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Parents of ADHD Children

On the verge of tears. This is all new to me.

I’m very new to ADHD.  My daughter was just diagnosed and just put on meds with in the last 8 months.  I’m lost with what to do next.  The Daytrana patch was wonderful and helped alot but the side affects got really bad.  We just moved her over to Intuniv (pill form) 2 weeks ago.  She has a hard time swallowing pills but was doing great until I found out the last 5 days she has been lying to me about taking her pills.  Not sure how to proceed.  She told me the truth when I asked her so I’m not sure what a good consequence should be.  I’m a patient parent but she has pushed all my buttons and I feel like I’m losing my mind.


Hi there.  You will get lots of support and answers on this site, so you can breathe a small sigh of relief. smile

Is your daughter lying about the pills just because she doesn’t like swallowing them?  I would personally not use any consequences for that.  This diagnosis and the meds and the pills—it’s a lot to get used to, for both of you.

The pill swallowing gets easier with practice. I would just talk to her about how the pills will help her with school work and friendships and all, and that she’ll get really good at it in no time.  I hope the Intuniv works for you—we didn’t have any luck with it and have had to use stimulants.  It’s also common to have to change meds as your child grows and changes, and also to change dosages periodically, so it’s an on going process.

My son just started swallowing pills a year or two ago.  Before that, I always had to get time released capsules and sprinkle the contents of the pill onto a spoonful of applesauce.  It was like that for a few years. I thought he would NEVER get to the point of being able to swallow pills, but he got there, and so will your daughter.  Actually the Intuniv should be easy, ‘cause they’re small.  I would just try to encourage her by telling her how much the medication will help her, and cite examples of how it will help.  Positive reinforcement and lots of encouragement!  Maybe a special treat each day that she takes the pills successfully, or a treat at the end of the week, just to get her going.

Good luck, and spend lots of time here ‘cause the people are great and will answer lots of your questions!  Best to you.

Posted by JAMurphy on Jan 13, 2014 at 10:49pm

Does your daughter go to therapy?  I know it has helped me and my daughter alot.  I am able to vent and given suggestions as well as my daughter learning new skills for what she needs to work on.  It has helped me alot in those moments when I feel I’m going to lose my mind.  Hang in there your not alone.

Posted by pretty_eyes on Jan 13, 2014 at 11:07pm

I can recall back to that time and how many tears I shed and how awful I felt as a parent.  But you haven’t done anything wrong, and you WILL do fine.  What you are experiencing now are the growing pains of any new transition of understanding.

You are mourning your lost expectations, and feeling the frustration of failed “normal” parenting skills on an ADHD child. But your new instincts will kick in and you will be able to handle whatever comes along.

If you have some time today watch Dr Russell Barkley’s Essential Ideas for Parents on YouTube.  It was life changing for me and I wish I had seen it 6 years ago!  Once you have a firm grasp on what is happening inside your child’s head you can start parenting them in a way that is effective.

But in the meantime, start getting used to breaking the day into chunks for your child.  One thing at a time, and few choices.

And DO absolutely seek advice of a child psychiatrist on the meds if one is not already prescribing for your child.  I suspect that pediatricians just give whatever dose the tablet comes in and think nothing more of it, then parents are left to deal with the side effects.  All the meds will have side effects if given in too high a dose and if they are the wrong one for their particular symptoms.  Your doctor should be prescribing based on your child’s weight, not age.  Most RX are manufactured for adults - meaning people with tens more pounds on them so too much for a child.  You may have to break pills in half but it would be much better to have your child on the lowest effective dose than the one that the pill comes in.

Best to you.  Hang in there!

Posted by YellaRyan on Jan 14, 2014 at 12:55am

There are medications that open up and can be sprinkled on a spoonful of yogurt or pudding.  My son takes Biphentin (Canada only, but I’m sure there are equivalents in the States) and this is what we do.  He still doesn’t like having to take it though, and I always watch (inconspicuously) to make sure he takes it.

Your daughter is pretty young still though.  Have you tried to go without medication and focus on extra sleep, omega 3, better diet (lots of protein), exercise and accommodations at school?

Posted by Rai0414 on Jan 14, 2014 at 3:45am

Take a deep breath and know that you will get through this—all of you! 

The new diagnosis can be tough, and parenting a child with ADHD can be even tougher!  I understand that completely as a parent of a child with ADHD myself (who is now 18). 

Education is a most important first-step for you and your family: education about ADHD, and education about parenting kids with ADHD.  Parenting kids with ADHD effectively is very different from parenting neurotypical kids—especially when it comes to discipline.  Our kids process differently, and we need to be at the top of our game in terms of parenting skills.  Old-school ways of doing things are often less-than-effective for our kids.  CHADD offers a great program (“Parent 2 Parent: Parenting Training for ADHD”) that can be taken through local volunteers (if you’re in the US and you happen to have a trained instructor near you) or online.  It provides great general information on the condition, behavior management, and some school-related info as well.

Finding an ADD Coach who works with parents may also be helpful.  The ADHD Coaches Organization ( has a website where you can search trained coaches by specialty.

Regarding the pill swallowing, it can sometimes take a little time, but she may respond to a more positive approach. it’s a little scary for some kids, so it’s important that you acknowledge her fear and don’t minimize it, but many do well learning to swallow very small things and working their way up to things like mini M&Ms;, tic tacs, etc. It’s best to practice this when there is no pressure—in the evening, afternoon, etc.  Our kids respond best to praise and positive reinforcement, so make a big deal (overly exaggerated) about the effort and just trying.  Have her start with just a mouthful of water in her cheeks (keeping her chin down and head straight—not thrown back), then more water, then a mouthful of jello, then add a tiny bit of cracker, then a 1/2 mini M&M, etc., and maybe let her have a few extra just for trying each time. (The mini M &Ms; worked well for both my kids because they were a treat, but you can use tic tacs or anything edible)

I agree with you about the consequences—I think your instincts may be right on that the deception was based from fear.  I would suggest a good heart-to-heart if you haven’t already about telling the truth and how she needs to trust YOU with the truth rather than hiding and lying. 

If you try for a few days when the pressure’s off and it’s still not working out,  you may need to try another med that can be sprinkled.  (Not sure if Intuniv can, but it may be worth asking the Dr.)

Just my 2 cents—FWIW!  I hope something in there helps.

Hang in there & try to take good care of yourself, too!  Some day (before you can imagine) this will all be behind you in the rear-view mirror.

Lynne Edris, ACG
Life & ADD Coach

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Jan 14, 2014 at 6:39am

We put our kids medication in a spoonful of applesauce and they swallow it down with no problems.  Might be worth a try as we couldn’t get them to swallow with water at all.
Good luck!

Posted by B-rad dad on Jan 14, 2014 at 7:07am

I am new to this also and feel the same pain and frustration.  We are on med #3 with no success.  I did want to share that we started giving my daughter the pills inside a thicker bendy straw.  We gave it to her with chocolate milk at first to make it fun to get the pill.  So when she sucked on the straw, she sucked the pill in too.  She was 6 when we started that, and now she can take it with or with out the straw (but usually likes it in the straw for fun.) Good luck to you.

Posted by Ljoe on Jan 14, 2014 at 8:18am

Oh, how I remember those days! I am here to tell you that you will get through it. Talk to her about the WHY of not taking her pills and work TOGETHER on a solution. Simply being sure she feels heard and her opinion valued will make a huge difference!

Definitely get her into counseling/therapy if you can. I cannot begin to tell you how much my son’s therapist has helped me learn to parent my son. All you know about parenting is thrown out the window when ADHD is in the mix.

@Ljoe, Hang in there on the trying many medications. My son was diagnosed a little over five years ago and we spent over three years trying to find medications, dosages, and combinations that would finally work for him (everything that worked lost effectiveness after 2 months and many meds he was far too sensitive to be able to take). I have a 4-page spreadsheet of all the medication changes my son has been through, but he’s in a really good place now. Keep working with your doctor and you will get there too.

Hang in there parents! It does get better!

ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Jan 14, 2014 at 6:22pm

When our dr prescribed meds for our son, it took about 6 months before I finally did it, I could not bring myself to medicating him, I have cried so much over this myself. I realized there was no other way considering the problems at school, he could not go on they way he was acting. He takes Concerta no problems swallowing it luckily. It’s hard for me aswell but I have gotten some good advice here and have been turned onto Dr Russell Barkley, he is amazing. I felt more at ease after watching his conferences. It’s not easy and we all need support.

Posted by baddleforhim on Jan 15, 2014 at 10:38am

So much good advice here. I will add one thing about pill swallowing. My son had a hard time, at first.  I would put it inside a small piece of a muffin or some other food he could swallow.  After a couple of weeks, he decided he could swallow the pill by itself.  He now swallows 2 a day!  So, you will get there.

Posted by cmullen17 on Jan 15, 2014 at 11:53pm

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