This can be a frightening period of time for a parent. Even a child with no sensitivity to ADD triggers will go off the handle when an adolescent. It’s not uncommon for very well adjusted children to feel at times worthless, powerless. The child flails about, lost in an unidentified rage one minute, loving and affectionate the next.
In 6th grade children seem to go through a brain drain. they forget everything they have been taught. They vacillate between wanting independence and taking their stuffed toys to bed. They do homework and forget to turn it in. They forget assignments and test the convenient lie escape. The only difference between a 6th grader and a kindergartner is the size of their shoes.
As the child progresses to 7th and 8th grade the insecurity gets worse. They feel impelled to taunt and deride those different from themselves. The tear down others unmercifully in order to “elevate” their own self esteem. Anything can trigger the derision from clothing color to behavior to a physical handicap or hair color difference. One day they are the perpetrator, the next the recipient.
Even children who are not sensitive to ADD triggers will fidget, cough and belch in class and at home for effect. This is a natural right of passage, not behavior requiring chemical intervention.
anaging Puberty RageWhat is required at this time is extreme parental patience. Magically one day all the misbehavior will cease. Your child will revert to the respectful well behaved child he was in 5th grade.
In order to nurture your child, you must draw a very large circle of love around him. Give him space to “collect his thoughts” when you would rather make wall decor out of him. Put your hands deep in your pockets when your child dishes out extremely rude verbal abuse. Parents have to learn to take very deep breaths, and not return the anger that appears to be directed at them.
Adolescent anger is merely an unfortunate, predictable side effect of the puberty process, similar to the “terrible twos’. It is indicative of the child striking out to find his own individuality, trying to find his self worth. The parent needs to take a step backward and give the child the freedom to step away and cool off, rather than engaging in all out verbal war with the child. Remember violence returned merely escalates.
Just like the terrible twos, the parent is best advised not to return the level of anger. This is a crucial learning period for the child. Parental behavior under these circumstances becomes the “acceptable adult behavior” for the mature child. Do not reinforce the verbal abuse with verbal abuse. Calm the child by rational response, even if you have to break dishes in the garage later in private to release the parental tension.
Child/Parent puberic verbal wars account for many homeless children living on the streets of large cities. The momentary rage is so powerful that the parent can mistakenly feed off it, and deliver rage and ultimatums impossible to uphold with a confused transitioning adolescent child.
For a child already sensitive to ADD trigger chemicals puberty is an extreme gauntlet to cross. Not only do they have the same feelings of a normal developing adolescent, but they are intensely heightened. What might be simple rage in a normal child becomes hopeless suicidal tendencies in sensetives. The parent must stay in tune with the child. If he expresses suicidal tendencies, IMMEDIATELY get the child psychological help as well as testing for all the ADD trigger sensitivities. You child’s life might hang in the balance.
The best cure is to forgive and to hug. A forgiven child can bounce back. A hug, when the child will accept it, reinforces the closeness that they still need. They won’t have to search for the love and reassurance they really want from the parent through gangs, drugs, alcohol or promiscuous sexual behavior.
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