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How Can I Teach My 13 Year Old RESPECT for Adults?

When my son was about 7 years old, his biological father gave up his rights to my husband. Therefor, my husband adopted my son (who is now 13 years old). My son and my husband love each other, but are constantly fighting. At school, our son is very disrespectful and has a tough time doing his work even though he is tested as a GIFTED child. He may be ADHD and/or ODD, but I refuse to have him labelled as so by a doctor. I am currently giving him caffeine to help him concentrate better in school, but that doesn't help with RESPECT. He hangs out (in school) with kids with similar issues. I know this, because I recently went to school with him for one whole day. Our son has been grounded since October, because he keeps getting in trouble and refuses to bring his grades up to A's and B's. BUT, I've currently got him on a daily point system to help him bring his grades up (he's able to earn privileges on a day to day basis). But, if he keeps showing disrespect to the teachers, it hinders him. How do we teach RESPECT for adults? What are we doing wrong??

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Because of everyone's advice, my husband and I have started showing Jacob respect no matter what comes out of his mouth to us. Our son is still grounded, but due to the point system he EARNS privileges on a day to day basis. And can even earn weekend privileges when he has a good week.

Featured Answers

Some of it is the age, they can have quite an attitude. You must let him know that it is not ok to be disrespectful. If you can, get him involved in Boy Scouts, it is a great program that the whole family can be involved in and definatley teaches respect.

It's the age... i was the same way the more my parents demanded respect for them and the teachers the more disrespect i gave. he will grow out of it. until then remember deep breathing helps!

Hello it might be he is in a power struggle with some one... maybe the teachers need to work harder on earning his respect.. plus there might be other things going on that you are not aware of at school... i know it takes time but also maybe take him to a shelter to volanteer 1 day a week or do some form of community work...but as a marine wife i am a big fan of military school's

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I don't understand why you would want to hinder him by refusing to have him evaluated for AD/HD and possibly ODD. Being gifted is one thing- and you say he is - so why limit his potential? Caffeine is a stimulant, and I understand that you are giving him that in place of the medications that a doctor would prescribe - but it's probably not really a healthy alternative. Caffeine affects the kidneys, increasing urination, which can lead to dehydration. This coupled with effects of caffeine withdrawal could actually be hindering your son instead of helping him. There are other therapies besides medicinal ones - diet changes, exercise changes, positive reinforcement, and actual counseling - a psychologist could help you come up with a course of action to help your son, without prescribing meds. I am a bit anti-meds myself, but I think that refusing to have your son tested just to avoid the label is not helping him any.

You can't force anyone to respect someone else. As far as school goes, if he is truely gifted then he is probably bored. If he doesn't understand something (even gifted kids don't always understand everything!) then that could be contributing to his behavioral issues. Being grounded since October tells me that whatever "grounded" means in your family is ineffective - the punishment isn't changing his behavior so you need to change the punishment.

Since AD/HD children tend to be a bit less mature, perhaps you should do for him like you would for a younger child - "catch" him respecting adults and reward him for it. When he speaks in a respectful tone to you and your husband, thank him for it and show him that you appreciate it. Maybe after several times of "catching" him being respectful, you can reward him with something small - a video game rental if he'd into video games, and extra hour to stay up late on the weekend (if you still enforce bedtimes), pizza & soda on friday night, take him to do something together like bowling (or allow him to go without you but with a few friends)if he's respectful all week... you will have to change the rewards to fit his desires and personality... and also change them frequently since children quickly get bored the the same reward.

Also, speak to him and treat him respectfully. Children mimic the behavior they see at home - so if you aren't respectful to him or your husband (or if your husband isn't respectful to you or your son), then your son will mimic that behavior.

Just my two cents....

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Hi A.,
I was a teacher (K-12) so I have worked with kids of all ages. I can only speak from a teacher's point of view on this. His attitude and behavior toward adults is really not unusual at 13. Most of this acting out is just his way of exploring and establishing his growing independence as he moves into adulthood. Do you know if any adult that he looks up to or enjoys spending time with? Perhaps this person could help mentor your son. Mentoring is such a powerful tool that gets underutilized. It doesn't have to be a mentoring program, just someone that he feels he can relate to and will listen to.
Also, with him being gifted, it is important to find his interests and encourage that. Does he like music, art, sports, martial arts, etc? It will give him an avenue to build self-esteem and vent some frustration. It is not easy being a teenager today, so it is important to focus on his positive qualities and not just the negative things he does.
My husband was also adopted by his stepfather after his dad gave up his legal rights. This is difficult for kids, esp when they can remember or still have a relationship with their biological father. I know it was very confusing for my husband as a kid. I don't think he fully understood what happened back then and I know it hurt him more than he will acknowledge. All I am saying is that a variety of issues affect a teenagers self-esteem- things that you may not even think of. It is important to understand and recognize all aspects of what could be causing some of his behaviors in order to be able to address them.
Good luck and I hope things get better.

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I was a middle / high school teacher for 6 year prior to staying home with my son. Many of the children I taught were ADD or ADHD. This sounds like a very familar situation. However, I can only tell you what I have seen as a teacher because my little one is only 2.

First show him you care. Make sure he knows you are there to love and support him and to help him make the right decisions.

Second, is he involved in anything? Many kids that are diagnosed with ADD are not involved in school sports or clubs because their grades do not meet the requirements. However, there are programs such as ROTC that instill the values of respect and also get other teachers involved if there is a problem at school. I also taught martial arts for many years, there is good and bad in this art, but it does teach focus and respect (given the right school and teacher). A sport that is physical (running, swimming) that does not require team effort allows him to participate without the fear of failing a team. Coaches also keep a close eye on their students grades and attitude at school.

Third, if you are totally opposed to Meds and lables, I would suggest locating a Natural Medicine Dr in your area. Many times Ins will not cover it, but often there are many factors in diet that can effect a childs behavior. He may be allergic to foods, he may be lacking some vitamin that could help him focus better. There are many natural supplements that will help with ADD. If that is really what he has. Often diet will change kids completely.

Help him learn to be in control of his life, rather than him feeling that everything controls him. Help him understand cause and effect. His actions now will effect him later, being it repeting classes or hurting his chances for doing something he would really like because of his attitude. Give him some choices when you can and help him learn to own responsibility for his actions.

Good luck, God Bless

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Grounded since October?!?!?! Wow, I think I would be showing my behind too! Why not? Always in trouble anyway so whats new? Kids learn respect the same way they tend to learn anything else.. by example. And any attention (even negative) is better in a kids mind, than none soooo, maybe you can try letting up a bit? Start small.. set a goal with your son with a small reward if he complies... say 1 day of respectful behaviour for 1 day of not being grounded for starters. Work with his teachers.. ask them to send you a 'good note' if he is well behaved for example. "Catch" him being respectful towards others (not just adults) Think positive positive positive! Yes, kids this age can be truly rebellious.. Bless you and good luck! I'm sure you will find the right answer for your family on how to deal with this.

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A. understand that this is something 13 year olds go through. Respect starts at home and it is our job as parents to give respect in order to get respect. Right now it sounds like your son is testing his boundaries. I went through the same thing with my son and instead of taking things away all the time (which by the way didnt work) I started spending more time with him doing things he liked to do. Not to take the place of his friends but to understand him more. Something else I learned about my son was that he was upset that after 7 years he was not the baby any longer. I also had a little girl after I thought I was finished having children. Another thing I learned was it was hard seeing my son become a pre-teen. I was so used to doing everything for him but now he wants to do it himself. With a little rope and trust and respect that your son will make the right decisions things will turn around. Just dont give up, raising children is hard work and if we want them to grow up to be productive people, we have to stay on them. Believe me it will pay off. Invite his friends over also, if they are disrespectful at your home then they are are disrespectful at their home. Point that out to your son and he will be able to see that is not how you are to treat adults. Good luck A.

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every child id so very different. I have a 20 year old and 11 year old step children...i also have a 4 year old and a 9 month old. I'm only a secondary parent to the older two but i council my husband. We found with the two older ones that finding their buttons(older one-his car, younger one-her phone...and consistently removing these things for consistant bad behavor worked. we told them disrespecting us 3 times and it would be removed...then when it happened-you just say 1 or 2 or 3...at first it was horrible-they whined but we just said"we don't talk to you that way-therefore we don't expect you to address us that way"it's not a perfect system and it may not work for yours but it also works on my 4 year old...we put his favorite toys in time out and he has to earn them back...hope this helps

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I was a middle school teacher until I decided to be a stay at home mom, so I have seen cases like this time and time again. It's hard to know how to offer specific advice without knowing exactly how he's being disrespectful. I think that generally, a child at that age has to see an end in site. If he's been grounded since October then he probably feels like he might as well do whatever he wants since he's always grounded anyway. I'm sure you've told him that you think he needs to be more respectful, but it sounds like you might need a good old fashioned intervention. Sit him down and tell him exactly what he's doing that is disrespectful. Explain to him that it's unacceptable and that it simply can't continue. Give him a goal...maybe he needs short term goals if you suspect he has ADHD. Have his teachers fill out a DAILY progress report, something very easy and non-time consuming, possibly a form you create that the teachers can circle his performance for the day. If he gets a good report for that day, then lift his grounding status. If he gets a bad report the next day, then back to being grounded. This is what some kids need. For some kids, saying "If you do well for this entire quarter, then we'll reward you" is not enough...it's too long a period of time, especially for a kid who is easily distracted. For many kids, especially during adolescence (which is a very self centered age) they need to be forced to show respect. Make sure that you and your husband are always respectful of one another. Make sure that you're always respectful of your children, even when they are doing wrong. Leading by example is so important. Force him to treat you the way you treat him. If he can't do that, then he needs to be shown that it's not acceptable. Taking away friends or television may not be enough. Make him write a letter of apology explaining why what he did was not acceptable. There are just so many ways you could work this. Of course, I would pray for him daily...eventually, he'll probably come around.

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Unfortunately, it is hard to teach kids that are very people savvy to give respect to people who do not deserve it, like adults that are phony or contrived. Kids HATE phoniness and do not understand it. And the more confident ones will challenge the adults on it. As you can imagine, this never goes over well in the schools.

We teach that kids must give respect to ALL grown ups, even if that person is a loser and shouldn't be teaching. The public schools are full of 'em.

Instead of teaching to absolutely give respect to adults, (which should be earned and not given freely), perhaps you could go along the lines of, "yeah, this teacher is probably ...[lacking in some way]...but if you act this way to them, yer gonna get SNUFFED out by the school, because THEY DON'T CARE. Hide yourself and let yr true Self come out, when it's SAFE [that teacher is not around]..."

FORCING people never works. EVER. They need to decide for themselves. If you, with all your smarts, can come up with a good "game" plan for this person to "play", then you'll be rockin' and rollin'.

LIFE IS A GAME, never forget that.

Good luck!
C., RN

It's the age... i was the same way the more my parents demanded respect for them and the teachers the more disrespect i gave. he will grow out of it. until then remember deep breathing helps!


I am a high school teacher, and I see this problem all the time. I have found that most children like your son cannot help what they do. There is just something in their brains that fails to tell them that this is unacceptable behavior. Remember, we all have labels. You seem to be okay with the label of "gifted" but you have a problem with the label of ADD or ODD. These things are illnesses that he can no more help than if he had any other illness. If your son needs help, who cares about a label? If he would be happier and you would be happier if he is treated, what does it matter? If he has one of these conditions, it is robbing him of the opportunity of succeeding, and it isn't his fault.
Personally, as one in the educational community, I've not seen any sort of stigma attached with these diagnoses. Times have changed. This is just a personal opinion. I am not a doctor and don't claim to be one, but I have seen the fallout from situations such as this.

I have a friend who is having a smiliar problem, and they are going to counseling. The counselor told her to NOT give him caffeine because caffeine can make them irritated, like if you are hooked on your coffee, and you don't get it, you get a headache and are grumpy? same for the kid. not a good route to go.
If he truly has ADHD, then it can be treated. Just because a doctor thinks he has it doesn't mean he has to be medicated to the point where he's a zombie. But if he does have it, not much you are doing is going to work.
I would suggest going to a counselor as a family to work together. It seems to be working for my friend who has had years of problems. He's learning how to control his anger.

Geeze that is a tough one. I remember my son at that age and now i look at me 14 year old grandson. With my grandson i let him know i am hurt and embarrassed and he has done it, to me! His gramma who loves him. Guilt i guess you would call it. I don't desire his company and i make him apologize to me and others he has showed off in front of. This has to be done before there is any fun. My sone i just use to wait till i would get around his friends and act like he would chew gum like an idiot, laugh like a warthog seriously though even in the school office, get right in his face and make the finger signs he made and just act like a pig. I told him when he quit i would stop. He stopped, he even went to church on sunday cause he wanted me to stop going skating with him on sat nites. Takes time and effort to be a parent. Sometimes we have to get into their heads and think like they do to make them see how horrible they look when all else fails. Really

My best advice for teenagers is show an interest in what they are doing. You have to spend as much time with teenagers as you do with your younger children. It is just a different kind of time. I have four step-daughters and 3 biological children. There is an 11 year difference between my first child and my youngest step-daughter. My husband and I encouraged the girls to do well in school and do a sport. For years we got up every weekend at 5am and took the whole family, babies and all to one daughter's rowing events. As a teacher, I told my step-daughters that the 'brown-noser' students actually got away with more at school and had more fun. I explained it was their choice how they acted but they shouldn't be surprised with the consequences. I suggest that you talk with your son, not lecture and make sure you do things with him. I would also encourage to get involved with a sporting club, music, drama, ROTC anything that interests him. Good luck, it sounds like you have a typical 13 year old. That is the age when teenagers rebel against the same sex parent who has been their role model for so long. It can be very tiring. If you keep talking with your son, in a few years he will have forgotten how difficult it was. Someday when he has teenagers you can remind him!

Some of it is the age, they can have quite an attitude. You must let him know that it is not ok to be disrespectful. If you can, get him involved in Boy Scouts, it is a great program that the whole family can be involved in and definatley teaches respect.

I think that the root of the issue is the ADHD & ODD. I don't understand why you will not let a doctor help you. My 15 yr old son was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and borderline Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 4 years ago by a pediatric psychiatrist. He had symptoms since infancy but we always thought we could handle everything on our own. When he started suffering socially at school, I realized that this was beyond me and he needed professional help. He started the medication needed to balance the chemical imbalance and is functioning normally! The doctor also put him through therapy with a psychologist which helped greatly. That lasted only 1 year before the therapist released him. I urge you to get professional help. It really changed my family's life.

I would recommend reading Family First by Dr. Phil. Also, fighting in front of children causes a lot of angst and fear in them, even if they don't show it. Keep the fighting in private and maybe enroll him in a martial arts class, which focuses on respect and self discipline. Don't forget he may have a lot of hurt feelings where his bio- father is concerned. I think you are right to be concerned about labeling him. I graduated with a degree in psyc. with a focus on family studies. True ADHD/ODD should not just be diagnosed by a medical DR. The fact that he was tested and found to be gifted could in fact work against him in a school environment if he is not kept focused. There are so many factors in this story that could contribute to his issues. Please don't take all the responsiblity on your shoulders. I think as parents it makes us feel better to blame ourselves because then we can just change ourselves and everything will get better.

I was diagnosed with Adult ADD when I was 19 years old. I DO NOT feel like I am labeled however. I think that by taking medication, my life is now in my control and not ADD's control. You should think again about getting your son on medication and I bet you will see him improve in EVERY aspect of his life. I also feel like caffeine is a bad idea. It has too much of a short term affect and you would not want him to become dependent on it at such a young age.

Get "The Heart of Anger" by Lou Priolo. Sounds like it would be perfect for you and your child.

Hi there,
I have to first and foremost say...it has got to be tough to feel like you aren't doing something right. I agree with the other ladies for sure about the grounding him since October. It doesn't give him any reason at all to change his behavior if there is no light at the end of the tunnel. I have an autistic child, who is very high functioning in academics, a child that is a motor mouth adhd I am sure (he currently lives with his dad and he won't get him tested), and another that was horrible at age 4 but at age 13 is an amazing, and respectful young man. First of all. Your son has got to be dealing with some frustrations and feeling pretty hurt that his dad just dropped him like a hot potato, and if it is ever pointed out to him (and I make no assumptions of such) that your new husband adopted him, it may just make it worse. To get respect you have to show respect. Let him know that. Stay as calm as possible. If you feel yourself losing it...I have learned a little trick. Instead of screaming, ranting and raving or even raising my voice...I lower it and talk softly and as calmly as my body will allow. Why?? Because in order for my sons to hear me, they have to calm down and listen. It works!! I would definitely let a doctor take hold of the situation. Medications are not always the answer, but if he is acting out so much...maybe a short three month run (it takes atleast 30 days for most meds to take full affect) is worth a try. Don't make any decisions yet. But do see someone who works with children regularly. And NOT just his pediatrician. You need someone your son can talk to, and a 15 minute appointment is not going to help him at all. Your son obviously needs someone he can trust outside your family he can talk to. Give it a try. And when you really feel pissed off...calm down and say son, I am sorry you feel so angry, can I hug you? He at first may not like the idea, but a child always wants to please his parents. Set rules, but not ones that set him up for failure. If he is rude and disrespectful explain that if he wants to be treated like a man, he first has to act like one, talk like one, and be firm. Don't use his ADHD as a crutch...or his intelligence. He is still only 13! He needs guidance he can trust will get him through this hard time for all of you. I am sure if he is fighting with your husband, being grounded all the time, that it affects everyone in the home. But in order to treat the problem you first have to get him to tell you what is bothering you.

First of all, I wish you good luck! 13 is a tough age (I taught 8th grade for almost 5 years, so I'm quite familiar with it). It is also a wonderful age, IMO. I loved teaching that age because their lives are such rollar coasters, and it is wonderful to help them figure out how to level out some of the ups and downs of teenage life.

I understand your that "a label" sounds like a terrible thing, but ADD is really something that a child cannot help, and although a percentage of children can be helped with diet changes and nutritional additives (like caffine), the majority truly need medication to maximize their abilities. IMO, it sounds like your child may fall into that category.

Please do not skip my post though. :-)

I have a very good friend that has a child with brain damage from being born at 31 weeks and all of the complications that come along with that. She is VERY anti-medication, but her child's neurologist just told her that her daughter will have ADD (due to the location of the brain injury), and that the percentage of children that can be helped without meds is only 10%. My friend was CRUSHED! She explained her feelings about meds for ADD, and her neuro put it like this:

"Medication for ADD is a choice; but it's a choice that can improve their quality of life. It isn't necessary to survive, but it will impact how she survives."

To me, that is a totally different way of looking at it than I'm used too. As a teacher, I had way to many parents see it as "necessary," which it isn't. But, boy can it help those kids who TRULY NEED it.

Good luck with your decisions. Respect is a common issue at 13, but I imagine that it is truly exacerbated with the irregular way that his brain is processing information and stimulus.


The decision to have your son diagnosed is a very personal one, but as a parent of a child with autism and two children with ADHD, I faced these choices too. I fought to have the diagnosed removed from my daughters record only to find out when she got to college that with the diagnosis she would have had much needed help and support. So, the diagnosis and "labels" have actually helped, also, the schools are very cautious to keep this confidential, especially when its something slight. So, talk about it with others in this situation, ask someone trustworthy in the school about services, perhaps you can can have help without this label. What kind of person is the principal or counserlors? A word of caution is that usually, their main concern relates to nickels and dimes. Don't think that their main concern is always for your child, this is teacher to teacher, principal to principal, school to school...

As far as grounding permanently, this never works. Look for a way for him to earn privilidges that he wants back..., What does he want? What would he work for? Deos he have a girl friend where phone and computer time (with supervision) would work? what is he trying to tell you, by his behavior, it sounds like he is acting out. You may need the help of a professional, at this age there is still time, but you have to act soon. If he was diagnosed, the school would be compelled to help you set in place a behavioral plan, after a functional behavioral assessment. I hope that this doesn't sound like mumble jumble you may have to contact help from an advocate (usually free) to find this kind of help.

The best approach is to try to team up with the school if this is an option. Again, It depends on the school. Punitive, measures like long term groundings rarely work. At 13 our childrens brains are still not fully developed and they see this as a personal attack on them, which fuels and supports their vision that they need to defend themselves and continue with the "bad" behavior. Again, a method to help him earn things that he wants and figuring out why he is doing this can help. The first thing to do is to "define the problem" in order to start seeking solutions, with your sons input. And yes, when they feel attacked children seek those whom they seem as being in a similar situation, which ususlly exacerbates the problem.

I know that this is a page full, I hope it makes sense,

Good luck,

a mom

Hello it might be he is in a power struggle with some one... maybe the teachers need to work harder on earning his respect.. plus there might be other things going on that you are not aware of at school... i know it takes time but also maybe take him to a shelter to volanteer 1 day a week or do some form of community work...but as a marine wife i am a big fan of military school's

First of all - if you "thought" your child might be diabetic or seizure prone would you take him to the doctor to have him labled? If you child is ADHA, ODD or ABC you need to know it! There is so much that can be done with diet and with medication. My nephew lives with us and he is also 13 years old. He is ADHD and we have tried to forego the medication; however he simply cannot control himself without it. We are teaching him to control his actions while he is on the meds and hopefully one day when we DO take him off of it he will have learned some self discipline. As far as respect for authority we also have that problem. When the nephew came here to live he had no respect for female authority because of the way his mother behaves and I explained to him that he did not have to LIKE his teachers; however, he does have to respect them. This opened up a whole new world to him. We also took away every privilege that he had here and did not return them until his grades came up and he put forth more effort. He has been here for about 6 weeks and his grades have improved dramatically and so has his attitude. For the first time in his life someone "cares" if he gets his work done and he is beginning to like as well as respect his teachers. He also has no contact with his biological father so I know some of what you are dealing with. Have your child tested and move forward don't worry about lables from others. Good Luck!

Hi A., I have the similar problem with my 13
year old daughter. I have found that grounding does not work, the same thing keeps happening over and over again. I have found that the best rememdy is a good line of communication with her. Talk to your son and ask him if something is bothering him. How long have you been having this issue with him? If it has not been too long, it may be that there is still some jealousy in the air from the new baby. He may be acting out his frustrations of jealousy to get attention to put himself back in the spotlight. Just talk to him, and let him know that he is still a very important part of the family, make him feel needed, try giving him more responsibilities with the other child and let him help with preparing meals and stuff like that and see if it helps any. Good Luck.

I understand how difficult of a decission it is to put a child on medication. You might want to get a book called. "Healing ADD" by Dr. Amen He really educated us about how the brain works and sometimes doesn't work. There is a section about setting up family rules and parenting tips. He also talks about suppliments and diet. If you do decide to choose medication, keep a log of all of his behavior and stay in contact with the Dr. every week. It's not always likely that the first medication is the one that works and certainly the first dose will be too low...but maybe not, it's trial and error. You are probably not doing anything wrong, with ADD the frontal cortex of the brain is not fully functioning and those types of behavior come with the territory. We LOVE the results we are getting from medication. Our son is happier, more confident, loving, and reaching his fullest potential right now. He's not a zombie....when the first medication gave us a behavior that we didn't like, we called the dr. and they put him on another kind and he is such a wonderful child on the other type we put him on.
Good Luck.....C.

As a "GIFTED" child myself(well was) I know how frustrating it is to hear people use that as a reason why your grades shouldn't be slipping or you should be getting better grades. Why is it okay to have him labeled in what is perceived to be a good way but not when getting him the help he may need, ADHD, ADD and ODD are not labels they are true medical issues that need adressing for his benefit and future you can't fix a problem unless you are willing to admit there is one. Are you afraid of having him labeled or yourself?

treatment is available for all of you, learning to deal with his behavior. everyone needs to participate not just him. I have a nephew who has suffered way to long due to it being his problem and no one elses, as a child he faces issues on a daily basis we forget exist and if he can't slow himself down enough dealing with them may not be possible. CAusing frustration and the disrespect he is showing to all the adults around him. Maybe he felt he could turn to these adults instead of them reminding him how he is always wrong he would start to improve his behavior.

This sounds like a frustrating situation...But have you ever considered that children show the same amount of respect they get? If I were you, I would stop punishing him and instead treat him more like an adult. Give him the same respect you would give someone your own age, talk to him honestly, let him know that he can trust you and that you are on his side in life. There must be some reason he isn't getting good grades--if he has ADHD symptoms and you don't want to medicate him, see if you can find triggers in his diet. Maybe he just doesn't learn well in a school environment. Would you ever consider taking him out of school and giving him more flexibility and choices in his life so that he feels more in control and doesn't have to act out to express himself?

Frankly, I can't imagine how grounding him for five months or more would give him any incentive to change his behavior. What did he do to deserve that? Burn down the neighbor's house?!

Your son is obviously very angry, hence his disrespectful attitude towards adults. Only he knows why he is so angry, but I would guess it has something to do with the fact the his father virtually gave him away at age seven. How devastating for a child. Also, you have remarried and have a "new" kid. Maybe he wonders if you will give him away, too.

I would seriously rethink having him evaluated for ADD or ODD. At this point, what do you have to lose?? If his body simply requires medication in order for him to function properly in school (and possibly curb his disrespectful attitude), it would seem like a win-win.

Right now, you have a kid who is NOT living up to his potential and is disrespectful to boot. Would "being labeled" be any worse than what is going on now? Like it or not, he IS being labeled already--his teachers are "labeling" him as disrespectful, uncooperative, and underachieving.

This kid need a chance to achieve some successes. If medication can do that, I would definitely try it. Take him to a child psychologist and have him tested. If he had cancer, surely you would allow him to receive the proper medication for that, and not "treat" him yourself by giving him caffeine.

(Caffeine is probably CONTRIBUTING to the problem by making him even more hyper.)

Good luck!

Respect is something that is learned while the maturation process is taking place. In my opinion, at 13, he should have that concept locked down. As for the ADHD, I can totally understand your feelings on that labeling issue. I have a 6-yr old nephew who recently has been "labeled" and now that we know what the problem is, it has been so much easier for us to deal with it. Also, he is on medication (which his mother researched diligently) and his attention span and everything has gotten so much better. He is an excellent student gradewise and now his behaviour matches. Just a note, caffeine is one of the worse things to give a child who suffers from ADHD. We've learned, through trial and error, that there are certain foods that act as a trigger to the "wild" behaviour.


Number One - If he has been grounded since October, then that is obviously not working and you need to find an alternative punishment with more effect.

Number Two - If he is a gifted child, then most likely he is just bored and probably more advanced in his line of thinking that most of the children and adults around him. It is very hard for a teenager to respect people when he deems himself smarter than them. You reinforce this attitude, as well, if you pedestal him and always point out that he is gifted. Let him know he is smart, but don't point it out every time he gets in trouble. (ex. "You're too smart for this kind of behavior. I just don't understand.")

The only real advice I can give you is work with him. Spend time with him. Talk with him. He needs to learn to like you as a person before he will respect you as a parent. AND, if you have a better relationship with him, he will not want to be in trouble. If he is teased when he is in school for being smart, he also might be doing things to fit in.

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