Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Questions Whether to Tell on Sister

DEAR HARRIETTE: My little sister has been pretending to take her ADD medication by half swallowing it as she walks out the door in front of my mom and coughing it up as she walks to the bus to go to school. I have seen her do this over a dozen times out the window, so I know it's not a one-time thing. Should I tell my parents about what I'm seeing? She has gotten bad reports at school, and they think this medication will help her. -- Sip and Swallow, Milwaukee

DEAR SIP AND SWALLOW: This is one of the few times that I am going to recommend that you “tell on” your sister. You absolutely should tell your parents what you have observed so that they can support your sister in getting on track. If she has been diagnosed with ADD and is receiving medication, her medical doctor and your parents believe it is necessary.

As her sister, you may also want to speak to her directly and tell her that you have seen her spit out her pills. Ask her why she refuses to take them, and do your best to find out what’s going on with her at school. Don’t try to tell her what to do, as that won’t work. But with great compassion, let her know that you care about her and want her to be healthy and to do well in school.

When your parents confront her, know that she will be angry that you revealed her behavior. Let her know that you told them because you love her and want the best for her.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Health & Safety | Mental Health