Reply To: Just started 9 yo son on meds

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Penny Williams

Sometimes, behavior gets worse if the dose is too low. Sometimes, these types of reactions signal that it’s not the right stimulant or type of stimulant. This primer on stimulants will help you understand the process of getting the right medication better:

A Patient’s Primer on the Stimulant Medications Used to Treat ADHD

My son (now 14) got stuck a lot too (also called perseveration). It’s really frustrating to deal with. We found that two things help:
(1) the broken record approach: where your answer is always basically the same: “I’m sorry you’re upset about not being able to use electronics right now. This isn’t the right time, but you will have the opportunity again tomorrow.” You may need to change up your phrasing each time, as repeating the exact same thing can set some kids off even more.
(2) use the “magic phrase”: “How can I help you?” Showing empathy and validating your child’s emotions (whether you think they’re appropriate or not) are two of the most powerful parenting approaches for kids with ADHD. You may not always get an appropriate answer (in this instance, he could answer abruptly, “let me have screen time right now”), but it’s not going to be a switch you flip to suddenly stop the perseverating and outburst, it’s just going to help diffuse it. Eventually, you’ll come to recognize when these flare-ups might happen and use this phrase before he falls into full-blown meltdown.

Another strategy I’d employ is routine and structure. For instance, he has an hour of screen time every day, at 7 pm, or after homework is complete, or whatever works for you. Then, he knows when to expect to be able to play electronics and when not to. That will help to keep these battles to a minimum.

Meltdowns Happen: 7 Healthy Ways to Respond

ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism