I have 3 boys (7, 5 and 2).
My oldest was recently diagnosed (in June) with ADHD (hyperactivity/impulsivity) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. He was always a challenge for us to parent. My hope was that his behavior was just a phase and that he would gow out of it. But here I am years later, and his behavior is still a huge concern.
It has become more and more apparent since he is now in school. Peer relationships are difficult for him. He is loud, doesn't get along well with most peers, and sometimes has threatened or hit them. He is bossy with his younger brothers (they do not have ADHD), overreacts to the most minimal situations, swears and talks back to me (tells me he wishes I was dead), etc. Time outs, loss of privileges, you name it, I have tried it.
I did not want to put him on meds, but now it seems like the only option sometimes. I have changed his diet (limit his sugar and dairy intake, colors, and additives) and have him take supplemental vitamins and minerals.
We keep him as active as we possibly can (daily biking, swimming, karate). He gets weekly psychosocial therapy with a social worker (I also see the same social worker for parent training sessions). He will be starting a social skills group soon. Also during school, he will see the school psychologist weekly, and receive speech therapy (social pragmatics).
His behavior just seems so out of control most days (there is always an incident with his siblings everyday), that I can't take it anymore. The child psychiatrist said that this was a mild form of ADHD. It does not seems mild to me. Sometimes, I just want to throw in the towel and go for the meds but will that actually change his behavior or I am just taking the easy way out?
At my wits end, Newton, MA
Easy way out? No way. If you are at your wit's end, it's a no-brainer to me to try the meds for a period of time to see what difference this makes for him and for everyone else. You've tried all the alternatives. You're getting professional help. And you have two other kids. You're kidding yourself if you think being at your wit's end because of your oldest child isn't also affecting your younger two.
If your child had a disease that originated in, say, his bladder and he couldn't play sports because he had to go the bathroom too often, and meds enabled him to play, I'm betting you wouldn't hesitate. Your son's challenges are not something he can control on his own. Let him have the opportunity to see what he feels like with the help of meds. He's old enough to understand how they might help. I'm guessing he'd welcome a try. And that's how I'd frame it for him: "Let's try this for a while and see how it goes."
I look forward to comments from readers who have faced this challenge with their kids.
The author is solely responsible for the content.