How Peer Pressure Can Affect ADHD Treatment in Tweens

Written in Partnership with In the City Camps

The number of tweens with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is increasing, but sadly, a growing number of preteens  are rebelling against treatment. 

According to ADDitude magazine, tweens tend to stop taking their ADHD medication. Peer pressure is a big factor, but refusing to take medications may also be another way for them to assert their independence. 

Parents and other caregivers can help their tweens feel less stigmatized by showing them ways to take their pills in a less obvious manner or in private. If your preteen is going to a sleepover, for example, speak to at least one of the adult chaperones beforehand. 

Schoolwork may be another major point of contention between you and your tween. Here are some ideas: 

  1.     Ask your tween’s teachers and school staff members to be as private about any accommodations as possible. For example, announcing that your child gets more time to take a test can cause problems with their peers. Likewise, any therapy or tutoring sessions should take place after school if possible.
  2.     While grades are important, they are less so than during high school. The tween years are a great time to focus on building support systems and creating good habits, which will help your tween do well in high school and beyond.
  3.     Hiring a teen tutor may be a better move than hiring an adult tutor (unless your tween also has learning disabilities that require the assistance of someone with a college education). Your tween may feel more comfortable with someone slightly older than them.
  4.     Have your tween’s doctor switch them to a medication that will last eight to 12 hours. This will end those visits to the school nurse for doses during the school day, which will reduce your tween’s feelings of discomfort around being “othered” by their peers and less-understanding teachers.
  5.     Create and enforce structured routines and non-negotiables. A regular sleep, activity and homework schedule is important for anyone with ADHD. And while skipping an occasional medication dosage can be okay (always ask your tween’s doctor first), things like refusing to wear seatbelts are not okay.


ADHD brings more challenges to an already challenging phase of life, but it does not have to lead to stigma and chaos. Remaining consistent and calm will help you and your tween navigate difficult times.

The Blue Dove Foundation recently partnered with In the City Camps, to talk about important issues related to raising mentally healthy children and fostering mental wellness within our children. We hope you find them as helpful and impactful as we do.

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