Monday, September 26, 2011
Ritalin or not... that is the question...
Here is another serious one folks. One of the things that I love so much about blogging is that I can write about whatever I want and I know that this next one may have some people definitely talking and ultimately that is important because we should always be able to look at each other’s point of view and agree to disagree.
My son is about to be six and he was in kindergarten last year and he didn't do very well academically. He is so amazing in his social development but when it comes to paying attention, well... let's just say he is not always there.
I have been worried about his development since he was one. He was in speech therapy at that age. I had to quit my job because it was daily therapy and Darion (my oldest) was also going through some health issues as well. I wanted to make sure that they both got the medical care that they needed without having to schedule it with my job (as I am currently doing).
Fast forward to these past few weeks. I was told my son's teacher that he was still not where she wanted him to be this year in kindergarten. He is still not focusing enough and spaces out quite frequently. I have always kept it in the back of my mind that one day I may to consider Ritalin for him because his dad has ADHD and had to take Ritalin in elementary school
His pediatrician has been advising Ritalin for about a year and half and I have staunchly refused because I worried about the side-effects that it may have for him, not only short-term but long-term as well. I have tried regular exercise and I changed his diet but none of these has seemed to work, I have gotten her (pediatrician) to hold off on the finality of medicating him but I am worried if this will also be a bad decision if he can't keep up with his classmates academically.
Their dad said that he stayed on it for a couple of years and that the drug helped to control himself to a point where he didn't need it anymore, but... drugs react differently in everyone. Here are some articles I found helpful:
If you are seriously considering medication here is a guide to might help you find the right medication.
I wish I could tell you that I knew what I was going to decide. Medications scare me and I love the way Jaden looks at the world, I don't want to take that away from him. Parenting decisions are often fraught with the hard choices and what makes it worse is that your choices will affect your children for the rest of their lives. I am not an absent parent; I work with both of my sons as much as a single working parent can. I got to all the parent meetings, special events, and very rarely go out without them. I say all that because there are so many people that would like to blame the absent parent for the academic demise of the child, however in this case it couldn't be further from the truth. Their academic, emotional, and over-all well-being is of the utmost importance to me. My children truly are the best presents that I have ever received. I am unbelievably blessed to be able to call them "mine".
With that in mind, I am in no way saying that drugs are the answer but what I am saying is that they are not a decision to be made out of frustration and we must try other alternatives 9even if they inconvenient for us) first before we, as parents, think about taking that step. I encourage you to take some breathing room, go for walk on your own, pray, meditate, and be calm when making this kind of decision. Surround yourself with a supportive team (i.e. teacher, doctor, friend, grandparents) because this road is not easy (parenting alone is hard enough) and make sure that all of you know all the side-effects and other pertinent information.
I am not a doctor and can in no way give anyone advice. I strongly advise that you get second and third opinions from pediatricians before making this kind of decision. Sometimes even a change of school may be in order because let’s face it, some kids learn differently in an environment that they either don't feel comfortable in or one in which they don't.
Lastly, if you haven't, spend one on one time with your little one, sometimes that extra attention really helps. Parenting is a crazy journey, but it has been rewarding in the best of times, and never boring at the worst of times. :)