She wants to give him Adderall! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 09-08-2006, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This might not be the right board, so please move if aplicable.

My 7yo stepson's mom want to put him on Adderall. This is the first we have heard of him having problems at school. He has no behavioural problems at our home or the grandparents'.

He has a heart murmur, which has already proven a fatal combination with Adderall. His diet, when not with us(we only see him on the weekends), is full of artificial colorings, sweeteners and preservatives. He also gets no exercise. He has always been small for his age and a bad eater; Adderall has loss of apetite and possible anorexia as side effects!

In the ongoing email conversation, she brought up this article that says the court should side with the parent that will treat ADHD aggresively. Does this mean drugs for a functioning child? Can she legally give my ss drugs without his father's consent?

We are trying to get a second opinion, a further study on the heart murmur, and have him tested for food allergies. We also want to have him on a HEALTHY diet and exercise program, and I can help him with his schoolwork. But this is a lifestyle change that she does not want to hear about, so there is not much I can do about it for now.

Things are heating up. Has anyone else had similar step-health issues? How did you approach them?

I feel so bad for him! He is a bright sensitive boy!
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#2 of 12 Old 09-08-2006, 05:26 PM
 
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Does you DH has joint legal custody? If so, she cannot make this decision on her own. It requires a visit to the court if BioMom and BioDad cannot reach an agreement.

This article that she brought up that says the court should side with the parent that will treat ADHD aggresively - who wrote it? An Supreme Court judge or a doctor or pharmaceutical company pushing ADHD drugs? Likely the latter. If so, she may just be bringing it up to try to scare your DH into just agreeing with her to avoid court.

Have DH tell her no - that he will not agree to having his son on these drugs. Then, if she doesn't back down, and it looks like you're going to court, get a second opinion. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if the court appoints a disinterested third party to evaluate SS.

We went through a similar issue with my SS. His mom had inconsisent rules and consequences and, as a result, she couldn't control him. We never had any problems with him here. So when she started talking about Ritalin, DH "put his foot down" very firmly and told her she'd have to have a court order to do it. The subject was dropped very quickly as soon as she thought she might have to expend some effort.

If you and your DH truly believe that SS doesn't need these drugs, don't give in. Make her take you to court to make it happen. Hopefully she'll decide it's not worth the hassle.

ETA: If you DH doesn't have joint legal custody, then, yes, she can do it without his permission. But I believe even without joint legal custody, DH could take her to court to try to stop it.
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#3 of 12 Old 09-08-2006, 06:15 PM
 
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It should say in the divorce decree or parenting agreement who has the right to make medical decisions. I think that if I had the right to, I would take the boy to a doctor myself at this point and get something in writing regarding the risks and hopefully a "prescription" for alternate treatment. (Feingold, parenting classes, whatever.)
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#4 of 12 Old 09-08-2006, 07:22 PM
 
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I wouldn't worry about one article unless it was written by the judge who will be deciding your case. Do you have joint legal?
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#5 of 12 Old 09-08-2006, 08:08 PM
 
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Coming from the other side - just b/c he doesnt have problems at your/grandparents house doesnt mean there isnt a problem. Its not snarky or anything, just a different way to look at it since you're with him less than she is.

Have you asked for a compromise? Like, "I'll do the research, heres the info on diet/exercise; heres a menu plan, can we try it for x amount of time then talk about drugs?" Instead of going the court route. Both you and your dh and his mother only want the best for him, right? Give it a try.

I wonder if approaching this as a team, "hey, he's giving you lots of trouble, what can I do to help?" instead of "is this legal?" maybe she'll be more open to suggestion?

Good luck!
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#6 of 12 Old 09-08-2006, 10:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shenjall
Coming from the other side - just b/c he doesnt have problems at your/grandparents house doesnt mean there isnt a problem. Its not snarky or anything, just a different way to look at it since you're with him less than she is.

Have you asked for a compromise? Like, "I'll do the research, heres the info on diet/exercise; heres a menu plan, can we try it for x amount of time then talk about drugs?" Instead of going the court route. Both you and your dh and his mother only want the best for him, right? Give it a try.

I wonder if approaching this as a team, "hey, he's giving you lots of trouble, what can I do to help?" instead of "is this legal?" maybe she'll be more open to suggestion?

Good luck!
You know, this is a good point. My kids behave better for everyone on the planet who isn't me.

I don't know what you dh's relationship with his ex is, but would she possibly be open to dividing parenting time differently? It sounds like she may be overwhelmed and might appreciate him taking more time, or time during the week.
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#7 of 12 Old 09-09-2006, 01:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wish I could say she would appreciate the help. My DH does have joint custody. To be honest, I do not talk to her, my DH does. The separation was a difficult one. I wish it was different, and we could all work as a team to raise this child, and even his two older brothers, but it is all very strained.

My dh is going to talk to the teacher today, and is going to be present for my dss's EKG, since now the biomom does not remember her son being diagnosed with a heart murmur by her own doctor. We are in the process of finding a good pediatrician in our area, and a child psychologist, since it was recommended by one of our teacher friends, to get a second opinion, and more information.

It is hard to love a child and feel powerless. It's hard to be the stepmom sometimes, because my voice is small. But that is nothing compared to what my dss is going to be going through in this whole process, when it could be the turnaround to a healthier lifestyle. We'll see what happens.

Edited to say:

The article was by a mainstream doctor in Florida, and brought up, I guess, to emphasize her urgency in treatment. In this case, her choice of treatment is medication, regardless of the side effects or dangers.

I have also seen how some kids are wonderful to relative strangers and show-off's to their family. My dear godson is like that, excellent manners when visiting, but a total ham at home.

But I don't think this is the same here, this is more of different styles of parenting, and eating. Perhaps it is easier for us to be consistent with him because he is the only child here, not the baby of three. I don't know.
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#8 of 12 Old 09-09-2006, 11:46 AM
 
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I soooo know what you mean about feeling powerless as a step!

But, you just cant be sure that there isnt a real problem. This I say from experience. My ds has Oppositional Defiant Disorder. He's horrible here. Horrible. Like locking his little in a closet; poking his baby sister in the cheek with a hot poker; violent outbursts; pulling knives; etc. Horrible! When I brought it up to my ex, "Well, he's fine here. I dont see a problem". When we did diet change; therapy; evals and the like and finally went to meds. He was livid b/c he still "didnt think there was a problem". He tried to fight me on it. "I dont want my kid medicated!" yet, he was unwilling to do the things I asked him to help on - talk to ds; take him more often; etc. (not saying you guys arent unwilling to help, just letting you know a different perspective)
The thing with O.D.D is, its the main authority figure that gets the worst of it. He didnt view his father/stepmom as authority/parents. They were the fun ones! His teachers were safe as long as they didnt "fight" him too much. When he got a teacher that had alot of structure, the teacher got it bad.

I suggest, give her the benefit of the doubt - that there is a problem which is obviously causing distress for her and for your dss. The 3 parents here are a team, hard to remember at times, I know, believe me! But if you let her know, that you believe her - that things arent perfect it might help you guys get on a path of mending and most importantly, helping your dss.

Pp mentioned maybe taking him more often, thats a great idea! Is it possible?

I think its great you're talking to the teacher (and you should go too!) and looking at some other psychologists, but have you talked to the dr who wants to put him on meds? If not, please talk to all the docs/psych who are involved already first.

Hang in there! I know how difficult this all is. (I'm also a stepmom- formerly NC but now C)
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#9 of 12 Old 09-09-2006, 12:17 PM
 
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We deal with this too. My stepson is 13 and lives with his mom. He spends the summers with us (Has since the divorce when he was 5)

Last year his mom put him on depression meds, sleeping pills and one other casue he mentioned to his couslor he had thought about suicide. Not saying he hasnt but this kid is SO screaming for attention from his mom. (Remarried, new baby, etc) He lies, forges signatures in school, etc. He is a very manipulative littel boy, but you know what, I think its the atmpsphere he is in there. When he is with us in the summertime, he is off his meds, acting fine, sleeping ,fine, interacts with his little brothers, helps (When asked).

And I totally get the "good parent, bad parent" thing. My parents were divorced and my dad was the "good" guy cause we didnt have to live with him and follow any rules. He was the fun parent! (As is my dh)

So its so hard to tell really, he may very well have problems at his moms house, but I think, ultimately, it should be a joint decisson between mom and dad. Dh's Ex called up one daya dn said "This is what Im doing" He was furous!
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#10 of 12 Old 09-09-2006, 01:36 PM
 
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I agree! Well, a joint decision between all parents involved (steps too!)

Editing to add:

I dont think this is a case of good parent/bad parent. Personally, it takes ALOT for me to think of anyone as a bad parent. I just see different parenting styles.

But, if a child is only with a parent 1/4 amount of the time, how can one be sooo sure its not what the C parent says the problem is? Yeah, a child will be different with a NC parent - its a different situation for the child. Not bad, or good, but different.

All I'm saying is, give the C parent the benefit of the doubt. I would bet she/he is just doing the best they can. Just the same for a NC parent - just doing the best that they can.

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#11 of 12 Old 09-10-2006, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We would love to have him more, and we have presented that as an option. We have wonderful charter schools nearby that have smaller classes, and we can do the nutritional and behavioural approach to correct this. I also have researched about physical activity and adhd, and we also have resources for that. I know she has health problems, and two other boys. Her new husband is working hard to keep up with expenses, and it must be stressful. But so far they are not considering this option.

I do not doubt my dss might be add, I just want a second opinion, along with a full evaluation. I would also try alternative therapies before trying medication, and although this would be a healthy lifestyle change for everyone, I don't think they have the time or patience to do this (they are quite mainstream). We have suggested it, and given information, but they discount it without reading our material. My dh will be talking to his current doctor on Monday, and the current teacher.

Unfortunately the whole situation is not set up for the steps to have much say in this (have I mentioned the separation was strained?). I can only hope they reach the best decision for my ss, and be here for all of them I can.
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#12 of 12 Old 09-10-2006, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was just informed that there is a family history of heart problems on both sides of dss's family. I thought that was a contraindication for administering Adderall. I'm worried.
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