Monday, April 6, 2009

Foster Kids Medication Use

There's debate over the use of Ritalin, Lithium, and other psychotropic medications in foster and special needs adoptive kids. Parents find it hard to accept depression, ADHD, and mood disorders as real issues when they themselves have not experienced it first hand or have ever loved someone who's struggled to be good enough, "get it" as easily as peers, or live unburdened by the mood storms these kids and teens have inherited from the very biological family members who failed to care for the child due to the limiting effects of their own mental health issues.
Sorrowfully parents feel they are being manipulated, tricked, duped, or bullied. "If only the child were less selfish, could just apply himself, needs more discipline or punishment."
Failing to recognize, accept, or seek help for a child experiencing hereditary mood disorders, brain chemical abnormalities, or cognitive impairments can lead to a teen or adult who feels they'll never measure up, be normal, or worthy. An attitude that medications and therapy is wrong, dangerous, or unnecessary can lead to the very self medication (drugs and alcohol), suicide and attempts, isolation and failures that cost the child's birth parents the right and ability to raise the child that is now living their legacy.

The medications aren't perfected and some do have dangerous or bothersome side effects but the alternatives can be worse. Children should be allowed help without the guilt of not being able to power through mental health issues on their own. Accepting the child's extra needs and supporting them is a true act of understanding and compassion.

1 comment:

  1. Good reminder! Our CW always used to get annoyed with adoptive parents who took their kids off medication as soon as they moved in and then didn't finalize because of behavior problems.