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Acting Out After School
"My seven-year-old's after-school program just called with a third warning about his 'fresh mouth.' I know he's not acting out intentionally. What do you recommend?"
Ask the after-school staff to describe the "fresh mouth" behavior, so you'll know exactly what to watch for. Make sure they know that you'll be working with them to help your son control the problem.
Your son probably doesn't realize how hurtful words can be. If you catch him being fresh at home, let him know how you feel. Be sure to emphasize the "act" itself rather than the person. For example, you might say, "Gosh, that kind of talk hurts my feelings. Can you think of a way to say what you need or want in a way that doesn't hurt?"
By the way, if your son's medication wears off by the end of the school day, consider the possibility that his "fresh mouth" is the result of untreated impulsivity. You may want to rethink his dosing schedule.
Dr. Carol Brady is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Houston, Texas. She is also a specialist in school psychology and a well-regarded speaker in the area of ADHD, children, and families in trauma and Tourette's Syndrome.
She received her Ph.D. from LSU and she is currently on the scientific advisory board for the Tourette's Syndrome Association and is an adjunct faculty at Baylor University and the University of Texas. Dr. Brady hopes to help children and families who deal with neurological/developmental disorders by serving as a regular columnist for ADDitude magazine.