We have a pill for that.

theviking

I’m the father of a very active five-year-old who is also known as #theViking. To say he has trouble paying attention would be an understatement. But he’s also brilliant, hyper creative, and at five, he’s memorized our entire family tree and who is related to whom. He can sing songs from the radio word for word. Outside the box? He doesn’t even know about the box.

But even at five, we’ve had teachers suggest that he be tested and even medicated to get him to “pay attention.”

Now before I create an onslaught of angry comments or start an ugly debate, let me offer the following disclaimer: I’m not at all suggesting that medication is always bad; in some instances, it has a very positive effect and is much needed. I get that.

What I am saying is that medication shouldn’t be our first reaction. I sometimes fear that we’ve become a society that trusts “the experts” blindly without question or common sense (that’s a whole post on it’s own). My dad has a great line about kids. He says, “God gave you the kids, you’re the expert.” When something doesn’t feel right, I think we have an absolute responsibility to question what “the experts” are saying. Thirty years ago, a kid with ADHD was just considered active, and we didn’t have this urgent need to “fix” them.

Medicating a five-year-old just because he’s overactive doesn’t make sense to me. That’s sort of a cop out. Medicating him would certainly make things easier. It would make him less active, he would fit inside the box, and he would travel through the system with ease. But why is that the answer? Especially when we don’t even know the long-term effect of these medications.

It’s sad that we force these kids to conform and fit inside the box, but then we wonder later in life why so many adults can’t think outside the box. Um, I can’t because you told me not to.

Nah. I think I’ll let my beautiful, active son be brilliant instead. I’ll take the hard way out and deal with his active nature. I’ll help him find his way even though it might be different. Medicate him? I’m going to unleash him on the world instead.

As one of my friends said recently, “If we keep down this path, who is going to invent anything anymore?” That’s a very good question.

Some links:
- A recent study looks at how kids taking ADHD medication might not actually learn better after all. Really? The experts might not actually know what they’ve been talking about?

- “The Medicated Child” – a heartbreaking documentary about medicating kids.

3 Responses to “We have a pill for that.”

  • Liz Keister says:

    As the mother of the Vikings best bud I have spent years with this kid and let me just express how amazing I think he is. His mind fascinates me an his wonderful spirit inspires! To medicate him wouldn’t just be wrong it would be tragic. I know children who have indeed benefitted from certain medications but this isn’t the case. He has such a bright future the thought of potentially clouding that makes my heart sad. He is indeed brilliant inside and out! ❤

  • Jamie Boepple says:

    “Medicate him? I’m going to unleash him on the world instead..” I love this.

    Much of what you said about fitting inside the box and easily getting through The System reminded me of this 10min video on education if you haven’t seen this already: http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_changing_education_paradigms.html.

    I think you’d enjoy this and agree with it. At the 4 minute mark he starts talking about medication.

  • Crystal says:

    You are not alone. We have to embrace the energy of our active kids. They help us to focus on what matters.