Ask the Experts

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 mouthing off 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.

[Oppositional Defiant Disorder Symptom Test for Children]