Learn the Words

Q:

My daughter blurts out hurtful things to me when she gets upset, and to her friends in school. She has only one friend, and she is sad about it. She doesn't get invited to birthday parties or other social events.

A:

With many ADHD students, whatever is on their mind comes out of their mouth. They do not stop to think about how it sounds or feels to others. Frequently, they are worn down by the world and they feel safe with family -- and take it out on us. That does not make it acceptable. We must parent differently and, as the saying goes, "don't sweat the small stuff." Things may not be ideal, but your child did not ask to have ADHD.

Don't respond in anger or sarcasm. Wait until the storm has passed and explain how it made you feel. Discuss what can be done to avoid it next time. Keep working with her to get closer to the desired behavior.

To help your daughter avoid saying hurtful words to friends, invite a classmate over for a play date, and stay close by to resolve arguments that may arise. Later you can review with your child what she might have done wrong. Use role-play exercises with your daughter to practice for situations that may arise in the future. Her blurts won't improve right away, but it should become easier to have short, supervised activities with other children. You may also want to consider signing up for a social skills group.

 
 
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