Reply To: My 7 year old son with ADHD is violent and aggressive to me. I am desperate.

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Parents My 7 year old son with ADHD is violent and aggressive to me. I am desperate. Reply To: My 7 year old son with ADHD is violent and aggressive to me. I am desperate.

Juliana C

It’s fine to ask questions! I just went to my mother and asked her what sort of th Nos she did to cope, haha, and she said that giving choices when she needed me to do something was the way to go. Even one, simple, not-so-different choice really helps because it gives a kid a feeling of agency.

As for in public, meltdowns there are often hard to deal with. I believe my mother would guide me to a quieter place to wait me out.

Why he’s better wth his father could be attributed to a lot of things. It’s really hard for kids to switch between households, particularly if the rules are different between one and another. My agoraphobic ADHD cousin had a very lax, pushover father and a mother made of sterner stuff, and he struggled so badly wth how that affected his mental health that he dropped out of high school. Obviously, your kid’s situation isn’t the same, but I’d say that it’s due to a grass-is-greener sort of situation- when he’s with his father, he doesn’t experience the same experiences which push his buttons. He probably appreciates the structure you give his life, or will grow to do so as he gets older, but when he’s angry he probably only thinks “this wouldn’t happen if I were with dad”, whether or not that’s true. As long as he’s jumping between households that’ll be true. Once my cousin stopped going to his father’s house, his behavior and mental health improved significantly. It wasn’t a miracle cure, but he’s now on track to graduate college and considering grad school. Attaining full custody of your son, like you’re trying to do, will probably result in quite a few battles initially, but he’ll settle down over time.

Getting him to calm down quickly is hard. After giving him time alone, I’d recommend approaching him carefully- if he shuts himself in a room, for example, knock and wait outside, staying there during the conversation. Don’t try talking to him about his behavior immediately; he knows what he did, and now that he’s calm he probably feels awful about it. If he’s still upset, ask him to articulate how he’s feeling and why he’s upset. Change the wording of your request, or change some of the conditions, and offer compromise, while giving a reason for why you want what you want. If he feels like you’re being unfair for no reason or like he’s been wronged, the anger is only going to come back. He’s not always going to be reasonable about it, so sometimes you’re just going to have to stand there and keep pushing until he gives in.

Really though, don’t allow him to be violent. If he’s left a visible mark, later in conversation you can point out “You really hurt me.” Letting him act out his anger on you might later encourage him to be violent with others, which won’t help with school.

I forgot to mention this earlier, but really push with his teachers and academics. If he’s in an uncomfortable environment at school and feels restrained there, he’ll take it out on the next available target.

As a final note, something to say about medications is that while they help with symptoms, they don’t ‘cure’ behavior but simply make it easier to ignore or shrug off symptoms.

Again, good luck, and feel free to ask any more questions if you need to.