real life

Ask Another Mother: How do I get my child to take medicine?

There are some parenting dilemmas you can't solve on your own, right? Because it takes a village to raise a child. So if you have an issue you need some help with, drop us a line at and we will put it out to the iVillage community.
Dear iVillagers,
My son refuses to take medicine and it's become a real problem. It was so much easier when he was a baby but now that he has to drink it out of a medicine cup he refuses, even when I explain that it will make him feel much better.
Adding to the problem is the fact he's the one in my family who gets sick the most. When my other children get a cold, he gets the flu. When they get a cough, he gets a chest infection.
We were driving home a couple of days ago when he became unusually quiet. He's not the most talkative 4-year-old but total silence is unusual.
He was grumpy too. He didn't want to do up his own seatbelt. He's been quite proud of his ability to do it up all by himself. I buckled him in and gave him a kiss.
Is his forehead a bit hot?
We arrived home and he walked in the door, lay down on the lounge and fell asleep.
I just KNEW he was sick.
Off to the medical centre and he was diagnosed with a middle-ear infection. He was hot and uncomfortable. He needed Panadol or Nurofen as well as antibiotics.

I decided to give him his medicine before leaving the centre, just in case he fell asleep in the car. He's never been happy to take medicine and it had been a while since he'd been sick. I knew he wanted a packet of chips from the chemist (why chemists sell chips and chocolates is beyond me, unless they know parents need them as bribes?). So I measured out the medicine and explained that once he'd taken it he could choose his chips.
He refused.
I begged.
He started crying.
I grabbed him and poured it down his throat, pleading with him to swallow.
He swallowed, coughed and then projectile-vomited all over me and the carpet.
We cleaned up and drove home. He fell asleep on the lounge before I could give him more medicine. By this time he was burning up.
I woke him up. He wouldn't take it. My husband was home by that stage and he tried to convince him to take it. We tried everything we could think of. My son who is nine offered to drink it first to show him it was fine but even that didn't work.
What do I do?
He is so sick. He's not getting better. It's been two days now and he hasn't had any pain relief or antibiotics. What if he gets worse?
Is there some magic trick other mums use to get their kids to drink their medicine? How do you get your children to take theirs?