FranklyStein: Yelling at my ADHD son

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Do you ever feel it’s ok to lose your temper with your kids?

I know it’s a big no no. But what about when you are dealing with a tween whose pushing your buttons and you’re running late for school and the other kids are all outside and you’ve been holding it together all morning but he keeps on pushing. Is it ok to yell at that point?

I did yesterday. I totally lost my cool. I admit it. It’s the first time I’ve done it in a long time and I’m not really sorry. It yielded the desired affect; we got out of the house. But it was pretty ugly.

I’ve battled with yelling over the years. I have a son with ADHD and there have been some really difficult times. I know that yelling generally revs him up and makes matters much worse, so I’ve really had to practice patience. And things have gotten much better. He’s improved with age, and I’ve figured out the best way to handle situations that arise … most of the time.

Yesterday morning there was last minute quizzing of vocab words that revealed he didn’t know them as well as he should. I calmly continued to quiz him as his anxiety level increased. Then it was time to go, but his brand new shoes were uncomfortable. None of the options I presented were acceptable, so he angrily shouted for me to leave. He was not going to school. That’s when my patience cracked.

I watched a video over the weekend of a speech given by Dr. Ben Carson. At one point in the speech he talked about how his illiterate and very poor mother never accepted any excuses from her sons. When he tried to give an excuse for anything, his mother would ask him if he had a brain. If he answered yes, she would tell him to use it to figure out how to fix the situation. I made my son watch that part of the speech. He is the king of excuses, and I’ve asked him several times in the past couple of days if he has a brain. He’s not thrilled by my new tactic.

I struggle with how to make my son see outside of his own little box and to start taking responsibility for the things that happen in his life. I know that he struggles with anger and that it’s hard to have ADHD, but at some point, every kid has to stand up and be responsible.

I just wish I didn’t have to yell to make it happen.

Read more FranklyStein here.

Click here for tips on how to battle the ADHD homework wars.

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FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 14, Lilly, 12, Adam, 12, and Jonah, 8.