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Old 05-28-13, 07:51 AM
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medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

This will be a long and I am only sharing this perspective to hopefully share with other parents the benefits of early intervention and to educate those who like to jump into a thread with anti-med advice when they either have no experience with meds or no children at all. I am ok with opinions when they are presented as such and with respect and an open mind, but opinions that are presented as fact dripping with judgment venom are not my cup of tea. I guess I could do a blog but this is a one shot deal for me, nothing I could keep up with.

When my son was young he was full of energy, and mischief. In the beginning we chalked it up to him being just like his curious George father. He crawled a 5 months, began talking at 6 months and was walking at 10 months. There was no rest for the weary. By the age of 2, we started noticing how smart he was and how easy he could understand more mature kinds of conversation and how expressive with his emotions he was. He seemed to have a good grasp on what he was feeling and had the words to back it up. We were proud but we also began to worry. He could get out of anything. Open doors, unlock safety gates and clips would plug things into outlets etc. When he would do something dangerous like try and turn on the stove we would pull him aside, tell him how dangerous that was and tell him not to do it. Sure enough, time and time again he would do the same dangerous things. Our conversations always went:
“Jake why did you touch the stove again?”
“Because it was pretty mommy”
“Why aren’t you allowed to touch the hot stove?”
“Because it’s hot and will hurt me”
“Well why did you then? Do you want to get hurt?”
“No mommy, it was so bright and pretty and I forgot”

This kind of conversation happened everyday about a million different things. He began to have issues expressing his frustration with certain fine motor skills (he is also dyslexic, has dysgraphia, and some perception issues). He would have major meltdowns about legit stuff, not your typical toddler stuff. When he was about 4 we started to really try and help him pick up after himself and no matter how I phrased it or broke it down or insisted or demanded he would end up distracted and eventually punished (before I knew how to parent and adhd child) and then all hell would break loose. He would kick and hit me, destroyed curtains and blinds, trashed his room, etc, all at a preschool age. I knew this wasn’t normal and began reading the old fashioned way circa the library with the old school card catalogue. I thought I had a grasp of his issues and managed to see 4 different psyches before I found his current one. The other 4 were either really weird, not experts or had unrealistic expectations for little kids. So his current psyche did her evaul and I called my county to get him early intervention. This was the best thing I did. He began PT, OT and general behavior modifications before kindergarten. He was officially diagnosed with adhd at age 3.5.

For 6 months we talked to the doctor and each other about meds, and I read what I could. I made up my mind that by the age of 4 he would begin some sort of long term treatment. By age 4, he started meds. At the time he was one of a handful of kids this young on meds in my state, most doctors didn’t seem to be comfortable medicating a young child and my doctor was really patient. She suggested meds, but let us lead the way with his treatment program. He began Ritalin which we tried for 2 weeks and had very negative side effects. Then it was Dexedrine. WHAT a difference! Here was the boy I knew only now, he had the capacity to maintain his own safety and sit down and learn the skills he needed for kindergarten. He was able to learn his colors and numbers instead of always trying to start a game of tag during circle time. His intelligence really showed.

Now he didn’t seem like the wild rebellious idiot child to others, he was smart and more in control and I had less fear of him hurting himself. (I say less because these things weren’t completely controlled or eliminated, but that’s adhd for you) We had our share of battles with everyone from my in-laws and family to other uneducated adults in his life. Everyone had an opinion on what we were doing wrong and how we were taking the easy way out by medicating him. They said if we spanked him more that would teach him a thing or two. Here is how I know spanking didn’t work. I lost my sh*t at one point with him pretreatment and I got so angry and felt so out of control that before I could thing I slapped him and it was hard. The horror on his face and the ache in my heart for doing that still hurts me. I have never been able to forgive myself so no, physical pain wasn’t effective, because he went right on kicking his ways and yanking the curtains off the wall.

He started school and started to read. He couldn’t stop reading. At the age of 10, he was starting to like certain things by Tom Clancy. Tom f**king Clancy! I can’t even get through that. He out read all of us. He did so well in school that he would finish his work and his teachers would just let him read and also participate because he always knew the answers when asked and never got so lost in his books that he missed what was going on. I had my battles with the schools. He needed an aide but not special ed. He was in special ed for grades 3-5 but in all honesty he was bored to tears and just needed some one on one because as we know, meds only do so much.

Of course his weight was difficult to maintain, but we countered it as best as we could with calorie dense foods and snacks and he never got dangerously thin. He breezed through middle school. The only issue he had there and in the beginning of high school was making friends. He was either to weird or quirky for other kids, or so smart they couldn’t keep up. He did struggle adjusting to the work load in high school but it was mostly because he forgot and lost papers and left stuff to the last minute. And, he started to eat and eat and grow taller and taller. By sophomore year he was 5’9” and now as a junior he is 6’1”. 6 feet!!! He dwarfs me. The summer of sophomore year he was able to do his own research about adhd and meds. He decided, much to my disappointment that he didn’t want meds anymore. What could I do? He was 16, not a toddler. I respect him enough to let him guide his own path even though I think when he gets older he will realize that not taking meds for him, only hurts, not helps, but as teenages go, they need to be allowed to fly a bit farther from the nest. I am just there to catch him if he falls.
Flash forward to now. A strapping junior, in honors classes, with A’s and B’s (except for math, his handwriting never got good enough and it interfered with lining up numbers in stuff) but his math requirements have been met. He was selected to take a psyche 101 class through the county college for college credit, so we paid for that and that’s 1 core class down when he goes in 2014. Not many of the kids had the recommendations to take this course and we are beaming. He also got nominated for honors coursed for his senior year and has this whole Boy’s state thing coming up. Oh and the prom! My boy is going to prom.

Here’s the thing. I did not write this to brag about how awesome we are and how awesome he is, like in a sense that he is more awesome than other kids. I wrote this to inspire hope. Medication did not turn him into a zombie or stunt his growth. He never stopped eating. He didn’t turn into a drone, compliant child with no aspirations. He blossomed. It was like he was a caterpillar inside a cocoon and finally emerged with wings.

If we didn’t medicate him young things would have been much different. I know he would eventually have gone from accidentally setting fires in the woods while playing explorers, to intentionally setting fires to give himself a rush. He would have gone from taking a lollipop in a store, to stealing video games and from others. His moral compass would have suffered because how can a child with these issues and emotional regulation issues absorb some of our core values when he is still learning how to take turns and not punch people that didn’t want to play what he wanted to. I know in my heart that we would have had a much different child. To us, not medicating would have been a kind to child neglect. It would have been like child abuse (to us). Why wouldn’t we want to set him up for success? Why wouldn’t we want to give him the best shot at being his own best self? Why would be make it difficult to live up to his own potential? Why would be part of the cause of his low self esteem and self hatred? Why would be set him up for accidents, substance abuse and possible risk taking, illegal behaviors?

I urge parents to consider these things when looking at meds and behavior modifications. You can’t beat the adhd out of a child. You can’t beat the distraction out of a child. You can’t force a child with a disability to magically learn the steps to cope with a deficient brain, a damaged brain? Would you expect a child with a lisp to talk better? A child with a stutter to speak up faster? Would you expect a child with vision problems to squint and bear it? Or ask a child with a bum leg to try harder to walk and learn to play soccer? You would not because these things are tangible and visible. Read some literature. Do some research. Read some legitimate articles about adhd and its treatment and then come back to me or the parenting section and tell me if you still feel the same anti-med way. Raise a disabled child with no treatment and share your magical secrets. Of course not all kids need meds, or can handle meds. My daughters can’t handle meds and I so wish they could because they struggle a lot.

Until you raise a disabled child with adhd and have experience with both unmedicated and medicated treatment, your opinions are like as*holes because everone has got one.
I adore this son of mine. I would give anything and everything up for him. I can breathe at night because I know I have done my best. I have exercised responsibility in raising him. The only thing left is allowing him to leave the nest and learn to fly. I know that I will have an incredibly hard time with this because I love him that much. It will hurt, but it will be a good kind of pain, like working out.

Thanks for your time in reading this.

PS: in my many battles with judgmental people about 50% of the time, a solid f**k off WAS really
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Last edited by LynneC; 05-29-13 at 07:32 AM.. Reason: added a couple of paragraph breaks...
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Old 05-28-13, 09:22 AM
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

Sarah-

A lot will probably disagree but i think you did the right thing for your son. I wish my own mother would have done the same for me at a young age.
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Old 05-28-13, 09:27 AM
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

Sarahsweets Thank You for this wonderful post. As I read this I was in tears because I can totally relate to everything. My son was the same way as an infant he did everything very early and was full of ENERGY. He's now 9yrs old and he'll be 10 next month he takes meds and he goes to therapy to help him manage his ADHD. I know that we have a long road ahead of us but it's ok because I LOVE MY SON and HE'S TOTALLY WORTH IT!
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Old 05-28-13, 09:31 AM
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

Thanks so much for sharing that. Very helpful for someone on the early stages of adhd journey with our kid.

I have told 3 people about the potential adhd diagnosis.
You aren't going to drug him are you?
He is just bored, he is a smart kid.
You just need to be firm.

Lol I am not telling people anymore. They haven't raised him. And they haven't held him while he sobbed for an hour about his inability to focus on his work. I am not opposed to medications if the adhd diagnosis holds up. I take meds for depression and anxiety because I have an imbalance in my brain and the meds help with that. And managing it helps me function better and relieves pain.
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Old 05-28-13, 09:44 AM
bwalwayswins bwalwayswins is offline
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

i have expressed an opinion previously about medicating very young children...so i don't know if this was directed at me or someone else or what...but here is my 2 cents.

there are always exceptions to the rule. there are children who need very early intervention...my son is turning 7 in about 2 weeks and to some people - he is too young for meds. but for him, it was just the right age. perhaps for your son, with his symptoms, it was just the right age (at 4). i have a nephew (now 15) who started meds in 3rd grade...so to that side of the family (who are pro meds) my son probaly seems very young. my other side is very ANTI medication and thats how i was raised. in a house full of adhd people (yes, i was raised with an unmedicated bipolar/adhd mother, 2 adhd brothers, me and my dad) who were all anti-medicating for anything... they just drank and did drugs (rolling eyes)

its taken years of separation and reflection to get to the point where i told my Dad (the only reasonable person in my family) that my son IS going to take meds and thats the end of the topic. I wouldn't even bother arguing with my mother because - she is bipolar/adhd and its a fruitless, waste of time.

anyway...i branched off there....it certainly sounds like your son needed his therapy, he is doing well, and you should be happy when given the choice to be proactive OR wait it out for the sake of others opinions - you chose the right thing for your son. thats a good thing.

adhd is such a complicated diagnosis. no 2 kids with it - act or behave the same. they have the same CORE problems (focus, inattention, impulse control) but the way they handle the problems are all so different. anger, aggression, emotional issues, especially when its effecting maturing in the intrinsic sense (like emotionally, handling anger) needs to be addressed for sure. in my situation, my sons emotional maturity always seemed on target and he communicated well, also we have been lucky in not having anger issues (i don't think either of my kids have ever had a TYPICAL meltdown or tantrum) if anything - i have come closer to having a tantrum - from dealing with the adhd (lol) so i understand everything your saying.

Anyway, wanting your child to be able to sort through their feelings, to make rational decisions, to learn, to be able to stop and feel/understand an emotion...thats all perfectly reasonable and if someone doesn't get it. its their problem, not mine.

Last edited by bwalwayswins; 05-28-13 at 09:59 AM..
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Old 05-28-13, 10:28 AM
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

just needed to add - my "in general" opinion that a preschooler or younger child doesn't NEED meds - isn't a 100% in ALL cases thing...just a 'in general' opinion...and solely based on the moms i have known who at 3 or 4 just didn't want to work all day and then come home to a highly spirited kid who kept them on their toes...i have met these moms - they DO exist and i have known moms who have tried to get their kids diagnosed and failed (and they were disappointed?!?! wtf!!)...which actually gives the adhd diagnosis more credibility (imo - to the people who have told me 'its not real')...it IS real and it does happen and it should be addressed when its effecting the childs life - at 4/8/or 14.... i just tend to wonder how many moms are getting a diagnosis and meds and their child is just hyper, spirited or (frankly) just annoying.... lol....there is always the other side of the coin..
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Old 05-28-13, 10:40 AM
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

It is so important to hear success stories. Thank you.
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Old 05-28-13, 12:04 PM
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

Well, I would quote my favourite parts - but it would be like quoting your whole post! Well said and I hope parents who are considering medication all read this. I think this should be a sticky.
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Old 05-29-13, 12:35 AM
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

The thing to remember too is that once your kids get older they can make the choice for themselves. DS (HFA) tried to go off one of his meds but then he ended up with chest pains from the anxiety (which the meds were controlling). After talking to his pdoc we put the choice in his hands and he chose to go back on them.

I wish my mother had actively parented me instead of leaving me with no treatment and no behaviour training.

I hate it when parents choose to put down and verbally abuse their kids rather than medicating them.
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Old 05-29-13, 02:10 AM
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

I agree wholeheartedly that you made the right decision.

The anti-med brigade is very knee-jerk and I think there is a deeper issue there but I'm not always sure what it is. Sometimes I think it is that they don't want to believe there are disabilities. But I often don't get it. There is scorn toward parents' reports, beliefs, experiences and towards children's.

It's so nice to hear how proud you are of your son. You should be proud of all you did to help him reach his potential. It's very exciting to see one's child fulfilling their potential. My daughter hilariously told us to ask her teacher in PT conferences "how can I fulfill my potential?" Kids WANT TO. My kid WANTS to take meds. She doesn't want to talk about them! But she takes them very happily. She realizes it's made things easier for her.

It's nice to hear about the whole trajectory of how your son did and how he's doing now. But a lot of it is also your love, acceptance, encouragement and many things no one could ever put in a bottle. It has to be--if he has that drive to do what he's doing. But without some assistance some children just can't get there. So many of us know that from experience!!!

Just to add: I never medicated my kid for behavior alone but for learning--it is all for learning. Her behavior doesn't bother me, it is hysterical. She dances, sings, stands on her head, and when they say 'driven by a motor' YES! But a joyful motor. She is impulsive like your son but it's not like we put meds in our kid to make them easy to handle. This is the most infuriating claim made about medication. Her free association after the meds wear off is super hilarious--she has about 1/2 an hour to an hour of pure unadulterated wildness during the evenings that I honestly want to film sometimes it is absolutely not to be believed.

And you clearly did that as well. The motor doesn't leave a lot of room for learning at times. They just need that little bit of calm and focus.
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Old 05-29-13, 03:29 PM
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

I'm a huge believer in medication because it's helped me so much, and I know how much it's helped others.

Nonetheless, I take issue with the title of the thread. It implies that parents who don't medicate don't love their children enough. This is not true. They love their children just as much.

Most of the time, these parents have been scared by the anti-med brigade. The anti-med brigade is very ignorant but very vocal.
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Old 05-29-13, 05:49 PM
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

Hence, the title. sarahsweets has been on here long enough to have experienced the negative judgment of the "anti-med brigade." People come in here often enough accusing parents who medicate of not loving their children, or not loving them the way they are, that saying you medicate your child because you love him is a justifiable position.

We do not tell people to march in lockstep here when it comes to treatment, but since the rest of the world is all too ready to give parents who medicate a laundry list of why they shouldn't, it's helpful to give some time to the reasons why it's OK.
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Old 05-29-13, 06:16 PM
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

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Originally Posted by CrazyLazyGal View Post
Nonetheless, I take issue with the title of the thread. It implies that parents who don't medicate don't love their children enough. This is not true. They love their children just as much.
I disagree, in a very limited and specific way. I think parents who refuse to try medication, when it's been prescribed or offered for a legitimate case of ADHD, actually do not love their children enough, and are putting the misguided opinions of others above their love for their children.

The title of the thread isn't about continuing medication over a period of time, but about being willing to try it. Not all parents who love their children decide to continue medication. But all parents who love their children are willing to give a fair try to the treatments that are proven to work.
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Old 06-13-13, 02:47 PM
Maggie Sugar Maggie Sugar is offline
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

sarahsweets, thank you SOOOO much! I have said similar things to my friends, and relatives and people on the internet and.. well everybody.

You did the brave thing by medicating your son so he could thrive.

I had to make the same difficult decision for my oldest dd. She has Tourettes (which we had to medicate, she couldn't function because of the full body tics) and due to impulsivity, rage and inability to pay attention. Also, when a child comes to you and says, "Mama, help me! I can't stop moving, I can't stop thinking, I can't stop jumping, I can't stop talking. I CAN'T STOP and I NEED TO! Mama, please HELP ME!" What empathetic parent wouldn't medicate?

A know a few. Now they are looking for other reasons to blame for their now adult children living unlivable lives.

My dd made more friends when her ADHD was controlled, she could sleep when her ADHD was controlled, she could rest (although not as much as most people) when her ADHD was controlled. Her natural intelligence and imagination could come through when so many of her demons were under control from those little blue pills. Adderall even helped the Tourettes (which most people don't believe, because they believe the myth "stimulants give kids Tourettes" and let her be happier and more functional.

She was forced off the medication by an intolerant doctor in her early 20s and the next few years were a living hell. She had moved from our home so there wasn't much we could do, except let her know we still cared. At times it was difficult to even do that, but neither my husband nor I are ones to turn out backs on our children. She's more stable now, she's matured and despite the occasional (common) step back, she's doing well.

I doubt she would be if we had never made that difficult decision to medicate her. The people who criticize us either don't have children, or don't have children with disabilities or have kids with disabilities and didn't medicate and are now looking for reasons for their now adult children's continuing problems. We aren't dealing with a daughter on drugs, or who gets arrested or who abuses alcohol or abuses sex. I know we did the right thing and that it helped our child.

One of our other children has ADD w/o H. We made the equally difficult decision not to medicate her. Her symptoms were different, not as disruptive, not as disturbing to her and she was much more functional without the meds.

An other of our children has the Tourettes (and other issues) but seemingly no ADD or ADHD, she is medicated for her conditions, as to do so, in our opinion, would be neglectful.

Each child is different and may need a different tact.

I know we did what was right for our individual children and I know you did to.

Thank you for the beautiful post.

Blessings.
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Old 06-18-13, 12:15 AM
cathy2 cathy2 is offline
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Re: medicating my son and why I loved him enough to try

Sarah, like me with my son only you will know that the difficult decision you made to medicate him has made such a positive outcome on his life. People on the outside looking in and those who arn't dealing with the same issues your son was having in my opinion have no right to judge.

My son still has struggles and he still has problems but over all he copes far better since being medicated, he didn't want to feel the way he was, he didn't want to behave the way he was, he was miserable we were pulling our hair out and his life and that of my younger son was in danger, since medicating he still has his moments.

Over all looking back now, alot of what my son still struggles with could have been avoided had he started medication earlier, can't change this now for him, but as a parent who loves my children dearly even though they drive me crackers at times, it does hurt me to think that, I waited as I did'nt wont to medicate him as I believed alot of the hype out there.
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