Oldest child was the most loving and happy baby you could ever imagine. He would be patient and play with Lego blocks while I cleaned the house. As he grew, he would do crafts and read endlessly. Somewhere around his fourth grade year, many things changed. Oldest had been a straight A student, his grades began to plummet. His attitude took a negative turn. The little boy who had previously been so friendly and outgoing turned mean and angry. I assumed it was part of him growing up.
It was time for oldest child's yearly physical. I mentioned all of the changes that had occurred with him to his physician. She told us it was textbook ADHD. Before oldest child's diagnosis, I had been one of those parents who would walk around saying I will never medicate my child. I would pass judgement on anyone who did. At that appointment, we decided to try medication for him. It was not a decision we took lightly. I did my research, and we had tried everything else. Dealing with his behavior was not a concern for me, but his grades were another matter. In our family, we push education. Grades are the kid's responsibility. If they are doing poorly, we are failing as parents and they aren't doing their job either.
Within a month of him starting his medication, his entire personality changed. He was not zombie-like or sleeping all the time, which was a huge fear of mine. He was happy again. He could converse with me and not lose focus. His grades began to drastically improve. He was back to straight A's in no time.
Over the years, we have never switched his medicine. We upped his dosage as he gained weight. We are also very careful about taking him to his physician for regular check-ups for weight checks. The medication oldest takes makes him less hungry sometimes, so we are careful he stays at a healthy weight.
Since oldest child is now a teenager, he is in charge of taking his own medicine in the morning. There are days he forgets, like any other kid. When he does this, school is very difficult for him. He tries his best, but it is hard. Those days are rough on the family too. Oldest is much more moody than a normal teenager, which ends with him getting grounded. No one enjoys when oldest forgets to take his medicine.
When oldest child turned fourteen, the husband and I asked him if he wished to continue his medicine on non-school days. We know many families choose to not medicate on weekends or during the summer. It was his choice to take it every day. His description made the most sense: When I take my medicine my mind isn't jumbled and I can think clearly.