Dear Dr. Meg,
I am a mother of 2 wonderful boys, as well as a stepmom. Five years ago my ex-husband left but is still involved in my boys lives. My 10-year-old son is one awesome little boy, but he is hyper. He is always moving and easily distracted. His father has decided that ADHD medication is necessary for our son, but I am opposed to it. My son has been diagnosed with ADHD, but on a scale of 1 to 10 is at about a 3. What are some supplements I can give him to help him and how can I help his teacher at school know how to handle him? I don’t want to see this fixed with a pill. My son has been through a lot and has some emotional issues that I am trying to help him cope with. I believe the hyperactivity is much more than a disorder, I believe it is emotional and counseling should be an option. I am praying God’s will be done in all this and want to do what I can to help Him with my son.
Mother of an ADHD Child
You are one wise woman. There are many children who do need medication and that’s fine, but far too often boys are overmedicated simply to curb behaviors that parents or teachers don’t want to deal with. On behalf of your son, thank you for not doing this.
Yes, there are a few things that you can do to help settle him. First, you can give him fish oil supplements. You need to make sure that the two major ingredients- DHA and EPA equal 1000 mg total. Many folks use fish oil but do not see a difference because they use too little. Also, it is important to use fish oil, not flaxseed in this case.
Second, it is very important that you limit video games. I know boys love to play them, but they are too stimulating for boys with ADHD and actually make the ADHD worse. So, make sure you limit your son’s access to them.
Third, boys with hyperactivity feel like they are Volkswagens living with a Porsche engine. Something inside is always revving its engine and they have a hard time settling. So, you need to make sure that his environment has a very consistent rhythm. Keep him on a schedule- same bedtime, awake time, same dinnertime, etc. Boys with ADHD do not do well with constantly changing schedules; they desperately need regular routines.
Finally, make sure that your son gets enough sleep and of course, eats a good, well-balanced diet. These sound simple, but it is often the simple changes that make the biggest difference in our children’s lives.