It May Not Be Perfect, But It Worked For Us

In February of 2011, I wrote a post about making the decision to place my son on medication for ADHD. It was funny, because back then the drastic change in him was so great that I thought it would be the end of our problems. Little did I know that the next year and a half would be a struggle to regulate the times and doses of medication, we would see him diagnosed with ODD in addition to ADHD and that he would continue to struggle in school with both his behavior and his grades.

However, after a long time of working with him to understand his actions, their consequences and to help him realize he always has a choice in how he acts, we are seeing amazing progress. Joshua entered 6th grade this year and was placed in all advanced classes because of his grade on the FCAT, but in spite of his grades last year. I was devastated because I was not sure how we were going to get through it. Even last year he had had 5 referrals and a suspension.

This year though, we have really worked together from the beginning and he is doing amazing! He has all A’s and B’s and those B’s are mighty close to A’s. His behavior has been perfect in school and he has even been able to cut his 4PM dose of medicine that he would normally get when it was time to come home. Does this mean everything is perfect? No. He still has outbursts from time to time, but it is nothing like before and nothing outside of the realm of normal tweenhood.

My point to all this is, that often others will judge you as a parent for medicating your child. I do agree that ADHD is an often misdiagnosed and over-diagnosed condition, but medicine does have a place for those who truly need it and who truly are affected by this disorder. It may not be the answer for everyone and I agree that you should try natural methods of management first, but for some, medication is the solution. It may not be perfect, but it sure has worked for us. Our plan is to further wean him off the medicine in the coming years as he learns the skills needed to make the right choices in life.


  1. I have a very similar story to yours, but my son is younger. Since Kindergarten, we have had many struggles. His teacher was really good at listening to our concerns and working with me to manage my son's behavior. First grade, he had such a young teacher, but she was experienced in psychology and we, again, managed to keep him on the right track. When he entered second grade, all Hell broke loose. He was out of control, distracting, and completely unfocused. His grades were wretched and I was in the school weekly for appointments. He spent 78 of 168 days in Behavior Management and 12 days suspended from school altogether. In March 2012, he was officially diagnosed with ADHD. I struggled with my opinions on medication and the fear of others' opinions. My mother was totally against me putting him on anything. She didn't understand what we were going through. I wanted what was best for him and what we were currently doing was not working at all. In May, we decided to give medication a shot. The very first day, he walked into school and told his teacher, "On the bus, something happened to me. I felt calm. I felt in control." She called me to tell me what a great day he had had. He was focused and most of the behavioral problems stopped. It was such a relief. He started 3rd grade a month ago, and his grades have been incredible. Our home life is much better. It isn't a miracle, we still work on some issues. But it is one of the best things I have every done for my son. He loves the way he feels when he is on medication. I love that we can worry less about the hyperactivity and crazy meltdowns.

  2. I respect your decision as a parent to do what's best for your family. I'm not in this situation but I don't think I could put my daughters on medication.

  3. I am so glad that he has found his perfect balance Elizabeth!

    Jennifer, I felt the same way as well. However, there comes a point where your child's future is more important than your feelings about medicating. I could not see my son fail another grade or continue to be labeled by the school as a "problem child." It was not for lack of parenting either. We had a counselor in home, we tried every strategy possible working with a psychologist and we were very consistent in our parenting, but despite our best efforts nothing worked. It is great that you do not have to deal with this, I would not wish it on any parent.

  4. Some people have issues with me getting botox injections for Jillian… We're just trying to do what's good for OUR kids. If you had diabetes, you'd treat it with insulin. It's no different than giving meds to help with ADHD. It's a very personal decision and something that impacts the whole family. This taboo about not medicating children when they need it obviously doesn't sit well with me.

  5. There is nothing wrong with meds- and I really like how you are considering weaning him off as you can. Oftentimes just a short period of meds will help both you and the child gain perspective. If a kid is always emotional it is hard to see a different solution in reacting to stresses.
    He is gonna do fine!

  6. Sometimes there comes a point where you can give them all the tools, but they still need medication for treatment because it's a treatable condition like diabetes or hypothyroid, or any other medical condition like Cheryl said above. Just because the schools push parents to medicate medicate medicate because they just want the children to automatically sit and comply all day long, doesn't mean parents should blindly go to doctors asking for medications. I'm glad you've not only treated your son's condition, but worked to give him the tools he meds to succeed, Kathleen.

  7. i think that medicating a child should be taken very seriously and all other avenues should be exhausted before you even consider this.

  8. I support parents who do what is best for their children and what is best for each kid is different, so I would never write off medication. 🙂

    I'm happy that you've found something to help your son! xoxo

  9. No one can judge or know unless you are in the situation. Those that say they couldn't or wouldn't medicate their child, they can't say that unless they are in your shoes, have experienced your child's behavior, have cried when you can not help him.

    My son is on a very low dose of ADHD medicine and I cried when I made that choice. However before the medicine my son was angry, he was anxious, he could not function. He was throwing pencils at school and hiding under desk. By the end of the year he had no friends. He was sad little things bothered him. He couldn't concentrate, he couldn't focus and he blurted out and acted on every thought he had (no filter, nothing to make him stop the thought and acting on it)

    This was not parenting it was not a matter of him not knowing what he should or shouldn't do. He had ADHD and he didn't know how to express things, how to filter his thoughts, and act out rationally not on impulse.

    Anyway I could go on forever all I know is the medicine leveled him out just enough to enjoy his life. This is what many adults do that have issues: depression, bi-polar, high cholestrol, etc.

    The medicine helps regulate what is wrong so you can live a normal life. I too hate the stigma that is placed on ADHD, and totally understand your position.

    I don't think medicine is right for every child with ADHD as much as I don't think behavioral therapy and diet is right for every child with ADHD either. It is a per child basis.

  10. Forget what others are saying. Not every case of ADHD is the same, and not all methods will work the same on a different child, natural or medicinal.

  11. It's hard because people are so judgmental about mental or issues like ADHD but you have to do what you have to do to help your kids.

  12. I'm so happy you wrote this post- as a mom who suffers from ADHD, I know the struggles your son is going through

  13. Only you as a mom know what is best. I have two children with mild doses of ADHD and we have found natural remedies that have worked for them, but I completely respect your decision.

  14. As parents, I think we do what we believe is best for our kids, and no matter what we choose, there are always going to be people that will judge us.

  15. I think each parent should be allowed to do what is best for his/her child. You did that and now look how well he is doing! Congrats to you both!

  16. Thanks for the input and responses everyone. Colleen, Joshua was much the same way, but the anger and aggressive actions were magnified by the ODD as well. It came to a point where I had to make the decision not only for him, but our entire family.

  17. I can relate. I have 2 kids with ADHD. They are on meds. I will do whatever it takes to help my kids… if they suggest medication, then we will give it a try. My Husband, however, did not feel the same. In our situation, since they are around me the most, and I have to deal with the situations more (because he is at work), they are on medications. My DH says he wants to "research the meds".. ok, go ahead and do that, but in the meantime, I am going to do whatever helps them. And it HAS helped them. They are calmer, their grades are better, they are not as fidgety and they are doing better all around. As it was stated, it is a decision for the entire family. It does affect all of us. We are doing so much better now. And Dad hasn't said a word, since they have been put on the meds. He can tell the difference. ;o)

  18. Kathleen you are a great mom and its easy for people to judge until they are in the situation. I was typically anti medication until this year when I saw my friends husband go through some crazy things. They fought and fought for a long time to go the natural routes but nothing worked. As soon as he was put on the right medication he became a totally different person, a much happier and healthier person. The change in him has lifted the mood of the entire family. After seeing this first hand, I now have a different perspective on medication. People dont see what happens behind closed doors or at school or at work unless they are a direct family member. Run your own race girly. Congrats on his great grades!

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