Deciding to Medicate–Why I Chose to Medicate My Son for ADHD

When my middle skittle was four, we had a doctor’s appointment. During the visit, my son was just all over the place. It was totally normal for him. He tried to open all the doors to all the rooms and tried to jump on the scale as hard as he could. To the untrained eye, my son looked like an undisciplined brat. The nurse, joking around, asked if he had A.D.D. I stopped–not because I was offended, but because Attention Deficit Disorder was something I hadn’t thought about. I just thought my son was spirited (which is Southern for he will break your things and test your limits). 

The Diagnosis

Enter the Kindergarten years. Within three weeks of my son’s first day of school, I was already meeting with his teacher. “He breaks his crayons. He can’t have his pencil box at his desk. He cuts his clothes. He distracts others.” At least two times a week he was “clipping down.” I was at a loss. I scheduled an evaluation through All Children’s because I thought he may have some sensory issues and I wanted a professional opinion. I’m not a doctor of any sort. All I knew was my baby needed help. 

A day of testing later, we left All Children’s with a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyper-Active Disorder, combination type, level one. It was a huge relief because it meant we could get help for my son. I didn’t feel as close to him as I did my other two kids. There were no cuddles, no praising–just lots of yelling, frustration and times outs. The harder I tried to love him, the more he seemed to resist and we were all exhausted. Before having a child with ADHD, I never really understood the condition and I’m sure I had a few judgements. But, as a mom, you learn and grow and change perspective. 

Medication Isn’t Bad

We wanted to attempt to help our son through diet changes prior to trying ADHD medications. We were not opposed to medication, but more just wanted to put it off as long as we possibly could. At six years old, it seemed ‘too soon’ to medicate a growing child’s brain. What would it mean long term? Would it do more harm than good? We decided as long as he did well in school, we would not medicate him and manage his ADHD as best as we could with diet changes and occupational therapy. That decision didn’t last long. 

How COVID Helped 

When my children had to start E-Learning during the COVID-19 lockdown, I got to see first-hand how little attention my son put into schoolwork. It was a nightmare for both of us. I was frustrated he wasn’t paying attention and he was frustrated because it was hard to focus at home–or at school. Seeing how much he was struggling, we decided it was time to try medication.

We have been lucky that it has only taken us two medications to find one that works. Middle skittle is doing amazing in first grade and may even be tested for the gifted program. He is enthusiastic about learning and is proud of himself. It is a night and day difference from one year to the next. 

Why am I Telling You This?

In a mom’s group on Facebook, a mom posted asking for help about medicating her child. The responses were heart-breaking. A desperate mom, so desperate for help, support and encouragement, reached out to strangers and was met with disdain. The negativity was mostly from moms who have never had to make the decision to medicate or not to medicate their child. These moms read on the Internet to eliminate parts of foods and dyes and chemicals from diets and viola! Problem solved. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

It can be hard to make choices for your kids when it comes to something like medication, especially if your kids are younger. You have to do what is best for you, your family and your child. Please don’t let Negative Nancy tell you diet changes helped her son and you should feel badly about your choices. Your child, your rules. Hard stop. You know what is best. And if you need support, encouragement, or a place to complain, let me know! I got you boo!

Brandi Eatman was raised in Ohio before moving to Florida in 1999. She has been married for ten years and has three children. On the weekends, Brandi and her family enjoy being outside and going to all the area beaches, and they are avid college football fans. Brandi is a photographer who loves to read and spend time with friends and family and enjoys her almost daily boot camps. Her guilty pleasures are crime tv shows, tacos, too much cream and sugar in her coffee, and Ohio State football.