My journey with ADHD medication for my children has gone from polar opposites! 10 years ago when my eldest son was diagnosed I was very ANTI ADHD medication. I'm afraid that most of that was born out of ignorance, fear and contempt prior to investigation!
Emotionally, I didn't want to feel like I was drugging my baby, my son then was only five years old. I also felt worried that he might become addicted to medication. I gave it to him here and there but I won't lie to you, I didn't like it very much. I actually didn't like the whole ADHD label at all but I'll go into that in another post.
I have done a complete U turn around medication.
Actually it's my understanding now that not medicating your ADHD child puts them at much greater risk of "self medication" as they become teenagers and adults.
When teenagers experiment with alcohol and perhaps cannabis they can find that it provides some temporary relief to symptoms. This is a rocky road as they can start to use it to medicate themselves. This can lead to adults with drug addiction and alcoholism. Unfortunately, this outcome is much more likely in people diagnosed with ADHD. Self medication is not pretty and it amplifies the problem, adding a substance misuse/addiction issue on top of the underlying diagnosis.
If children/young people are already medicated responsibly under the care of a professional this is not quite as likely to happen.
What nailed it for me was what happened last year to my then 14 year old son.
My son was only diagnosed in 2016 aged 14 and I can tell you he wasn't best pleased at first about his new 'label'. That was until he tried medication. I gave him the first tablet one morning before he went to school. He came home that night and I asked him how it was, how he'd felt?
His answer blew me away.
He said "mum is that how normal people feel all of the time". I won't lie to you, tears welled up in my eyes and I cried. I knew from that point on wholeheartedly that medication was the right thing to do. He knew from that point that his diagnosis of ADHD was correct and he's never doubted it again.
I have three children on medication. My oldest son it is difficult to get feedback from because he is also Autistic and has a Learning Disability. My younger two children 15 and 10 both WANT to take their medication every day. Life is easier for them on it. They know that they function better on it as opposed to off of it.
My daughter's teacher can tell if my daughter has missed her meds. This doesn't happen very often but the teacher can tell straight away as she is not as productive and not quite so willing to try and engage at school.
That said, it is a myth to say it's a magic pill because it isn't. I do unfortunately hear some professionals vocalising this assumption. The truth is that it takes the edge off of symptoms but it is not a 'cure all'. It also doesn't last very long. The teachers tend to get the best effects because your child takes it in the morning and it improves function up until about 2pm. However, by the time they have got home, you get the ADHD child/young person who has crashed and who is no longer medicated.
They can tweak that and play about with different preparations but it's not an exact science.
All in all though, these days I am PRO MEDICATION.