"They Say I Rushed to Medicate My Child"

We all do our best for our ADHD kids β€” and we wish others wouldn't judge. Here's how parents respond when accused of trying meds in haste.

young ADHD child hand against the silhouette of a parent hand

I think it is child abuse not to medicate your child.

Kelly, Illinois

ADDitude asked: "When others say you're rushing to medicate your child with ADHD, what do you tell them?"

I haven't medicated my son yet, but I will probably do so in the next year. If anyone says I rushed to do it, I will tell them that they have not lived with him for the past six years--and that they are free to take him for a couple of days and let me know how they feel about it then! -An ADDitude Reader

As an RN, I am all over this. I will agree with the person who says I'm rushing medication, provided they can testify to the fact that the child of whom they speak was never tested nor given behavioral options--just given drugs. That usually ends the conversation. -Ann, Tennessee

It's a difficult decision, and it's different for every family. We struggled for years with our decision to medicate our child. We finally decided to medicate our son when it became clear that too much of his life is a struggle. If medication can make his life easier, make school and social situations easier, it made sense to consider it an option. -Annie, Illinois

If your child is in pain, would you rush to give her something to make it go away? Well, what's the difference? Meds help my daughter, and I also take them. -Argelia, Georgia

It is a parent's decision about how to care for her child. People who live with ADD, or have a loved one with ADD, know how serious and real this disorder is. The ones who do not have ADD in their lives cannot fully understand this, and it’s not their place to do so. -April, Texas

I say that life without medication is much riskier. My son found that medication worked for him and reduced his impulsive actions. It did not "perfect" his behavior, but softened it, giving the family the space we needed to tackle the daily challenges of living with ADHD. -Bonnie, California

I usually don't say anything, because most others have no experience with ADHD, and I do not have the time or energy to refute every misinformed comment. I know in my heart that, after weighing the pros and cons of taking meds for several years, I made the right choice for my child. -Cindy, Florida

Feel free to come to my house in the morning and explain to me what is wrong with my son! Why can't he get dressed or do other things? And then see him focus and proceed with life when his medication kicks in. -Colleen, Nevada

Parents shouldn't jump to medicate, even though schools and doctors encourage it. Do what is best for your child, not what is best for the school! -Angela, Missouri

I say, "I agree. That is why we took our time and tried other options first, such as cutting back on processed food and getting him into a better routine. When that didn't work, we saw a child neurologist to make sure we weren't missing something. Then we tried meds." -Cristy, Kansas

I say they don't understand and have never been through the agonizing process of reaching that decision. No parent wants to medicate their child, but all parents want their children to be happy and safe. -Kathy, Maine

Only parents who have never had to make the decision to medicate their child would say this! Medicating a child is a process. -Laura, Georgia

I used to think that way, too. But when we tried to give our third child, who has ADHD, a break from Concerta during the summer, he asked for it. He was taking a math course and needed it to focus. -An ADDitude Reader

First, I say you don't know my child. Second, all kids are different, and what works for one may not work for another. Third, it's not bad parenting to be an advocate for your child, to do whatever is necessary to help your child succeed in life. -Holiday, Tennessee

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This article appears in the Winter 2012 issue of ADDitude.
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