18 answers

Help! My Daughter Refuses to Take Her Medicine for ADD.

Hi Ladies,
I know that alot of moms are against medication but I really need help. My daughter was diagnosed with ADD (not H) when she was in the second grade. She started taking Ritalin LA April of the 2nd grade school year. We do not give it to her on weekends or during the school or summer vacations. She did really good in the 3rd grade on the medicine. April of her 3rd grade year she decided all of a sudden that she does not want to take it anymore. So I let her stop without telling her teacher. I wanted to see if her teacher would notice. Well, it did not take long. within 2wks she called me in and noticed that there was a decline in her school work and performance. I did not say anything but anyway since we were towards the end of the school year I did not make an issue with my daughter and force her. Well now my daughter just started 4th grade and here lies the problem. She still is no longer taking the medicine. She is stressed overwhelmed and feeling sorry for herself that school is so hard. I am at my wits end. Homework assigned should take 45 minutes tops and it has been taking 2-4hrs. Blood sweat and tears by us both! I kindly suggested to her that maybe we should try the medicine again and she freaked out and said no, it is gross tasting. In the past I have opened up the capsule and put it in applesauce and I even poured it into chocolate pudding to dilute the taste but she still hates it. That is the only reason she is giving me for not wanting to take it any more. what should I do? Please help! When she is on the medication it is amazing the difference in her school performance. I would not believe it if I did not expereince the past 2 years. It really truly does help her!

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Is it able to be put into a drink? Maybe something cool that she loves - Koolaid?? My daughter is on Macrodantin and we put it in her drink. Hers is a powder capsule, so we open it up and mix it in. Just ask her doctor if that is ok to do with her meds. I to stay at home with three kids, 5,3,1

It is crazy but I love it. Finances were tough though!

M. Langlois

Helping Moms help their families!

Just an addition to earlier posts.
If she doesn't know how/can't swallow a pill, try teaching her using mini M&M's.

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Hi. I'm a mom of an ADHD boy (the H is definitely included :->). We avoided medication initially and tried all kinds of things until a very kind and experienced teacher suggested we talk to our doctor. She recognized that our son had a lot of potential, but that he could have a chemical imbalance inhibiting that. Long story short - we gained a good understanding of the brain chemistry and believe that in this case medication was a good choice for us. We started him on Adderall, which helped but it was a FIGHT every day to get him to take it. Like we didn't have enough stress already? Within about a year, we learned about Daytrana, which is a patch you put on the hip. Talk about a dream come true. Like all ADD/ADHD meds, it does have some side effects but the benefits far outweigh those. He's been on it for 3-4 years now and it has really been a life saver. It helped him calm down and focus enough to be able to exceed in school and late last year he tested as a gifted child. I am very sure that if we did not have the benefit of this medication, we may have missed his gifted ability under all the struggles ADHD brings. The key side effects are loss of appetite, irritated skin and sleeplessness. So, he takes melatonin (over the counter sleep aid suggested by our doctors) during the school week and we give him hefty foods like Boost shakes in the morning, etc. For the redness on the skin, we use an oil with vitamin E at night to soothe it and clean off any residue. Daytrana is fairly new, so I find it's still not commonly spoken of. I would highly recommend looking into it as an option. Because my son has the hyper aspect as well, when he is not medicated he gets the feeling of being out of control and it frustrates him. He is able to do the things he loves, like read and draw, because we found a way to manage it. Good luck to you - and don't lose heart. I know how it feels to love your kid so much but also struggle with feeling drained and overwhelmed by their condition. I hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

If it is just the taste I would try to get her to start taking pills. My son is 7 and has been swallowing pills that size since he was 5. He has ADHD and also takes the Ritalin. The pills are rather small and smooth so they go down easily. But I would make sure that this is the only problem. Most children on Ritalin has a dr. for med management. Does she see a psychiatrist for this? Maybe SHE should talk to the dr herself whether it be her pediatrician or a psychiatrist and let the dr. know what the problems are.

You are the mom she is the child. She shouldn't be telling you want she wants if you are the one who knows what is good for her. Tell her no TV or computer at night if she doesn't take her medicine. Tell her she can have her dessert after she takes her medicine (popsicle, cookie, whatever). There must be consequenses. She is obviously suffering without it. Yes this might be a mental illness but it is affecting her whole life and she is suffering without it. You're the mom!! Take action now before so that she has a great start to the school year.

Just an addition to earlier posts.
If she doesn't know how/can't swallow a pill, try teaching her using mini M&M's.

Would you consider a more natural remedy? I have several friends whose ADD children did much better on a good nutritional supplement which is delicious tasting (vanilla or chocolate) and you mix it in milk or water. One child got off his meds completely and his grades went up 10 points across the board. Another child was never medicated (his mom is a kindergarten teacher and saw many of the problems with medicated children), but when he wanted to get his learner's permit, they were so worried about his focus. He has now graduated from college (with honors) and has done great. Let me know if you want more info or even a chance to talk to these folks.

I agree that you know what is best for your daughter, and that you should not let her argue about the meds. HOWEVER you do need to take her feelings into account. It may be that Ritalin isn't the right med for her. Tell her that she needs to take her ADD meds, but that if she wants to try a different med you will take her to visit with her doctor. My son went through 3 different meds before he found one he could live with. He now takes it without prompting. And he recognizes the benefits of taking it regularly.

YOU are the parent. You make and set the rules. Taking meds should not be a topic for discussion or deliberation. Would you let her ride in the car without a seatbelt or a bike without a helmut? You need to do what is best for your daughter whether she likes it or not. Good luck. I know that it's not easy. I hope things work out for all of you!

Could you get the meds in pill form? My daughter is 8 and hates taking any liquid med because of taste. She has been able to swallow a pill for well over a year. It works for her. It probably would depend on the size and shape of the pill. Can you talk to the pharmacist? I would sugest that her first attempt at a pill be with a smaller, coated, easy to swallow pill. Of course, there might be something more than taste that she is just not able to express to you. Hope this helps.

When my son was diagnosed, our ped gave us all a great explanation of what ADD is and later when my ds wouldn't take them, why they help. She explained that his brain works differently than someone who doesn't have ADD. His brain goes so fast, it doesn't stop to make help make a good choice, or decide what needs to be done first. An ADD person sees a pile of work as an overwhelming pile, not something they can do one at a time. They are also more anxious and always need to be moving. So the medicine helps slow down his thoughts to help him make better choices, and focus on a task.

She was very clear with him that there was nothing wrong with him, his mind just worked way faster than ours :-). She also discussed kids with other chronic conditions and that they take meds and if they didn't, they wouldn't be better.

We sat down and discussed what he thought the meds helped with and discussed the choices he made when he was on and when he was off the meds. We talked about how he was successful in school/sports/activities on the meds but off, he was always behind or hindered by his "ants" (in the pants).

Ultimately seeing that he could get his work accomplished while in school, and not have homework and his success with his grades seems to have won out.

I also agree with the person who said you should take the meds consistently. When you don't take them you do get the side effects and it is more noticeable to them (headache/belly ache/anger). Once on them consistently the side effects are not noticeable.

Good luck!!

Is it able to be put into a drink? Maybe something cool that she loves - Koolaid?? My daughter is on Macrodantin and we put it in her drink. Hers is a powder capsule, so we open it up and mix it in. Just ask her doctor if that is ok to do with her meds. I to stay at home with three kids, 5,3,1

It is crazy but I love it. Finances were tough though!

M. Langlois

Helping Moms help their families!

My guess is that she's really resenting the fact that she's "different" and wants to prove that she's just like everyone else. This is a hard thing at any age (I see it in my HS students, I'm a teacher). I think that you should get her in to a therapist to help her find ways to deal with her diagnosis (not the ADD behavior, but how she feels about having ADD). It might seem silly, but it might feel like she's been given a "death sentence." Imagine being told you'd spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair - you'd feel sorry for yourself too.

The other thing that I would recommend is to stop letting her go off again - on again with the meds. Same time every day, week day or weekend or vacation. The side effects can be unpleasant, but she'll stop having them if she stays on the meds, but otherwise she has to keep dealing with them. They may also feel like "punishment" for not doing well enough in school as opposed to an aid to help her be a more productive person in general. When she gets older (high school and college) she can decide to take them or not, but for a little kid I would insist on all the time. And I would really insist. This is not a choice she gets to make at this point in her life.

Finally, have you thought about getting the meds in pill form? She might be old enough to learn to swallow the pills, and then she doesn't have the "taste" argument to prevent her from taking them.

We are in the process of getting my 7 year old diagnosed. I'm of course getting lots of opinions on meds or no meds or if she even has it. But anyways, I have also talked to a friend of mine who has lived with ADD for all of his life. He's in his 30's now. Completely off meds. Was taken off of them in high school. He said he benefited greatly from having a psychiatrist to help him figure out ways to cope. He's very successful in life. But she might be too young to figure out strategies to cope. Not too young to start though. Have you talked to her doctor though about the meds and finding out if there's something that tastes better? Have you looked into any of the houlistic approaches to dealing with this? Maybe changing her diet will be as effective as the meds were. Although, I know they say to take out the processed foods and that's next to impossible for me to do since that's what school lunches consist of. But if you really can't get her to take the meds and there's nothing else that tastes better that will work for her then I guess it's worth a shot. Coupled with counseling it might really help.

Talk to her doctor about another med - there are others out there. My son couldn't stand Ritalin either. He did well on Adderall and Concerta. I got him in special ed on a 504 placement so he could have the resource room. The resource teacher helped him learn how to do homework and be responsible. She knew which techniques would work better for my son. We still battled over homework - but not as much. It's important that she like learning (even if she doesn't like school) - so helping her to make school more enjoyable/bearable would be a really good thing.

Hi L. C,
OMG - I could have written word for word what you have described (same grade, daughter w/ADD, stopping it and not telling teacher, then having teacher call etc. WOW!!).

My daughter has never taken Ritalin, however she takes Metadate CD (it is in the Ritalin family), it is in a capsule form (little balls inside), and I separate the capsule and put the balls in whipped cream - it is the ONLY way my daughter will take it. My neuro said to put it in applesauce however my daughter will not eat applesauce.

One of my daughters teachers told me that there is an ADD drug that is available as a patch, maybe you can ask your daughters doctor about that. Is your doctor willing to try a different med? I know that some doctors don't like to try different meds because it takes time to tweak the medicine and find the perfect dose.

I'm not sure if your pediatrican is prescribing the medicine or a neurologist. I highly recommend the neurologists at Children's Hospital to manage your daughters ADD and meds. If you don't already go there, I know it may seem daunting going into Boston but they are fantastic and have so many resources to help you.

Best of luck, and know there are other moms going through the same thing (I know it doesn't seem that way when you are in the throws of battle with your child before school). Hugs to you - hang in there!


1. Parents do not let a child decide whether or not to take medicine. What if she had epilepsy and "didn't like the taste" ....would you let her not take it?
2. Call the doctor and/or pharmacist as the medicine likely comes in a pill format. Larger capsules can be usually be opened and their content mixed into something with little taste problems.

so sorry to hear about your problem,but u know what u are the boss, and she is the child. but if i were u i would keep putting the pill in her food and drink, just don't let her see u when u are doing this, i think she's being stubborn about the taste thing only, but does it even have a taste to it? have u checked that yourself, or are u going by what she's telling you? because if u taste the drink or food yourself you'll be able to determine that for yourself. and if it does not have a taste then she's just being stubborn about it. good luck sweetie, oh and if it has a taste, maybe u should ask your doc for a tasteles kind, i'm preety sure they have that.

Hi L. C,
My name is H. and I work at our local High School as a Paraprofessional in the Special Ed. Dept. I work with students that have everything from learning disabilities, ADD, ADHD, behavior disorders, & Autism Spectrum. I'm by no means an expert, so first I want to say- make an appointment with your daughter's Pediatrician. Ask if you can brief him/her ahead of time as to what's been happening over the past couple of years. After the visit, make sure that the doctor explains to both you & your daughter why it may be more beneficial for her to stay on the medication.Keep in touch with the doctor so he/she knows what is happening- he/she may even refer you to a specialist.Secondly, remember that you are the "mom"- I know that its hard when our kids don't like to take medication, but if it has shown to truly improve her academic performance and ability, is not causing any detrimental side affects and the only reason she's giving for not taking it is the taste, she probably should be on it. While I'm not a big fan of just simply medicating to get a child to "behave" properly, some people do benefit from the medication.
Next, have you had a PPT done for your daughter with the school? This is a meeting between you & the school's professionals in various areas of child learning & development. They will run various tests to see what areas of strenghts & weaknesses your child has and come up with an IEP or Individual Educational Plan that is intended to help your child in school.If you've not had one done yet, please consider calling your school and asking for one. It is your daughter's right to have access to any and all help available to her.
Lastly, make sure that while you are the "mom", you always want to listen to your child. She should be able to tell you when her body is not feeling right and you want to be sensitive to that. You'll get to know when she's "playing" you because she just doesn't want to do it & when she sincerely needs some reevaluation of the medication.
It may not be easy at first and you may have to really put your foot down, that's why I'm encouraging you to get support from the doctor and the school.
I wish you all the best. As I said, I work with kids , many of whom are on medications & I've seen both sides- Side affects from adjusting meds to poor behavior & academic performance because of refusal to take meds.
You & your daughter will be in my thoughts & prayers.
God Bless,
H. Y.

discuss this with your doctor. There are other methods of delivery like a daily patch? hope this helps

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