14 year old DS won't brush his teeth(26 Posts)
Don't know what to do my DS just won't brush his teeth. He's been diagnosed with ADD and the consultant said that caffeine can be used to control his symptoms so he's been drinking gallons of full sugar coke which my DH buys for him much to my annoyance. I'm thinking of switching to diet coke.
In the meantime I just don't know how to get him to brush his teeth. I've had massive arguments with him before that have lasted 40 minutes. Totally bonkers but I was determined. However, he towers over me and he's already been violent towards me and I'm reluctant to really push him.
Any suggestions warmly welcome.
When mine kicked off at tooth brushing times, I would tell them, "Just brush the teeth you want to keep."
Firstly have harsh words with your DH because you cannot manage this situation unless you present a united front.
Get his support to lock the coke away. Your DS can have his coke for the day after supervised tooth brushing.
If you haven't already, it's worth reading the Explosive Child. It's a useful approach which can help to avoid, or at least minimise, such stand offs. There's a good explanation of the approach here
Will he chew gum? One of the tooth cleaning ones might help and some kids with add like to chew gum. I agree with switching to diet coke.
Why won't he? Is it the effort or the toothpaste taste of...? Just thinking if he can say why then you might get somewhere
I have an ADHD teen DD (now 16) - she is stubborn and hates being told what to do (which can be part of ADHD) -
I found/find that telling her ('ordering') to do anything was a waste of time - so in your case 'brush your teeth' would have been met with out and out refusal - whereas reminding her - 'don't forget you should brush your teeth before bed' would be more successful.
She wasn't diagnosed till just turned 14 but from the age of 10-11 I took the attitude that they were her teeth not mine - and I'd make that clear - I'd remind her but not try and force her to do them - so ask her if she had brushed them and if she said no say 'oh ok - well they are your teeth'. I told her if she had problems with her teeth -needed fillings etc - it would be her having the work done - not me ....and I couldn't physically force her to do them...she needed to start taking responsibility for herself...
I have always taken her to the dentist every 6 months and the dentist gave her the spiel about children having problems when they start secondary - mainly due to their diet choices. She had her teeth temporarily coated once and fluoride toothpaste on prescription for about 6 months when she was seeing how far she could push it to get a reaction from me - she didn't get one, saw sense and made the decision it was a good idea to brush them ...and she doesn't have a single filling so no harm done.
He'll have ylto deal with the consequences then. You can hardly force it
Thank you so much for your replies. I've told DS that they are his teeth and he'll have to face the consequences.
Unlucky that is very encouraging. My DS also has only just been diagnosed at 14. I didn't know the dentist coated in flouride paste. I shall ask them about it. DS also has no fillings which is amazing. I shall try backing off. If I'm honest its the same battle over everything so maybe I should just relax and say its his future if he doesn't do his h/w - brush his teeth - have a bath etc. He'll face the consequences not me.
In the meantime, don't just think about swapping for Diet Coke, action it ! Don't know what is going through his father's mind re buying the full sugar coke😮 Sorry you're having to deal with this; your DH is making a difficult situation very much worse.
Lack of regular brushing with a fluoride paste, coupled with regularly drinking full sugar coke through the day, means developing dental cavities. It's not an if, it's a when.
Given the right conditions ( frequent sugar/no fluoride t/brushing) it's possible to go from no cavity in a tooth, to decay exposed through to the pulp/ nerve within 6 weeks.
ASAP Get your dentist/dental therapist to talk to your son; some general dental Practices also have Dental Nurses that are able to provide Dental Health Education plus Fluoride application.
Another option is to get a referral for your son to the local Community Dental Service. Latter are very experienced/geared towards working with children who have additional needs or are very anxious.
Your dentist can also prescribe specialist higher concentration fluoride toothpastes, to try to help address some of your DS's bad habits over past few weeks/months.
With regards the caffeine - I've just been diagnosed too at nearly 50. And have been a caffeine addict (coffee) most of my life... it does help.
But now I'm on the medication I drink a lot less -
Is your DS on medication too - or is the caffeine instead of medication?
They trialled caffeine as a treatment for ADHD (and nicotine ... so he is more likely to become addicted to smoking if he tries it ...worth warning him about!) - neither were as effective as medication.
I was against it at first but now DD takes medication just on school days -and it made a huge difference to her school work (she never misbehaved etc at school - just didn't concentrate). The down side is it wears off at 8.30pm and she starts bouncing (worse than on no medication) and wants to eat (the meds are an appetite suppressant) then can't sleep...apparently she could then have medication to help her sleep but so far we are avoiding that. Still the advantages of the meds far out weighs those problems...
He now hasn't brushed his teeth for about 2 weeks. He's having a sleepover at the moment. I lay in bed thinking about his teeth and wondering what to do and just snapped. I went downstairs and lay in-between them. Said I wasn't going to move until he went to brush his teeth. He wondered upstairs and stayed there for a bit. When he wondered back down I said I wouldn't move until I smelt his breath. Of course he hadn't brushed his teeth. Its purely a stand off now. Feeling a bit helpless. He's off to Germany on an exchange on Monday. Wonder what they'll think of him!! Feel like I may have made things a whole lot worse. He now definitely won't brush his teeth for a while just to make a point.
And you're still allowing him unfettered access to the full sugar coke?
If he gets violent, it's ok to call the police, you know.
I'd be turning off all screens until the basics were done. If he can cope with an exchange to Germany he can bloody clean his teeth. He wouldn't not be going ANYWHERE unless his hygiene was up to scratch.
I wouldn't let him out without brushing teeth and I certainly wouldn't be allowing him to go on the exchange trip. No sleepovers, no computers, nothing.
Some things are non negotiable, and teeth brushing are one of those.
I have to disagree with above posters - he is 14 not 4. Nearly an adult.
If his breath stinks he isn't going to get a girlfriend etc - even his friends won't be impressed. And he is old enough to realise that.
Trying to force him (if he is oppositional at all) will just have made it worse - put his back up - I would really leave him to it now.
And tell him that - you give up - you are not prepared waste your energy fighting with him over something that will make no difference to your life - you have done your best to help him, that is all you can do - now it is up to him. And then never mention it again...(is it a battle you need to have?)
He has ADHD - the goal posts have moved - what is negotiable or not is a lot different.
At a parenting teens with ADHD workshop I went to they had a traffic light system for behaviour. (We had to say what we wanted to improve - I felt like a fraud saying I wanted my DD to do her homework - most of the others were things like I want the police to stop bringing them home at 2am etc)
Anyway the system is
Red - they were a serious danger to themselves or others and you need to take immediate action.
Amber - things you would like to change - you can work on contracts etc - agreeing things with them.
Green - things you might not like but can let go - and if you decide it is green - let it go - don't hold resentment etc - really let it go.
The teeth thing was probably Amber - but where you are now - a conflict situation - I would put it in green and leave it there. Tell him you give up, maybe the odd reminder or comment about stinky breath if you notice it - he breaths on you - but otherwise leave it.
At the end of the day it is something he needs to do for himself - take responsibility for.
Like I said DD can be really stubborn, oppositional - and so can I.
She's lucky in that I absolutely understand it - you get in a mind set you can't control, where logic/reason completely disappears - you would hurt yourself rather than give in - you hate yourself if you do give in and then when logic returns you hate yourself for being so stupid as to not to give in...
So a good eg - DD got in that mindset about a coursework essay she had to do for school - it took a lot of effort but I managed to persuade her to do something - anything - didn't matter if it was rubbish or just a sentence or didn't even really answer the question etc as not handing it in at all would be an automatic fail... and once she got into it she actually made quite a good attempt.
Then a day or so later I said Isn't it nice you don't have that essay hanging over you any more -and she said No I shouldn't have done it. (teacher name) was so smug when I handed it in - I wish I hadn't done it... (I'm sure the teacher was pleased and relieved more than anything but to DD the teacher had 'won') But if she hadn't done it and failed eventually she would have hated herself for being so stupid not doing it...
14 is closer to being an adult than a baby....
They have to start learning to make the right decisions for themselves not because they will be punished etc -there are consequences to their actions. They won't wake up at 16 or even 18 and suddenly be ready. They need to know your boundaries/rules etc are in their interest - not just you needing to be in charge etc.
They are more likely to hide things from you and struggle making the right/sensible decisions when they are young adults - when they do have control - if you don't give them some control of their lives before then.
(And I am speaking as someone who stopped going to school at 14-15 - went completely out of my parents' control and did lots of stupid things until I was thrown out/working and living in a bedsit miles away from my parents when I was 17...and still kept doing stupid things and getting in a mess with money etc - but then I said I do have ADHD...so 'strict - do as you are told because I said so' parenting was even less likely to work...even though it did work on the whole for my siblings. )
Unlucky I've just read your post. I so wish I'd read it a week ago. You are absolutely right. Here's what the latest developments are:
Last Monday night DS came back from exchange. He said he'd brushed his teeth about 3 times. When I unpacked his bag I realised he hadn't. I got really angry so I came downstairs and tried to persuade him. He went mental. He got my glasses off my head broke them and threw them across the room. He then sat on my and punched me in the head 3 times. I called the police. He told the police that I'd tried to strangle him and he was acting in self-defence. The police didn't buy this but they have procedures if things like that have been said. Since then my DH has been telling absolutely everyone that I tried to strangle DS and that there is an ongoing criminal investigation into my DS allegations. Needless to say we are going through a divorce and I'm now really worried that this will count against me. Really regret trying to make him brush his teeth now.
Where did you do your course on ADD?
Also forgot to mention that I booked an appointment with the dentist and hygienist so that he can get fluoride treatment. Apparently he has done no damage at all despite not brushing his teeth for about 1 month. I shall never ask him to brush his teeth again.
I had a lot of trouble cleaning my teeth as a teenager and I still do at night. For some reason, I find it much easier to clean my teeth in the morning or when I get up. I have a disability and have had endless problems with cleaning them and as a result all of my teeth have had cavities, if you have had to be pulled out and I had for root canal's on front teeth.
I rarely drink sugary drinks and I try to brush my teeth when I'm not tired. If I eat sweets, I try to brush them soon afterward. Can you show your son the consequences of not brushing his teeth so he understands why he needs to. If you meet somebody with very bad teeth, Point them out to your son. Sometimes, it's easier if you actually see the consequences.
I am severely visually impaired, so I never really understood why I needed to take care of my teeth. I can't see other peoples teeth, so I never really got it. I am terrified of the dentist though and I hate going. So I do the best I can to look after my teeth.
Some chewing gum, apples and other things help as well. If he doesn't like water you could add cucumber or something else to give it some flavor or put it in a sports cup or something else that he is interested in.
Why is your DH backing up your son's lies?
He seems to have just undermined you every step of the way.
first off young adults with ADD often self medicate with caffeine (strong expresso type)
but there are caffine pills available but if you want to try medicating him (pop) isn't the route to go. get proper medical help.
next dental care.
Ngl I've always been a lazy brusher and have reached 22 with no fillings
SOF, 22 with no fillings is no great achievement. Your teeth need to last another 50-60+ years. You might not have fillings yet but the damage will be starting.
Take it from a 48yr old who was also lazy in her early 20's, started flossing and taking care from late 20's onwards, first filling at 32 but mouthful of fillings now and a couple borderline for removal. Doubt they will last me another 20-30 years.
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