity that is fun for him will help.

Posted by justtrying on Nov 15, 2013 at 12:33pm

I know how that feels.It make him so high very difficult to control.Get him iinvolved in karate, running,football,any kind of high activities to relieve that pressure inside and to come nerve system.Also ,if he writes on paper angree tthoughts he has helps tremendousmy to come nerve.

Posted by Natasha123 on Nov 15, 2013 at 4:25pm

I would add that just because he was able to accomplish having a good week, or getting homework done one night, does not mean that getting the work done on another night will be possible. I just read another great post about how the ADHD brain needs downtime (time to do absolutely nothing—like while playing a mindless game or just staring into space). The pressure of trying to get the homework done when the brain needed a rest may have built up to the level of “explode” when confronted with the pressure of behaving in an appropriate manner in the school setting the next day.

I would suggest you lower your expectations for him for school. Much lower. That way he can completely focus on behaving in a socially appropriate way at school (so he doesn’t get kicked out.) Consider ANY progress made academically a bonus. As an ADHD’er myself, I have found “rewards” often backfire for me. I simply CANNOT meet the demands sometimes—my brain has overloaded and I hit a brick wall.The non-adhd’er doesn’t understand why the rewards aren’t working or why I can’t perform up to my previous standards and gets frustrated at me. Or I get frustrated at myself for not being able to live up to other’s expectations and spiral into a depression.

Get rid of the reward jar—it tells him he’s not okay on the days he has a hard time coping, and those are the days he needs your love and support the most. Let the reward be more long-term, not just a daily reward. Accept him for where his is at socially and academically right now. More pressure = less productivity in my ADHD brain except on very rare occasions.

Posted by InHisImage on Nov 16, 2013 at 10:48pm

Hi there… So sorry to hear of your anxieties & challenges. The very inconsistent nature of ADHD makes life hard to comprehend when reactions can vary so much from day to day & even hour to hour. It must feel so frustrating & scary for him as well as having to cope with his desires for wanting to gain attention in some way but then dealing with not foreseeing the consequences of his behavior. My 15yr old daughter went through a similar stage & school have been great, in ensuring she can access her Mentor at any time. A trusted, non judgmental adult who can just be there in times of meltdown. I now try to just celebrate the good moments with her and accept the bad as part of a process that we work through… Yes hard going at times but I feel now the balance is shifting to more positive than negative.
Do you feel his meds are right? I felt this was key for my daughter, it took some time to get the fine tuning right before the behavior strategies could be taken on by her.

Posted by Anita3 on Nov 17, 2013 at 12:03am

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