My 17 year old, at that age was also very rambunctious and wild and it was extremely trying and frustrating. While time outs and trying to explain things to him sounded like the rational way to achieve change, that never worked on its own. For us, we sought help and one thing we learned to do was to have him focus on our faces and ask him what our faces were telling him. He was not ever aware of our emotions in relation to his behavior (they’re so young), so that was a good first step. We’d say, “Please look at me. What emotion do you see in my face?” or “What is my face telling you?” The helpful thing for us, was to get him to focus on OUR emotions, how we want to ALL feel calm and comfortable here. Our questions were asked calmly, not angrily because he wasn’t being defiant, he was being childish and also struggling then with ADHD. Another thing I did, when I could remember and the stars were aligned, was to sit with him at the very beginning of the day, like waking him up, and begin with positive messages of how I love him, etc…just get the day started well. Then I would go through how we are going to practice noticing people’s feelings, or an expectation I have for him with family members today. Not 5 expectations…1. And give him the information of what happens if something goes wrong. Maybe a warning, then a time out, and probably something physical for him like writing an apology or picture, or doing something to help make up for something he did (like if he hurt someone’s feelings or went rogue when given instructions…he might have to do what we call a ‘practice academy’ where we, CALMLY, practice the misstep a few times the right way. An example might be: practicing how to close the door quietly instead of slamming it, or coming to get me instead of yelling for me across the house. I demonstrate how I want it done, then he would ‘practice’ it maybe 5-10 times. If he did it to be silly, he had to add one more and do it right. It was always done calmly, at a time we were both not angry. And it usually ended with smiles and understanding.) What I recognize is: my child with ADHD needs me to show him HOW I want it done and then to repeat that MANY times as he learns. Like my daughter who is dyslexic needs exposure to me reading the words, playing with the words MANY MANY times before she knows them, he needs the exposure and my TIME. My slow steps, my calm repetition and my willingness to SHOW him how when I’m not in a hurry, and not expecting him to get it, like I don’t expect my dyslexic child to get it. I find it easier to be patient with her learning disability but I need to be just as patient with his disability. And man am I preaching to myself! For us, when he was 13, we did put him on medication. Personally I do wish I hadn’t felt so guilty about NOT doing it earlier because we went through so many suggestions, diet restrictions, counseling, play therapy and heartache. And for US (and I can only speak from that perspective because everyone has a different set of circumstances), it probably would have helped his relationships with his younger brother, cousins, and friends if we had started him on a medicine earlier along with the counseling…but get this: they diagnosed him with nothing wrong except: selfishness. I kid you not. It wasn’t until several years later when I was over feeling like I needed to listen and not ‘disappoint’ ‘them’ that we had another diagnosis and medication began. It has made a world of difference. We finally have the son I saw only every once in a while. And yes, counseling helped…with the right diagnosis!