Not All Mom Advice Is Helpful

parenting advice The beauty of blogging and all thing social media is that it gives us a way to connect with others that we most likely wouldn’t meet otherwise.

Especially as a sahm/wahm, which can sometimes seem isolated, even if you belong to playgroups and shuttle your kids back and forth to different activities. It can be hard to find those good friends that you feel like you can vent to, ask advice from, and who make you feel like you aren’t so alone.

And it’s so easy to ask for advice: how did you potty train your kids? Where can I find a cute overnight bag? Do you think I should get bangs? Blog comments, twitter, facebook… other moms will weigh in when you ask.

But, every family is different and sometimes, not all advice is helpful.

Sometimes all the conflicting advice can just make a hard decision even harder.

Recently, we decided to try medication for our kindergartener. He has ADHD, along with PDD-NOS. And while the meds would only help with the ADHD part, if they could at least help with that, maybe we could help him with other issues more easily. At least, that was both my family’s thought as well as our doctor’s.

But if you google different ADHD meds or just take a look around different blogs discussing them, you’ll find all kinds of horror stories.  A med that doesn’t work, one that turns a child into a zombie, one that makes a child sick, what dosages are best, and then all the reasonings why medication should never be used.

It was hard enough to make a decision about meds, with just me, Hubs, and Bear’s doctor, along with observations from his teachers and therapists, though we finally decided to give it a go.

But we also decided that we wouldn’t listen to what others had to say about it- what their experiences might be with a certain med or dosage or results or side effects. We monitor him, as do his teachers, and we stay in close contact with his doctor. As for the results so far, I think I’ll save that for this week’s Pour Your Heart Out.

If you are someone who is having to decide about ADHD meds for your child, I’d really suggest you talk to your doctor. While it’s a good thing to stay aware of possible side effects, etc., in this case, there isn’t an easy med X in dosage Y will work for every child. There are way too many factors involved.

So while I’ll continue to ask for and love getting advice on other things mom-related, there are sometimes when not all mom advice is helpful.

What topics do you ask for advice on and which ones do you feel like you need to figure it out on your own?


  1. says

    We had a medication totally backfire on us.  And while I’ll never tell someone else they shouldn’t take it or give it to their child, I do give them our side of the story so that they know what we experienced, and what the symptoms looked like in case they experience something similar.

    I think, that in the end, the decision has to come down to the parents, along with input from the doctors.  You know best what your child needs, and are really the only ones that can say whether or not you think it’s helping.  I look forward to your PYHO post.
    Kmama recently posted..Thank You Very Much: 9/24/12My Profile

    • Shell says

      I think it’s helpful to have stories like yours out there- in the event someone has a concern or goes through what you did. But when we were deciding on this, we decided not to go into too much online research- just b/c I think every single med out there has some sort of horror story. So, we decided to just consult with our doctor. You could tell we are not the norm though- by the way the doctor held her breath when she asked us what we knew about different meds and if there was an approach we wanted to take. And then her huge sigh of relief when I explained that I know that this type of medication works differently with every case so we decided to just trust her judgement and monitor the results, rather than trying to decide beforehand what we’d want.

  2. says

    Medicine is such a personal decision, and it effects each person differently. Staying away from that kind of advice makes sense. You and your doctor know what works for you kid, in a way that no one on the internet ever will, no matter how much they are just trying to be helpful. 
    Tracie recently posted..School Memories – Fall Back Into BloggingMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Exactly. And while I appreciate others telling their story, it doesn’t mean it would work/not work the same for my son.

  3. says

    Been there done that. They would get so mad because I would refuse the ADHD medications because they all made him more violent and angry, because he was bipolar first and foremost. But because of his age they did not want to ‘label’ him as such. Instead we got put through 40 levels of hell and meds to pacify the doctors thoughts that regardless of what it led him to be like they had to have him on a medication. I was finally able to get him into a different doctor who understood and began the process of diagnosing him as bipolar.
    Angel recently posted..School Days, School DazeMy Profile

  4. says

    I have a hard time with this because I’m a talker and my husband isn’t. I like to “talk through” decisions and issues, and he likes to mull them over silently, then talk, then mull again, etc. So I often try to talk through things with other people, like my mom or close friends, and then I get more angsty and confused.
    angela recently posted..Giving Hemingway a Second ChanceMy Profile

  5. says

    I wish I’d had blogging when my kids were smaller, because I might have avoided some mistakes. On the other hand, if you have heard all the negative side and weighted against the benefits, you feel it’s still for you, it sounds like you did what’s necessary to make a good decision.

    Life is never going to be perfect. All we can do is make educated decisions and hope it works out in our situation. If it works; praise God. But if it doesn’t, it doesn’t mean you made the wrong decision, just that it’s not the path for y’all. Why not try?
    Maggie S. recently posted..Friday for Fiction: Reclamation OrderMy Profile

    • Shell says

      There are some times when blogging is so helpful for advice- having all these moms who have been through something able to share their wisdom. Other times, that advice just doesn’t apply.

    • Shell says

      LMAO That’s a good description! I’m sure there are some around here who think it’s wrong to medicate at all, others who would tell me not to give the drug we’re using. But it has to be what works for my child. 

  6. says

    As a therapist, I actually think all of the added info in blog form about meds can be dangerous. All kids are different, and all kids metabolize the meds differently. You really can’t compare. It’s good to be aware of the side effects and warnings, but if something could really improve your child’s life it would be a shame to avoid it bc of a horror story.
    Hope he’s doing ok….xo
    Practical Parenting recently posted..Thinking in StoriesMy Profile

    • Shell says

      That’s what our doctor was explaining to us- that it’s not an exact silence. That sometimes, a small child will end up needing a large dosage and a big kid will only need a little. It’s not like with something like an ear infection where you say okay, that means we need THIS med to fix this, and since you are this weight, here’s how much you get. Made a lot of sense to me. 

  7. says

    Your question got me thinking… Honestly?, we’re a family of strong faith and I’ve never needed anyone’s advice on how to raise a Godly daughter. Our relationship with God is personal, intimate, individual; and while we share it with others, we don’t flaunt it or stuff it down others’ throats. Yet others have felt the need to tell me I’m doing it wrong; that I’m either too stubborn in my ways or that I have too much compassion. They offer tons of advice on “Christian parenting” to “the right way to pray” … Oh, well. God is the Head of our Household, and it works for us. Period.
    Molly Jo recently posted..Sunday Was For the BirdsMy Profile

  8. says

    I definitely agree.  Some things we have just sorted out as our family but there are definitely times when I wish my mom were still alive to ask her advice.  I have always bounced stuff off my sisters but when it comes to serious stuff about my boys, it comes down to Lew and myself. 

    Hope everything works out!
    Jenny recently posted..Pre K is EXHAUSTING!My Profile

    • Shell says

      I like advice from others on somethings, for sure. But bottom line, it comes down to what my husband and I think is right for our kids.

  9. says

    There are a couple things that I don’t ask advice for from other parents. Usually one of them has to do with medication (even if it is just for an ear infection) because I think as a parent, you know what is best for your child with your doctor’s advice and expertise over anyone else. The other thing I don’t ask opinion on is grades and schoolwork. Again, each child learns differently, tests differently and gets different grades. I think as a parent, your best advice comes from their teacher and/or counselor and outside opinions are better off left alone.
    Hope all is going well with the medication for your son. Can’t wait to read your post on Wednesday!
    Kristen recently posted..Finding The PositiveMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Somethings are just so personal and individual- it doesn’t make sense for people who don’t closely know the situation to weigh in. Though I’ll take advice on things like “how do I get those stains out of their soccer socks” and things like that. 😉

  10. says

    Medicine is def a personal thing, but there are things we look to others for advice.  Especially if they have been through it.  Even ADD/ADHD you can find helpful hints (from blogs) FB friends and sites.  But yeah when it comes to meds that is the parents decision.  
    Lourie recently posted..Monkey See, Monkey Do…My Profile

    • Shell says

      I do like reading and seeing what all is out there, but all advice on it, I take with a grain of salt since it’s all so individual.

  11. says

    I avoid asking for advice on sleep because there are so many varying opinions. My hubs and I found a bedtime routine that works for our family and stick with it. I think medication is another subject i stay away from.
    Julia recently posted..At 22 MonthsMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Thanks, AnnMarie!

      I definitely see a place and time for asking for advice. Just a few issues that I like to avoid going into discussion on. 

  12. says

    My friend and I were just talking about medication for her son with Autism. Her doctor is recommending a medication and she is still considering it. I told her that this is one of those times that she is just going to have to follow her gut. Like you wrote, all families are different and have different needs and experiences. It is scary to jump off the cliff, or to not jump, but you have to do what feels right for you and your child.
    Jennifer recently posted..3 Time Saving Housecleaning Tips {Working Mom Wisdom}My Profile

    • Shell says

      It is scary. We agonized over the choice and have been monitoring closely. One thing that pushed me in this direction is my experience teaching and a few kids I taught both pre-meds and post and the huge difference it made for them.

  13. says

    People will always have an opinion on something and it doesn’t always match what we want/believe for our children and our families.  You have to listen to your heart and you know when you are making the right decision.  I am also of the opinion that when people usually rant on the internet and very few people post positive things- so the information available is already skewed.
    Barbara recently posted..HomecomingMy Profile

    • Shell says

      that’s very true- when something is going well, a lot of times people don’t write about it- but if it goes wrong- they have lots to say!

  14. says

    I don’t talk about it much but Ryan takes medicine for ADHD. I was reluctant to do this, basically because of what I’d heard from other parents, possible side effects, judgment and the worst: the feeling that I was giving up on the possibility of him working it out on his own. Honestly, it was the best decision we’ve ever made and I wish I did it earlier. It made an immediate improvement in the subjects he takes in the mornings and wears off shortly after lunch (a challenge). He’s had no side effects other than his grades going up. 
    Ali recently posted..Things They Can’t Say: My Suitcase Full of TricksMy Profile

    • Shell says

      When I was teaching, I saw a few students who started meds partway through the year and the big difference it made for them. I wanted to take that chance that it would be like that for my child as well.

  15. says

    Everybody has an opinion, and whether you ask for it or not, most people can’t wait to give it to you. But I always tell people that it’s YOUR child, and YOUR opinion is the only one that matters. No one is going to be a bigger advocate for your child than you.
    My cousin was on ADHD medicine when she was younger. It helped her a lot. And now she’s an AMAZING young lady that I couldn’t be prouder of.
    You’re doing what’s best for him. So to hell with everyone else! 😉
    Mich recently posted..College . . .My Profile

  16. says

    For the really important, personal kind of decisions, I don’t tend to seek advice. My husband and I figure it out together. The example that sticks out in my mind was when we made the decision to stop sending our children to public school, and homeschool them instead. It was a well researched and thought out decision about our own children, and what was best for them. It’s amazing how many people felt the need to offer unsolicited advice about it. We held strong because as parents, we are in the best postition to make decisions regarding the needs of our children.
    Patricia P recently posted..Cheeseburger CakeMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Seems like everyone has an opinion- but they really can’t know what is best for our kids unless they really know them. 

  17. says

    I feel that as I get older, the list of things I need to decide on my own, or with my husband is growing longer and longer. For the most part, if I ask advice, I try to be sure I really want it. Sometimes I regret even asking because it isn’t what I want to hear. Those moments make me wonder why I ever asked?

    I am sure putting your child on any type of medication is a tough call. There is zero doubt that you love your child and only want what is best for him. Stay strong! Can’t wait to hear how it is going!
    The Mommy Therapy recently posted..When Is My Husband Coming Home?My Profile

    • Shell says

      It seems like there is always conflicting opinions out there. So mostly, what I ask for opinions on are things where I feel like the answer doesn’t matter so much- or the debate isn’t personal. You know, like what is a great pair of jeans or something like that. 

  18. says

    Saw this scroll across on the Twitter feed and just wanted to add my hearty, “Amen!” God gave to each of us children who are different from one from the other. There is no one-size fits all for kids (or young adults, in my case) with AD/HD. I’m to fight for my kid, in the unique way he is wired.

    God asks us to seek his wisdom and not rely on our own understanding, nor on the best advice of others. Thank you for saying this out loud, on the internet.
    Nancy Franson recently posted..Me and My Dirty FeetMy Profile

  19. says

    I’ve decided to stop asking for potty training advice. It’s been my experience that kids who train easily have very self righteous mothers when it comes to potty training. And when they hear that my almost 3 year old is not potty trained, they judge me. Why ask to be judged. When he applies to college one day they are not going to ask what age he was when he potty trained as an entrance question. So how cares?
    Twingle Mommy recently posted..Pinterest FAIL!My Profile

    • Shell says

      Not advice, I swear. But I waited til after all of mine were 3. And I think that was why it was easy and fast for them. B/c they were truly ready. Though my waiting shocks some people. Ugh. I was the one dealing with the mess, so why they care, I don’t know.

  20. says

    I love advice  – but only I – or you – for that matter – know what’s right! But the advice is good – because it’s insight and sometimes it helps me see things from a different angle than I would have seen myself. 
    ilene recently posted..The WalkMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Absolutely! It’s helpful to see other sides. But there are a few issues where I think it’s hard enough to decide when it’s just in a family, without going outside of that.

  21. says

    I think pretty much everything is something that you can ask for advice for and also that you do not need advice from others.  Every kid and parent is different so there is no one answer for everyone.  I believe it is good to ask for help/advice when needed for a jumping off point, to get ideas, to get you thinking, etc but then ultimately have to do what is right for you and your family
    Emmy recently posted..I Simply Need A BagMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Oh absolutely. Advice can be helpful. But I think for really personal situations, it’s probably best to just decide alone. 

  22. says

    Yes, every family is different as every child is different. What works for my child may not be the solution for your child. Only your family and doctor know what is best for your child.

    Almost a year ago a neurologist prescribed respirol for my then 2yr old to calm her severe agressive behaviours but I was very hesitant and after speaking to our pediatrician and looking into and changing some of her meds we realized alot of her aggressions were a side affect from one of her meds and once we removed that med from her regimen it became so much better. In the end we found a better solution but it was thanks to team work from our pediatrician. 
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  23. says

    You have to follow your instincts. With some good education from doctors you trust. Medication is not for everyone. I don’t tolerate a lot of medications, my husband is a rock star with them. So individual.

    On a side note – I have two good friends who have in recent years both put their sons on medications for their ADHD – both boys also have an assortment of other needs- and after some ups and downs and tweaks and adjustments both boys are doing so well. It was not an easy road for these families, but they were dedicated to helping their son. It didn’t matter to the families whether the help came in a medication form or not for them it was all about doing the best for their children. The good news – both boys are doing so well. It is amazing and inspiring. I know it won’t be a cake walk forever for these families – there will be medication adjustments as they get older and of course the child’s own opinion as they grow into the teen years, but I am so happy that these families have found some relief. Fingers crossed that the same happens for your family.
    Making It Work Mom recently posted..Gratuitous Football Post and PicturesMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Our doctor was explaining how with this, it’s so individual, not like with an infection where they have it down to a science as to what helps. So we decided to only look at what was going on with our son, along with input from those who have regular interaction with him.

  24. says

    Good for you for tuning out all the others and working with your ped. It always makes me nervous when people listen to others over the dr in situations like this!

    I don’t even know what I ask for advice on…more often I make my own decision and then tell about it later, looking for affirmation that I made the right choice rather than advice!
    Single Mom in the South recently posted..Gearing Up for Fall in Full "Spirits"My Profile

    • Shell says

      While I don’t always just take a doctor’s word as foolproof, I do think that they should be listened to as experts- and especially one who has experience in dealing with my child. 

  25. says

    I don’t want advice if I don’t ask for it. I have a very good friend who I really like, but I’ve learned I have to just take her with a grain of salt. Every concern I have for my children, no matter how small, she thinks requires drastic measures. She is also out to save the world. I know she is well-intended but I don’t think that just because my daughter is having slight anxiety over weekly tests that we need to get into therapy. I’m going to try just some motherly advice and making sure she is prepared. Therapy I think is a bit extreme at this point. My other daughter (8) can sometimes be insensitive. Hmm – I’d say that’s MOST kids. But she thinks I need to whisk her off to work in a soup kitchen so she can see how some people really live. Great idea – I was thinking maybe when she’s a bit older. And feeding advice – that’s probably my most hated. I’m so tired of people talking about and telling me what we should or shouldn’t be feeding our kids. Ugh.

    Good luck on the meds! I’m sure that may take some time to get it right but I hope it helps.
    Kimberly recently posted..Is Busier Better?My Profile

    • Shell says

      I’d think most 8 year olds are insensitive at times. They haven’t gotten to that point where they realize everything isn’t about them. Most I know don’t have a filter yet, either. 😉

  26. says

    How odd that the day I come back and write a post- which has been almost 3 months, I visit your blog and you write about something I deal with too. I listened to a few close friends about the medication for Miss K for her ADHD, but I ultimately left it up to her doctor and my husband and I. There is no correct answer, each child is different. We have adjusted it several times, thankfully we have not had her become a zombie. But the class of medication that is used for ADHD is very scary and has to be monitored-as I am sure you know. Sometimes, the advice of others is nice to hear, but bottom line- it’s YOUR child and YOU know what is best. :)
    Good luck on the medicine.
    Without giving advice- have you read the book by Doris Rapp, “Is this Your Child?” It really is an eye opener if your child has allergies. The effects of those can be compounded with ADHD making it difficult to treat with just ADHD meds. I don’t know if Bear has allergies, so I thought I would recommend it if he did. :)
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  27. says

    I think there are a LOT of parents (me included, shamefully) who give advice about sleeping and sleep techniques. Then I think back on how much I knew what was right for my babies when they were little, and I realize, NO one needs advice on sleep training. Unless they ask. And sometimes not even then 😉

    I like advice about the transitional times. Going into school, weaning off bottles and nursing, getting from two to one daily nap…. For those things you don’t really have experience with to know.
    humanmama recently posted..I can’t watch the newsMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Definitely a time and place for advice! Love that part of blogging. 

      Just not in every situation. 😉 

  28. says

    I’m glad that you’re doing what you think is best for your son and disregarding what others may have to say. When it comes to medication there are goods and bads and every single person is different and how they react to a med is unique to them. 
    For me… I will listen to what others have to say about almost anything if they’re open, honest, and not trying to push their agenda on me. But in the end it comes down to me deciding what I feel is best.
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  29. says

    This is excellent. Our youngest son was ADD. We saw a doc and put him on meds but he couldn’t stand it. He said he felt like a zombie so we saw another and he gave him something else that worked better but after awhile Joey quit that. He was just happy with himself and what parent could ask more than that. I will say we wouldn’t have taken him if teachers hadn’t mentioned it. BUT, after substitute teaching in that school for a year – Well, let’s just say – too much DEAD TIME. The classes are so dull. What kid with high energy wouldn’t be bored and act out a little? I took my findings to the counselor and principal. And whenever I subbed I brought plenty of activities along with me to keep the kids busy for 75 minutes (block schooling). 
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  30. says

    Love this post because, it never fails, every time I ask for advice I wish I hadn’t. Ultimately you just have to go with your gut.
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  31. says

    I agree giving someone parenting advice sometimes can really backfire.  Getting parenting advice from others can be just as horrible.  Every parent wants what is best for their child and does what they feel is right for their family at a given point in their life.  My weekly series post on speech/language topics is actually on ADHD this week, so your post is very timely!  Check it out if you have a chance. I tried to shed some light on ADHD, since it’s a silent disorder that doesn’t get enough attention.
    Mindi recently posted..New Kitten, Pigskin and StitchesMy Profile

  32. says

    Good question. I ask advice for a lot of basic things…potty training, discipline issues, etc. But, the really tough stuff? The stuff that people generally tend to be OVER opinionated about? Breastfeeding, Cloth Diapering, Vaccinating…those kinds of topics are generally off limits to everyone that isn’t immediate family.
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  33. Lisa says

    Last year we became foster parents, and we already have 3 biological children under 10yrs of age. We sometimes get unsolicited advice/comments like “you need to put your own children first,” or “you should take a break from foster care, your own kids are growing up so fast etc. Not helpful, just guilt producing! I think its a very personal family decision to be made between us and God. This is one area I really don’t want everyone’s opinion on!

  34. Stacey says

    Thank you for posting this. It’s so helpful to read about others’ experiences, and I especially appreciate hearing about positive experiences with ADHD meds. As you say, there are many horror stories on the web. We made the difficult decision to put our son on medication in the fall and it has made a world of positive difference for our family. Things aren’t perfect, but they’re sure a lot better.