I have a button that’s really easy to push.
Go ahead and say that kids are overmedicated these days and if parents would only (insert quick fix here), their kids would be just fine.
Are there kids who don’t need to be medicated who are? Sure, I’ll buy it. Though I guess I assume those kids are probably evaluated quarterly or more often, like my child has to be, and that during those visits, that child’s team can get this worked out.
However, when these statements about overmedication for ADHD are made, they rarely take into account the kids who actually do need it.
And those kids exist. I have one of those kids.
My son is so much better on his meds. And no, I don’t mean he’s turned into a little robot. I mean he can control his emotions and he’s able to actually be who he is instead of having to fight through so much else just to be able to function through his day.
All kids are a little distractable, all kids do this, all kids do that, and medication is just the easy way out. You could actually parent your child instead. I’d like a dime for every time I heard something like that.
All kids aren’t like this. ADHD is a spectrum and for some of the kids who have a mild case of it, medication isn’t needed. But for those of us with children on the severe ADHD end of the spectrum, it’s not that simple. Medication isn’t the answer in every case, but it certainly is in some cases.
It’s not just a matter of being a stricter parent or coming up with a system that will help. We had extremely strict rules, procedures in place for every little thing, checklists, series of consequences and rewards, therapy, and lots and lots of patience, waiting to see if he’d grow out of it with time. We had a more structured system and stricter rules with him than with our other kids, who didn’t have ADHD.
It didn’t work. None of it made even the smallest difference.
Do you know what worked? Medication.
With medication, everyone else is able to see the sweet, smart, and funny little boy my son is.
Though, most importantly, my son is able to see himself that way, too. Before medication, he thought he was a terrible kid. He hated himself. I’m not guessing or projecting that: it’s something he said about himself quite often.
I want to be good, but my stupid brain won’t let me. I hate myself.
Do you know how heartbreaking it is to hear your child say that? To not know how to help him? To try everything you can think of, but have none of it help?
Then he went on medication.
So, you see, even though your neighbor’s niece’s son got prescribed medication after one doctor visit and you don’t think he needs to be on it because you saw him that one day 3 years ago for 5 minutes… you don’t really know the full story behind what all had to happen before that prescription got written. And even if you don’t think that child needs it, you don’t know.
And even if there are some kids who are prescribed medication who truly don’t need it… that doesn’t mean that no child needs it.
October is ADHD Awareness Month, with next week being ADHD Awareness Week. For me, an important part of that awareness is removing the judgment: kids with ADHD don’t just need better discipline or a “better parent.”
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