Medicate Our ADHD Child?

What to do when you say yes and your spouse says no.

Healthy ADDitude, Part 2

Involve the school

If none of these approaches works or if the other adult refuses to participate, move on to more intensive techniques. Offer to get a second opinion. Sometimes, this professional reinforcement helps the other adult to accept the need for treatment. Or you might ask friends whose children take medication to speak with this adult.

Another approach that I try when nothing else seems to be working takes a little more effort but it might pay off. Let's say you, the mother, understand the need for treatment and are willing to try medication. In my experience, this happens because, whenever the child has difficulty in school with attention, learning, and/or behavior, you get the call. The school does not call the father. Because your husband has not heard from the school about the learning and behavior problems, he doesn't feel any urgency to do something or even understand the extent to which these problems are affecting his child. Don't allow this to continue. You shouldn't be the only one interacting with the school while your spouse is spared from the discomfort of dealing with the situation. Once he shares your concern, he may open up to the need for treatment.

Negotiate with the teacher and principal to even out this imbalance. Request that any calls be made to your husband instead of you. If you are divorced, request that both parents be contacted. Give your child's school her father's office and cell phone numbers so he can hear about the problems as they arise. Let him be the one who gets upset for a change. Do not go to meetings with the teacher or IEP team without your husband or ex. The school can help by contacting him and insisting that he attend the next meeting.

A last resort

If nothing else works and you feel it essential that your child be on medication, you may have to seek legal counsel. There are legal ways to prevent the other parent from blocking medication. If the grandparents are the obstacle to treatment, be more firm. Say that, if they persist in undercutting your decision to use medication, you might have to limit their visits with their grandchild.

Helping your child is your primary concern. When those who should be supportive are non-supportive or present barriers, it is essential that you do what is best for your child. Persuading these family members will be difficult, but, in my experience, you shouldn't have to go further than getting the school involved.

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