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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7664
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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I have a very difficult 10 year old boy. He has been difficult

Customer Question

I have a very difficult 10 year old boy. He has been difficult since 18 months. He is very intelligent yet very irresponsible, doesn't listen to any request until you've told him for the 10th time and are yelling, blames all his problems on everyone else, and complains nonstop.

Last week his teacher came to me and said he was slacking, rushing through work, and making silly mistakes on homework and that she expects all A's from him. After talking to him, he justified it by the fact that on the last report card he got 1 B and I said it was still good so therefore he only needs to get B's. I told him until I saw that he started improving that he was to bring all homework home just for me to check. He only listened 1 day. Last night when I sat to help him review for a math test, he put on such an act, couldn't lift his head off the table, acted like he couldn't understand even simple things I know he knows. However, I know that if given the opportunity to go watch TV or play video games he wouldn't have been tired at all. After 2 hours, I gave up. He also didn't do the rest of his homework because he wasn't told he had to do it earlier. (He was with at his grandpa's and had every opportunity to do it.) Basically, he doesn't do homework or anything, even something as simple as making his bed unless I'm standing over him. I can understand the idea of picking and choosing battles, but this is every little thing, even things like putting shoes on to go to school. Right now all video games are gone until things improve.

I would like to say "you're on your own" to him for things like homework and other things unless he asks for help and willing to let him fail with the idea that it might spur him on to reverse his behavior. Yet, like I said, when you can't get him to get on his shoes for even school or things that there is no choice, he must do I still will be fighting the same battle. Would this tactic work? If not, any suggestions?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 4 years ago.
Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Dear concerned mother,

Your son seems to be suffering frm Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Predominantly Inattentive Type DSM-IV code 314.00).

The official crteria from the American Psychiatric Association Manual, DSM-IV, gives the following criteria:

Six (or more) of the following symptoms of inattention have continued for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental levels:

(Listing for Inattention only, not hyperactivity, according to the words of the manual:)

(A) Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
(B) Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities.
(C) Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
(D) Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behaviour or failure to understand instructions).
(E) Often has difficulty organising tasks and activities
(F) Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework).
(G) Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools).
(H) Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
(I) Is often forgetful in daily activities.

This is a treatable disorder and may involve the use of certain medications in order to calm his down and get him to pay attention to tasks. He is not being defiant or willfully misbehaving. He cannot help this, but his focus can be sharpened and he will begin to focus on his tasks at hand.

I strongly urge you to see a child psychiatrist, get him diagnosed and treated. It would probably he helpful to have him avoid all caffeinated beverages, anything with aspartame or MSG (most snack chips), or watching children's TV where the ads cut to as many as 40 different scenes in a 30 second spot, thereby reinforcing the inability to stay focused. Other activiites that are not related to videos are better to help him restore a brain function that can stay focused.

Finally, I recommend the following book (available at and elsewhere:

Parenting Children with ADHD: 10 Lessons That Medicine Cannot Teach (APA Lifetools) by Vincent J. Monastra

I hope this information has been helpful.

Warm regards,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC

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