Ethics: Parents to Put Child on ADHD Medication

What would you do Wednesday!

Friends and fellow church members are contemplating putting their kid on ADHD medicine. Your pastor is very outspoken against any type of ADHD medication.

In fact, the pastor has made it clear that any church member who believes their kids need ADHD medication are simply not doing their jobs as parents. Those parents lack a biblical model of discipline in the home. He has asked that any parent considering such mediation seek biblical counsel by talking to him first.

Your friends explain that they decided to have their kid tested by a psychiatrist in stead of their regular family doctor. They have actually already done so and the psychiatrist has diagnosed the child with ADHD and is ready to write a prescription upon the parents’ consent.

The parents were sent home with sample medication that definitely seemed to work. The parents are now about 90% persuaded to go forward with the medication. However, they confided in you, a friend, to get your thoughts on their decision.

While your friends would love to go to the pastor, they feel he is too one-sided against ADHD medication to give them fair counsel.

What would you do?

  • Explain that you agree/disagree, but you’re not really qualified to advise them.
  • Encourage them to seek pastoral advice.
  • Set-up and “intervention” with a surprise meeting with the pastor.
  • Warn them that it is your duty to tell the pastor.
  • Explain that giving their child the medicine will confirm that they are the worst parents ever.
  • Or….

tagged as , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 preacher210 January 9, 2013 at 12:21 pm

If the pastor feels qualified to give (or over-ride) medical advice, he must have different pastoral training than I have ever received. His position borders on cultish to me.

2 brig January 9, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Last I checked a DMin isn’t licensed to practice medicine. There’s plenty of gap between good parenting and medication for neurological problems and room for both on the table. I would even say that getting medical help for a clear medical problem is proper parenting, and to do otherwise is negligent, which is my duty per the 6th commandment.

3 Wes Widner January 9, 2013 at 1:16 pm

I agree with the pastor’s general sentiment that the vast majority of ADHD cases are merely a cover for bad parenting. And I have a very low view of the field of psychiatry in the first place, mostly based on their affiliation with the view that men are mere meat-machines. But I can still see where a real chemical imbalance could exist. In the end I would need to have spent a lot more time with the couple and the child in question in order to make anything more than a wild guess.

But I agree with preacher210, the pastor’s mandate does sound rather cultish.

4 Andrew January 9, 2013 at 1:23 pm

I am not completely against medicine if it does help the child to think clearly. But I would be concerned about their parenting style. As a pastor I would ask them about routine and discipline. Have they sought this out with prayer? Are they truly concerned about his behavior? or are they acting selfishly and not wanting to deal with the problems of his energy? Is he just being a energetic boy? There are a lot of questions here that need to be answered before medicine is decided on. I am not personally against this medicine but it shoudl be used with extreme caution. It is a drug that has side affects. Doctors and teachers told my parents to put me on ADHD medicine and they refused to do so and I am so thankful my parents refused to put me on it.

As to pastor and member relationship I would seek out his prayers and spiritual guidance and find out why he believes this is biblically wrong. If they believe he needs the medication after much prayer they may need to leave the body and seek another Christian church. But I would tell them they should approach the pastor and not tell the pastor myself. This is their responsibility.

5 mburatov January 9, 2013 at 3:58 pm

I am the father of an ADD daughter. We tried EVERYTHING – behavior modification, diet modification, rewards, punishments, lecturing her, watching her and flapping her to stay on task and NOTHING worked except Ritalin. In the end, it was about Rachel not falling further and further behind in school. My mother blasted me for forty minutes over the phone about how I was poisoning her granddaughter. She sent me articles about the evils of Ritalin. Two people at church told me point-blank to my face that I was obviously an awful parent because Rachel should be able to stay on task if my wife and I were better parents.

My response is this; Yes I am a horrific sinner saved by grace, and yes the extend of my depravity extends to my parenting. Now that we have that all cleared up what do I do about my daughter/ You see this is not about me it is about my daughter. Since she has the misfortune of having such a rotten sinner as a father, what do we do about it? I won’t give her up for adoption, because God has charged me with her nurture and care and not some other depraved sinner. Therefore, what works? Ritalin works for Rachel and nothing else we tried did. Why do people get so tangled up about psychoactive drugs as opposed to antibiotics or blood pressure medicine? Oh, but those do not affect your behavior – rubbish, statins can make people depressed and anti-seizure medicines can change a patient’s mood. Are we against those too? Or maybe God, in his sovereign grace has ordained that our fallen bodies should be made more whole though the administration of a man-made chemical that helps us function?

If my pastor jammed me up about my daughter and Ritalin, I would ask him if he vaccinated his kids, an if his answer is yes, then I would point out his inconsistencies. If he still doesn’t get it, then it is time to look for another church. .

6 Kimberly Medina January 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm

From personal experience….I am a new born again Christian, I understand the reason that some say no to medication. Sometimes a child’s behavior can be corrected with the correct discipline, counseling, etc; but sometimes it can not. I have 3 children with ADHD, it runs in my family for generations. I have tried them without medication, I can deal with the behavior at home. But unfortunately at school, not as much the behavior but the inability to concentrate is the problem. My son is 17 and has been on medication since he was 5. We have tried several times to take him off his medication. His grades go from straight A’s practically to literally failing at times. My 1 year old isn’t quite as drastic but there is definitely a change in her school work also.

So what I am trying to say I guess is that it doesn’t always have anything to do with the parenting. There is a great website that has audio and visual examples of what an child with ADHD sees and hears. My husband did not understand the kids until I had him check out the site, he couldn’t believe it.

Since I have person experience I would probably tell the parent to maybe speak with the Pastor but that they had to do what was best for their children. To try the medication for a while to see how things go.


Previous post:

Next post: