September 12, 2017 at 8:16 pm #60572
I am a single parent of an 11 year old boy who has ADHD combined type. He does take medication (Focalin XR 25mg) once in the morning primarily to help him focus at school. At home is a different story, recently he has been caught looking up pornography online. He is no longer able to use his tablet or go on the computer. Last week he tells me he has a girlfriend from school. We discussed my expectations regarding his girlfriend. He knew the right answers to my questions which made me feel a little better and less uneasy about the situation. Today his teacher calls me to tell me that his girlfriend’s mother went to the school and told her that my son called their house at 3 Am. I’ve tried to structure his life, made social stories, checklists, behavior charts without much success. How do you teach a child about being considerate, having a conscience, to appreciate what others do for you, about shame and embarrassment, be respectful etc. I don’t think any of the previously mentioned techniques I tried will help me to do that. I don’t know how I can help him and quite frankly, I’m almost ready to give up. I get so frustrated that I start to yell at him which I know is more harmful than good. He has no sense of shame or embarrassment, and is totally clueless about how to interact in socially acceptable ways. He will argue and make silly excuses to avoid doing things I ask of him and even flat out refuse to take my advise or listen. Please advise. Thanks in advance.
September 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm #60729
Does anyone need to learn about shame and embarrassment?
These are difficult emotions that arise in us. Everybody feels all emotions. Sometimes what we feel bad about, others don’t. Those are differences and they are there in any two people. Husband-wife, mother daughter, father-son.
May be your child needs to learn right from wrong. In general or as per your standard. That is ok. All children need to. We too did when we were young and still sometimes do.
Connect more with your child. Playing board games together helps us connect. Find what works for you.
Use one liners. They work great for me.
I repeat ‘we don’t do that dear’ for many things. It took some time but he listens after that one liner better.
As he is growing up, connection and praise work better for me than other strategies. These are definitely not quick. However I’m sure they will be great for the years to come.
Refrain from yelling.
Take care of yourself. Fill ur cup first. Let love flow easily from your heart.
September 14, 2017 at 2:57 am #61019
I caught my oldest looking at porn only slightly older. He had sneaked the laptop in the middle of the night.
We had a long discussion about normal and abnormal, healthy and diseased genitalia because if he’s old enough to look at porn (thanks, neighbor’s kid, for telling him about how to find it!) he’s plenty old enough to see orifaces oozing with STDs next to his mother.
We also talked about the exploitative nature of pornography and the real, ugly reasons women and girls that choose to partake in it, the cycle of sexual abuse and exploitation that is so common in the backgrounds of people who enter the sex trade, and the continuing damage that it does to these women, often repeated over generations. By viewing pornography, you take part in this abuse, in whatever small way. Without customers, the industry and all it’s ugliness wouldn’t exist. We also talked about how this dirties relationships with your wife, when the time comes.
We have home-written spy software on all our computers that can’t be circumvented without leaving obvious signs. That was the last time he did that, at least at our house.
Before the internet, all the boys leered over National Geographic, if they couldn’t get their hands on anything more graphic than that. It’s just so available now.
Anyway, I’m more concerned that you think it’s appropriate for an eleven year old to have a girlfriend! I’d have put the kibosh on that instantly. He may not be able to get up to much right now, but there were two girls pregnant in my FIFTH GRADE class. You’re sending the message that boyfriend/girlfriend is normal and healthy for a child of eleven. It’s not. It’s a pseudomature behavior that indicates a very poor future outlook.
The endgame of having a girlfriend is either to have someone for romantic sex or someone for marriage, depending on your worldview. That’s it, once everything else is stripped away. Neither is something an eleven year old should be spending significant brain cells on yet.
If you feel that your child is morally immature, which he clearly is or he wouldn’t go after a girlfriend at 11, it’s even more important that it’s made clear that they’re not in any position to be ready for this kind of relationship.
I’m equally concerned that your child had the capability of calling anyone at 3am. He has his own phone? And it’s not on lockdown when not required for safety?
The fact that your child is already disobedient and rebellious is also of serious concern. There’s a phrase that I use: I can’t make you do it, but I can make you wish you had. Find out what makes him wish that he had. Everything beyond sufficient food, basic clothes, a bed, and a toilet can absolutely be lost, and only a decent participant in the family structure gets to enjoy other parts of family or communal life. He should have daily chores (15-20 minutes is appropriate for the age) as well as school performance expectations and basic respect to get more than that.
All in all, it seems like you treat your son as if he’s much older than he actually is when he’s really quite immature for his age. He needs far less freedom even when he is being good because he doesn’t need to be given so much rope that he’s doomed to hang himself! There are many 11 year olds that would abuse unrestricted phone access, for instance. Probably more that would than wouldn’t. They’d mostly be smarter about it than your kid was, is all, because they have the maturity for sneakiness. I’m confident that mine wouldn’t, but I’m equally confident that they would be watching movies at 3am, given the chance, at least sometimes!!!! Don’t give you kid more freedom than he can handle. You’re not helping him when you do.
September 14, 2017 at 3:54 am #61029
I don’t know if this is comforting or not…but a lot of times boys from ages 9 to 11 are just awful. It’s like their moral compass goes completely on vacation for a while. I’ve worked with lots of kids of lots of ages, and the 9-11 window with boys often leads me to wonder if humankind is doomed! (Overwrought and back-stabbing 13-y-obgirls have their own horrors!)
They really often do grow out of this before 14 in most cases. But there’s another saying that often must be applied on the journey: Those who take by the yard and give by the inch will be helped by the (figurative) foot. 😉
September 14, 2017 at 8:33 am #61034
You’ve identified that he struggles with social constructs. It’s not a personality defect, but a difference in his brain. If he struggles with social norms, providing rules for social interactions can help a great deal. Write out a list of rules for being a “good boyfriend.” Don’t call between 10 pm and 8 am., etc…
Immaturity and impulsivity play a role as well.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
September 30, 2017 at 10:14 pm #63289
My son has ADHD combined type. He has recently started looking at “boobs” on the computer. Part of me wonders though if this is a normal part of growing up? I’m 43 and we didn’t have that when I was growing up, but I wonder how much of that would have gone on if it was more accessible. I’m trying not to obsess about it too much.
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