How to know whether your child should... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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How to know whether your child should be medicated?

anothermother profile image

My two older adhd kids have never been on medication for symptom management. We’re homeschoolers (unschoolers/self-directed learners), so issues at school have never been an issue; however, our everyday lives with so many adhd folx under one roof are often very tough. Our days are full of fierce emotional/mood swings, aggressive outbursts, defiant and oppositional behavior, boundless energy (our house and belongings have taken a major beating this past year+), sleep troubles etc

Also, i recently read some compelling studies about the impact of stimulant medication for adhd kids and how early use can help reduce the risk of addiction later in life as well as lower the risk of co-morbities. So, I made an appointment with their new pediatrician with the plan of discussing medication.

I have four kids total (9y, 6y, almost 4y and 2y). Because if my own adhd, it’s hard for me to be consistent with our schedule. I’m very irregular when it comes my ability to keep us all busy enough to ward off the boredom that inevitably (and very quickly) leads to impulsive, destructive and aggressive behavior.

That said, now that it’s summer and the world is slowly re-opening, we’re getting back to our more typical schedule of daily swimming, tball, summer camp, more play dates, more hiking and camping… The busier we stay and the more time we spend out of the house, the more manageable all our symptoms seem to be.

I guess I’m just second guessing myself and wondering whether they really do need the help of medication. It would sure help if my husband and I could get ourselves sorted out and on medication, which were both working on, but now, I don’t know what to think about my kids…

5 Replies

When my son was in 2nd grade it was suggested to us he had ADHD. When looking into it, I realized I suffered from many of the same symptoms so I went to a Dr to see what could be done to help me (my marriage was having difficulties with related issues). The Dr put me on medication and I got to see what it was like. My wife also got to see how it impacted me and my ability to focus/function. It worked out well enough. A few months later, we felt we had exhausted our other options and were finally ready to put our son on the same medication.

The argument made to us was that by being regulated on medication would allow our son to establish a "norm" where he could be a better version of himself. He could grow and learn with less interference from his ADHD symptoms. It also has provided us many opportunities to talk to him about the differences in his behaviors on and off medication. At first (he was pretty young) he couldn't see or understand the changes. However as he grew older, it became easier for him to see. He even has an easier time noticing and changing his behaviors when his meds have run out for the day.

Meanwhile in school, he was able to get really good grades and move into higher level courses/tracks that set him up for going to a good university. He feels pretty good about himself and who he is. He is confident in his knowledge and abilities. He is in a good place to move forward with his life. I often hear the opposite from people who grew up without that help. They can turn into negative cycles and think everyone hates them or they are stupid.

Medication is not the only path to success. However, in our situation it worked out very well. If the two of you as parents suffer from ADHD symptoms, perhaps a first step could be to get diagnosed and on medication yourselves. Then you can get a feeling for what it is like and make a more informed decision from there.

anothermother profile image
anothermother in reply to BTV65

You hit the mail on the head in terms of many of my concerns (the self esteem, the self image, the being able to be their best selves…). My husband and I were both diagnosed as Kidd/teens but haven’t been medicated. We’ve both taken steps to start medication ourselves, and I think that maybe if I had experienced the difference myself, it would be easier to wrap my head around it. I understand everything you’ve said and share many of those same sentiments; I guess the years of beating myself up and hearing so much stigma and misinformation about adhd still creep into my thoughts at any opening.

Thank you for your thoughtful reply!

Thanks for joining the group and for sharing your family with us...I have really been thinking about your question a lot.

Our journey started when our now 14 year old son was in 1st or 2nd grade. We knew he was not like his peers. We got many notes and calls about him not being able to sit still, focus and complete his work in school. We noticed an immaturity in him, who was always in trouble.

Once he was diagnosised we started medication and thearpy and things were ok, but I knew things were not the best for him. Once we hit middle school and things got even worse we asked to see a child psychiatrist and that is really when life changed. We finally got medication that helped him to "function". That means he was able to get up, eat breakfast, dress and attend school with focus and the ability to complete tasks.

For us when we finally got the a 504 plan to help deal with educational needs, thearpy to help him realize he needed to change the way he did things and medication we started to really see him become successful. I know being stable with these tools and good guidence have helped him learn what success is and how it feels.

He now cooks his own lunches, does all self tasks without prompting and does daily chores. I know he would not be able to deal with any of this including the high demand in school without the right dose, best time for taking his medication. We know as soon as his medication wears off and we see the struggles he has (excessive talking, unfocused, impulsive, etc, unwanted immature behavior)

Sorry this is long, but hope it gives you a perspective on things.

This how we know we made the best choice for him. We want him to go to a friends house and be about to function or go to a camp and function. We are trying to teach him to be a successful adult. So he can life a good life and become successful.

Please let me know if you have questions about the process of giving medication.

Hope you find what you are looking for

I am so glad we ended up putting our son on medication. The difference is amazing, most of the time. I would just warn to be patient and don’t give up because it can be quite a process finding the right medication and dose. And one medication may not work for both of your children. Things might look worse when you first start but it will be worth it! Good luck :)

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