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Avoid Homework Battles and Monitor Medication

Margaret V. Austin, Ph.D., edited by C. E. Zupanick, Psy.D.

14. Avoid homework battles

mother and son arguing about homeworkCaregivers should schedule a consistent time and place to complete homework. This helps children know what to expect and when. A consistent routine can be soothing to a child whose days often feel chaotic. If tempers flare over homework, caregivers should strive to stay calm and lower their voice. Speaking quietly can help to reduce tension. If homework becomes a constant battleground, caregivers, teachers, and student should meet to discuss and develop a plan to resolve these problems.

15. Participate in the administration and monitoring of medications

The benefits and risks of ADHD medication have been reviewed. Here we discuss how caregivers can help with medication management.

The initial administration of ADHD medication is known as a medication trial. This is because the medication is being 'tried' to see if it works well for a particular child. There is no way to know in advance how each person will respond to medication. Therefore, caregivers should closely monitor their child during medication trials. Caregivers will want to observe and record their child's behavior before, and after, starting a medication trial. Ask children about their own subjective experience of the medication. Check to see if they are experiencing any known side effects.

It is the caregivers' responsibility to communicate with the doctor about any problems or concerns relating to medication. Children are expected to communicate their own observations during doctor's appointments. As mentioned in the section on medication, finding an effective medication regime can involve a lot of trial and error. Caregivers will do well to strive for patience and perseverance.

Once an effective medication regimen has been established, caregivers should continue to evaluate their child's response to the medication. Some dosing schedules may require that medications be administered during school. Caregivers should arrange this process with school personnel. Ask children about any concerns or worries they have about taking medication at school. Discuss the correct procedure for obtaining their medication while at school.

At some point, some children and most teens will want to assume responsibility for taking their own medication. Caregivers are often eager to be relieved of this responsibility. However, caregivers must still maintain oversight. Nearly half of children do not take their medication as prescribed. Furthermore, medication is often discontinued entirely during the teen years. There are a number of reasons for this. Many teens simply dislike any medication. Sometimes, after doing well for a while, they don't see any need to take medication. Caregivers may need to refresh their memory about their ADHD symptoms and the problems it created. Unpleasant side effects are another reason for discontinued medication. Caregivers should discuss these issues with their teen. If unpleasant side effects are the reason for discontinuation, be sure to discuss options with the medical team.