Ask the Experts

Q: Does Your Son Act “Babyish” Around You?

‘Babyish’ behavior is a form of task avoidance for children with ADHD, that can lead to teasing from peers. Help your son avoid social ostracism with this advice.

A mom and her son, who is hugging her after babyish behavior.

Listen to “The Social Lives of Boys with ADHD”

Q: “My 11-year-old son always acts whiny and immature when I’m around, even in front of other people. When we’re with other kids, he often becomes the target of teasing because of his ‘babyish’ behavior. When I am not present, teachers and other parents tell me that his behavior is much better.

Am I doing something to contribute to his childish outbursts, since he only does it in when I am present?

I don’t want my son to be socially ostracized by his peers as he enters middle school. I know how unkind kids can be to each other.”

A: “For a lot of kids with ADHD, ‘babyish’ is task avoidance. It’s a way to avoid non-preferred tasks, like having to do work or having to discuss something…”

“If your son has a propensity to act ‘babyish’ when you’re around, he most likely does it in front of other people, and it can make him a target for teasing…”


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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