Ask the Experts

Q: How Can I Teach Flexibility to My Argumentative Teen with ADHD?

Teaching flexibility to a child — especially one who digs in his heels and refuses help when frustrated — is not easy. The first step is to adopt a calm, unaffected tone. The second is to cut out the lectures. For more advice on helping your teen accept the help he needs, read on.

Listen to “The Social Lives of Boys with ADHD”

Q: “My 13-year-old son can be very argumentative and oppositional when he’s frustrated, particularly when I try to help him with homework. His inflexibility around accepting help seems to have become worse as he’s become older. Is there anything I can do to help him be more willing to accept help without the argumentativeness?”

A: “Inflexibility is accommodated; flexibility is cultivated. And there is a tipping point for kids who have a propensity for being inflexible. At around age 14, if their inflexibility has been accommodated for many years, those kids are more likely to become less receptive to accepting help and learning from other people. That is a problem because often that doesn’t go away until they develop the level of maturity needed to accept help, and that could be many years away…”


Ryan Wexelblatt, LCSW is the facilitator of the ADHD Dude Facebook Group and YouTube channel. Ryan specializes in working with males (ages 5-22) who present with ADHD, anxiety with ADHD, and learning differences; he is the one professional in the United States who specializes in teaching social cognitive skills to boys from a male perspective.

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