Seeking Advice ADHD

Updated on October 14, 2009
J.B. asks from Sherman Oaks, CA
33 answers

Hello moms, I am here for your advice! My nephew is 5 years old and recently diagnosed with ADHD with mood disorders, my sister and her ex have taken him to 2 doctors and they've both given the same diagnoses. They recommended they put him on medication to control it. He has been kicked out of 2 schools for his outbursts, he has hit, kicked, slapped, bit, his teachers, thrown things at them, and has beat up a few kids. He will be fine then out of no where go crazy. Unfortunately my sisters ex has the final say when it comes to medical issues. And he refuses to accept its ADHD and that he needs meds. He says "change his diet, and its normal, all 5 year olds act like this." and we all know its not normal. my sister and the school has recorded these outbursts and they are pretty bad, he has seen them and thinks its funny. He is very irresponsible and can careless, but feels the need to punish my sister by saying no. she is at her wits end, all she wants is for her son to go to school, learn and play with other kids. His school now is considering kicking him out because of his outbursts. I guess my question is, are there are any other moms out there that have a child my nephews age that was or has been diagnosed with ADHD and are your children on meds? have the meds helped? what are options have you tried to control it? ANY ADVICE would be greatly appreciated. She is trying to keep it out of court, but at this point she is leaning towards it...thank you in advance for the advice!

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So What Happened?

Hello, I just wanted to thank all of you for your wonderful advice. My sister has decided at this moment she is going to change his diet and try some homeopathic things. we are going to research this more and look into all the meds. she has also decided to take him to another psychiatrist for a third opinion. She is also going back to court to reverse the court order of her ex having final say in this matter. Hopefully soon we get to the bottom of this. Again, thank you all for your wonderful advice!

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answers from Santa Barbara on

Raising a boy in this day an age is a challenge to say the least. I have a 6 year old boy and last year going through kindergarten was the most difficult year of my life. Here's my advice, the parents have to be on the same page, similar goals and same game plan. We stopped all T.V., Video games, anything violent. We avoid sugar and provide a good diet. I would go to school and coach my son through a situation. Lets sat he hit a boy in the face I would a ask why he did that and he might say "he took my spot in line" (My son usually felt wronged before he got violent) I would then say what else could you have done? I would tell him how the other boy felt. Then write a story about it with a better ending and let him know how happy I would be with him for making a good choice. We would reread these story books we made through out the year. I was at the school a bunch. He had daily rewards for good behavior like a new book or toy, then he would need to get 3 good days then a reward. He pick the reward before hand so it was something he really wanted. His teacher and myself talked or emailed daily and everyone was consistant with consequences. Active boys are normal,but they have to learn what behaviors are unacceptable and that there will be consequences. Meds were a last resort for us, and we have had good results with these techniques. I still get a few calls from the teacher but first grade is going much smoother and my son is happier. Good luck

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answers from Las Vegas on


After reviewing the responses to your questions, I've been sitting here debating whether or not to respond. At the moment I'm pretty steamed at the lack of acceptance and understanding and the one-sidedness of the other posters here. So, I'm going to give you my thoughts, which are obviously not the most popular, but I fell are necessary to give you some balance.

My son is 11, he was diagnosed at 4 1/2. We tried all the food changes, behavior therapy, different ideas, etc. Noting worked. My kids don't eat processed food, or red dye, or anything else that "someone" suggested was the cause of the problem.

When, after much research and thought, we made the decision to start him on meds, our whole world changed. Up to the point of medication, he could not sit with a paper and crayon and color, he could not play blocks, he could not put simple puzzles together, he could not play with other kids, and a host of other issues. He was kicked out of one preschool within the first few weeks of school. We were blessed to find a developmental preschool that worked with his needs and strengths and watched a major transformation with him. Within six weeks of the first round of meds, I watched him write his name on a piece of paper for the first time ever. Now, some will blame his inability to do these things on my poor parenting skills, my laziness and many other things. Far from the truth. I ran a preschool/daycare in my home, I had a mile long waiting list for a spot in my program. My lack of skills, lazy behavior and all those other issues did not exist.

While some will tell you that meds are the lazy parents' way out, please know that is not the case all the time. Would you deny a diabetic child his insulin, just because someone told you to change his diet or that meds were the lazy mans solution? I'm not saying that the diet vs. meds issue is completely wrong. You do have to feed your children healthy food, giving them the best you can. Yes, some foods affect our children and if we can minimize those effects, good things are bound to happen.

A parent of an ADHD child cannot assume that just by giving their child meds, it will change all the behaviors and life will be easy from that point on. Our life has been difficult in many ways as we learn each new stage of our son's life and how to help him succeed. Meds are not the cure-all here, they are a step to help the children be successful. The meds do no cure the ADHD, they give the kids the ability to stop and think before making choices and a host of other things.

Our son is growing and we see maturity factor in to his decisions. But, without those meds on board, he does not have the same abiltiy to made decisions the same way. There are so many things being pumped into his brain, that his system is on overload. This is a huge issue for ADHD kids. You cannot remove all outside stimuli from your child's world. You can control how much and when they are exposed to excess noise, commotion, large groups of people, etc. Every child is different and it takes trial and error to figure out what will help them most.

Not all ADHD meds are in the stimulant family. Our son takes a non-stimulant med and has for the last several years. It does not work quite as well as the stimulants, but it serves it's purpose and it does not fill him full of outside stimulants. He does not drink coffee or Mt. Dew or any other "OTC" stimulant for self medication. If I thought a Mt. Dew every two hours would solve the problems, I still wouldn't do it. The sugar alone would rot all the teeth out of his mouth and cause a host of other health issues. Those things are not good for you, period.

You are a good person to want to do what you can for your family. It can be a tough decision, but do not sell yourself short of options because there are plenty of options out there. Do not let one thought process sway you from looking at all your options, one thing does not work for everyone.

From the parent of an ADHD child, thank you for caring.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

There are hundreds of children prescribed meds. each year for ADHD. If his physician,made this diagnosis,after A simple examination and complaints of bad or bizarre behavior,you can consider it A (Phony diagnosis). He's GUESSING and attempting to find an answer and solution,to PLEASE the boys mother. To make A proper determination,the physician would have had to run test evaluating brain activity as to whether there was any abnormality or reason for worry. Your Nephew,is most likely not ready for school,He's probably frightened to leave home at all for fear his mom will leave next. Acting out,because hes troubled over his parents split,is quite normal behavior,for many children following A divorce. Tell your sister,not to be so quick to LABEL her son as ADHD or problematic. He needs to vent somewhere over his hurt and anger.If you want to help him,get him into An activity or sport,where he can cut loose. We ALL need A venue to release bottled up feelings. MEDS should be her last resort. I wish you,your sister and her son the best. J. M

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Jennifer, I was wondering have you ever thought about researching homeopathic and natural remedies for your nephew? Sugar, dyes, different food combinations and even toxins (in the environment and home) can truly make a difference in a child's behavior. But, please also remember that kids are ALIVE and have feelings and spirit and do not deserve to be labeled or medicated. I definitely know from personal experience psych medications do more harm than good and that, in fact, there are many natural solutions that can actually help with what your nephew is going through.

And, honestly, I'd look into the motivations of whoever is pushing to label your sweet nephew.

Please call the CITIZENS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS (CCHR). Their # is: (323) 467~4242. And, here's their website: They can definitely help you!

I highly recommend contacting Dr. Mike Spearman who is truly an amazing Chiropractor and Nutritionist and would definitely be able to help your nephew naturally.

Here's his data:

1279 North Berendo St.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(323) 663~1066

In addition, I suggest taking your nephew to H.E.L.P. (The Hollywood Education and Literacy Project) located here in Hollywood. It is a free program, and what is amazing is that I've seen kids come into this program who have been labeled ADD/ ADHD and by learning the study technology they offer and getting their diet in order, magically their ADD/ ADHD symptoms disappear. REALLY! You can definitely call H.E.L.P. for a free tour.

Here's their data:

Hollywood Education Literacy Project International
6336 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood CA 90028

Ask for Amanda or Ann. They definitely will be able to help your nephew!

I'd also recommend checking out 5 organizations validating why going the natural route is best for your nephew:

And, please watch:

Psych Conflicts:

Making A Killing:

CCHR: Depression Mental Health Screening Test Puts Kids' Health at Risk

CCHR Says Top APA Psychiatrist Needs Lesson in Disease vs. Disorder

CCHR: The Difference Between Medical Disease & Psychiatric Disorder

CCHR Antidepressant Drug Spoof: Tripolar disorder

'GENERATION RX' Extended Trailer

The Psycho Pharmaceutical Industry with Former Pharma Scientist, Shane Ellison

Dr John Rengen Virapen, Whistleblower of the Psychopathic Pharmaceutical Industry, Speaks Out

Psychiatric Drugs & the Brave New World: featuring Jim Marrs

Whistleblower Allen Jones/Mental health screening of kids

Fight For Kids: The Candace Downing Story

CCHR PSA: Psychiatric Drugs and Violence

CCHR PSA Warning on Antidepressants/Child Suicides

Why we need a Mental Health Declaration of Human Rights Read it here:


Too many kids on psych meds? Parts 1, 2 & 3

It's vital you watch: "The Drugging of Our Children"

I also truly recommend reading "Doped Up and Duped – nearly impossible to find independent studies of psych drugs with no Pharma ties."

Please feel free to contact me at: (323) 906~2784 or via e~mail me at [email protected]

I'd love to help you and your nephew however I can.

With love,
L. (MAMA to 2 year old Dylan Orion.......29 September 2007) : )))

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I have had a child with the same outburst problem - he was diagnosed in 5th grade after several years of problems. I am very happy with the adderall & paxil he was given. It was so helpful in focusing his attention and keeping the outbursts to a minimum! He is now 22 and works for Best Buy's Geek Squad and is fully able to work with the public. Something I would never have dreamed of previously. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

You may want to explore resolution through NAET. The naet website has a physician locator, or you can consult with my naet dr, Dr. David Karaba at East West Medical Group in Fullerton. ###-###-####.

Here's a description of a book on the matter I pulled from online for your information:

Say Goodbye to ADD and ADHD
[###-###-####] $18.00

Click to enlarge
Say Good-bye to ADD and ADHD
By - Devi S. Nambudripad, D.C., L.Ac., R.N., Ph.D.
Paperback-1st Edition 1999
263 pages, 8.5’ X5.5’X.5"
ISBN: 0-965824-4-1

This book explains how ADD and ADHD are related to food, chemical, environmental factors, vaccinations, drugs, and other factors. In Say Good-bye ADD and ADHD, Dr. Nambudripad, the developer of NAET® (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques), provides an innovative and natural solution to ADD and ADHD, the most common problem plaguing many children and adults today. This book will provide guidelines to help selfevaluate and recognize the symptoms of ADD and ADHD or educate the parents to observe and evaluate the child’s behaviors from a very young age by guiding through a list of abnormal behaviors or patterns in the child. If any abnormality is suspected, then the parent could seek appropriate medical help at an early age. This book show you how certain commonly used foods and environmental substances can cause attention deficit and hyperactive disorders in your child; how you can test your child and detect the culprit causing the child’s sudden abnormal behaviors in your privacy of your own home using the Nambudripad’s Testing Techniques described in the book. This book will educate you how your child’s health problems can relate to allergy and, how allergies can manifest in myriad symptoms that might seem unrelated. The author also provides a few effective home-help procedures that might temporarily get your child out of trouble. The book also helps you find the help in assisting your child find the help he needs to reduce ADD or ADHD or even eliminate permanently and help the child lead a normal life. The book is supported by case studies from NAET® practitioners, and testimonials from patients who have been treated successfully by NAET®.



answers from Los Angeles on

Check with Dr. Richards in Glendora. (RIchards family health center) for cranial adjustments and he can't have the last say when it comes to medical... they both created him and if it comes down to it we're talking child endangerment here (their own and the kids around him). All it's going to take is one good pop from their child to another child and they can be sued.



answers from Los Angeles on

I really don't have any personal experience with this, but the chiropractor that I go to has a son with ADHD. I think his son is or was on meds. He does regular adjustments on his son and says that it does help. I would really think that medication is a last resort. I would start with diet (as mentioned below) and maybe talk to a pediatric chiroprator. It couldn't hurt and maybe it will help and you won't need meds!



answers from Los Angeles on

Jennifer, you already got a lot of very good information from a lot of Moms. I know that this must be killing you to see your sister go through this. I am sure that the ex is and ex for a reason. He probably feels that if he gives in to the diagnosis then it would mean that something is wrong with him. My son was diagnosed with ADHD last year. My husband hated the meds. I did too actually. This year we discussed it with his teacher and she said that though she can see some tendancies, he is doing okay. He is a boy. That said, this is what we did. I have put him on a product called Juice Plus. I give him the gummies and you can get some at You can read about the products and then if you go to the store and see all of the products, you will find them. You can use my name, L. Robotham as a distributor. They are really good. My son, the one with the ADHD also has huge allergies and when he is on the gummies he does so much better both with his ADHD and his allergies. Our doctor visits drop down significally. The gummies are only $21.00 per month and they are delivered with a 4 month supply and your accout is credited every month. Adding these was our first step. The second step was to take him off of ALL SODA POP. We give him Juicy juice mostly and some apple juice. He can have kool-aide but only in the evening. He has an apple everyday either oranges or pears. He hates veggies but salads are not veggies to him so we give him that a few times a week. Most of my kids snacks are gold fish. He is still a really picky eater and does have sugar items but we are trying to balance more good foods into his diet to help. You have to find a good teacher to work with him too. I don't know if your sister works full time, I am sure that she does but if you don't, can you volunteer in his class to help him stay on task? Just my thoughts. Tell your sister that she is not alone and that the courts can help too. She has to make sure that her son is taken care of. The divorce can add so much stress to a child who already is stressed. That is a huge factor. Good luck.


answers from San Diego on

Dear Jennifer,

You do NOT have to medicate this child! Please get your nephew to a certified classical homeopath. Homeopathy can transform a child or adult from the inside out, affecting both the emotional and the physical planes. It's a natural process, and there are numerous homeopaths in the U.S. who have built their entire careers helping kids with "behavioral" problems.

I see you are in the L.A. area. If you e-mail me, I can recommend a couple of good homeopaths who might be able to help your nephew.

Best wishes,
S. I., L.Ac., HMA
Lotus Wellspring Healthcare
San Marcos, CA



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi Jennifer, How great you are helping your sister with this issue. My son has Autism and is 18 years old, but the behaviors were different. This is going to sound really crazy, but in order to get the Dad on board with everything, and believe me whatever the course of action is for the next 20 years he needs to do it too.
Your nephew needs to live with him, and the Dad is totally incharge of school, homework and ALL of the interaction for one month. I bet he would no longer say the behavior of his son is just a phase, or within the normal limits. Hard reality is that then he would be able to see the difference between his son's behavior and how he remembers himself???
Your nephew will not be damaged by living with his Dad for a month and in the long run it will be better. Less fighting between Mom and Dad on every issue.
Is that possible? I hope so, since scattered time has not shown the Dad the severity of his son's actions on his future. Your sister will be able to do this and it's only going to take a month or less, I bet you.
good luck, let me know what happens. Deb Good advice from many sources, a clean diet and less additives etc is good, but the child still needs a mom and dad on the same page to make whatever they do help him. I wonder if no meds makes the child a pariah, until he grows more able to control himself why not have an excellent MD help with making his life less miserable. He is miserable if he's that out of control, ask him...



answers from Los Angeles on

I have not read all the responses so i'm not sure what advice you have heard i am sure a ton of great stuff. I just wanted you to know we have been struggling with this and put our 6 year old on meds. over the summer to regulate how they would work. we didn't want to send him to school without knowing what side effects he would be dealing with. it was terrible! for some children perhaps medication is a miracle but it was not for us.

i met with the school to go over his diagnoses and told them about our experience and the school physiologist actually said there has not been enough research done on how these "adult" medications work in children and if we did want to use medication we would have much better luck when he was older.

we also have been using dietary and homeopathic alternatives and they have been very helpful although there is a long way to go. i have found a program called parent with purpose this is the link.

The woman lives in Texas but she has come to CA to do seminars. she happens to be coming out in November. I am defiantly going to see what information she has to offer. I have the details if you are interested. she claims to be able to teach parents how to identify problems and help heal their child's brain. I have spoken to 3 nurses and one special edd teacher who have all said this was worth the time and was absolutely fascinating. it cant hurt i guess.

good luck and give your sister a big hug it is wonderful she has you as such a strong support!



answers from Los Angeles on

Take him to see Dr Gary Polan

15415 W. Sunset Blvd. Ste 102
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Phone: ###-###-####

He specialises in vision training and says most children are misdiagnosed with ADHD and really have issues in the way their eyes communicate with their brains instead. He is one of only three people in L.A. who offers it and he said he has turned around many a child with supposed behavioural problems through simple vision training.

My daughter's teachers kept telling me she had problems too. She is a new child since seeing Dr Polan.

It would be horrible to medicate a child that didn't really need it. Exhaust all possible options first!

Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

It looks like you've gotten a lot of advice from people who do not have first hand experience of ADHD. Just be aware that ADHD and ADD are two different disorders, and that the doctor in question has to test for this - your sister should be getting a real diagnosis from a neuropsychiatrist, if possible, and the ex-husband has to be part of this process. Without his buy-in, if he has joint custody, nothing will change - even if the best solution is medication, the ex won't give him the meds. If she has to go back to mediation or court, so be it. Good luck! My heart goes out to this mom, and this little boy.



answers from Los Angeles on

Just a thought...Some doctors prescribe an ADHD medication that a child only takes for school. They take their med in the morning, it wears off in the afternoon- by the time they are home. They don't take it on weekends. Perhaps your sister should ask her son's physician if this is a possibility? Then she could have the doctor write the perscription/fill out a permission document so that the health technician at school could administer the medication first thing in the morning. The meds are taken to school and kept there in a locked cabinet. It would all be taken care of at school.

My oldest son had ADHD as a child and still does have it. We did the Fiengold diet, eliminated sugar & artificial food colors, identified allergens and did all that we could to mitigate that. On and on... Guess what? None of it lessened his struggle with impulsivity, disorganization, inability to sit still, etc. I am very sorry I didn't get him medications. He's so smart, so quick on the uptake, has so much common sense, loving and responsible. But school was an agony for him, he hated it. He couldn't handle college. I feel like I had the chance to give him something more, a chance at a better life and I blew it by thinking medication for ADHD would be harmful. A parent does have to know their own child, weigh all the options, try everything they think will work. In the end, you hope you do what is right.

Good Luck...and give the little guy a hug & kiss from me. Tell him he's a great kid. He probably gets plenty of negative feedback from everybody everyday, give him a little positive straight from me.



answers from San Luis Obispo on

Hi Jennifer,
My daughter (now a pharmacist)was diagnosed with ADHD as an infant. The fact that your nephew has mood disorder added to that diagnosis makes it more complicated. I am a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Educational Psychologist, and I specialize in children and alternative perspectives and treatments for the labels given to children. There are many scientifically documented alternatives to medication for ADHD, but fewer for actual mood disorders. Neurofeedback, given by a mental-health licensed practitioner (Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, or other psychotherapist) with specific software for ADHD or depression can be very effective. There are brain-wave CD's that can be effective, but need a professional to be sure there are not other brain issues besides ADHD. Even things such as essential oils (not aromatherapy--they are not pure enough)have been shown to be effective in both stimulating brain focus and calming. Your sister should also check out the book "The Highly Sensitive Child" by Elaine Aron, PhD. All behavior is communication. See if you and your sister can really observe your nephew and the circumstances of his outbursts and see if there is a pattern of overstimulation (visual, auditory, tactile, emotional, mental--even a very windy day added to a new academic task he is not ready for can be too much to a very sensitive neurological system). See if there is a pattern of non-verbally telling him he shouldn't be who he is.

There is a book with extensive recommendations for alternative treatments for ADHD entitled "The ADD/ADHD Revolution: Treatments That Work" by LaVonne and Rick Kirkpatrick. Be careful to check if they also help, or at least don't hinder, the mood disorder. There are at least six types of ADHD identified by Dr. Daniel Amen of the Amen Clinic in California. Some treatments, like herbs, make one type much better but make another type worse. Some school settings increase difficult behavior and many alternative schools help decrease it. You and your sister are in for an eye-opening, exciting and frustrating journey. My life has been 200% more interesting, exciting and rewarding due to my daughter, and I have had to grow in ways I would otherwise been able to sleep through. I can't say I was always happy about that in the moment, but I certainly can now. Good luck.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hello Jennifer,
I have no experience dealing with this disorder, much less at that young age, I can only imaging how difficult it most be. I think getting educated about it is important, to find the right treatment at that age, there might be an alternative to medication. My step daughter was diagnosed with bipolar when she was going through her teens. It was so difficult for everyone, and in one point we thought she was lost forever. A combination of medications and psychotherapy helped her, and most of all, the love and support from the people that love her. She's off medications now, and leading a normal life, with a bright future. I strongly reject the use of medication, specially in young children, but sometimes, they are necessary. The important key is that to find the right amount is tricky, doctors have to adjust so the doses are as minimal as possible, while being as effective as possible. Your nephew's father is not helping anyone by ignoring the facts, and the consequences could be catastrophic. I say if court is the only way, the sooner, the better. Hope this helps, and good luck.



answers from Austin on

Hi! Sounds like a pretty intense situation..... That is only adding to his already very difficult issues to control, and deal with. For starters; why does the father have the final say in medication? If courts haven't been involved then that shouldn't be. Even if they are and they appointed the father to have Medical Power of Attorney, that can be reversed with enough documantation from schools, guidence counseled, mom, aunt.......especially if his immature nature and desicions are aiding in making your nephews issues worse.

Medication is in my opinion a last thing resort. That is a decision that the mother will need to make. I do know from personal experience that medication does work for this. In my opinion, a low dose with some FAMILY fun couseling, lots of attention towards the child and genuine care and love. He will learn to adapt to the unfourtunite curve ball life has thrown at him. We have to learn to work with what God has given us, and if there are people out the making it harder for us to acheive a normal happy life they should be called out and not have that sort of control. Especially something so important as your nephews future. Medication might not be the answer, eitherway the father has got to grow up and contribute in a "team playing mature way..... Lead by exapmle... Right?

I hope I have helped in someway! Your an awesome aunt for caring and noticing about what going on. Be persistant and documantation is eVeRYTHinG!!!!

Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi J.,

My ex had a son that got diagnosed with ADHD when he was 7 or 8. His mother also wanted to put him on meds, but my ex refused. We got more involved in his son's life and went to seminars on ADHD. We learned that some children work beter with medication, but many can improve with a diet change. So, we asked him mom to give us a month to change his diet and his lifestyle a little. If his behavior did not improve then we would agree to meds. Over the month, his attitude and behavior improve tremendously. Although it sounds like your nephew has worse outbreaks, I would recommend changinghis diet (at least while your sister decides what course of action to take). Your sister may even want to ask her ex to agree to meds after a certain period of time with the diet change (and make sure it is in writing).

Good luck and hope it helps.



answers from Los Angeles on

By all means take it to court. Medication has helped my daughter. The boy has 2 issues to deal w/ ADHD and Mood Disorder.

In the mean time, take the DR diagnosis to the school(I'm assuming it is a local public school) and give them a written request for a meeting to develop a 504 Plan (not special ed, but a list of what the school can be doing to help the boy --- can also include a BEHAVIOR PLAN -- they should have a school psychologist observe him and figure out what sets off his outbursts -- then the school has to work to mitigate those triggers as well as working w/ the boy on his behaviors before they get out of control. Then you have recourse -- the school won't be able to kick him out unless they have done everything they can to help him.) The school may also send a school psychologist to back his mom up in court to demand medication. Now to be honest my husband was against meds, but I had my own insurance and just did it w/o telling him. After it was working he was OK w/ it. To pay for meds. out of pocket can be expensive. I think 1 month can cost $300. There are generic options out there, but the problem is not every med works for every kid, so you have to use the one that is best for the boy and not just what is cheapest. You should take him to see a child psychiatrist to deal w/ both of his conditions and not just a pediatrician that prescribes ADHD meds --- some of which can aggravate mood disorders. My heart goes out to the boy and his mother.



answers from San Diego on

I don't think your nephew's behavior is normal. I agree with the doctors based on what you write. Since the father is either in complete denial or playing games to torment your sister that are detrimental to his child, the courts may be the best avenue to get this under control. Your sister has enough documentation from doctors and schools to support her position. Hopefully she has a lawyer? Since the father has been so uncooperative in the past, there is no reason to believe this will change in the near future. The court can even order an independent psychiatric eval or psych testing if they feel it is needed. I take it your sister and her ex have joint physical and legal custody. Perhaps, father shouldn't have legal custody for medical issues pertaining to childhood psychiatric disorders for his son. I do agree with father however that perhaps the diet could be an issue. She can check with the doctor for recommendations on diet and ADHD. There are many sites on the internet that she can research as well regarding ADHD but probably has her hands full and can't spend much time on the internet doing research. I think it will carry more weight in court if it comes up if a doctor has made recommendations regarding diet and meds rather than a parent conducting their own research. Good luck to your sister, for your nephew's sake! If your nephew was diabetic, needing insulin, and the father was just saying to control with diet, what would your sister's position be? Withholding medication for an ADHD (with or without a mood disorder) child may not be as immediately life threatening as withholding insulin from a diabetic child, but it is still very serious.



answers from Los Angeles on

Dear Jennifer,
ADHD is a spectrum. That means that it ranges from very mild to very severe in symptoms. In addition, this little one has been diagnosed with mood disorders. I am assuming this probably means manic depressive. I am not a great believer in meds for the little guys, but have worked as a special education teacher. In the case of mood disorders it is usually needed and helpful and on the severe end of ADHD it is also warranted so the the child can focus and learn. Also be aware that divorce can cause children insecurity and switching between two places and two types of discipline or lack there of can cause them confusion. If he gets away with some behaviors with the dad, he will think they will be accepted everywhere.
Often issues with children result in divorce and the ex husband does have a say in medication. Unless your sister wants to go to lawyer and make a case for her having complete custody of the child, he can thwart medication attempts. This issue needs to be address before he returns to any school setting.
The public school, however, is not allowed to "kick out any child". They should be placing him in a more appropriate class with more supervision and less children. Your sister should speak to the principle about testing by the school psychologist and placements that may be possible. However, these placements usually have a lasting effect...once labeled and place it is very hard to get them back into regular classes.
One other thing to remember is that he is only 5. He may not be ready for school yet. Kindergarten today is really first grade and they are not only learning letters, but will be learning to read and have math...many papers and sitting activities. He may not be emotionally and socially ready for all the interaction with so many children or all the high demands on writing and sitting still. I kept two of my three sons back and this helped them become more mature. Sometimes all the demands in kindergarten can cause a child to act out out of frustration because they are not able to do the work given also. Is he able to sit with one adult and listen to a story read to him and answer questions about it? Will he sit and play with play dough or color a picture at home? Is he interested in counting objects and showing interest in books? If not, his immaturity may be a factor as well as having behavior issues and difficulty focusing. Perhaps your sister should consider keeping him at home for this year and involving him in smaller groups or a preschool for 2-3 days a week and one that she is allowed to observe and also intervene when a problem seems to be surfacing. Make sure the pre-school understands the situation and is willing to work with your sister. Another option is pre-K that would prepare him an extra year before he proceeds. Again the school and teacher should be aware of the problems. Has he ever been in any school setting where they had specific rules, etc. before? If his home is not structured, he is not use to rules and demands and this can cause problems with any child.
I hope these comments help some. Diets may be helpful such as eliminating gluten, but I don't think it will solve the problem totally. It is difficult to know what to do without observing him and really seeing what his skills are right now (socially, emotionally, mentally). All these things need to be considered.
I hope you will be able to help your sister in her decision. Meanwhile make sure you give your little guy plenty of time and make sure you are a great wife too:)
Don't let your sister's problems take over your life so you cannot do these things well....Dr Laura would tell you this>



answers from San Diego on

Hi Jennifer. I have a bit of perspective on both sides of this issue. My cousin was super ADHD when he was a child. He was not mean or purposely naughty, but very overly active to the point of kicking people just because he couldn't hold his legs still, and had a very difficult time focusing in school. My aunt was very much against using medication, but she solved the problem in another way. She put him on the Feingold diet. He couldn't have any foods with artificial flavorings, colorings, or preservatives. She cooked from scratch and was very disciplined about her food preparation. It was a lot of work and very time consuming, but apparently, my cousin was allergic to those forbidden foods, so this worked for him. Now, I have seen it to the extreme from the point of view of a teacher and a parent of children in a classroom with children like your nephew. Each child is certainly different and has unique needs. I just retired after 35 years of teaching primary grades. I also have 2 daughters who are now in their 20's. I had students who were so disruptive that I spent so much time and energy monitoring them that the other students suffered for it. Many times it took away from important teaching of the rest of the class. It was upsetting to the children and to the child who lost control. Some of those children were subsequently medicated and some were not. It worked like magic for some. It is something that needs to be monitored and takes awhile to stabilize the type of medicine and the doseage. If it is wrong for them or too much it can make them sleepy. That is certainly not the goal here. Learning for everyone is the goal. I am not a fan of drugging every difficult child. I am a proponent of keeping an open mind about what might help a child get through childhood/school/social situations happily and with confidence. Good luck to your family. I hope this turns out well for your nephew.



answers from Santa Barbara on

As a former teacher, I say she should do whatever it takes to get help for her boy! Medicine often makes the difference between a child who can function well in a classroom and one who is totally unpredictable and, at best, has no friends and can't learn because they can't focus.

I surely hope for the best for your nephew G.



answers from Los Angeles on

I would definetly look in to his diet first. What we eat has everything to do with how we feel and behave. Some people are just more sensitive to all the processed foods than others. I have a few friends that went this route first and their kids did not have to be medicated. Now, I'm not against the meds, but I do feel our kids these days are over medicated and quickly diagnosed as adhd or add when it could be something else. He is only 5 and it sounds like he has been through a lot (parents splitting up). If it were me, I'd make sure he was eating clean (lean meats, fruits, veggies, nuts/seeds, little starch, no sugar) and make sure he was getting enough omega 3's (DHA/EPA - if not from natural sources, then in chewables (Nordic Naturals is a great brand)- he should get at least 2.5 grams a day to start.

Best wishes,



answers from Los Angeles on

I took meds when I was a kid, and I think it really helped me socially.

I know this sounds sneaky-but, why doesn't she give him the meds, and not tell her ex? who has custody? I know plenty of people will think my idea is horrible, but, seriously, this kid is adanger to every one around him. he needs help. or she could go through the courts...


answers from Los Angeles on

HI Jennifer, I have a friend who's son went through almost the same thing. He was put on a verry low dose of Stratara (my spelling is incorrect) and it did wonders for him. Another thing that worked for my son was to sit him on an excersize ball during class. It sounds silly I know but this gives him a chance to be fidgity and not disrupt the class, also keeps him focused by having to use extra energy to stay seated. Don't ask me why or really how, but I know that it works. I got that idea from the same friend I refered to earlier, that is what works for him as well.



answers from Los Angeles on

Jennifer, please know that I am not a doctor,I am a mom who helps other moes. I am a retired special needs school teacher. I now work with families of special needs kids out side of the school system to truly help these kids and families. Schools and the medical industry push to medicate children so they will "fit in the system". I teach parents how to "feed their family" so that the family "fits into life". You may not like ot hear it, but MOST behaviour can be changed by diet. It does not mean he will be on a diet, it means that "you are what you eat".

Did you know some of the most famous people on the planet are/were ADD?
Ansel Adams, photographer;
Alexander Graham Bell, inventor or the telephone;
Hans Christian Anderson, author;
Beethoven, composer;
Terry Bradshaw, foot ball quarterback;
Jim Carrey, Actor;
Prince Charles;
Agatha Christie;
Salvador Dali,
Leonardo da Vinci;
Walt Disney;
Henry Ford;
Magic Johnson,
John D Rockefeller;
even Albert Einstein…I could go on…

Can you imagine what may have happened to them if their parents decided to medicate them? Would they be who they are today?


Here is what some moms who are working with me are saying:

Kim, Mom of Amber, 6, Garret, 10, & Shelby, 15
“After struggling in school for two years with not being able to focus and regulate his behaviour, my son, Garret, after 8 weeks on Barbilee’s nutritional program, is a new boy. Normally, he would have at least one incident a day and sometimes multiple! His school said I should put him on a popular “doctor recommended medicinal program” to help maintain his focus. I chose food instead. He is able to focus and moderate his own energy so he can get the most out of his studies and relationships at school. We have noticed the change at home also. Our WHOLE FAMILY now has that ONE nutrition shake in the morning as our step toward our optimal health! Yes, B., all it took was that one shaek a day! I wouldn't have believed it either if you hadn't challenged me for 30 days. Thank you.”

Angela, Mom of Jared age 6 and Nyah, age 2.
My son was heading down a very BAD road in school. He was RARELY focused, always "fidgety," becoming increasingly defiant and displayed a behavior problem. Finally I decided to follow Barbilee’s advice and seriously take a look at his diet. I changed one thing, just ONE THING and in three days here are the results. By Monday his teacher reported an EXCELLENT day with him! Tuesday = AWESOME DAY. Wednesday = amazed look on her face = GREAT DAY!!! By the end of the week, he had had the best week in school he'd ever had! I have known for months that I needed to do something but I didn’t know what. When B. offered us a simple easy breakfast fix, I was in. Since we started with B. school and home has become an awesome experience for him rather than a drudgery.

Also, my little girl was born with special needs and has always been pretty much "in her own world." She rarely paid attention to anyone around her. She would never interact with others. She would tire easily and constantly take "cat naps." Once I started giving her a shake every day the difference was night and day. Her aide reports that she pays attention to the other kids at school and even LAUGHS at them!! She's focused on the activities (NEVER BEFORE!!), and she's engaging in activities that I never thought she'd be able to do. AND she can go all afternoon WITHOUT A NAP!! In other words, she's wonderful!"

Let me help your family.

Family Success Coach
Education not Medication



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi Jennifer B.
My name is Bernadette P
and i have a son that got dx with ADHD and never put him on meds. I am not a doctor but have you stop to think that may-be he feels left out. After all you do have a 9 month old baby and it can be overwhelming to have a 5 year old and 9 month old baby. You are very lucky to be a stay at home mom. You are also a very young mom, so with all that said, get organized, take time to talk to your boy and let him know that his actions are not good and that he will continue to be kick out of schools if he doesn't change his ways. He is young enough for you to correct it better know then later. Talk to him ask question to him and everyday remain him to be good. Don't give him everything that he wants and be strict with him. Show him you mean business. share the baby with him, have him help you take care of the baby, so he feels part of the processes. It is hard, but my son is 27 years old and when he went to the military he came back a changed man. But when he was with me he tried getting attention the wrong way until i had to kick him out of the house. The whole time he was just trying to get attention from me, but it was hard because i have 3 other kids that, at the time were under the age of 18 years. My youngest is almost 7, 15, 18, and 27.
Not only was their so many years in between him and his brother but it was my second marriage and it was his step-father. So you see sometimes because we are busy, we forget about our other children and then they start to act out.
I hope my story helps you to bond more with your 5 year old. Then maybe he will start to behave better.
take care mom of 4



answers from Honolulu on

Hi Jennifer B,
Men can be evil,but I hope your sisters ex is opposed to the drugs because of their strength and side effects.Maybe she can try something more natural.He can't block that.The product is Inner Sun its completely herbal and has no draw backs.There are calming herbs,vitamins and minerals,none of which will leave the child zombied out.If he can't drink the capsule,open and mix in his favorite drink.Go to and read up on it and also order. All the best,M.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi Jennifer

I have a daughter who is ADHD and after years of begging that someone look into my daughter's difficulties she was diagnosed at seven. It is my undestanding that the diagnosis isn't generally given until they are seven because many kids outgrow it by this time. My daughter has learned to control the hyperactive outbursts in the classroom, but has extreme difficulty with concentration and focus when it comes to something that she doesn't find interesting. We too are at our wits end with the homework!!!

We do not want to medicate, I have talked to people that do and love what it has done for thier kids. But I have also heard some horror stories about these kids and thier addiction to stimulants such as cocain, speed and crack when they get older.

We have seen some changes with diet - absolutely no artificial colors & flavors - which means a lot of label reading but it really does seem to help. We are going to be starting her on BioFeedback which, unlike medication which is a bandaid, the BioFeedback normalizes brain function and retrains the brain.

You can get more information at

I hope that helps and good luck,




answers from Las Vegas on

My son is on the Autism Spectrum and the BEST thing we did was put him on the gluten free/casein free diet and now don't give any preservatives or artificial colors and he is a different kid and for the most part very well mannered and doing well in school. In my opion, meds should be the last step and usually don't fix the problem, they just put a bandade on it. If you go to the root of the problem you will generally have better results, and unfortunely it's usually diet these days. There are also natural supplements that could be looked into such as magnesium, EPA's, enzymes...Your sister could go to the library or surf the internet, there is GREAT info out there. Again, meds are the easiest but not necessary the BEST option. My son was quite wild until I cleaned up his diet and added supplements, not meds. Good luck, I personally know it's not easy, I walk the path every day. J.

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