December 28, 2018 at 1:23 am #105928
My 12 year old girl has been so mean lately. She is very disrespectful to my husband and me, and mean to her siblings.
Yesterday we were trying to “cheer her up” by just being silly and light hearted and she was having none of it. So I resorted to taking her phone away. I told her she could earn it back by being pleasant. So she started being pleasant. The rest of the night she was pleasant.
I don’t think this technique is really recommended for ADHD though, right? I feel like all the articles I read say punishments really don’t work. And I don’t think this changed anything except at a very surface level, so I guess I wouldn’t call this working. The next day she was back to normal. But the night before was really nice!
I can’t wrap my mind around punishments not being effective and still somehow teaching them that certain behaviors/actions are unacceptable.
And how you help siblings understand that the mean behavior isn’t always intentional and that it’s really hard for her to control her impulses. But they get so hurt.
Sorry I’m all over the place!
December 28, 2018 at 6:51 am #105930ADMom12926Participant
Quite honestly I think you did awesome. With my daughter, 7, we send her to her room until she decides to be nice or happy because no one else needs to suffer. And since she can’t stand being alone because she gets bored, it works swimmingly. We also keep her room for sleeping. All her toys are kept in the living room or in her closet where we can hear if anything is being played with. It’s almost like she needs to reset. As far as your little ones siblings go, don’t try to explain her behavior away or reasoning for her behavior. Even with good intentions, this may cause resentment. Call it for what it is and don’t explain it away. If the behavior was selfish it was selfish. Not because she has ADHD or whatever and address it appropriately.
December 28, 2018 at 11:43 am #105955Penny WilliamsKeymaster
Punishments don’t work for ADHD because the effects don’t last. Punishment is intended to help a child think through the consequence of an action before doing it again. Impulsivity overrides that ability to think things through before acting every time. So it doesn’t stick.
What will work is determining why she’s “being mean” and address that. It could be that she doesn’t realize she comes across mean. It could be that she has poor frustration tolerance or lagging emotional regulation skills. Or many other things… But, you can’t change the behavior without determining what drives it.
I would also challenge you to change the language you use to describe her behavior. Try to steer clear of words like mean, disrespectful, rude, etc. These give a sense of the behavior being a character issue, when it’s not. It’s a little thing, but it shifts your mindset which helps a great deal.
It sounds like this is an issue of working on emotional regulation and social skills. You can do this on your own or with the help of a therapist.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
December 28, 2018 at 5:19 pm #105962cjnevarcParticipant
My daughter is 14. She has inattention and not so much impulse control issues. She went through a real difficult stretch about age 12 – 14. Between the hormonal changes and social changes they encounter during these years, their mood and attitude can be very erratic. Then add in the challenges with emotion and impulse control for our adhd kids, and you’ve got a great deal of friction start up. I would be sure that there is nothing important that is upsetting her that she is not sharing with you. Then, just continue to talk with her about her disposition. She seems very motivated by her phone privileges so I would stick with that. It is also important to set the expectation that you occasionally will look at her phone to check on the social media piece. I was very surprised to see what the kids were starting to be exposed to! It will give you an opportunity to provide much needed guidance!
December 28, 2018 at 8:21 pm #105964
It is also important to set the expectation that you occasionally will look at her phone to check on the social media piece.
Oh yes, the kids know we monitor their phones. And no social media yet!
Thanks for the advice, everyone!
December 28, 2018 at 8:55 pm #105966BelovedLeahParticipant
I wouldn’t throw consequences out the window. I’d hold her accountable, because life will continue to do that.
The problem is, sometimes their behavior comes from their symptoms, or is borne out of stress, etc, but other times it comes from their own choices. So sometimes they need a little extra time with Mom. Sometimes they need reminders. But sometimes they need those consequences. In the midst of all that is going on, their character is forming. No, not everything that happens is from a place of poor character. But the character IS forming. So consequences are still needed.
I have a child with both bipolar and adhd. I’m teaching her that when she feels out of control, she needs to have her tailor-made ways of reaching out for help, and I will help her. But the way she treats those around her – we can’t just let it all slide. Her behavior does really impact others around her. If she rages in the wrong place, she will get kicked out. Our whole family could be asked to leave. (That’s never happened yet, but it is an example of a real scenario for us that could easily happen.) So we would all face collective consequences for her behavior. And I shouldn’t let that slide. We shouldn’t be held hostage by her behavior, while she just gets constant reminders. She has to learn to manage herself, and consequences help drive the desire to work on her coping skills when she is tempted to just give in and not fight for better ways.
As for siblings, the best way for them to start to understand is for you to draw a parallel to their own experiences. Ask them if they’ve ever felt so angry and said things or did things that later they wish they hadn’t. Also, if they are going to be able to let things go, your daughter needs to make things right afterwards. Because some of our kids’ behaviors do damage relationships. Even if she didn’t mean to hurt someone, the fact remains that someone IS hurt, and it is her responsibility to make right what she did.
I think you did fine. Keep up the good (and hard) work of being Mom!
December 28, 2018 at 10:17 pm #105967
Thank you so much. I am really glad I found this place!
January 7, 2019 at 6:09 am #106256katherine4Participant
Have you read russell Barkley’s Your Defiant Child? He’s the leading adhd expert in the country, from what I understand, and he would tell you that consequences are essential. Bc adhd is a self regulation disorder, children need external motivators (both positive and negative) to manage their behavior. His behavior management program can help a lot. Good luck!
January 7, 2019 at 11:59 am #106321mikefox12Participant
My now 13 year old daughter went through a similar phase. For starters something else might be at the root of her meanness towards the family. Maybe a lunch date or some one on one time to see if you can find out more. Also another angle might be validating her emotions of being angry, although you can discuss better ways of coping with her emotions. Rather than taking it out on the people she loves. Good Luck!
January 7, 2019 at 3:05 pm #106341genedougParticipant
If she can turn it on and off depending on circumstances, it isn’t just the ADHD doing it. Her reason has more control of her behavior than she might like you to think.
The consequence you provided is the best response, and the trick is to be consistent, so she can expect that is what will happen if she misbehaves. If it is rare, then she can gamble that you will do nothing, or just as bad, blow up at her. (Negative attention is still attention, and may actually increase the behavior.)
At any rate, if you would overpower her with your strength, size and anger, she will be 15 and 16 soon, and would you want to use that method on a child who is your size?
E. E. Douglas, M.Ed. LPC MFT
- This reply was modified 3 years ago by genedoug. Reason: Left out signature. Softened Do to Would
January 18, 2019 at 9:16 am #106984SonnyParticipant
my son is 9. i cant anymore. nobody loves him, except we as a family. his teachers are tired of him. i have to work almost all day. i dont know what to do. i cant …
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