Reply To: Child refusing meds


You left out a crucial bit of information, what is the primary reason for her being on meds? Focus at school? Better behavior controls? Just feels better? I’m an adhd dad with two adhd kids. We all take meds because they help us – but in very different ways. Kids are sometimes resistant to meds for reasons beyond the obvious. My son said it made him “feel like a freak”. Kids want to feel normal. At 9, I would surprised if your daughter was not acutely aware that she’s “different” and that feels bad when you’re 9. The adhd meds may be a daily reminder of that. I do not know if your daughter is back in school yet, but she may be hearing things that upset her. In my experience, teachers and kids can make little comments that make adhd kids more uncomfortable than they already are. “I could have gotten an A, too, if I had drugs that make me focus!”. “Drugs AND accommodations?!? How many advantages are your parents going to give you?!?” Those are two of many such comments my kids have heard at school. Does your daughter feel like she is a partner with you and the physician in making the decision to go on meds? 9 is certainly old enough to rebel against something she thinks she is being “forced” to do. It may pay for you two to get some children’s library books, go to an adhd support group, or have another talk with whichever doctor prescribed her meds. At 9, a basic discussion of pluses and minuses may allow her to feel like she has a little more control over her treatment, which is something she is going to need more of as she gets older. As difficult as it is to get a 9 year old to take meds, you have NO chance with a teen. They need to be onboard with their treatment and want to take their meds for THEIR benefit. Also, as her body starts to change, adhd will start to look different to her and you. There are a number of doctors, many of them women (thankfully!!!), that are studying how dramatically different adhd looks in girls and women. And there are strong studies indicating the level of estrogen in her body impacts her adhd symptoms. Information like that, presented to her at her level of understanding, may go a long way to getting over the medication hurdle. But, again, what’s the primary driver? For my son, it is school. On meds, he does great work. Off meds, I usually got a call from the principal’s office before noon. It didn’t take him long to realize how important his meds are to, literally, surviving school. My daughter hasn’t seen results as dramatic and is more causal about her meds. But, she and I both agree that when she’s on meds and gets upset, it is less distressing to her and the family. There are still lots of blowups, but they are less severe and, as a result, less exhausting for her. When kids can see the pluses outweighing the minuses, they tend to jump onboard. But, we, the adults, need to keep in mind these are strong meds with side effects that can be unpleasant and make sure that we listen to their complaints and respect their feelings. Schools and doctors do a wonderful job of shaming parents of adhd kids into believing we must do something right now!!! Sometimes, you have to try a LOT of meds to find the one where the pluses outweigh the minuses. That’s a difficult task for adults. It can feel like hell on earth to an adhd kid. Patience, open dialogue, safe to discuss feelings, and tracking how the meds help, can make kids feel like they are true partners in their care. Best of luck. Remember the key to “sanity” as a parent of an adhd child is to not sweat the small stuff and take time out to laugh. Both my adhd kids have absolutely wicked senses of humor. They have both had me in tears from laughter. Now, that they are teens, it’s dull around the house when they are gone. Enjoy the freedom of both of you embracing being “different”. You, obviously, love her a whole lot or you wouldn’t be here looking for answers. That loves goes farther than you know. She’s going do great and the medicine challenge will get resolved. Maybe, not this month, or next, but eventually. The school’s or the doctor’s time table doesn’t have to be your’s or her’s. They can wait. In the meantime, lots of hugs all around.