Ask the Experts

Q: My Son Plays the “Rule Police” with Other Kids

Sometimes, kids with ADHD struggle to relinquish control in social situations. They tattle when another child breaks the rules, even when no one is hurt or negatively impacted. When bossy behavior like this compromises friendships, follow this advice for setting it straight.

Listen to “The Social Lives of Boys with ADHD”

Q: “My 8 year old tends to be the ‘hall-monitor.’ He gets after kids who are perhaps not following the rules, but aren’t in danger of hurting anyone or themselves. He’s bossy with his brother and gets upset when others don’t do what he wants them to do. I noticed he would like to be better friends with another boy in his class, but his behavior is a turn off to the other child. How can I help him be more flexible?”

A: “Kids don’t like this at any age, but once you get to age 9 or 10, then it has more social ramifications. What I help kids understand is that if they engage in this behavior — telling on other kids, or telling other kids what to do, or making kids follow their rules — those other kids might have uncomfortable thoughts about them. This could lead to loneliness and it could also lead to bullying…”


Ryan Wexelblatt, LCSW is the facilitator of the ADHD Dude Facebook Group and YouTube channel. Ryan specializes in working with males (ages 5-22) who present with ADHD, anxiety with ADHD, and learning differences; he is the one professional in the United States who specializes in teaching social cognitive skills to boys from a male perspective.

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