Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Oppositional Defiant Disorder and ADHD

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Teens & Cussing

Hi Mr. Hutten,

I am finding your program for out of control kids helpful.

The pieces around self reliance and dependency are quite timely as I see the reluctance and regression of my 17 yo son as he completes his junior year of high school and begins to think about college, pg years etc.

Thankfully our son has not been in much trouble. But I find his disrespect for adults (especially me) and his lack of motivation most difficult. I suspect we have fostered this in him by making home too comfortable. Hopefully I/we can make some progress with your strategies and eliminating free handouts.

I am writing to ask about foul language. It seems to appear when he's angry or frustrated. I have made it clear to him that I find it intolerable. So I'm wondering, is this simply a symptom of the deeper rooted problems which I am working on addressing, and so I should simply ignore it or is it something I should address head on?

Hope to hear from you.




Hi T.,

Re: this simply a symptom of the deeper rooted problems which I am working on addressing, and so I should simply ignore it or is it something I should address head on?

If your situation is like that of most parents, you have bigger fish to fry than worrying about cussing. If he calls you names (e.g., bitch) or cusses at you (e.g., fuck you), then this needs a consequence [outlined is session #3 - online version of the eBook]. But in the event he is simply using cuss words as a way to vent, ignore it.

Ignoring behavior is an over-rated parenting strategy, but in this case -- it is the best strategy.


Because the more you nag, complain, and confront his use of profanity -- the more attention you are giving it -- which reinforces his desire to cuss. Attention is reinforcement. Lack of attention delivers no payoff. Thus, cussing should wane over time.

Pick your battles carefully,


My Out-of-Control Teen

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