Dear Concerned Mom,
ADHD and the disorders often associated with them (such as oppositional defiant disorder) are very difficult for outsiders to understand. Your daughter may require more structure and obvious boundaries than another child, but these as you know, must be handled very carefully to avoid what another mom in your situation called 'a total meltdown'. Before I continue I wish to acknowledge that what you have to deal with on a daily basis is difficult; it is manageable, but difficult. As to what you should be doing: your daughter needs consistency so that she can better learn to cope with her defiant emotions. It is not helpful to her if one person deals with her behaviour by shouting, another with time out and still another with taking away privileges. The consequences for her behaviour should be the same regardless of which person she is interacting with. As you have noticed, the Ritalin assists; there are other medications which can assist further, however, if you choose this route please make yourself aware of all possible side effects. There are also non medicinal routes you can try such as cognitive behavioural therapy which aims to modify behaviours as well as destructive thought patterns. The Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Support Group of South Africa can assist you with various therapists in your area. They can be contacted on (011) 888 7655 or firstname.lastname@example.org or www.adhasa.co.za.
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