From One ADHD Mom to Another

Someone once told me and a roomful of my colleagues, “Don’t ever write anything you wouldn’t want to land on the front page of the newspaper tomorrow morning.”  He was speaking about emails, text messages, and Facebook comments and posts; but the message extends far beyond social media and the like.

And, for me, I would take it one step farther: Don’t ever write anything to which you are not willing to sign your name.

As a writer of a blog, I have full control over all comments that appear here.  And while I can count on one hand the number of comments I have opted not to publish over the course of five years, should one appear that I feel either does a disservice to readers or is otherwise inflammatory, I can put it in the metaphorical and technological trash.

When I write for publications, however, everything is available for not only public consumption but commentary, too.  I accept that–and expect it, too.  The written word is nothing if it does not inspire one to think, to feel, to remark, to criticize.

But sometimes comments are blatantly inaccurate, do nothing to advance the conversation, or ultimately have the potential to do harm.

DSC_0070In the most recent edition of ADDitude magazine you will find an article about my seven-year-old son Edgar, who in October was diagnosed with ADHD.  And here you will find the online version.  In the article, I relate how tremendously his life has changed since beginning a regimen that includes stimulant medication.

This afternoon the following comment appeared from someone who calls herself (or himself) “ADHD Mom”:

Your piece is clearly written with a lot of love. I am saddened that you decided to dope your child instead of providing him the tools and patience he will need to succeed and that he deserves. Doping is a temporary solution and as documented will potentially lead to increases in doseage [sic], addition [sic] medications being pushed for anxiety and depression not to mention what it does to a growing child psychologically. While you enjoy your momentary relief, your child continues to suffer and will eventually believe that he is inadequate without the dope. This is not a long term [sic] solution.

With ADHD, indeed with pretty much everything, each family must formulate its own plan and come to its own decisions–decisions that are not made lightly, decisions that demand much thought and often inspire even more angst.  It is clear to me now that because my son does take medication, indeed because he has ADHD, he is going to encounter these sorts of misapprehensions and have to field these kinds of inflammatory comments–whether they come to him in person or anonymously from behind a keyboard.

My son is too young to hear ADHD Mom’s words.  They would do nothing but upset him, serve no purpose, and ultimately cause harm.  And though today I can control whether or not he sees these words, tomorrow I can’t.  But what I can do in the interim is to continue providing him with “the tools and patience” he will need to respond with dignity to the ADHD Moms of the world.


8 thoughts on “From One ADHD Mom to Another

  1. ADHD Mom’s words sadden me; I would love to hear their child’s comment when they become of age and find out that there was medication that could have helped them during the early years when they were wrestling with something that they could not understand.

  2. Andy takes meds for ADD – and HE can tell when he doesn’t. He isn’t doped up at all – the meds merely help to balance the chemicals in his brain to help his concentration and focus. That parent clearly doesn’t know of all the newer meds out there. Concerta works for us! Keep up the good work, Samantha and Edgar!

  3. Most parents do what they think is best for the child at the time.
    This includes a name s/he may or may not like, adoption, circumcision, vaccinations, education, et cetera. All parents do not agree on a child’s care. The child may later agree or disagree with decisions made for him/her–again, “made in his/her best interest at the time.” Critics are healthy if they allow others to think twice and accept disagreement with the understanding we all deserve.
    Yesterday’s example: Interrupting a President’s press conference.

  4. I have to assume that ADHD’s Mom does not fully understand the nature of the “stimulant’ aspect of the medication. Effective medication allows stimulation of the parts of the body and the chemistry of the brain which effect seizures and stimulates the body to help control it’s movements and reactions. Too many people assume that drugs are depressants. Clearly, you have indicated in your post that you realize it is a stimulant. It is a matter of education, and hopefully, you and others will respond to that post which will help more people understand this misperception.

    Edgar will learn these nuances, because you will teach him. And then, he will understand that when someone throws out a comment like this, that they need further education, whether or not he is the person to provide that.

    Belief systems in families vary. So, in spite of having knowledge and explanations, no one can fault a person for their beliefs. I am not worried that Edgar will learn how to clarify what he believes to be true and important and helpful to him. He has parents who have been prepared since before they met him to give him those skills.
    Be not afraid.

  5. I agree with everything you said, Samantha. Of course we will not all agree on every topic, but this woman’s opinion is indicative of a new trend against anything that is not “natural”. This includes denying medicine for various conditions, such as ADHD, and denying children vaccines which protect them, and the community at large, from some serious diseases. While I am in favor of ‘All Natural’ foods and ‘All Natural’ materials for toys, there are many non-natural things that are wonderful and even necessary. I wonder if these folks would withhold medicine if their child had asthma, or epilepsy, or diabetes? To me, ADHD is no different. I admit, I was nervous at first about these medications when Kevin was diagnosed with ADHD, but I researched it and made the best decision for him and for his future. I did not make the decision that best served me and allowed me to ‘feel good’ about being “natural” at the expense of my child’s well being.

  6. As a mom of an ADHD child who was vehemently opposed to putting him on medication, I worry that, before our experiences I was a (softer, kinder) version of her. I did not want to give my kid drugs. And I felt that too many parents were rushing for that quick fix. Even our pediatrician, who hadn’t even tested him to see if he was in fact ADHD, tried to push prescriptions on us. However, parenting is nothing if not humbling. After years of every kind of therapy imaginable, we succumbed to medication and our world changed. There are absolutely down sides to the medications but having a child who is comfortable in his own skin, who can sit still for an entire class, who is able to participate in the structure of public school, is worth everything. And I realize now that, I would never deny my asthmatic son his medicines so why would I deny my ADHD son his? Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. How wonderful for Edgar to have parents that will seek out whatever it takes for him to have and enjoy the best possible life ever that he so well deserves.  Even though you were doubtful about the medication, you were willing to go forward to hopefully help Edgar be who he is.  Now others can be in step with him, hear the beat, and enjoy all he has to offer.

I would love to hear your thoughts . . .

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