As a parent, you want the best for your kids, so it can be challenging when your teen isn’t getting the most out of their daily medication by taking it inconsistently. Most long-term medications work best when taken at the same time every day, but how do you make sure your teen is following those crucial instructions? We have a few pointers that will help your teenager become more responsible about their medication so they can enjoy the desired effects.
Create a Routine
One of the best ways to get your teen to consistently take their medication is to build a routine or a ritual around the process of taking it. You can try setting the medication in a visible place so your teen remembers to take it every time they go to that place. If they have to take it in the morning, maybe place it by their toothbrush or their shoes so they make a habit of taking it every time they brush or lace up for the day.
If they have to take their medication with food, you could put it in the kitchen or on the dining room table so your teen takes their medication before getting up from the table. Routines only work if your teen remembers to do them every day, so it might take some reminders from Mom and Dad at the beginning.
Another way to keep your teen on top of their medication is to use reminder systems. There are a ton of great apps out there that your teen can download onto their phone to give them regular alarms. This is great if your teen has to carry their medication with them because they probably won’t leave the house without their phone, and the phone will serve as a reliable reminder to take the medicine at the right time.
Posters and notes are great reminders too. Sometimes seeing the pill bottle doesn’t trigger your teen to take their medication. It’s like it’s hiding in plain sight! However, posting a visual indication such as a handwritten note on the bathroom mirror cam prompt your teen to ask themselves if they have taken their meds every time they look in the mirror. The reason this might work better is because it requires your teen to read. Reading the reminder is a lot more impactful than simply noticing the bottle on the bathroom sink. You can place it right next to other readable posters, like inspirational quote graphics.
Also, many pill boxes are organized with a weekly or monthly schedule, so they could be helpful to incorporate. Whenever your teen sees the pill box, they will have a clear reminder to take the medication if there are still pills left in the compartment marked for that day.
When building strategies for your teen to remember their medication, it’s important not to nag them. If you get in the habit of telling them to take their medicine every day, they’ll learn to rely on you instead of making a habit for themselves. This can be problematic because if you’re not there, your teen might not realize that they should take their medicine and they won’t learn to be self-reliant.
Nagging can also annoy your teenager. This can turn taking medication into an argument between you and teen. Your teen might feel like you are talking down to them and that you might not trust their ability to pick up the habit of taking it regularly on their own.
Instead of nagging your teen, you can try saying, “I’m feeling concerned because your medicine doesn’t work as well if you don’t take it every day. Can you let me know how many days you remembered to take it at the end of this week so I don’t have to ask you every night? You’re in charge of your medicine, but I still want to know what choice you’re making.”
What if They Resist?
It could be the case that your teen is resistant to taking their medication every day. Maybe they are a defiant teenager. If they don’t want to take their meds, you can try warning them about side effects of their medication that might get worse if they don’t allow their bodies to adjust by having it every day. You could also make your teen aware of the unpleasant effects from suddenly discontinuing the medication so they don’t end up feeling worse by quitting their medication cold turkey.
I recommend that you let your resistant teen taper off from their medication safely and with the guidance of their psychologist if they would rather be off their medication. Next, have your teen take notes on how they behave with the medication and without the medication. If there are any noticeable improvements by comparison, it might persuade your teen to commit to the medication.
Make Them More Positive About Medication
Your teen could be avoiding their medication because they are embarrassed about it or hate the idea of taking a daily dose just to feel better. One of the ways to make them more positive about the idea of daily medication is to make them aware of how normal it is. If you take a medication every day, you could show them that you have to be committed to taking it even when you don’t feel like it. You could also suggest that they bring up the topic of daily medication in conversation with friends because they might be surprised to hear that many friends have the same routine, but don’t talk about it.
Getting your teen to take their medication can range from a simple reminder to helping them understand that inconsistent use can be problematic. Your teen probably doesn’t want to suffer from side effects for no reason, so it’s important that they get the most out of their daily medicine by being consistent. Use these tips to make your teen more accountable of their meds so they can start reaping the benefits and understand that taking medication is as normal as brushing your teeth.
Eric M. Earle is a tutor, writer, and founder of Tutor Portland. While Eric used to stumble with math himself, intense study gave him the skills to be the leading math tutor in Portland, Oregon.