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Mom is struggling with decision to medicate

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz February 14, 2012 06:00 AM

Hi Barbara,

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


Telling kids about a half-sibling

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz February 1, 2012 06:00 AM

My husband and I have 2 boys aged 6 and 3 years. Before my husband and I met, he fathered a son with another women he had dated briefly. They were never together but he and I maintained a relationship with the child until the boy was about 17 years old (and our oldest boy was just a baby). At this time, the boy was going through some difficult adolescent issues and we lost contact with him. We haven't told our sons about their half brother yet, but I want to tell them now before they find out on their own. What is the best way to tell them? What questions might they have?

From: Heather, Toronto


Toddler is clingy after visits to his dad

Posted by Barbara F. Meltz July 28, 2011 06:00 AM

Hi! My 21 month old's father and I are not together. He lives 200 miles away. My son goes for a monthly visit. Normally when he comes home, he is a little clingy for that day and maybe the next. This time, it has been almost a week and he won't let me or my parents (who we live with) out of his sight. He is reluctant to be dropped off at daycare and cries unless he is being held. What can I do to help him and is this normal?

From: Jessica, Nobleboro, ME


On school vacations, misery has company

Posted by David Beard, Globe Staff February 19, 2009 06:10 AM

By Jennifer Ehrlich, Globe staff

If you’ve visited any Boston-area museums this week that might remotely appeal to children, then you already know what I am going to tell you. They have been a nightmare.

I know, I know, on a philosophical level, the extreme crowding is a good thing … people paying to see Boston’s amazing museums, children educated, family togetherness, and a day away from video games. But if you were one of the parents stuck in the lines of hundreds of people at, say, the Museum of Science earlier this week, then you were wishing you were at home with the kids planted in front of a video. If you are honest, that is.

On Monday morning, the lines outside full of sour, exhausted couples and whining children, were the preview. Inside, hoards scrambled over every available exhibit – even some of the slightly boring ones. You would have thought they were giving something away inside the Butterfly Garden – college tuition coupons? We were looking forward to seeing the fabulous new frog exhibit - only to be elbowed aside by packs of camera- and cellphone-carrying people taking pictures and videos of the frogs behind glass, then lingering to compare their work.

Normally, I have a way around this problem. I arrive early – ideally before the museum opens. My toddler is an early riser so it’s no real hardship. But vacation week confounds even early risers. The scene I am describing above took place at 9:30 a.m. Monday, 30 minutes after the museum opened.

During the last winter vacation, my neighbor and I ventured out to the Discovery Museum in Acton that had been so highly praised by all our friends. We arrived before it opened. There was already a line of miserable people -- and a 45-minute wait. The previous holiday we had braved the crowds at the Children's Museum, trying to keep the kids away from the water, while holding our place in the line of 200 that had formed before opening. You’re thinking I should have learned my lesson, right?

But what lesson? Don't go anywhere?

Therein lies the problem of living in big cities. At the exact time you want to go somewhere logical, say a museum on school vacation, or a beach on a sunny day ... that's the exact time every other family wants to go, too.

Anyone have any clever ways around this? Or maybe you've been luckier this week, with stellar experiences at museums? Thoughts?

About the author

Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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