Not swallowing pill: I just realized... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Not swallowing pill

Grandma01 profile image
26 Replies

I just realized that I'm giving my son a pill to take every morning and he can't or wont swallow the pill. It took two of us to try to get him to swallow it. We tried a bit of sweetened tea to change the flavor of juice to take it with. We tried water and still wont sallow the pill. Ask him to open his to see if he swallowed it, when he opens his mouth he's holding it between his front teeth.

Again, I get upset, not yelling but letting him know that after several attempts to get him to swallow the pill, I walk out of the room, telling him that I not refill the prescription again. His mom not very happy about it because she feels it better to yell and hit to get him going. She replies he doesn't know how to swallow the pill. Wee tried to tell how to do it, it still didn't work.

Ok, so after an internet search I learned there are several different ways to teach him and haven't tried them yet. So, what happens after we spend a few days to weeks to teach him, do I call the dr. and give in or do we continue with this pattern of not listening, unwilling to focus, and refusal to follow directions, as he continues not to want to cooperate. He's only 6 and I don't want to get into physical altercation with him.

Three generations under one roof and the parents' with different perspectives on how to raise kids, it's as though our rolls are reversed. And basically I'm saying it yelling and screaming and hitting is getting the job done, if you have to do this on a daily bases. Maybe, I should remove myself from the house and let her parent him her way? the odds is already stated against him because he's a little brown boy in American were color is still and big deal and it determines where you go, how you live, and often your poverty level. Many when succeed when given and chance and an opportunity most will not make it and then he'll choose other opportunities less desirable.

26 Replies
Shotsymama profile image

There are a couple medications on the market now that are liquid or chewable form. Why not look into those? And stop hitting, it isn't effective. Children do better when they feel better, just like adults.

Grandma01 profile image
Grandma01 in reply to Shotsymama

I know hitting us not cool, I don't support it at all. I will send a message to his Dr. Thus afternoon.

Shotsymama profile image
Shotsymama in reply to Grandma01

Good luck, it sounds like you are having a hard time watching your grandson go through this. It is really heartbreaking to see someone you love struggle, especially a little one.

APPLE sauce!!, my boys were the same way, difficult for them to swallow the meds. Now they have no problems and take it without apple sauce. If his meds, are the tablet form try the apple sauce, if it's the kind that you can pull apart, ie capsules, then you can pull it apart and pure the granules in apple sauce or water. Either was try the apple sauce.

krystle_w profile image

We were told by our doctor to pull the pills apart because they are capsules and pour them into applesauce. My son is 8 and won't even practice with a tic tac yet. If you are able to pout it into applesauce I would highly recommend this method and when your grandson is ready to start practicing with tic tacs it will be a tasty treat. Good luck and sending prayers your way.

renrun profile image

Try some of the Internet methods. Different things work for different kids. Try several. My son uses the soda bottle method where we put a bit of water in an empty 20 oz bottle, he wraps his lips around the mouth of bottle and drinks without letting air in. I haven’t personally tried it but it was a recommendation and it works well for him.

MVinSeattle profile image

Applesauce works great for my kids who can’t swallow capsules or pills yet. My 9-year-old still can’t get them down. It’s so hard for little people!

Empathy and patience are needed for kids, and especially for those who have ADHD. They don’t know why they can’t focus or why it’s so hard for their bodies to hold still or to pay attention. Nor do they know why they can’t swallow a pill (they have a gag reflex).

Does your son know WHY he’s being forced to take this medication? Does he understand why his mom is angry, and sometimes hitting him, because he can’t get a small object down his throat? Children need calm, safe, consistent caregivers (and teachers) who explain things to them in simple ways they can understand. They need their parents to be present and not to give up on them or leave.

I’m glad you’re here.

JJS2015 profile image

We had our kiddo practice swallowing with m&ms to show him he could do it and that worked for us. My dr didn’t offer the option to pull the pill apart but at the time he was trying an extended release medication. I agree hitting isn’t going to help and will make things worse on him and become more aggressiv.

cjwcjm1216 profile image

I give my son his pill with applesauce and it helps a ton

anirush profile image

My word he's only 6! But I have trouble swallowing pills and I'm an adult period with my grandson I have used applesauce, yogurt, and we now use whipped cream, he can take all four of his pills at the same time buried whipped cream.

What a terrible way to start the morning. As he gets older he's going to have an awful attitude towards medicine. Hopefully you will work on getting it into something or getting him on a liquid

seller profile image

It would be much easier to find an ADHD medication like a capsule that can be opened and mixed with something, or a liquid or patch. Trying to teach kids to swallow pills is hard and you don't want this to become a power struggle - you want him to take his medication everyday. Ask his doctor for some suggestions.

Payton2009 profile image

Don’t give up, eventually it will all work out there is 1,000 ways to skin a chicken you just haven’t found the method that works for you yet. Keep your hat on.

MunchkinMommy537 profile image

Yogurt works well for us. We just tell him to swallow the first bite quickly (the pills are hidden in the first bite). Capsules also might work, or liquid as a last resort. I take it you are a grandparent from your username. Unfortunately you might have to step back and let her parent. I don’t agree with hitting at all, but she is the parent, and unless you feel she is bordering on child abuse and report it, spanking isn’t illegal. But try to help her with new techniques first. Sometimes kids refuse to take their medication because they know it’s there; trick him into taking it a couple times and when he finds out, point out that he’s already been taking it.

Daisy2278 profile image

You need to try to make the situation as calm as possible, the more the both of you are upset the less you are going to accumplish...I have been there! My son still can't swallow pills but we talked about it and came up with a plan together. If you make them think they have a word and that they are in power it changes the whole picture. I crumble his pills every night on a paperplate with a spoon...making it a powder then I put into chocolate or strawberry milk and he drinks it all with a straw. I have gotten these straws at Walmart that have the chocolate/strawberry flavoring in the straw too. Works like a charm, no more fighting and he takes his meds. I would also, if you can, give him his meds in the evening that way you don't send him off to school upset ready to start the day off on the wrong foot.

Good for you grandma!! He needs to feel like he has someone on his side and that he has a voice in it all. If you tell him this and listen to him and make him think he is making decisions about his will go far. For example, ask him "do you want to take your medicine in the morning or in the evening" or do you want to do your homework now or in 15 minutes. This has worked wonders with my son. Just sit down one on one with him and let him know you are in his corner and that he can come to you for anything and that you guys are a team.

Good luck to you and your may get worse before it gets better but do NOT give up on him....he needs you

gdrogosch profile image

My son is eight when he had to start taking his pills and he had a hard time too. He kept thinking he was going to choke. (It's a tiny pill!) So, I gave him a couple of marshmallows and told him to chew but don't swallow right away (it took a few times 😉). Then, right before he swallowed, he popped the pill in his mouth and swallowed - it worked! After a few days, he didn't need the marshmallows any more and swallows them fine. Good luck!

MomB10 profile image

My son's medication tablet is an open capsule. So what we do he dump the contents on a spoonful of his food and right down flush it with what ever liquid. My son's 7 and having him take that pill did not work at all. His Dr. Also suggested to dump the capsule in his breakfast, but my fear is if he doesn't eat it all. This morning I dumped the pill in a spoonful of eggs ( obviously covering the contents with the food) my son did not even know it was in there.

Dear grandma,

Your question blows my mind away so... please bear with me... I have important information you need to read.

Allow me to start with: Two adults trying to force something down the troat of a SIX years old?!! Are you all mad?! Do you have any idea of the traumas you are creating???

Evidently no, as I am sure you do love him... or, at least care for him and that's why YOU are here. I congratulate you on your efforts and honesty but please don't do/allow for something like that to take place ever again. I can assure you that thing like that stay with one forever...

I'm not sure for how long such an hostile environment has been the norm at the house where this poor child lives but is my obligation to tell you that YOU ALL may very well be the cause of this child behavioral response.

Children don't have many ways or tools to deal with stressing situations so they may: Start hitting or breaking stuff (to show dissaproval/try to change things), start running away (who could blame them) start hurting themselves (to get some sort of meaningful attention), etc, etc, etc.

Some other children go for a more simpler way and start "tuning out" the yelling, the fighting, the drama. Is called: "survival mode". They may become (unwantingly) experts at it and start doing it EVERYWHERE, and be labeled as ADHD.

All children deserve to be unconditionally loved and have a chance in life. To grow in a place where they feel SAFE.

So, PLEASE, be an advocate for your grandchild's mind and future (that child IS alreasy TRAUMATIZED) and if you can't take him with you while their parents solve their issues and learn to appreciate the MIRACLE of having a little life in their hands, AT THE VERY LEAST, get the doctors to refeer you for family counseling for the adults AND a theraphist for the child. Sometimes school counselors will help the child while you wait.

Worst case scenario, get social services involved.

Once the air clears up for this little guy, chances are he didn't even needed a pill to start with...

Grandma01 profile image
Grandma01 in reply to BlueAndGoldWarrior

chances are you may be right bet chances are you be wrong. Go back to my very first post. You see I asked the question, was it bad behavior of Adhd. We've all been there frustrated and when you get frustrated you yell or get loud. I promise you my little guy is alright. He is very bright, he has a great sense of self worthiness, he gets praises and gives them out as well. change has come and been implemented, but in order for it to take place you have to use what you learned. Change the cycle of abuse if you will, come when one is educated on it. My daughter and I have our roles reversed and I'm trying to get her to see that, but first I have to remind her that I am his grandmother not his mother and I am in the position to spoil him not discipline him.

There have been a few situations at school where he's been suspended for spinning accidentally coming into contact with another person, he behind academically in reading, writing and math. Your focusing on the negative because I'm upset. We didn't force him to take the pill, he had taken several times before. This particular morning he he just didn't want to swallow it. I had made him some tea instead of giving him juice for a change of pace. He drank all the the tea made it seem like he swallowed the pill, when I asked if he swallowed it he said it was stuck between his teeth. I tried it with water he still wouldn't swallow the pill, I left the room asked his mom if she could she if he would swallow the pill for her he wouldn't. There no forcing just simply trying to figure out why he didn't swallow the the pill. We tried to tell him how to do it, it din't work. He didn't have to try again and hasn't had to try again since. Now, the boy that was so enthusiastic about doing homework ! night, continues to fall behind in his school work, spins and hits someone else then what.

What do you say when a 6 year old boy tells he's not going to school any more. Then what! I'm not going to let that happen if the meds was a way to kind of wake him up and calm him down then I will do It again, I will put him on the medicine and I force it if I have to keep him from growing reaching for a gun and killing a 1,000 people because he's angry at the world. Then you say why didn't they get him some help, why did he stop his meds, why this why that. He's not no little white boy, I'm not going to shelter from the harsh realities of life. It's not perfect. Your here because you once needed help and answers to questions about your child. You probably let him hit you like a grown man. I'm going to let that happen. He's not violent, yes I we told him that his brain works a little different that others, he's not stupid and his brain is not broken. He probably thinks what his is going through is normal. He's only had 6 years of life and is just know beginning to think for himself.

He is in therapeutic swimming classes, Karate, plays just fine with the other children his age, older or younger. He goes to the library and checks out video himself because that's and opportunity for him to interact with other adults and children and learn how to communicate. He's not afraid to to speak up ask for what he wants and doesn't shy away from adult interactions in fact we wish he wouldn't because he knows nothing about stranger danger.

One last thing, I never saw anything wrong with spanking a child on the bottom for misbehavior, but when the behavior repeats morning after morning day in and day out it not bad behavior, it misguided behavior. You are more than welcome to meet him see for yourself. You can talk to him privately one on one if can get him to talk about what goes on here.

i think I have my role confused most of the time because he calls me mom and she encouraged it, so now when she tells him something and he's not sure if he should, he turns to me. It's like playing one parent against the other. I'm trying to let her co-parent, but because we are three generations under one roof things don't run as smoothly as they seem. We are allowed our differences of option like husband and wife. With the exception we're not married, can't get a divorce and decide who he's going to live with. We're just two women raising a little black boy in america who presented with challenges that I don't understand and she sees nothing wrong, she can't see that he models some of her early childhood years and not to mention his father's early and late years.

I'm sorry for the detail reply but if I didn't explain you would think that we are hurting a little boy and nothing could be further from the truth. We just have a difference of opinion and it often clashes but we don't argue we just don't talk a matter of hours or a day, we come back to talk about him his day and activities and move on.

Grandma01 profile image

Thanks fam, I read most of the replies. It's been a tiring 24 hours. Last I checked he didn't like applesauce. I tried to break the pill apart, although it looks like a capsole, I think it might be caplet or tablet. I put a stop to the hitting period. She's not angry at him nor is she angery, she is simply parenting the way she was parented. Now we know that they have feeling and emotions that need expressing and there are alternative behavior modifications / punishment. It's not easy when you see change and experience change. I worked with children many years and never had one who talks and talks and talks and moves and moves. I don't know why he's lacking behind because I spend a great deal of time with him, I praise him, I love that like boy more than anything in this world. Each generation is different and come with their challenges. When my oldest daughter was in school she was label with a learning disability period, nothing more nothing less. Nothing else said. She struggled with reading and math. She completed school at a special school designed to help children with special needs. She didn't need all this special support like him. She was held back a grade to catch up, and placed in lower ed classes. I didn't know anything about ADHD. She was a very mild mannered child and met all her developmental mile stones just like the boy! There was one difference, she didn't talk much especially outside of the house until she was about 4 or 5. He's always talked, but with a bit of lisp, conversation rounds of 3 or 4 is difficult unless it's something he wants to talk about and school is not one of them.

I'm reading and reading and reading about ADHD, ASP, SPI, and as I mentioned in an earlier post, we agreed not to mediate. After he had been having some issues in school and trying to get therapy services through our provider organization and not medicaid directly. I had a conversation with his doctor about his behavior at school, the need to spin or move, we talked about medicine and by that afternoon I found myself at the pharmacy picking up medicine. I did't talk to her and the doctor has seen me and knows me as I attend all the appoints and even dew a few on my own, he thought I was MOM.

I liked what I seen the first few days, he could spell, he could read, he didn't fuss about homework and even engaged in learning activities one night. One morning was ready for school without all the usual problems of telling him get this on, get your shoes and socks, and him asking after every little thing now what do I do. But after those first few days he return to that little boy who wants all that enter action, maybe because it been happening so long it normal to him to hear us telling what to do several times over and over. She was impressed, I thought she was on board with the medicine. Come to find out when we went to the dr. she asked if we could take him off of it during the summer since he may not be in a setting that would be stimulate hm like school, and the next morning when I couldn't get him to swallow the pill, she did lend a hand but it didn't work for her either.

I stopped the medicine because I can't force him or her. I don't know what the medicine makes him feel like because he can't express that yet. Maybe in a couple days he'll reflect on it and tell us. I do know that he falls asleep most nights with no problem, on the medicine he still wanted to talk while in bed.

If anyone has an older child on Concerta XR and can tell me what the medicine does and does not do for them, I would love to hear from you?

I'm in the feelings right now and don't where to turn to.I'll probably be like this for a few more days.

Thanks everyone!!!!!

Nightangeldawnn profile image

Try putting the pill in applesauce, pudding or yogurt. If it is a capsule, open the capsule and sprinkle it on a spoonful of whichever of the three he likes. It’s never easy to get kids to take pills, but this worked for my son

Grandma01 profile image

It is not a capsule you can open. It is a tablet that looks like a capsule and until to day I didn't think about crush the pill to a powder form. I still may have problems because he doesn't like any of those but he loves Nutella and it is smooth and enough to mix the pill in there, I'll try that.


Snaizy profile image
Snaizy in reply to Grandma01

We used to crush the pills and you can even put them in a spoonful of ICE CREAM and no little 6 y/o boy is going to say no to THAT! 😂😂

I’m sorry some of the comments have been judgemental. It sounds to me like you are doing an excellent job in a difficult situation. 💪

anirush profile image

We've used applesauce, yogurt, whipped yogurt, and whipped cream. Some capsules can't take apart some pills you are not supposed to crush so check on that especially if they're time-release good luck

Darinea profile image

Hi I know this was from ages ago, I am a 15 year old girl with ADHD and had the same problem as your son. I would not take me meds because they mad me feel sick and they had a disgusting taste. My mum got really frustrated with me and was hitting me too. This mad me feel like she hated me. But we tried a reward system. Overtime I took one pill I would get a $1 or a lollie. This has helped me a lot with taking my tablets. You should try this if it is still a problem. But you need to stop hitting him. Ask him why he doesn't want to take his tablet. Since he is only 6 the reward system should work quite well, I think.

Grandma01 profile image

We stopped the meds altogether. He has an appt on Thur. to see a peiatric developmental specialist. The hitting has stopped as well. I believe he had calmed in down in some ways and grew iyt if some the the bavy behaviors. NO they havent stopped completely, has not out burst when playing with his tablet and still moves he body more than I like but i guest you kind of get use to it.

We try to keep very very busy with activities outside the house with trips to cultural events to the park and swimming.

Thanks very much for sharing your story.

Aloysia profile image

1) In the short term, ask the Dr for a medication that is in a capsule and can be opened onto a spoonful of pudding, ice cream, etc

2) For the long term, start practicing having him swallow pills (see below for ideas). Try to work on it every day if you can for just a few minutes.

3) Hang in there! I can tell that you really care about your grandchild and are learning, getting professional help for him, and asking for tips from other parents. Keep up the good work!!


I copied and pasted this from a reply I just wrote to someone else:

Someone previously on this forum suggested this video for learning how to swallow pills:

I asked my daughter what reward she would want for watching the video and doing the exercise the first day, then what reward she wanted for practicing every day the first week, and what reward for being able to actually swallow her pill. We came to an agreement.

She started with nerds. Then moved to tic tacs and mini-M&Ms. Then tried regular M&Ms. I ordered empty capsules in the smallest size (size 5) from Amazon. She filled them with nerds or sugar so they would have a little weight. She can finally swallow that size. However, her medication comes in size 3 capsules. I've ordered empty capsules in size 4 and 3. But she hasn't been successful with those yet. So right now I am opening her medication capsule and putting it into two size 5 capsules (which she can swallow). We're not done yet, but this is significantly better than opening the capsules into pudding, etc and trying to get her to swallow it. Also, learning how to swallow pills will really help when I need to give her pain medication or antibiotics since she doesn't like the taste of the liquid or chewables.

A big thank you to everyone on this forum who gave so many suggestions and helped us to get this far!!!

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