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  #1  
Old 10-16-11, 04:04 PM
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Breaking things

My 12 year old son is constantly breaking things, even his own things. When questioned as to why he broke it he doesnt know or he didnt do it even when I know he is the only one that could have done it. I am at my witts end dealing with his destructive behavior. He takes pens apart looses the pieces and then they cannot be used. He removes doorknobs from doors and looses the pieces and then I have to buy new handles. Today he ripped apart one of my fridge magnets I had bought in Vegas. It was a small martini glass with poker cards sticking out the top and he just ripped the cards off it. I was so frustrated and angry I marched to his room took the airsoft gun he had been playing with out of his hand and told him to come with me. I asked him why he had broken my magnet and he replied I dont know so I took his toy gun and threw it against the concrete breaking it into pieces and said there I dont know why I did that either. I know this is not appropriate behavior for me but I just dont know what to do - and its not just my stuff he breaks he breaks his own toys as well and then they are useless.
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Old 10-16-11, 05:42 PM
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Re: Breaking things

Maybe he is repeating behavior he is seeing? You breaking his toy by throwing it and telling him that you don't know why you broke it, to try to show that breaking things without reason is bad, is only going to reinforce his behavior. Also, because he broke your little souvenir magnet you respond to that by breaking his toy that he was playing with it? Seriously, come on now. Monkey see monkey do. I know it can be frustrating, but being a good role model is more important then whatever memories were attached to that magnet.

Try to change his environment, games, movies that have destruction in them, remove it. You own anger control it. Focus his energy elsewhere. Is he involved in sports, how often does he play outside, how much attention is he getting, do you spend time with him talking to him to doing homework or productive things with him. Is he trying to get attention and knows breaking things will get it? A lot of questions needs to be asked here first.
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Old 10-16-11, 05:46 PM
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Re: Breaking things

First of all, awesome name
Your son probably doesn't mean to break things - my guess would be that he just fidgets and takes things apart almost unconsciously. I also have issues with impulse control, as I'm sure your son does, and I know that it can be hard to decide between the angel and the devil, the "my mom will kill me if I do this" and the "but ohmygod it looks so fun." To NTs, it probably seems like a no-brainer to go with the angel on something as simple as tearing apart a magnet, but for ADDers it's much more difficult to suppress your impulses. Maybe getting him something to fidget with like a stress ball or something would help? It's definitely a better option than destroying his things, that will only make him feel as though you're bullying him for things he truly can't help.
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Old 10-16-11, 07:05 PM
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Re: Breaking things

See this thread for responses to another parent with similar issues.

I still break things all the time. There are many reasons for this. For one, I am very, very clumsy. Two, I am forgetful. Three, I am impulsive. I think that every single nice thing my parents ever bought for me I destroyed in some way. I would leave things on the floor and then step on them. I would get frustrated because something wasn't opening or working properly so I would break it trying to impatiently get it open, or make it work, because I hadn't noticed the switch or the button or the whatever I was supposed to do to to make it work properly. I pulled all the wallpaper off the wall beside my bed when I was around 5 or 6, because I found lying in bed in the dark really boring.

Is he taking things apart to see how they work? Is he bored and looking for things to do? Does he have stimulating puzzles and building things (like Meccano) that he can fiddle with? Is he getting enough exercise and outdoor time?

The point it, he is not doing these things to drive you crazy (I know sometimes it's hard to believe), he is doing what he can to stimulate his brain. Smashing stuff is more stimulating than playing nicely and quietly, even though the consequences aren't fun. When he is compelled to do these things, the consequences seem far away (what Dr Barkley calls time-blindness), whereas the impulse is strong and present right now! He doesn't have the capacity to stop himself because of an abstract future consequence.

The only thing I can think of behaviorally is that you could ask him that when he feels the way he feels when he wants to break stuff, that he ask to go outside so that he can get his energy out. He can go destroy sticks in the yard, or throw a ball around, or yell and be loud.

I have a friend at work who never uses the shredder, because she finds it therapeutic to tear up the paper herself. Maybe you can ask him if he wants to rip up some bank statements when he's feeling antsy?
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Old 10-16-11, 07:20 PM
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Re: Breaking things

Maybe you should look at this differently. Why do you think he is trying to break things? Maybe he has a desire ti see how things work or Re built. Why don't you give him old clocks to dissect and see how they work. Ask him if he just trying to figure things out? Get into wood making, shop or something to possibly unleash some creativity. I know my own son has a difficult time at 10 putting his thoughts and actions into words and often says to me "I don't know".

He doesn't appear mean or destructive to me? Is there anger with this? If not maybe curiosity is the culprit?
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Old 10-16-11, 08:42 PM
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Re: Breaking things

The trick is learning to put it back together. I'd encourage that as a pre-employment "you broke it, you bought it" contingency. Tell him if he takes anything apart to put the pieces in a container so they won't get lost.

Show him how to use superglue, screwdrivers, pliers and other basic tools. Get him to help with household repairs like putting up shelves. Make sure he understands the basics of electrical, fire and sharps safety. Fixing is a very worthwhile skill, if you can survive the learning process.

I recommend taking a look at the book Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do).
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Old 10-16-11, 08:49 PM
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Re: Breaking things

Quote:
Originally Posted by Codykins View Post
Maybe you should look at this differently. Why do you think he is trying to break things? Maybe he has a desire ti see how things work or Re built. Why don't you give him old clocks to dissect and see how they work. Ask him if he just trying to figure things out? Get into wood making, shop or something to possibly unleash some creativity. I know my own son has a difficult time at 10 putting his thoughts and actions into words and often says to me "I don't know".

He doesn't appear mean or destructive to me? Is there anger with this? If not maybe curiosity is the culprit?
Totally agree- My son takes everything apart and ultimately breaks them too. Doorknobs, toys, various mechnical things around the house. Yes it can be frustrating and upsetting, but I love watching how his mind works. He truly learns from this.

I bought him a science set and help him build experiments. I find the best solution is diverting him to kits or other things where it is safe for him, saves my possesions and he learns. Plus he does not take other things apart as much anymore.
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Old 10-17-11, 10:50 PM
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Re: Breaking things

I read on this forum once of a parent who would pick stuff off the curb during garbage night for their son. Old clocks, radios, bicycles, anything he could take apart and rebuild.
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Old 02-02-16, 09:57 AM
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Smile Re: Breaking things

You are actually very lucky, he is going to most likely be very mechanical, by the time he is a teen i bet he will be able to fix computers, radios etc. he is just discovering himself and his abilities right now. Please have patience. At Walmart they have little toy type sets with little screws and screwdrivers where kids can assemble a little tiny bike or car model (they have probably about 100 pieces or so) you might want to see about getting him some of these, they are under $10 normally, but that way he will leave your things alone. I know it must be so frustrating and break your heart that he takes your things apart, but he doesn't mean to hurt you. Like I said please be patient. I have ADHD and have known since I was 6, i love to observe other people with ADHD to see the similarities and differences in us, if I was young enough to go back to school I would become an ADHD specialist. I myself am not mechanical (unfortunately) but I have seen alot of kids who are And these are the ones who as they get older can fix anything, it actually is amazing to watch, please think about little model sets or even a second hand store that you could buy cheap things for him to take apart - make it a challenge for him tell him you bet he can't pull something apart (something of your choosing) and then put it back together again. Good luck!
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Old 02-02-16, 02:45 PM
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Re: Breaking things

She's not likely to be quite THAT patient, since the boy who was doing this is 18 now.

Noubarian, it's good to look at the date on the message you're responding to and see how old it is.
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Old 02-03-16, 10:28 AM
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Re: Breaking things

Dvdnvwls - So sorry, i have adhd, wasn't looking for the date posted, was trying to help another mom out.

Last edited by namazu; 02-03-16 at 11:04 AM.. Reason: Removed comment to avoid unnecessary back-and-forth.
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