Parenting Tips for Medication

Deciding Whether Medication is Right for Your Child

While medication is one solution to mental health conditions, it’s not the only solution. The decision to consider psychiatric medication for your child is a complex one that should be made in consultation with a qualified healthcare professional. Just as much as it can benefit your child, it can also be a detriment.

Sometimes a medication can impact development, numb emotions and come with uncomfortable side effects. Taking these possible side effects into consideration, there are also great benefits to medicating your child, giving them support and improving their quality of life.

There’s no “one size fits all” approach to medication and it’s important to navigate this discussion with an open mind. If your child has a diagnosis of one of the following mental health conditions, it may be appropriate to consider medication:

woman on computer, girl sitting upside on couch Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): ADHD medication contains stimulants that can help reduce hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention in children with ADHD.

Anxiety Disorders: Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help reduce symptoms of anxiety in children, symptoms that may usually feel uncontrollable.

sad boy Depression: Antidepressants can be helpful for children with depression, especially when combined with psychotherapy. If psychotherapy on its own isn’t effective, medication may be a beneficial next step.

Bipolar disorder: Mood stabilizers can help manage the manic and depressive episodes associated with bipolar disorder.

Because each of these diagnoses are chemically based, medication serves as a support in stabilizing the chemical imbalance they’re experiencing. Finding the proper medication in response to any of these mental health conditions may provide your child with relief they’ve never been able to find on their own.


mom consoling sonAs you and your child navigate through this medication journey, it’s important to be continually in tune with your child’s response to the medication, as well as teach them to understand what does and doesn’t feel good in their body. If they say they feel worse after taking medication, trust them as you search for another option. The conversation is ongoing and when you involve your child, they will learn how to advocate for themselves, as well as trust their body.

Lastly, don’t rely on medication as a crutch. Be sure to use medication in tandem with psychotherapy, coping techniques and social skills. Medication is not intended to replace mental health treatment but to enrich it. 


Ultimately, the decision to consider psychiatric medication for your child is a personal one that should be made in consultation with a qualified healthcare professional who can help you weigh the potential benefits and risks. Don’t be afraid to experiment with a variety of medications and treatment options – it’s through this exploration that you and your family will find a solution that brings hope and harmony to the whole family.


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