Ask the Experts

Q: Our Son Keeps Flouting Limits and Sneaking Devices

Is your teenager ignoring and breaking your rules about using devices? Is he sneaking confiscated devices and/or using them inappropriately? Here, an expert in teen boys with ADHD lays out clear parameters for setting better limitations and consequences.

Q: “Our son won’t get out of bed on time and has even slept through school. He won’t do chores and falls behind on homework. This is all related to his impulsive nature and electronic devices. We have tried and tried taking away the devices. But he finds ways to sneak them back without any shame or remorse. The only thing that has worked has been to leave his Switch to my office. But we can’t do that with his phone or his school Chromebook. How can we get him to respect any limits we place on the use of his devices?” – NutleyDad

A: “Begin by telling him that the use of his devices is a privilege and not a right. He does not pay for them, and if he makes a choice not to use them in a way that meets the parameters you have set, he doesn’t deserve to use them. If he struggles to use a smart phone appropriately, I’m going to tell you to do this…”

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.

Submit your questions about ADHD in boys here!

[Free Guide: Too Much Screen Time? Regulate Your Child’s Devices]