To make my 7 year old coffee

(65 Posts)
McNewPants2013 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:25:47

I heard that caffine has the opposite effect with children with austism/ ADHD.

My son has ADHD and after googling a bit it has conflicting advice.

Would you give a 7 year old coffee

Lilipaddle Sun 31-Mar-13 19:33:18

Personally I'd be worried about the effect of the caffeine health wise to a child. But my ex-MIL gives her other GC coffee every morning he stays over (2-3 times a week) and he's 3, so far it's not done any apparent damage behavior wise.

What about decaffeinated or very weak coffee if you do want to?

thornrose Sun 31-Mar-13 19:34:42

Where did you hear that out of interest?

zwischenzug Sun 31-Mar-13 19:36:31

No. Your medical sources for this advice sound highly dubious. Consult a doctor.

girliefriend Sun 31-Mar-13 19:38:58

Umm no its highly addictive apart from anything else.

TobyLerone Sun 31-Mar-13 19:39:58

No. I would not give any 7 year old a caffeinated drink.

McNewPants2013 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:40:45

From a good friend, who at the moment is my rock (not had any medical training ) i suspect she has watch a documentey about it so I googled it.

I am waiting for the bank hoilday weekend to be over so I can try and get an emergency appointment with his paediatrician as he behaviour is getting worse at a rapid rate.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 31-Mar-13 19:41:34

No, I wouldn't.

I don't think enough research/trials have been done for it to be determined whether it's a good or bad thing for adhd. If it was, then through coffee wouldn't be the best way anyway. Probably would be a pill.

The amount of coffee you'd need to give would be ridiculous, wouldn't it?

then there's the caffeine comedown. And the fact that you get addicted to the bloody stuff! Withdrawal headaches (speaking from experience!) and too much can make you anxious, etc.

McNewPants2013 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:45:10

It seems like a bad idea then, DH has taken him out so I can get an hour rest from it all.

defineme Sun 31-Mar-13 19:45:59

I can't see that a short experiment would hurt...I've seen a hell of a lot of 7 yr olds having a coke as a treat at a birthday party.I have also seen lots of 7 yr olds having hot chocolates.
As a parent of a child with asd, if I'd read anything like that affecting asd I'd do it.
In terms of highly addictive-you're in control so that'll be soon dealt with-caffeine withdrawal is headache and tiredness-not life threatening.
I woudn't consult a doctor as most gps have no clue about things like adhd and people give caffeine to kids in this country every day.

Lucyellensmum95 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:46:11

A very quick google has told me that caffeine has some effects on the social inhibition of those with autism, this is due to its stimulant effects. Why are you considering this with a child who has ADHD?

Also, another report suggested that nicotine also has some beneficial effects in autism - so presuming you wouldnt expose your child to nicotine, i would be inclined to apply the same logic to caffeine.

There seems to be a lot of annecdotal (untested) evidence with this regarding autism - it certainly doesn't suggest an "opposite" effect, it is not going to be calming your DS down!

I would consider the issues with caffeine as a whole:

Caffine in excess can cause palpitations - i should imagine it wouldnt take a lot to be an OD at 7! It is a diuretic so could possibly have negative affects on the kidney - so in short, no i wouldnt be giving coffee to a seven year old. Especially as i know the effects it has on me sends me mental

zwischenzug Sun 31-Mar-13 19:49:49

girliefriend, I disagree that caffeine is addictive, I used to drink way too much coffee, and although I would frequently have a coffee to alleviate the tiredness that came from not drinking it, I could easily have not had one, I'd just be too knackered to do anything. IME you don't have the compulsion to have a coffee (or other caffeine source) the same way a cigarette or food addict might. It's just that you feel like crap and are too tired to do anything if you don't have one.

I gave it up a while ago which wasn't difficult at all, although it took 1-2 weeks for the lethargy to dissipate.

Anyway I think we're agreed unless someone properly medically qualified says so, medicating a 7 year old with caffeine is a bad idea.

CocacolaMum Sun 31-Mar-13 19:50:39

Would I give coffee to my kids? No probably not

I would be bloody tempted to experiment though if my child had autism and I had been told this. Yanbu to be tempted but as has been mentioned, there is a LOT of conflicting advice regarding this sort of thing x

thornrose Sun 31-Mar-13 19:51:01

I know how it feels to get to the point where you will try anything. I have a 13 yo dd with AS and I've been at the end of my tether and its awful.
I really wouldn't go there right now though, without a bit more info.

McNewPants2013 Sun 31-Mar-13 19:54:59

Thanks for replying to this thread, I think I will give the coffee idea a miss.

thornrose Sun 31-Mar-13 20:00:57

McNew have you considered medication? I've seen it have great results with ADHD but I know it's a scary prospect.

McNewPants2013 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:05:12

I have declined in the past because I was coping and didn't want to start using medication on DS.

Truth is now he is getting a lot older and a lot stronger and I am really struggling.

I haven't been on MN the past month or so because he needs to be watched 24/7.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 31-Mar-13 20:07:55

As a parent of two NT children I allow mine a bit of tea or coffee sometimes...they're 8 and 5...they have the last bit of mine now and then...I'm talking once a month. It's not THAT bad. But as for it having the opposite effect on some children I don't know.

NewPants have you got any respite?

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Sun 31-Mar-13 20:09:12

Here is a link to a thread about it from Wrong Planet...a site for people with ASD


thornrose Sun 31-Mar-13 20:10:38

That's hard.
The problem is we "cope" but at what cost? To us and to our dc.
I hope you can get some support and if it needs to be medication then he is a good age to see real results.

I have a son with Asperger's/ADHD and at age 11, he needs less sleep than most adults. I do sympathise, but suggest that you ask the GP / paediatrician for advice rather than going down the caffeine route. Some children respond to melatonin, for example.

FredFredGeorge Sun 31-Mar-13 20:13:37

A normal sized easter egg has pretty much the same caffeine in as a single espresso or mug of instant coffee. Not sure why one is seen as horrific to give a child, and the other normal?

McNewPants2013 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:13:47

I do get some respite when he is in school and my mil will have him when I really need a few hours and of course when DH can get time off work.

Annunziata Sun 31-Mar-13 20:14:07

Of course a seven year old can have coffee!

I have no experience of ADHD so can't advise you there.

(ps. DH was given coffee from six months old. He's still alive)

thornrose Sun 31-Mar-13 20:17:02

It's not just about a 7 yo having coffee though, and still being alive! It's about the effect the OP hopes it will have on her ds's behaviour which is under discussion.

ginmakesitallok Sun 31-Mar-13 20:17:31

Yes you can give a 7 year old coffee.

Remotecontrolduck Sun 31-Mar-13 20:22:04

I don't think personally it has much impact on ADHD, but a milky or decaff coffee is fine for a 7 year old, if they like it (a lot of kids don't)

Nothing to lose by giving it a go, it's not crack

livinginwonderland Sun 31-Mar-13 20:23:15

most seven year olds probably wouldn't like it, to be honest! i know i tried coffee at that age (my dad drank it all the time) and it was way too bitter for me. adding sugar to make it drinkable would probably negate any positive effects.

I understand that the medication thing is a big decision. We waited for two years to start it, until we had tried what felt like everything else under the sun. In the end, we gave it a trial to see if it would help him cope with the school day. The results were dramatic and pretty miraculous. The bonus side-effect is that his eczema disappeared (we wonder whether it might have been caused by the anxiety of trying to get through every day with untreated ADHD).

If you do decide to try the medication, remember it's not a permanent decision. You can always stop it again.

Redbindy Sun 31-Mar-13 20:29:11

Coffee and seven year olds don't really mix. This is because of the risks posed by hot water. The odd can of Red Bull is quite alright.

McNewPants2013 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:30:44

Thanks for the diffrent opinions going to discuss the medication with DH and the peadatricion.

I just feel I have failed by giving into him having medication, which I know is illogical.

It might be illogical, but I spent most of that week in tears.

thornrose Sun 31-Mar-13 20:35:44

Oh I SO understand that sense of failure but honestly I've seen the effects it can have on ADHD, it could change your ds's life.

McNewPants2013 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:35:50

It such a hard decision and while I am typing I can feel myself almost crying.

thornrose Sun 31-Mar-13 20:37:26

Imagine if your ds had a medical condition would you withhold medication?

UniS Sun 31-Mar-13 20:41:25

yes, I would try a 7 year old with coffee. My 6 year old tried coffee ( didn't like it, but likes coffee flavour) and likes drinking weak milky tea. Not every day, but sometimes.

Would I try and dose a 7 yr old who has ADHD with so much caffeine it changed their behaviour... not with out having a chat with a health care professional whos opinion I trusted.

McNewPants2013 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:42:12

I suppose I am.

If he had a pain I would give him calpol ect so I really don't know why this is an issue but it is iygwim

thornrose Sun 31-Mar-13 20:47:07

It's a massive issue. I have withheld giving meds to my dd up to now and she is 13. I think I'm ready but I still struggle so I don't say this lightly.
The thing is my dd has AS and it's a bit more complex.
I've worked with boys with ADHD and I can't believe the difference.

McNewPants2013 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:47:09

I am logging of MN for the night but will come back to this thread when I can tommorow

thornrose Sun 31-Mar-13 20:47:56

Ok sorry if I've hounded you blush.

KatyTheCleaningLady Sun 31-Mar-13 22:07:40

My two oldest kids love coffee, ages 6 and 8. 6yo has loved it since he was a toddler.

They don't get it often because I don't make it often, but they are welcome to it when it's available. It's not like I give it to them just before bedtime.

formicaqueen Sun 31-Mar-13 22:47:21

no. Herbal tea yes.

SquinkieBunnies Sun 31-Mar-13 23:36:12

My friends Ds has ADHD and is on medication. Her neurologist suggested giving her son coffee in the mornings before school. He was about 8 or 9 at the time and she did it, she made him a big milky coffee most days and a hot chocolate on others, she said it seemed to help him a bit, not sure if it really did.
I let my 7 year old have a small Latte or other milky drink of coffee, she never gets any sodas so no caffeine from that, it doesn't seem to have any affect on her at all.
Why is everyone so hung up on coffee, when it seems so many kids suck down coke on a daily basis from toddler age?

McNewPants2013 Mon 01-Apr-13 00:01:48

Katy you seem very defensive about children having coffee, if your children drinks it I respect your choice and there is no need to explain.

Thornrose it is okay, it kind of the kick in the butt I need.

sashh Mon 01-Apr-13 06:05:34

When did coffee become a taboo for children (and tea for that matter).

I remember being given milky coffee at school in the winter.

I don't remember not being offered tea or coffee as a child.

thezebrawearspurple Mon 01-Apr-13 06:39:06

It won't harm him. There's nothing to lose by trying, if it doesn't work, fine, if it does then then your child benefits.

HollyBerryBush Mon 01-Apr-13 07:06:43

OP, I don't understand why you would deny your child prescribed medication, yet are happy to take advice of someone unqualified who googles. Putting that in perspective, you wouldn't decline insulin would you?

Timetoask Mon 01-Apr-13 07:36:59

I wouldn't give my dc anything which is addictive. Coffee is additive for me, I know everybody is different, but in my case I started with one coffee and I am now needing 3 or 4 to get the same level. I managed to stop for 3 months but needed one after feeling very tired and I'm hooked again.

I dont give my children hot cocolate every morning, or tea. Frankly I am horrified that people here are giving their young children coffee.

My son has learning difficulties and ADHD so I really do feel your pain. I have gone the medication route a very small dose. He is still himself.

TobyLerone Mon 01-Apr-13 08:27:49

When did coffee become a taboo for children (and tea for that matter).

Since always, IME.

As long as its instant, weak and milky then why not smile

toomuch2young Mon 01-Apr-13 08:40:08

Yes coffee can be useful for ADHD.
It is a stimulant you see, and a lot of medication for ADHD (Ritalin etc) are stimulants.
Stimulants have a calming effect on an ADHD brain rather than a stimulating effect and improved concentration.
As much as I hate doctor google - type in coffee and adhd.

icklemssunshine1 Mon 01-Apr-13 09:25:12

Don't know about the medical research but my DM started giving me coffee (Mellow Birds so debatable whether that's coffee!) at 7 as I suddenly went off tea and she was if the belief all DCs need a good hit drink inside them! I'm now 34 & still hate tea but as a coffee drinker of nearly 30 years I'm fit, healthy & (reasonably!) intelligent! Since having DD I've only drunk de-caff though. Everything in moderation is the key I think! I say give it a go!

icklemssunshine1 Mon 01-Apr-13 09:26:12

Ha ha just read back my post - sorry about the typos. So much for being reasonably intelligent ... smile

minouminou Mon 01-Apr-13 09:34:18

Adult ADD person here!
Anecdotally, I'm coffee-mad, but when I'm on Ritalin, I couldn't give a stuff for it! The caffeine is a stimulant, which is what you need for ADHD.

A good strong slug of coffee helps me to focus and pay attention, but the meds are better.

If he's seven, it might be worth thinking about Ritalin or similar. For me, it was a you know made me feel better in myself. Calmer, no looking for trouble/stimulation. I could function better in social situations because I wasn't zipping off every few seconds and cutting people off mid-sentence.

Furthermore, being on the med for several years TAUGHT me how to behave better....I got better feedback from people.

minouminou Mon 01-Apr-13 09:42:58

You're not failing him. Ritalin or similar isn't like a chemical won't zombie-fy him. Neither you nor your parenting has failed.

KatyTheCleaningLady Mon 01-Apr-13 09:58:59

No, I'm not defensive. I was just saying that I give it to them sometimes, but not before bedtime.

Also, I didn't read the whole thread before posting, so I have no opinion on adhd. I just think coffee is harmless in general.

minouminou Mon 01-Apr-13 10:02:36

I started drinking decent instant (as it were) at around age 11. But just one weak cup in the morning. Tbh, if he'sgot ADHD, he'd most likely need to be quaffing strong real coffee, and a lot of it to get any benefit.
This will not do his heart any good....and I think coffee inhibits the absorption of various nutrients.

On balance, I'd be looking at meds.

McNewPants2013 Mon 01-Apr-13 10:14:18

Thank you for the post minouminou.

minouminou Mon 01-Apr-13 10:18:35

No probs, my love.
Meds aren't a magic fix (although they will feel like it to your son!). There's still a lot of lessons to be learned and behaviour modification to be's just that you're working with someone that's more like clay than mercury.
Which makes me sound bonkers......

We have a lot of ADD and dyslexia in both families....we have some high achievers, too.

DS2 said that the meds helped him to slow down and concentrate enough to observe those around him and interpret the social cues they were giving.

Lueji Mon 01-Apr-13 19:51:29

Do you ever give him coke or pepsi?

McNewPants2013 Mon 01-Apr-13 19:54:38

No, because up till now I have thought that it would make his behaviour even worse and it wasn't a risk I was willing to make.

I am going to speak with his peadatricion about medication.

minouminou Mon 01-Apr-13 22:27:19

That's absolutely it, Threebee. It's a massive help. In a lot of ways, ADD people are more sensitive to other people's feelings, but just, quite literally, forget to watch out for and act on their perceptions. You're off and away in an eyeblink..... Slow that three-ring-circus-in-the-brain down a bit and it's like you've got a new person.

The good thing about the meds is that you can reduce/stop them over weekends and holidays.

I also used to (remember I started taking meds as an adult and so was more in control of my dosage) rate events/days out/boring duty-type days as "One, two or three Ritter" occasions. A wedding, for example, was a one-ritter...just enough to sit through the service and the polite BS without misbehaving or looking bored and restless. Then after the service and so on, I could relax, dance and get drunk!

A three-ritter would be a day of admin.

OP, I think you're doing the right thing. Give it a go - your son will be monitored and his dosage/medication adjusted/changed until you're getting the best effects.

thetrackisback Mon 01-Apr-13 22:49:01

OP A think you sound like you can't see the woods for the trees. Go see the doctor about medication you don't need to make decisions you can go and get information to make informed decisions.

Whilst your son is on holiday from school I would try some kind of caffeine based drink to see if there is any difference. You could be tying yourself in knots for no reason. It might not have an affect at all. I honestly can't see one or two glasses or cups being that damaging and it might just be what he needs. I think everyone is over thinking it!

MadamFolly Mon 01-Apr-13 23:18:06

Seriously OP you would not believe the difference medication makes, I have worked with ADHD children and it is the difference between pleasant, helpful child and a little demon who could be so uncontrollable and unkind. You would not have thought it was the same child.

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