Making Adjustments: When One Thing Doesn’t Work, Try Another

Our third child struggled with impulsivity and inattention even though we home-schooled and provided a far less restrictive academic environment than most students have.  This was interfering with his learning so we took him for an evaluation by one of my pediatric partners. A decision was made to try a medication to help his focus and decrease his impulsivity.

Our little boy was a wonderful ball of energy with a sweet disposition to match (and he is still a great kid!).  He was never down or discouraged for long and was always quick with a smile.  Shortly after starting medication, he was chided for a typical childhood infraction. Ten minutes later, his older brother found him sulking on the backyard swing. The observant teenager said, “I don’t know what medicine he’s on…but that’s child abuse.” And he was right. We stopped the medicine.

Fast forward about 5 years.  This same child is now being sent to school outside the home for the first time, without any medication.  He’s a bit nervous.  We’re a bit nervous.  After a few days of school, he walks into the house and without saying a word takes a sheet of paper out of his book bag, adds a piece of scotch tape from the kitchen drawer to it and attaches the paper to the knob of the door he just walked through.  It turns out that the sheet of paper was a form all the kids had to have signed by their parents and was due the next day.  He knew his limits and, without having to be told, he devised this strategy to avoid forgetting this important assignment.

As parents – we make the best decisions we can for our children, and we practitioners do the same for our patients and our own children.  We thought starting our son on medication was the right thing to do and we reversed course as soon as we recognized we were wrong. That may not be every parent’s  experience; but it was ours. Wise parents consider input from multiple sources and make adjustments as necessary.  Apparently…so do our kids.

Visit this link at the College website for tips on helping the inattentive child.