Many divorced parents who share physical custody of their children also have joint legal custody. That means they both have a say in important matters in their life like religious upbringing, education and medical care. The last of those can turn out to be the biggest source of conflict – particularly when it comes to things like vaccinations and some types of medication.
One common source of conflict involves medication for attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Many parents (and teachers) consider this medication no less than a miracle. Others are staunchly opposed to giving their child medication for what see as a behavioral problem.
If your child has been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD and your co-parent with whom you share legal custody is of that mindset, what can you do?
Get your pediatrician involved
If your pediatrician is willing, as them to talk with your co-parent alone (so they’re not feeling ganged up on). If they approach the conversation as an opportunity for your co-parent to ask questions and not as an effort to convince them, it might work.
Get the school involved
If your child is having behavioral problems as a result of the condition, you’ve probably gotten more than a few calls or messages from teachers, counselors or others. Make sure that they’re including your co-parent in all of these. The same is true if their condition is affecting their grades. If you’re the one who’s getting all the calls to pick up your child because they’re being disruptive, ask the school to start calling your co-parent at least half the time.
Don’t go behind your co-parent’s back
Most doctors are wary of prescribing medication if they’re concerned it will get them in the middle of a parental battle. However, if you get your pediatrician to prescribe it anyway, then you’ll have to find a way for your child to hide it from your co-parent. That’s placing them in a position they shouldn’t be in.
While you should try to enlist your child’s doctor, school and maybe family and close friends to attest to the value of this medication, sometimes too much pressure can backfire. While it’s typically a last resort, you may need to go to court to seek an order to give your child this medication. Before you do, it’s wise to seek legal guidance.