For anyone against medication, let me describe the scene. My ten-year-old didn’t take his ADD med today. My husband and both had to be out of the house early so we told Justin he was on his own to take the med before school. He doesn’t like to take it because he’s convinced himself that it makes his stomach hurt. Now when he takes it on Saturday and Sunday, he seems to have no problem watching cartoons, playing with friends, or playing out in the snow. Somehow it’s only Monday through Friday that it makes his stomach hurt. Uh huh.
He was bouncing off the ceiling from the time he got home from school, couldn’t sit still, couldn’t stop talking, wouldn’t obey, couldn’t focus, got in trouble every five minutes. I told him I could tell he hadn’t taken his pill today and do you know what he said? “I did Mom, I promise, I promise.” So it went from bad to worse. I consequenced him for his naughty behavior and he had a screaming fit. I put him in the van and parked him in the driveway so that he could scream all he wanted and we didn’t have to listen. When he was finished screaming, I gave him a chance to write his feelings and get them out and he tore the paper up. More screaming. He ended up back in the van in the driveway. Finally, finally he confessed that he hadn’t taken his pill.
I honestly wouldn’t have held him as accountable for all the bad behavior if I had known earlier about the pill. He clearly needs it. I asked him if he liked how his day went today not having taken his pill. He said he tried to be the class clown in school but none of the kids thought he was funny. When he’s hyper, he’s SO annoying that it’s not funny. I can understand why the kids didn’t laugh and ignored him instead. I asked Justin if he liked being in trouble all night long and screaming and having to sit in the van in the driveway. I told him he may not like his pill but he needs it and he has to decide whether he wants to take an unpleasant pill or bounce off the ceiling and be in trouble all night long.
It made me think of the last time we saw Justin’s psychiatrist and we increased the dosage of the ADD med. The doctor said if it didn’t work we might have to try a harsher med that had more side effects. No mom wants to hear that. Then he said something that made me think. He said, “The side effects of the meds are nothing compared to the side effects of his behavior.” After today, I get it.
Photo credit: en.wikipedia.org/200px-Ritalin-SR-20mg