My 10 year old does not want to take his ADHD medication.

Rowena - posted on 04/14/2016 ( 6 moms have responded )

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My son was diagnosed at the end of 2nd grade with ADHD. There had been concerns with his focus, and impulsivity since preschool, but I refused to hear it and I am a special education teacher. By 2nd grade, I pretty much feared for his life. In my family and my culture (African American) medication is a definite no-no. I had to see things through a different lens because he was suffering at school. We tried Adderall and he certain ticks and was very depressed which scared. In the middle of a soccer game he sat down in the middle of the field with his head down. I took him off the medication for awhile. Eventually, I tried Concerta along with his behavioral therapy and the results have been much better. My concern is ( and this brings tears to my eyes) that my son says, "he is not crazy and does not need medication to behave." I tried in many ways to reassure him that is not why takes the medication. I make sure that we as a family do not speak negatively about the medicine or ADHD but this is the opinion that he has formed about himself. I need help for my baby. He is 10 and clearly needs his medication. How do I make him see that he is not alone and not crazy? He is a very creative and smart kid. I really need help with this. I have even showed him many celebrities with ADHD and it does not help.

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Paula - posted on 04/16/2016

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Hi Rowena,
I'm sorry to hear that your son struggles with focus and impulsiveness. I commend you for your obvious concern for your son and his well-being. I would continue to educate yourself and him about his condition, as well as seek out a local support group where he could meet others who are facing some of the same issues and share success stories. You may also want to discuss your concerns with your family doctor or therapist. I would, above all, stress with your son how much you LOVE him and will always be there for him and that's why you need him to trust your decision about taking medicine to help him. Explain that your job as his mom is to help him strive to be the best he can be so that's why it's so important to take this medicine right now. Let him know this may not be forever, but for now it's the right decision that you'll both re-visit every 6 months (or whatever time frame you feel is appropriate). Sending warm thoughts for peace for your family....

Sarah - posted on 04/15/2016

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In addition to Raye's advice; use a better analogy. if you had a broken arm, you'd need a cast and pain pills; if you had diabetes you'd need insulin, if you have seizures you'd need medication. When you can compare it to a more concrete example he may feel better and be more compliant.

Raye - posted on 04/15/2016

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He probably feels like he's constantly having his intelligence and capability questioned because of things he can’t control. He needs to try to look at the medication differently. It's not to "fix" what's "wrong" with him. He's not broken. It's to make him healthier. It's like a multi-vitamin that keeps the body in good balance. You might say, "I know you get tired of taking medicine every day. But, it's not a punishment. We just want you to be the best version of you that you can be" - then give him a hug. Maybe you could take a multi-vitamin every day and it could be something you two do together. "Time to get healthier today!" Let him know he is not defined by the medicine he takes, but by the choices he makes.

Speaking of choices... a lot of kids feel that medication is something being done TO them instead of FOR them. Maybe it would help if he had more of the responsibility for taking it. Show him a little trust. Maybe you could get one of those weekly medicine containers and place it by his breakfast plate. That way, you don't have to nag him about it. If he forgets, just hand him the container and say nothing. If he still doesn't take it that day, pay attention to his behaviors and ask him questions about how he's feeling. Ask him if he can tell the difference in his moods or concentration. Listen to what he says and how he feels. If he doesn't want to take it, then he has the responsibility to prove that the medication isn't necessary. Put all that weight right on his little shoulders. He has to put in the effort to show that he can have the self-control necessary to focus and not let his school work or his relationships suffer. If he continues to struggle, and you think the little experiment has gone on long enough, then sit him down and explain to him that you put your trust in him, you tried it his way, and it was unsuccessful. Now he should trust you and stick with the medicine.

He should learn that his choice not to take the medicine doesn't only affect HIM, but affects those around him that are disrupted by his behavior (his family, his classmates, etc.). Also, the ways that it does affect him is not just the moment to moment attitude or behavior, but he could be putting his whole future in jeopardy. By being too scattered to learn the proper skills now, it's going to make his whole life harder. It's almost impossible for kids to look at the big picture and think about their future. They are hard-wired for instant gratification. So, you will need to make him think. How does he see his world and his part in it? Help him come to the conclusion that the medication might actually be the best thing for him at this time in his life.

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Rowena - posted on 04/17/2016

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Thank You everyone for all of the wonderful and useful advice. Some of the suggestions I currently use and others I will definitely try. I did not expect anyone to respond to my post. Some people do not understand that these are hard decisions that we make for the good of our children. Thank you again.

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