ADHD, Parenting, Ritalin and the Do-Gooder Brigade

To All It May Concern,

I don’t need your mumbo jumbo.

Last night I received another call from another innocent do-gooder who wanted to tell me how to bring up my ADHD son.

So I decided this morning, I’ll make it official. Put my statement out there into the world.

On behalf of myself, my son, my husband, my other three children and all of the other mothers in my position:

I am not interested. I do not care. So sod off.

And in particular, I am completely turned off by what your neighbour (who has not once met my son), the old woman you met in the chemist (she definitely doesn’t know me), or your mother-in-law’s dead cat has to say on the matter.

  • A blockage in his neck? – Nonsense
  • He’s allergic to something – tried and tested
  • Mineral/vitamin/oil supplements – got the t-shirt
  • He just needs more affection – I am the official cuddle monster, but thanks for the insult
  • Just to make it quite clear I have absolutely no faith in your astrology, numerology, natural remedies, table tennis theory, or back to nature camps
  • And yes, for your information I absolutely do discipline my son, let him watch only a little TV, don’t allow him to play aggressive computer games (he’s rarely on the computer), do send him out to play and have tried to help him through sport.

In the early days of diagnosis, I did indeed try alternative therapies. Concerned about the effects of strong medicine on my son. I consulted different doctors and begged for help.

After much waiting, talking, reading, educating myself and trying and testing, my husband and I decided to try our son on Ritalin.

My son’s life changed.

Our lives changed.


He now hits his head on things (tables/walls etc) as an occasional instance, rather than on a daily basis.

He has not landed in hospital due to an impulsive injury since he started taking the tablets.

He no longer disrupts the class constantly: wandering around, climbing out of windows, sitting under the desk or in the waste paper bin, or fighting.

His concentration is still poor, but his writing is more legible, he can read a book and eat a meal at the table.

He has had no more tics. That is, his body doesn’t jerk, his shoulder doesn’t bounce up and hit him in the face and he doesn’t suddenly jump up at the dinner table then look confused, because he doesn’t know why he’s standing up.

He can sit next to a classmate in school and have friends.

It is also true to say that we have to be extra careful when the medication wears off. He’s still somewhat impulsive and is certainly challenging to bring up.

But the difference is undeniable. Incredible. Amazing. And I am truly thankful.

So Dear Do-gooder, why the fuck, would you call me and tell me Ritalin is a drug, and I should instead try him on X, Y or Z?



30 thoughts on “ADHD, Parenting, Ritalin and the Do-Gooder Brigade”

  1. Most people do not understand that medications…all medication including aspirin..are designed to normalize biochemical reactions in the body…the fact their body doesn’t need it doesn’t mean that someone should stop taking their heart medicine because it is a ‘drug’…the results would be obvious…such ignorance as your describe is unfortunate but to be ignored!

    1. ADHD seems to me to be a subject that most people have an opinion on. No matter my opinion on a subject though, I can’t imagine telling someone else how to live their life or how to bring up their child. Thanks for commenting.

  2. I’m new here and just jumping right in. It sounds like your son is doing great. It doesn’t sound like you need any advice, thank you. It drives me crazy that just because something is labeled a “drug,” it’s bad. Seriously?? Its not like you’re lulling him into a stupor with Heroin. Think of the many drugs that have saved/transformed lives over the years! I’m sure the same people who are advising/criticizing you wouldn’t think twice about taking an aspirin for a headache or chemotherapy for cancer. Keep fighting the good fight!

    1. Hi Elizabeth and Welcome!

      Thank you, your comment is very much appreciated.

      I thought it important to write this post because, being challenged with regard to your parenting decisions regularly, knocks your self-confidence in your child rearing abilities. I want to stay focussed and in perspective.

  3. Hi there, thank you so much for your visit and comment. It’s very nice to meet you. Raising an ADHD child has its challenges. My son tells me today that he thinks he’s got some AD and has to really compensate.

    I taught first graders for 19 years and had quite a number of ADHD children in my classroom. I know some people frown on “drugs.” However, asprin, tylenol, etc. are all drugs and they help us, too. I’ve had many a student who took ritalin and I could see that dramatic effect in that student. I had to keep anecdotals to adjust the dose, etc. The children were so much happier when they had that help. You are the one who can best judge what is the right course for your child. Good for you for being his loving advocate!

    1. Thanks for commenting.

      My son is also much happier on the medicine. He can relate to others much better and is no longer constantly to blame. Good to have an experienced teacher comment.

  4. I have no knowledge about ADHD and I found this extremely moving. Continue to use your instincts as a mother. You can see what’s working. And rant out loud when you need too.

  5. First of all, good for you for listening to your instincts, and not allowing yourself to be swayed based on the opinions of possibly well-meaning but obviously misinformed souls. I think the hoopla with ADHD medications stems from when they are prescribed in the wrong instances, and people grab that up and run with it, assuming that ALL cases of using these medicines are unmerited. Little people and big people alike sometimes have a chemical difference in their make-up, and if these medications right that balance and result in a happier, calmer and more productive life, then who on earth has the right to say otherwise?

    Anyways, keep up the good mommy work. Sounds like you’ve got your stuff together just fine.

    1. I have just returned to my blog after commenting on your blog. Apparently we must have been reading and commenting simultaneously!

      The biggest issue for me is that my son is safer with the medicine. All of the talking, discipline, smiley face charts in the world made not the slightest bit of impact on his impulsiveness. And the older he became, the more his ability grew to endanger himself. He’s still impulsive, but the reduction is enough to give us the ability to ‘get on’ with our lives.

      Ritalin is a very strong medicine. Before taking the very first tablet he had to have checks on his heart, his brain and various blood test. There are without doubt some risks involved. But the risks and the unhappiness he suffered were much, much worse before the medicine.

      I really appreciate your comment.

  6. It is amazing how many people condescendingly think they have the answers! Like you, I tried it all. Hell, I’m still trying. How dare people think they know better than you? Hugs. xo

    1. You do your best and you’re criticised constantly for it. Recently our son went on a course, he had to take a tablet in the afternoon and so we had to explain about the medication. At the end of the week one of the course leaders criticised my husband on picking up our son for having him on Ritalin – telling him in her opinion he didn’t need it. She also gave him a full inquisition on what his symptoms are and his history.


      I don’t think I’ll ever get used to such intrusive, rude treatment. And I have started being quite rude back at times of late.

      Thanks for the hugs. Much appreciated.

    1. I read your post, thanks for sharing it with me.

      I think one of the secrets to being a good parent is thinking through our parenting policies and then trusting ourselves that we are doing the right thing. Of course, we all make mistakes, but at the end of the day we know our children best and we have their best interests at heart.

      The problem is, those who interfere, knock our self-confidence, especially when our own child doesn’t conform with the ‘norm’. That adds to the guilt and shame heaped on us by teachers and busybodies galore… And suddenly we’re reconsidering our well-thought out policy.

      Sometimes I wish that I was much less polite…

  7. I say A-stinkin-men (that’s an emphatic Amen). Meds for ADD/ADHD are the equivalent of eyeglasses for the severely near-sighted. You must do what you have to do for your son. Period! To those who understand no explanation is necessary. To those who do not, no explanation will suffice. The best of everything to all of you

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