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Should Your Child be on Meds?

Updated on February 16, 2015
Because of a child's behavior problems or attention issues many parents consider placing children on medication, but parents should educate themselves about the effects of the drug.
Because of a child's behavior problems or attention issues many parents consider placing children on medication, but parents should educate themselves about the effects of the drug.

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I sneak quietly into my son's room. "It's time to get up and get ready for school."

Wham!! I step aside to avoid the leg wildly kicking at me. "I don't want to go! Leave me alone!"

Just another typical morning at my house. My son reacts this way because he is apprehensive about school. It is a difficult environment for him because he has asperger's sydrome, a form of high functioning autism. Because he's so apprehensive he strikes out at us, but thankfully combative behavior has been limited to home. At school, he just does disruptive behavior because he is apprehensive and has a hard time focusing. But his behavior has affected learning, and the teacher suggests taking him to the doctor to get some meds.

Sounds like an easy fix, but it's not. Medicating your child can be a difficult decision. Many of the drugs perscribed for behavior issues have side effects, and giving a child a drug doesn't necessarily resolve the problem. Sometimes, when one drug is prescribed, it leads to more drugs being prescribed.

Before medicating your child consider all the options. First, with a profesional, a doctor, teachers, and others, discuss why the behavior problems are occurring. If your child is old enough, talk with him/her, too. Try to find a cause to the problem before you race to the doctor for a perscription. Sometimes factors in the environment trigger responses. In some cases, a change in the environment can lessen a child's negative behavior.

If the environment cannot be modified to help your child to deal with the problem, do some research. Some advocate different types of therapies to help children with their behavior problems. The type of therapy depends on what type of behavior the child exhibits. Network with other parents and talk to professionals about what types of therapies may be available to help your child.

If your doctor suggests medication, do some research on the drug. Find out the effects of the drug and how it works. Speak with a pharmacist or find information at a credible website. Also, you can always get a second opinion. Make sure before your put your child on meds, you have educated yourself about alternatives and the drug being perscribed.

If you decide that medication is the best option for your child, don't expect miracles immediately. Oftentimes, a drug needs to be in a child's system for awhile before it has any real effect. Also, typically doctors start children off on a small dose, and the dose may have to be increased to affect the child. Be patient, and monitor how your child reacts after medication has been started.

Sometimes children may need to take medication for behavior issues, but parents should investigate alternatives and make the final decision. Ultimately, you are your child's advocate, and you must keep their best interest in mind.


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    • Julie A. Johnson profile image

      Julie A. Johnson 8 years ago from Duluth, MN

      Schools and school officials often suggest medicating children, especially for adhd; however, it is important to be aware of the side effects of these drugs. My child was put on meds for attention and anxiety issues,I have taken him off all meds because the side effects were bad.

    • profile image

      janet 8 years ago

      I am so confused and torn between allowing my grandson (12 yrs) to be his own person and medicating him so that his teachers will be happy. He is not combative and usually does what he is told (in his time) His forgetfullness causes some problems and is very aggravating. I am leaning toward letting him be himself and let the teachers do their jobs. I am certain that while in school their studies forewarned them that these children will be a challenge and their responsibility during school hours. He gets A's & B's with ease. His problems are social and staying focused.

      He is on "daytauna 20mg time release patches but they were prescribed when he was diagnosed with ADHD. This syndrome is new on the scene for us.

    • NateSean profile image

      NateSean 8 years ago from Salem, MA

      The school I went to gave my mother hell for not medicating me. Of course she made me see the shrink like they wanted but all in all I'm glad she stood her ground there.

      All too often people think of medication as the cure all for a child's problems.

      The thing to remember is that the child is a human being. Medication may be useful in cases like curbing anxiety and helping him focus, but it's not going to make him less apprehensive about school.

      There's just no pill for real life. Well...not one that the FDA has approved of at any rate. :p

    • dr c profile image

      dr c 9 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area


      Thanks for your perspective. Putting kids on medications can be very difficult for parents as they have all sorts of inner judgements. As you said, meds should never be the first option and they often take a little tweaking before they work, but they can also be a godsend for both the child and their family when needed. I'd love to know which sites you use to get your medical information from & how you judge them. Thank you.

    • Julie A. Johnson profile image

      Julie A. Johnson 9 years ago from Duluth, MN


      Life would be easier if we had miracle pills, but we don't. I hope your children are doing well, and I do hope others read this. Sometimes, other alternatives do work. Thanks, iNikki

    • iNikki profile image

      iNikki 9 years ago from Taylorsville, UT

      I agree wholeheartedly. My kids are on a lot of medications, and they need it very VERY much. It took a while for me to accept it. I tried so many things to help resolve their issues without medications, but it just wasn't to be. More people need to know the information you have written here before they just run to the doctor asking for a miracle pill. Ahem, yeah, there isn't one!!

    • Julie A. Johnson profile image

      Julie A. Johnson 9 years ago from Duluth, MN

      Thanks, Heavyd. In some cases meds work, but I think it's important to look at the whole picture.

    • heavyd49770 profile image

      heavyd49770 9 years ago from Petoskey, MI

      Very well written! and I agree with you 100%. Many Doctor's will even tell you that medication can be a Crapshoot. Try one then try the other to see what works best. Sometimes that can be the best option and sometimes not. But I think that people need to realize that the Doctor's word is not written in Gold and a good Doctor will work with you to see what works best medication or no medication.

      I think if you have a Doctor that is so hell bent on just precscribing Meds and he or she is not willing to look at other options, then I think I would find another Doctor that you are comfortable with.