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Parents of ADHD Children

MAJOR Issues w/ Biological Mother

I’m the stepmother of a 10-yr-old boy who was recently diagnosed with ADHD. My husband and I agree that he needs to see a doctor and start meds due to inconsistent performance at school, conduct issues, etc.

Unfortunately, our son splits his time with us and his biological mom and her husband. They are VERY opposed to any treatment and feel NOTHING is wrong w/ him, even though we have a 4-page report from a psychologist who tested him.

We are now in a legal battle to decide who the domiciliary parent will be (was never established prior to now), so that we can determine how to move forward. In the meantime, the mom has kept us from seeing our son for almost 2 mths now. And she has decided to align herself with my husband’s ex-wife and his teen daughter who have been doing nothing but filling our son’s head with lies about us and our intentions.

We know this b/c we took him lunch one day at school and asked him if he knew why he wasn’t seeing us. He said “because my mom said you 2 think something’s wrong with me, but no one else does.”

So on top of fighting for his well-being and re-establishing visitation, we are also now going to have to reverse the negative brainwashing that’s been taking place for the past 2 mths.

I’ve tried to send the mom info on ADHD, this website link, other support groups, etc and she just refuses to read any of it. Even his pediatrician agrees with the report and that a medication should be tried. The mom put in the legal citation that we are trying to put him on “mind-altering drugs for no reason.”

What’s best way to deal with this horrendous situation?


I assume that you have contacted an attorney?  If you have not, you need to do so immediately.  You need to file for a change in custody. This is really more of a legal issue than an ADHD treatment issue at this point (I know - we were in the exact same boat).

Until you and your husband are able to gain custody, there is nothing that you can do.

The change in custody request will take ~ 1 year or more to get through the court system.  You should request to have a guardian ad litem appointed.  It is going to cost you and your husband around $10k to do this and it will be very stressful.

If there is a visitation order in place and she is not adhering to it, she is in contempt and you should file contempt documents ASAP if you have not already.

You should also begin therapy with him as soon as possible.

I know this is hard - I am a stepmom also - but he is not your son.  He is your husband’s son.  It needs to be your husband that is doing all of the attempts to educate bio mom - not you.  You need to fully support your husband from the sidelines and not be directly involved AT ALL.  That could be some of the reason that she is rejecting this info - because it’s coming from you.

Posted by angevanek on Apr 02, 2014 at 8:25pm

I know this may sound a bit hippy dippy, but you need to approach her and the whole situation first with love.  Before you DO anything, SAY anything ask yourself “What is the most loving way to say/do this?”  Also ask yourself “DOES it need to be done/said right now or at all?” - These are ways off slowing you down and getting you back into a calm mind and heart.

I so see that you really care for this boy and want the best for him.  But you are not doing that by playing tug of war with him.  Arguing your point IS playing tug of war with him.  And I agree with angevanek that the fact is he is your husband’s son, not yours, as painful as that may be to hear, means that he needs to advocate for him with the mom, not you.

I can see the mother’s side too.  If someone tried to tell me that my daughter was ADHD before I actually realized it myself I would have fought tooth and nail to “make her not” ADHD - even though the reality is that she is most definitely ADHD.  This is her child and it is very, very scary when you find out that your child has a psychological disorder that will affect her whole life.  So, I can see why she might be arguing her point about her son.  That doesn’t mean you need to meet her tit for tat however, that is decidedly not the most loving thing you can do.  If you can have a calm conversation with her, or even open up the possibility of one, you might ask her how she feels about his behavior, how he is doing in school, the possibility of a diagnosis.  You need to meet her on a human level, not an enemy level.  If you stop fighting, she might possibly stop.  If you don’t stop fighting there is no way in hell she will stop fighting.  You are butting right up against biological instinct so it is a losing battle.

To the extent possible you all must begin a conversation about his symptoms rather than fighting for your rights back and forth.  Because stress way exacerbates ADHD symptoms and can lead to the onset of anxiety which is ADHD’s natural progression.  When people with ADHD have calm childhoods they may stave off anxiety well into adulthood.  When their childhood’s are problematic the anxiety can begin and become severe at any time.  So you and your husband need to do what it is you can to make for a calm childhood.  You can’t control the other parents so don’t try.  They do have to comply obviously with court orders and if you do have to go through the lawyers and courts you do it with as little drama as possible so that your son can feel stable.  Because there is honestly, nothing worse than being a child, a dependent person with no control over their own life, and having people arguing about you.

So, love.  How can you do it all in the most loving way, showing, not necessarily only telling, him that you love him.  Meaning, you accept him totally for the way he is, you give him time and attention when you can, you allow him to be who he is without judgement and you support him - ADHD treatment is only part of the last by the way.  There is a lot of love you can show him without even getting to ADHD treatment.

And you must make peace within yourself that you may never be able to get him the treatment for his ADHD that would best support him.  This does not mean you cannot talk to him about his struggles, this doesn’t mean you stop learning about how to best manage ADHD outside of drug therapy and helping him with assists for his symptoms when you are with him.  You can help him learn some of the skills he will need that his brain will not automatically learn and do, like self talk to self sooth in stressful situations, how to combat automatic negative thoughts, how to manage his time doing homework (20 min on/10 min break) when you are with him…

But you have to stop fighting and that will help everyone involved, particularly your son.

Posted by YellaRyan on Apr 02, 2014 at 10:38pm

Thank you for that info. Long road ahead I know. :-(

Posted by shreveportchick on Apr 02, 2014 at 10:40pm

We’ve tried for 2 years to do everything calmly. And now we are here. We know our son comes first and will do whatever we can to keep his best interests at hand.

Posted by shreveportchick on Apr 02, 2014 at 10:46pm

Quoting you:

“They are VERY opposed to any treatment and feel NOTHING is wrong w/ him, even though we have a 4-page report from a psychologist who tested him.”

First, I hope it’s a ‘Psychologist’  vs a ‘psychologist’  IE one with a Doctorate and one who has sound experience in a pediatric venue.

Second, if Mom does not tow the line, use the above and sue for full custody.  YOUR son deserves better.

Posted by LakeLife on Apr 05, 2014 at 1:57am

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