Reply To: They called CPS on us! (Long… please bear with me)

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Kids with ADHD typically have horrible impulse control. My experience with my son is that most often when he demonstrates “aggressive” behavior it’s either out of frustration or because other kids have pushed his buttons too many times and he doesn’t have the maturity to handle the situation without lashing out. They also tend to be several years behind in maturity which contributes to impulsivity and poor decision making. To be honest, I don’t let my son go to other homes for play dates unless it’s with parents I know extremely well, and who I know understand his challenges. I prefer to have him play in our home with friends so I can monitor (on the sly of course) what’s happening and intervene if I hear play that could potentially escalate or cause an issue. Should an average 9yr old be able to play more independently, of course. But I think the situation is different for kids with ADHD. I also know the triggers for my son that have the potential to cause behavior problems such as being hungry, overtired, overstimulated, etc. Those triggers are different for every kid, but when you recognize it, then you can plan/decine playtime with other kids accordingly. I am not by any means judging or saying you don’t monitor your son, I am just suggesting that in my experience kids effected by ADHD need a bit of “helicopter parenting” because they don’t have the social/emotional skills yet to help them navigate friendships the way another child their age would. For my son, structure is a pretty important factor and limiting the amount of time he stays at a friend’s house helps as well – his ability to remain calm and relaxed has an expiration so I know for us play dates shorter than 60-90min are going to be the most successful for him. I realize this all makes me sound very controlling, but I’m honestly not that way with most things and I am much more relaxed with his younger brother. Thru trial and error I’ve just found this makes life easier for all those involved, including my son. The more successful he is with friendships, the greater his confidence. If your son is seeing a therapist who knows everything that is going on and is not continually offering you tips and possible solutions then I would look for a new therapist who can offer you more. It also sounds like you have a lot going on with your own health, and parenting a child with ADHD is exponentially more stressful than parenting the average child so I would suggest you seek out a support group for yourself that will help you manage your own stress which will in turn help you cope better with the challenges you face with your son and his peers. It’s not an easy road but continuing to make changes and take baby steps in new directions can make it more manageable. Best wishes to you and your family.