I was a child with moderate ADHD symptoms and my parents chose to medicate me in middle school and high school. The medication was definitely helpful in managing my attention and impulsivity in school and probably is the reason I was able to graduate high school. HOWEVER, I was not also provided any type of therapy or self-management strategies so I was dependent entirely on the medication. Now as an adult, I feel completely ill-equipped to manage my ever-more-complicated life. I am a teacher and a mother of two, and since I have spent the last 3 years being either pregnant or breastfeeding, I am not willing to take medication. As a teacher, I see how transformative medication is for students with ADHD symptoms in the classroom. But I also know from my personal experience and from watching my students that medication can become a crutch if it is not accompanied by thoughtful teaching of self-management and behavioral therapy so that children learn to manage their symptoms.
At the end of the day you are the parent and you know your child best. My children are still babies, so I’m just speaking from my personal experience. But, if I recognized ADHD symptoms in my children in the future, I would likely discuss concerns with their teachers to get a complete picture of how severe the symptoms were and how they were affecting my child’s ability to progress in school both academically and socially. If the symptoms were holding them back significantly in either of these areas, I would likely start medication and begin therapy at the same time. If not, I would try other measures first.