8 year old boys with ADD: Hi, my son... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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8 year old boys with ADD

Denaylynne profile image

Hi, my son has mild ADD. His teacher keeps trying to say he needs meds and I am not wanting to do that unless I have too. I am just not sure who to talk to that isn’t just going to go straight to shoving meds down his throat. Any help would be appreciated.

17 Replies

I’m dealing with a similar situation with my 7.5 year old. That was the first thing suggested to me by everyone from the Child Psy to the Pediatrician, to people at his school. He was diagnosed a year ago and at that point I decided I was going to try everything else before I went to the medication route. This year he is struggling academically and socially and the school staff are becoming more and more impatient, which is having a real impact on my sons self-esteem. I’m trying to find a new counselor for him who specializes in ADHD and other behavioral concerns. I want to work with them for a while to see if that has an impact and if not I’m really considering the medication route. I’ve come to realize over the last couple of weeks/months that most teachers are not well-versed in handling kids with ADHD and probably need some education on ways to help kids be more successful. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for the teacher, at least in my sons case, for him to be a distraction in class. I’m sure she wonders why he just can’t be like everyone else and I’m positive she thinks that he is misbehaving on purpose, as does his principal. They just don’t get it. I certainly don’t envy them in the situation but it’s their job to make sure that my son gets the supports and accommodations he needs to be successful. It’s absolutely exhausting.

I agree that many people do not truly understand the neuroscience of ADHD. However, as parents of children with extra needs, we can not expect teachers to solve all problems. They are not miracle workers nor do they get much professional development specifically on ADHD.

Your child’s best advocate is you!

We don't "shove" medications down our children's throats, we follow the doctor's recommendation and we are very successful with helping them with the necessary medication. Our son could not be successful unless he had the correct tools ( counseling, medication, positive and firm parenting and an educational plan) which allow him to be successful.

Sorry we don't see it the same way. Best of luck.

Hi Denaylynne,

Perhaps you were just being dramatic-humorous in that last sentence about “shoving meds” down your son’s throat? You can imagine it hit a nerve here where so many people have been living with the challenge of parenting a child(ren) with ADHD/ADD for many years. You’re just starting this journey so I’m cutting you some slack. Your flippant comment tells me you’re at square one...but rule one here, at this on-line community is mutual respect. We all come to this safe space to share and inquire, to help and be helped. That requires trust and an open mind. You don’t know what you don’t know, that’s why you came here. If you can’t come to this space and meet Rule 1, then I fear you’re going to be stuck at Square 1 for several more years than necessary...and meanwhile your son will continue to not thrive and fall even farther behind his peers.

Sorry for the wake up call. But I’ve been there. All of us have been there. We have help to offer when you’re actually ready. Sometimes it takes a person a while to accept the idea that meds are a viable treatment. It might be another year or two of struggling. It might be a month of deep research and learning. Or it might be a week of reading posts here. But often people come around to the understanding that ADHD brains are wired differently, have different brain chemistry, whatever you want to call it. Finding the right balancing medication approach, along with counseling, firm parenting and an education plan is often required. Just like Onthemove1971 mentioned so succinctly. :)

Please, please think about what I’ve said with an open mind and do some exploring here. You’ll find volumes of info, similar base level questions like yours for those just learning...and from those of us in the trenches for years. It’s not an easy road ahead. Please embrace this for your son’s benefit (and yours). The longer you take to come around and accept real solutions, the longer he falls behind. And when he’s had a few years of negative experiences, of struggling, of not thriving, then you’ll need to be watching for generalized anxiety, which can be all-consuming and even more of a challenge. These are the formative years, don’t waste any more time wrapping your mind around this for his sake.

And when you’re ready to ask for help again, this safe and understanding community will be here. You’ll need us.

dubstepMaul profile image
dubstepMaul in reply to bdhb96

Well said. 😊

Jackieedunn profile image
Jackieedunn in reply to bdhb96


Hi! I am new to this as well. My 7.5 year old son was just diagnosed last month with mild ADD. His teacher is getting frustrated with his talkative social behavior/focus issues and at this moment I am trying to see the guidance counselor to set up a behavioral functional analysis because I am just not seeing some of the behaviors at home. I decided to try behavioral modifications and working with a behavioral therapist first to see what is influencing his behavior(school environment/ is he bored)and hoping that more parental involvement will affect his behavior.

My son is repeating first grade because he was struggling last year and is doing better. However, I fear he may struggle next year with new material and wanted to get a child study team on board to assess any learning disability for him. They won’t until he struggles academically. I just wanted to rule out any other conditions that can contribute to his focus issue.

It is getting to the point I can feel the frustration of his teacher and I do agree that certain teachers are not equipped with the resources on how to handle children with ADHD. His teacher fills out a behavior chart to let me know his progress everyday. The complaints have gotten longer and I try not to let it get to me because I want him to have a positive image of himself and not nitpick on every little thing the teacher stated. It’s definitely a learning process. It’s not gonna be fixed overnight and it will take a lot of patience. I hope this helps somewhat.

The school should not be suggesting you medicate your son. And his drs/therapist should be providing alternate suggestions if you're not ready to consider that path. We did just in the last few months begin a medication trial, but not until I felt I went as far as I could go with supplements and alternative approaches. I took him to a doctor of functional medicine who set us up with her nutritionist. We tried a few elimination diets but unfortunately didn't find anything different with my son when eliminating things like dairy and gluten, plus he's way too stubborn to even try most healthy foods so we didn't have much success. Now that we have started medication, I have renewed hope we may get real nutrition in him soon... (side note, we discovered my husband feels tons better without dairy and gluten in his diet so my efforts weren't wasted). Go with your gut, no one knows your son like you do!

I assure you that those of us who have chosen to medicate our child(ren), we have done with a very intentional purpose and goal. We are not choosing the “easy” way out. One tidbit of information we learned early one in our adhd journey is that when children are at home they are able to choose activities that they enjoy and that don’t frustrate them. However when the child is at school they can see totally different behaviours because they now don’t get to choose their activities and the kids are requiring prolonged focus and attention. Keep an open mind to what the teachers are saying and observing. Good luck!

I know how do you feel, my son (ADHD) stared with medication at 8, after years in many different therapies, I realized he needs more help, was a headache giving him pill at the beginning because he hates even liquid medicine, but once he realized medicine really help him have a better day he started taking it more relax, I make him drink water, then he open up his mouth with his chin up and I put pill almost in his throat...that is the only way for him. ADD/ADHD brains are chemically different, medication will help balance and you will see changes, you don’t want your sons thinking they are not smart, because that is when problems really start once they self-esteem is affected. Subscribe to Addmagazine for free (online), you will understand ADD better.

Good Luck!

Please talk to a pediatrician. My son is 6 and after doing our research (look up Youtube videos by Russell Barkley), we chose to put him on medication right away. It has been a complete turn around. The meds are very safe and very effective, and well researched. There is a stigma surrounding them that is completely false. A medical professional should be able to guide you in the right direction.

Thank you for what you do and the passion you have for helping families!

I recently heard a story about a father who was opposited to medication ( the mom wanted this option) who went to school to observe his daughter. They then agreed to start medication and there was a night and day difference. Before there daughter was impulsive, struggled to concentrate and had issues with peer interactions. Once medication was started the father was clearly convinced on the benefits and saw how much better life was for there child.

Have you ever suggested this when a parent doesn't think medication is right for a child?

Hi Denaylynne, I think it is notable your child had a diagnosis of mild ADHD. That puts you in a little different space than many of us on this forum. The ADHD diagnosis can be pretty subjective- especially for those on the mild end of the continuum. I commend you for being cautious with medicating your son. Take all the time you need to confirm the diagnosis and better understand your kid's school struggles. You can talk to us!

The first generation of medicated ADDers are reaching adulthood. There is evidence that adults with ADD who received early intervention—including medication—during childhood have brain scans indistinguishable from those of people who have been neurotypical all their lives. They no longer require ADD treatment as adults. “Cure” may be a stretch, but it comes close. No guarantee, and it’s not everyone, but a distinct possibility that childhood therapies help the brain to actually develop more “normally.”

I believe this. Our son is 13 years old and is now much more able to handle somethings he could not when he was younger and I assume this will only get better as he gets older.

I get what you mean with your shoving meds down their throat comment. I know you didn't mean any harm as others assume. I have ADHD and have never taken medication. My 5 year old seems to have it as well. He does perfectly fine at school, as did I, he struggles at home bc I can't structure every waking minute of his day. He also aims to please more at school. I was always at the top of my class etc, I had some social issues in the younger grades that I outgrew. I will say I struggled badly in college and could have used meds then. We choose not to medicate our son for now but realize that may change as he gets older. My thing is I want him to be old enough to tell me if it's working etc

We do CBT which is amazing. Basically skills therapy, see if it's near you. Sleep, diet, getting outside, minimize screen time, etc. I agree it seems like the vast majority of people start with medication. My son has grown immensely in the last two years hes been in therapy.

Klmamma profile image
Klmamma in reply to Klmamma

I work with my son even at age 5 on being well organized. It's probably been my saving grace. Everything has a place, we have routines, I even have him using a planner already to track homework etc. Our biggest issue at the moment is his attitude and his mouth.

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