Medications: Take ’em or Leave ’em? You Decide


Awhile back we posted an article that quoted neuro-scientist Dr. Bruce Perry, founder of The Child Trauma Academy and someone Bryan quotes often, was quoted saying “ADHD is not a disease”. This article generated much controversy, (much to Bryan’s delight) and prompted this comment from a concerned mom. We thought this might generate more reflection on the topic of medication, and we would love to hear from you also. The Answer below is my response, my story, yet I leave it open to you.


Dear Post,

I appreciate much of what you do and train others to do in regard to working with high need children, and I share a lot of it with others.  But as a parent of two adopted children, both with ADHD, and both of whom benefit greatly from prescription medications in order to be successful in school and with peers, I was incredibly offended by the picture.  We work hard to build regulation skills in our entire family, provide a very nurturing and supportive environment, and set good limits.  But I’m sure you know that you can’t train the teachers and their friend’s parents and the rest of the world to do all of these things that the article below says to do – it just isn’t that easy.  ADHD is certainly a range and continuum, and what works for some may not work for others.  There isn’t a one fits all way to treat and support it.   I just wanted to encourage you to be more cautious about offending parents who work very hard – and furthering these myths that medication is just used by lazy parents who don’t want to deal with their active kids.  It truly saddens me that your organization would put that message out.  

Thank you for considering my thoughts.
— A Good mom


I have no doubt that you are a good mom. And I applaud you for your efforts. And, thank you for caring enough to share your thoughts. I find that most of us care. Yet often, we don’t care enough to let others know what we care about. Your comments make me wonder how many others might take offense with this obviously 1950’sish poke at medication. Bryan is very down on medications for many reasons, yet he supports parents in doing what they need to do. Hopefully substituting better parenting practices will move us past the medication reliance and give us more choices and options.

My wife Susan and I have fostered almost 30 kids, adopted 4 from the system in Virginia and have used medications with many children. Successfully we felt – but as a last resort for lack of something better. An interesting turn of events with our now first adopted at age 6 now turned who has been on at least 3 medications since he was 5 years old (at which time he was on 5 different meds when we first got him) and Susan was dead set against his coming off meds and more so felt that he definitely needed them. Still life was no picnic. Many schools, suspensions, expelled, troubled alternative schooling, residential years, hell at home and more. Add to that two felonies before age 16.

When he turned 21, we got him an apartment. a motorcycle and some case workers and first off he decided to go cold turkey from 3 meds. Yikes! – was my wife’s response. She is a nurse and knows better, even if he wanted to get off them. Cold Turkey – not. After some lack of sleep nights, he turned the corner and says he has never felt better or happier, has now had 2 successful jobs, friends, girlfriends (and this is after 21 years of never having a friend – not never, not one – and birthday parties with no one but family to attend – sad) and although I cannot attest to a “happy ending” – he is way too young for that – I can attest to a “Happy Middle”. This really shocked me. I could not imagine him ever being off meds. So what am I saying here? I don’t really know.

We never want people to feel offended. We want to wake people up. There is so much more going on that we are missing out on and life, family and parenting have so, so much more to offer us. Like true love for one example. 

I like to feel that those doing their best have no reason to feel offended, judged or disheartened, nor those of us who may not be doing the best we can do, but hopefully we all can learn where we can improve as there really is no end or finish line to “better”.

Our message is love. We do it with as much love as we can in sending that message, as much fun and humor as we can create doing it (humor can be a very healing balm) and hopefully helping families to have more fun in their lives all the while caring more than anything that we can offer help, hope and healing. This does not insure that we do not cause offense but certainly that we don’t intend it. This particular cartoon has been used now and then for about 4 or 5 years and so far we have heard little, mostly people who chuckle or want one of these (they are actually refrigerator magnets) to help them keep their focus of better parenting – not lazy parenting. Yet even lazy parents are not bad parents. They just don’t know how to do better as many have found. The old paradigm can be very seductive and powerful in just towing us along the old patterns of life.

What do YOU think?

Have a Calm and Peaceful Day – David

2 thoughts on “Medications: Take ’em or Leave ’em? You Decide

  1. Debbie Cochran says:

    At the age of 4, medication had been recommended, but we did not chose to administer it, because I didn’t believe he had ADHD. At age 6 some behaviors were still present so we tried something for ADHD thinking it may help so we can have more quality time as a family to help him overcome his issues. We immediately found it did not work – within 2 days Dr. told us to stop due to his reaction. At age 8 I wanted to rule it out “again” so we tried another prescription for ADHD, same results. I guess I could have left him on it, but I don’t want a zombie child, with no feelings or passion about anything. No matter what the “world” tells me, my family and my son’s doctor KNOW my son has RAD (now known as DSED) NOT ADHD and not autism. I chose to school my son at home, since Kindergarten, to help him recover from his difficult beginnings of life in a foreign orphanage. It’s slow, and so incredibly painful for me, but I do see success. And, if anyone needs to be on medication, it’s me… something to stop me from stressing out when things don’t go right, or when someone else critiques me or my child, or when the neighbors feel they need to tell me every little odd thing my son does. Gee, I wonder if I should tell them about the things their “typical” kids do???? The most difficult decision I face today is to place my son in a traditional school setting for 4th grade so I can have a break. It scares me because the real world is scary. I don’t think my son is ready for it.

    • admin says:

      Thank you for writing. This is good stuff Debbie and we greatly appreciate hearing from you. If you need to send your child to school to “save the relationship” (save yourself), then we recommend doing it. At least you can be more available to him when he is at home and not screaming mad. Do what you can do, not what you can’t. I have an audio addressing this – send an email to requesting it.

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