Need help with teenage son!!

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    • #99157

      Hi, I have twin 14 year old boys that just started freshmen year at a private all boys school. Both boys were diagnosed with ADHD when they were five. But one of them was also diagnosed with ODD.
      It has been a roller coaster with him over the years. But lately I feel like I am losing what little control I had left.
      When he wakes up in the morning it is a battle to wake him up, I am met with a barrage of cuss words and insults. Once he “wakes up” he is nicer and calmer. But the mornings seem to be escalating. He plays hockey and last week he had tryouts and didn’t make a travel team (and not to sound like a bias mom, but he really should have, he got screwed). He has been been an emotional mess since. Always angry and broke down crying twice. His doctor has been wanting to put him on an antidepressant for the last year but I have been apprehensive. He takes 50mg of Vyvanse and she wants to start him on 150mg of Wellbutrin. He has an opportunity to tryout for another team tonight. Special arrangements were made but I worry about his commitment to hockey and his over all attitude.
      My husband has been threatening to divorce me and said it again this morning. We fight constantly over how to handle him. He wants to take away hockey completely. But I feel like if we take it away then he will fall apart and he won’t have that to balance out school. But I understand where my husband is coming from because why go through all this with hockey and pay all the money if he will somehow say something wrong to a team mate, or lose his temper and walk of the ice.
      Honestly, I am completely lost!
      Will the Wellbutrin help? Or am I just putting a bandaid on everything?

    • #99395
      Penny Williams

      The Wellbutrin could help, but may not.


      Either way, you need to dig deeper and find out what is causing the emotional outbursts. It sounds like he was struggling and lost what he felt he was good at and what was important to him (hockey), so he’s given up altogether. Sit down with him and ask him how you can help him. Ask what he enjoys and what he wants to spend his time on. Write it up as you’re talking. Then make a contract that parents will support him and provide opportunities with those things he wants, and he will do his best at school and in his interactions with parents.

      Right now he really needs some wins.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

      • #100425

        The twins have entered a totally new culture. It is difficult enough to deal with being twins, now they are being twins entering into this new atmosphere. You and your husband should not take away his extracurricular activities unless they are interfering with his studies. Are his grades in jeopardy? If the answer is no then he should continue his physical activity. Now for the medication. Sometimes it works, but for children, this should never be the only option. Have you checked on homeopathic remedies? a new pill is never the solution. Someone once told me, the medicine is killing us. The younger the age at which psychotropic meds are started, greater the chance reaching tolerance levels and the medications having to be changed again. What a merry-go-round. Try engaging the twins in Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Get them a role model that has time to spend with them, and answer those all too important questions when they arise. Also, keep the twins appointments with their counselors. Having that professionals engage in talk therapy with your son(s) could be just the solution to you letting go and them removing their latches.

    • #99493

      My perspective on this comes from: very late life diagnosis of adhd & diagnosed with anxiety and major depression in early twenties.Raised in a very anti-medication family – chaotic and volatile would be an understatement.I care for kids with adhd and asd in their homes a lot now so see the family dynamics of hundreds of families behind the scenes of their beautifully presented smiling facades.I know lots of people who take incorrect/way too much medication so understand people’s hesitation.

      Everyone did their best in my life but without question if I have any resentment/despair/sadness/grief about my younger years it is about my relatives not taking proper medication themselves or giving it to me.I inherited genetic disabilities which have made my life hell.Couldn’t concentrate, dramatically swinging moods wrecked personal school & business opportunities. When I finally took antidepressants in my late twenties I cried a lot because of the previous 15 years where i didn’t feel as calm and settled as I have since then.

      When I received my adhd diagnosis and medication at 46 I wept again because of years and years of progressively destroyed self-esteem and inability to function properly. I now see so many kids struggling and screaming and distressed with parents not wanting to medicate them sanely and kindly…and i have to ask”how on earth could you do this to them?” It’s like leaving them with a broken leg …staggering about with no crutches. So I’d give him sensible medication (it may take a few tries to get the correct one) and then time to cool down,calm down (adhd plays havoc with teenage hormones) and learn some boundaries.He’ll survive without hockey for a while…what he won’t survive is an adult life if he’s out of control and so badly behaved that no one wants to be his friend, roommate or employer:-(

    • #99555

      My 12 year-old son has ADHD and ODD symptoms also. He is insulting and hyper at times, and is sensitive to other’s needs at other times. He has a rough relationship with his 8 year old brother because of his mouth, but is gentle and caring towards his baby brother.

      He went through a rough time when we moved a year ago, away from his familiar school, friends, and football team. He got a concussion, went through puberty, and would stay in bed and be very hostile. We tried therapy, the provider wasn’t a good fit, and we plan on having him go to therapy again soon. I feel that therapy is very important to helping him grow out of ODD.
      If your son wants to continue with hockey, please keep him in it. Exercise is obviously important for proper brain function. My son always was generally more happy and excited about life when he has been in football or basketball.

      What has worked is he takes (over the counter dietary supplement with B vitamins) MRM Kids Attention Softgels, Supports Proper Brain Function, Promotes Focus & Concentration. I don’t give him all 3 daily recommended softgels since he takes a multivitamin (please check with medical provider & pharmacist before taking and dosage recommendation). I purchase this at my local Sprouts store and it is also listed on

      His Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist prescribed Vayarin supplement comprised of omega-3 fatty acids (Prescription medical food for the dietary management of ADHD in children, also they make one for adults) which can be ordered on
      He was also prescribed a low dosage antidepressant Duloxetine by the Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist after my son’s genetic testing results came back. His provider used the Genecept Assay genetic test by Genomind ( I highly recommend taking this test before choosing a prescription option. His results on the Genecept Assay Report clearly show what drugs listed under each drug category type are recommended or not recommended that may increase risk for adverse events or poor response. I knew that his body needed a different antidepressant than what I was prescribed years ago when I was on one since I didn’t have the same symptoms. I was depressed but didn’t have the hyperactivity or insult others like him (what works for one person won’t necessarily work for another.) His test results show that the medication I took previously and worked for me would be not recommended for him.
      Also, we are a family involved in the Christian faith and church. I regularly pray with my son and he prays on his own also. God is interested in every aspect of our lives. I know that when I choose to not worry about my son this frees God to bless him. When we worry, this ties God’s hands. When we praise him and know that He’s “Got This,” as in everything’s in His control, we can live a life of God’s rest and grace. Joseph Prince ( preaches this concept and explains it well using God’s spiritual principles found in the Bible. I really appreciate his laid back and no-nonsense approach to sharing God’s message of hope and restoration through salvation.

      I have been harsh with my words towards my husband in mentioning divorce in the past. My husband can be frustrating when he won’t stop bothering me when I ask him to especially when I’m feeling tired or sick. Mostly, these words come out of my mouth in frustration when my needs aren’t being met. I strongly recommend praying for God to bless you in every area of your life including your relationships. It is recommended by Charles Stanley to pray and ask for God’s wisdom in every decision we make. I am working at implementing this as well as not worrying.

      You are a strong, courageous Mom! How blessed are your children to have a mom who cares for them and shows it in raising them and advocating for them! Never give up! I know that our children are smart and will be successful as adults because they are resourceful in solving problems and have more intelligence/drive than the average person. I remind myself of this constantly. I am not worried about my son saying the wrong thing (it happens), I am concerned more about giving him advice through daily interactions and showing him how to navigate life, avoid people with wrong attitudes and addictions, look for good, healthy friendships, and a wife who is healthy in attitude, behavior, and comes from a loving/supportive family.

      Be encouraged!

    • #99557

      Also – with genetic testing – look for a provider who is “in-network” under your medical/health insurance plan for lower cost.

    • #99566

      Also – if you choose an prescription drug, ask the pharmacist about the possibility of causing drowsiness, my son takes his at night, and be careful about asking your medical provider and pharmacist about any negative drug interactions between medications if more than one prescription is prescribed. My son was prescribed two medications that both caused drowsiness, and anything that lowers the heart rate should be used only under close medical supervision. I kept my son on only one of the two medications, I found that in my son’s case, the antidepressant helped him and the other one didn’t make a difference. Please ask a lot of questions of your medical provider and pharmacist so you don’t get in the same situation I was in. I was alarmed after realizing that I should only have asked more questions in order to make a better decision for my son’s health.

    • #99974

      Hi, sorry it took me so long to respond.
      Thank you everyone for your advice and support. So since I last wrote…he is playing hockey for a different club. We got really lucky and he got a special tryout with a travel team and made it. He loves it!
      He has been on 150mg of Wellbutrin for a week now. It has not been going well. He has escalated his insults to me with the latest one about 2 hours ago where he called me a fu***** bi*** after I told him to get off video games.
      He has no sense of everything we do for him, private school, hockey, etc.
      He doesnt seem to care if he hurts my feelings or lets us down.
      Do I give the meds more time?

      • #100008
        Penny Williams

        I believe Wellbutrin takes 4-6 weeks to see full effects — ask the prescribing doctor.

        I challenge you to try to see things from his perspective. Analyze the way you talk to him. Our kids with ADHD are very sensitive — if he feels any judgement (if if you don’t intend it), he will lash out.

        He isn’t disrespecting you on purpose. He does care about doing well and meeting expectations.

        He’s at the age where he wants to have some independence and making decisions about himself. Set guidelines for contentious subjects, like video games. Ask him how he’s feeling. Validate his feelings and show empathy. Ask, “How can I help you?” You’ll be amazed at how much this improves things.

        ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

      • #100412


        AS FOR YOUR HUSBANDS RECOMMENDATION, he is correct, the boy cannot take much heed from you at this stage in his life> mothering time is over < even for a late maturing adhd boy> its time to ease him into mans world> consequences for his actions< and to start getting used to dissappointments and set backs<> and to become aware that his behavior will affect these things immediately and directly. if he learns now that his condition is something he must be responsible for< not you mom…then maybe he will leave the house in his twenties< and maybe have a shot at this struggle . its not for sure> if i were you > id let dad take over> he is lucky hes got one>

    • #100423

      Please look up vyvanse rage. This is a real side effect of that med. we had to switch my son to focalin. It sounds like you have some tools you can use for disrespect. Removal of video games or earning time on video games, removing a phone if he has one, and offering friends over for good behavior on the weekends… these all have helped with my son. Removing football for my son is a last resort bc it really does help with adhd symptoms.. so I am not suggesting you remove hockey.. however my son does know if I get any reports from school he misses practice for the day… and it has really helped. Get on the same page with dad… come up with a behavioral plan, and have dad handle your son for the most part. At this time in his life mom needs to step back.

    • #100432

      Meds are one piece of the puzzle, and getting the right mix can be tricky. Keep trying. Another piece revolves around the skills to handle whatever is causing the outbursts. (I agree with the previous poster who said that it will be helpful if you can figure out the causes of his outbursts.) The approach described in The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene was helpful for our family. It works from the premise that the child has a problem they need help solving, and the technique focuses on parent and child working together to co-create solutions – solutions that work for the whole family.

    • #100509

      I urge you and your husband to seek counseling. No matter how much we try to keep divisions with our spouse away from our kids, they can feel it. And they are affected by it. Also, kids will play the two of you off each other.

      The book “Fighting For Your Marriage” is a discussion on using PREP (Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program) method of communication. The techniques are as valid with discussing a grocery list as they are with discussing medications for the kids. It is about really listening and really being heard.

      I also urge you to look at TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention), developed by Karyn Purvis and run out of TCU. Her focus is on “children from hard places.” It fits in surprisingly well for kids with disabilities. There are many videos on YouTube that discuss various techniques. NOTE: In the videos, they discuss children who have been neglected and abused. Learning and apply the techniques is not a comment on your parenting skills or love for you children. It is a technique that works equally as well in a well-adjusted, healthy family.

    • #100416


      As a mom of two kids with ADHD – 12 and 15 – our stories are similar. After much trial an error I have found one approach to work consistently. Lives in balance by Ross Greene – collaborative problem-solving. Trust me – I was skeptical but desperate. I read his book ‘the explosive child’ recommendation. Every parent should read this book. I Gave his suggestions a try. Then I started to watch his videos, all free. I downloaded his free worksheets to guide me. It works. It helped. It takes practice. The results are worth the effort.

      Additionally, regarding the morning routine with my 15 yr old. Last year I bought the ECO dot for each kid. They were done being yelled at before school, and I was done being their frontal lobe. (LOL) Alexa is the result of our collaborative problem-solving. We sat down and worked backward… What time do we need to be in the car by? 7:10. What time do you need to have breakfast by? What time do you need to be dressed? What time do you need to be out of the shower? What time do you need to be up and in the shower? OK let’s set Alexa to wake you up daily, set Alexa to remind you through the morning routine. It worked. If they have time left over – they get to have their electronics. Hope this helps.

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