How to handle the attitude problem?


New Member
Hi all. My son is 10 and has diagnosis of DMDD (though not sure if that really fits). No current medications.

Lately, our problems seem to revolve around arguing and bad attitude. It's a major improvement from the intense meltdowns we're used to - though that does happen sometimes (sometimes instigated by us trying to correct the attitude) - but it's a real issue at home and at school. We want to crack down on it, but are torn between harsh consequences and "picking our battles."

To give an example, we might say "come down for dinner" or "brush your teeth" or "pick up that laundry" and then we're met with 'OMG what is WRONG with you" or "why are you YELLING at me!" (we're not) and exaggerating about how demanding we are. There's also a lot of mocking of his siblings and general mean-spiritedness - small things, but disruptive and rude, and calling it out just causes us all more problems when it becomes a freak-out and denial from him about what literally JUST happened. So it's like walking on eggshells, trying to avoid the major freakout, but also trying to correct this attitude and disrespect problem because he comes off like a jerk.

Where do you draw the line? What kind of consequences do you use? His main motivator is video games, which we use as incentive to behave, but when we're out and about and away from the video game - it's hard for that to be enough motivation for him to stop a behavior. Any advice? Thanks!


Well-Known Member
Ok. There are no simple answers. If it was that easy, nobody would be here. Just like if calling the police stopped violence in school there wouldnt be any fights, but they do that now and it doesnt matter to certain kids.

I wonder if he was ever taken to either a neuropsychologist (this is a highly trained paychologist with extra training in the brain) or a group of pediatric specialists at, say, a university clinic? These are the best resources for a good, thorough evaluation that can help you get to the bottom of all that may be different in your child. Obviously he has much less srlf control than most kids and may benefit from interventions. But you need to know what is really wrong first. Testing intensively was very helpful to our son and many kids.

This in my opinion is not a parenting issue and ypur son is not a "brat." He is wired differently. You probably already tried consequences. If not try them first. Most of our kids that bring us here do not change due to consequences. In fact that can cause a rage and broken things.

I have a great book recommendation besides urging a thorough evaluation..."The Explosive Child" by Ross Greene is a wonderful resource.

No easy answer, but wish you the best!