Are you a parent who has struggled with the decision to give your child medication for ADHD?
I am and it’s a hard decision to make. So much of the time, parenting feels like you’re just winging everything. You research. You listen. You ask for advice. You trust your gut, take a deep breath, and hope you’re making good decisions — that your child will be okay.
My daughter took medication for mild ADHD when she was in the fourth and fifth grade. I reached the decision to medicate after talking to doctors and educators, reading, and hoping I was making the right call. No matter how much information we arm ourselves with, when making these difficult decisions for our kids, we always wonder if we’re doing things right, while bracing ourselves for comments from those who tell us we’re doing it wrong.
The message is spreading like wildfire for one reason: ADHD impacts people. Regular people. Maybe you.
If you’re an adult who has ADHD (or if you think you might), then you need to read this, or watch this (or both). If you are a parent who has chosen to give your child medication for ADHD, you really need to read this, or watch this (or both). From one parent who has been there to another, this perspective from the other side might help you. At the very least, the message and comments will assure you that you’re not in this alone.
When we first read the words “to my mom who drugged me,” we imagine all kinds of terrible things. We simmer down when we see it’s an ADHD page, but then brace ourselves to read criticism from an adult who was medicated for ADHD as a child, expecting a “How could you do this to me!” rant.
What we get is not even close.
“What I want to say to my mom, who ‘drugged’ me:
Thank you. Thank you for listening when I told you I was struggling. Thank you for standing up for me when my dad tried to dismiss what I was dealing with as ‘normal.’ I now understand ADHD is highly genetic and it’s likely he felt that way because he had ADHD himself.”
McCabe thanks her mother for listening, understanding, getting help, and never letting her run out of medication. She acknowledges that her mother persisted in helping her get treatment in the face people who judged. That’s right. Judgy Judgerson tsk-tsking parents have been around a while.
This young woman publicly thanks her mother for persevering and making choices that set her up for success, saying:
“Thank you for understanding that while all children can be fidgety or impulsive or get distracted, I struggled way more than the other kids my age. I now understand it’s because ADHD brains develop differently. You didn’t know that, you hadn’t done the research I have, but you listened to me when I told you I needed help.”
If you’re a parent struggling with whether to medicate, or are wondering if your child needs to be treated for ADHD, please seek professional help.
McCabe’s message is reassurance for mamas in the trenches wondering if they’re doing it right. And while this message can’t tell you if you’re making the right decision for your child and for your family, it is reassurance all the same. There is another side. There is hope.
Continuing to medicate my daughter wasn’t the right decision for us – for her – and there’s a story behind that, but I’m glad I had options and experts. In the end, I’m glad I trusted myself to make the best decision for her.
Parenting is hard. It’s about making hard choices and receiving unsolicited advice and second-guessing yourself all the freaking time. That is common. But so is ADHD.
Get help. Trust yourself. Listen to your kids. If we don’t give up on our kids, they won’t give up on themselves – and that is a message worth paying attention to.