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ADHD at School

Newly diagnosed son reluctant for medication

Hi all - my 12 year old son was just diagnosed with ADHD and he is very upset with the idea of taking medication as he thinks it will change who he is.  Does anyone have any suggestions about how to address this?  We have had a Psychologist explain it to him, and we have approached it with the science behind it but that isn’t working.  He really needs the help it would provide…thank you


Hi GM,
It sounds like you’ve done all the right things to appeal to his reason. But it is not reason which is causing his reluctance; it is his fear. It has to feel right to him. He is digging in his heels so the more you explain the more he will resist.
I suggest that together you and he explore the other things one can do when meds are not appropriate. If he is working positively to find ways to improve focus the he will likely become more comfortable with meds. This is a slower approach but a more effective way to calm his fears.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on Dec 26, 2013 at 3:20pm

Your son sounds very smart. Every ADHD psych med carries risks and side affects. It’s his body and at 12 he can make a decision like that for himself. There are ways besides medication to help him. You haven’t explained what his main issues are, but if he is diagnosed at 12 I have to think his case is mild and you are dealin with focus and organization issues rather than something more serious. Try a tutor for home, someone to help him finish homework, learn and organize himself. If I is social issues, a supportive therapist or social skill class. He knows that if he wants the meds they are available. They are not a permanent solution, they are a temporary fix. Make it clear you support him and just want to help, whatever he chooses. Good luck!

Posted by nycmom on Dec 26, 2013 at 7:36pm

Dr. Tucker is right, it is his fear that is controlling his resistance. Gently remind him that he can always stop taking the medication if he feels like he is no longer himself. Maybe he will accept a trial if he knows it doesn’t have to be forever.

Good luck!

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Dec 27, 2013 at 2:51am

Thank you all - we have told him that the meds would be a trial to see how he does and then he can stop after a month to see what happens when he is on the meds and when off again.  The biggest problems have to do with school, organization and social issues, with the social issues having come to a head this year.  We do have him continuing in therapy to have him learn better ways to deal with this.  But, due to illness combined with the behavior we are struggling to get him back on track in school (7th grade), and that is why we are considering the meds.  Again, thank you for your input - it helps to know we’re heading in the right direction at least smile

Posted by Gimpymama on Dec 28, 2013 at 2:34am

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