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How can I deal with my son who has ADHD?

Q: My son is 8 years old and was diagnosed with ADHD when he was in kindergarten. He also has borderline oppositional defiance disorder. Life with him is a constant battle. He has been on Ritalin and is now on Stratera. Ritalin makes him really angry all the time, and Stratera doesn't seem to be helping a bit. He is a very loving boy and believes in giving hugs and kisses. But when asked to do homework or help around the house, it turns into a battle. I get phone calls from the school with reports that he's singing during the class, or writing down his birthday list, or mimicking the teacher. I don't know what to do. I let him go outside, ride his bike, go for a walk, and play with his friends, unless he's been in trouble during school or at home. I always give him hugs and kisses and do different things with him to show him how proud I am of him when he behaves appropriately. His father and I have been divorced since he was born, so he's only been spending time with him every other weekend for the past 5 years. He lived with him for a short time last year, and his behaviour was the same there as well. He has a 10-year-old sister here and they get along well most of the time. I have never had the problems with her that I have had with him. Please suggest.

A:For advice on the dosage and medication, you must go back to the doctor who prescribed them, before making any change. It does seem that there are side effects of pills intended to soothe and quiet the child. Perhaps you should try yoga. Many children have been helped by Yoga exercises to concentrate or at least decrease the restlessness. His behaviour results from the chemicals in his brain and not because he wants to be any trouble to you. He seems to have dramatic talent. See if you can get him to attend some extra classes where he will have a chance to express his talent. Good classical instrumental music, played when he is eating or resting can also have a good effect. Break up the tasks he has to do into bits. Give him a task to do that can be completed in a short time. Reward him with a hug or a smile. Then give the next task. Gradually he could learn to take some responsibility. But do see the expert who is treating him for ADHD for some more advice.

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