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"When our five-year-old visits her grandparents, they overindulge her - giving her treats, cleaning up after her, and helping her dress. They also refuse to give her her medication. Is this harmful?"
The positives of having involved grandparents outweigh almost any problem. I'm convinced that children know that "grandparent rules" differ from "parent rules." If something is entirely unacceptable to you, make it clear (for example, 10 p.m. is the absolute latest she can stay up), then plan to resume your routines once she returns home. The medication issue, however, warrants serious discussion. Offer the grandparents books about AD/HD or set up a talk with your doctor. If the grandparents still refuse to give the medication, invite them to your home, but tell them that your daughter can't stay with them.
Dr. Carol Brady is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Houston, Texas. She is also a specialist in school psychology and a well-regarded speaker in the area of ADHD, children, and families in trauma and Tourette's Syndrome.
She received her Ph.D. from LSU and she is currently on the scientific advisory board for the Tourette's Syndrome Association and is an adjunct faculty at Baylor University and the University of Texas. Dr. Brady hopes to help children and families who deal with neurological/developmental disorders by serving as a regular columnist for ADDitude magazine.