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How do I improve my son's behavior without putting him back on medication for ADHD?

I need some advice.  My 11 year old son has ADHD and was on medication for 3 years.  I decided to take him off the medication 6 months ago.  Since he has been in school he has been having problems behaving.  It wasn't just being hyper it was flat out refusing to do work, talking back, and he has had a big problem lieing.  At first he got spanked and grounded.  He was good for about a month, but now even with being spanked and grounded with everything taken away he is still refusing to do his work in class, disrupting the class, lieing, not bringing notes home from the teacher, and fighting with other kids.  The teachers are wanting me to put him back on medication but that is not going to correct the lieing and fighting and misbehaving part of it.  I'm not sure what to do.  I really don't want him on medication again but I don't want him to fail 5th grade.  He is already a grade behind.  And the medication does help him to concentrate.  What can I do?
In Topics: ADHD & attention issues
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Oct 21, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

I respect your desire to take your son off of his medication.  Have you considered putting him back on meds again for a €œtest€" to see if it improves his behavior?  Lying, talking back and fighting may all be a result of his frustration due to a lack of ability to concentrate.  When kids feel that they are not meeting expectations in school, they will often lash out at others.  Your son may be acting this way as a defense mechanism.  

People often describe ADHD as being like someone constantly changing the channel on a TV in your head.  That sensation is tough to handle in a classroom setting and when interacting with others.  At 11 years old he is entering a period of life where he needs to be able to become more independent and responsible for his actions and more organized with schoolwork, etc.  In a few years your son€™s ADHD may improve enough to be able to function drug free. Right now it sounds as though you want the best for your son.  Unless there is some other significant event that has occurred in his life, you might want to go back to the doctor and discuss the possibility of medication.  Getting on top of his behavior now will set him on the right path in school and improve your relationship at home.
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Additional Answers (2)

lindag68
lindag68 writes:
I understand your not wanting to keep your son on medication forever, but if it helps him to have a better day at school, why not?  As a teacher of 6th grade, I often see kids on meds (many have been on them for years) and I find with the curriculum getting more difficult, there is a greater need for the students to be able to concentrate.  

It is much more difficult to reason with a non medicated adhd student than one who can stop long enough to rationalize their behaviors and the consequences for their actions.  It is much "cooler" to act tough and fresh to the teacher than for a kid to admit that he/she can't concentrate long enough to learn something important.  I really think that you are doing your son more harm than good by keeping him off his meds.

Good luck
> 60 days ago

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missk
missk writes:
I don't think you actually understand what ADHD is. It's not that he's refusing to his work, he is UNABLE to do it. Quite frankly, I can understand why he's behaving like this: he used to have control over his life and now everything has fallen apart.

Why did you take him off the meds in the first place? I don't understand why some parents think medication is bad for their children.

If he was diabetic would you refuse to give him insulin?
> 60 days ago

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