Ask the Experts

ADHD Power Struggle

Your child will take medication from someone else, but not you. Here’s how to defuse the power struggle.

Q: “My seven-year-old puts up a fight when it’s time to take her medication. I’ve tried everything — from threatening to punish her to offering rewards if she takes it. This morning, she took the pill from her day-care provider with no problems. Now I feel like it’s not about the pill — it’s about me, and some sort of power struggle.”

If your daughter takes her ADHD medication for the day-care provider, but not for you, it does sound like a power struggle.

Rather than concentrate on the battle itself, concentrate on something you can control — your response to the battle. The less emotional you are, the fewer signals you will send your child that she has a chance of winning. All kids will hold out for what they want (or in this case, what she doesn’t want) if they think they have a chance of victory.

Even if you’re seething inside, pretend to be unaffected by her opposition. Breathe deeply. You should also try to choose your battles. Since your daughter takes her pill for the day-care provider, why fight it? Let her administer your child’s medication.

[Free Download: A Parent’s Guide to ADHD Medication]