Maudlin and Associates ™
Karen Maudlin
Psy.D., CPCC
Kenneth Davison
Cindy Takiguchi
Manette Galván Turner
Robert Gregory
Daniel Doebler
Trevor Simpson

"My 8-year-old son was recently diagnosed by a Christian psychologist as having ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The psychologist recommended Ritalin, but I am hesitant to put him on this medication because I believe God made my son the way he is for a reason. Does God really want us to change our children's behavior through medication?"

A. First, you should be commended for taking your son in for a psychological assessment, which should have included ADHD questionnaires for parents, teachers, and others, a computerized attention test, and a clinical interview to ascertain the pattern, intensity, frequency, and duration of the attention problem. Many parents don't know where to get these tests done or they don't understand the benefits of professional testing. ADHD often mimics other conditions such as childhood depression, so it's important to have a professional evaluation.

While the Bible doesn't speak to the use of medication in this type of situation, God has given us strong minds with which we can assess his path. If your child were diabetic, you would not withhold insulin from him. I believe the same principle applies here. Your son has a problem that can be treated with medication. If you trust the psychologist and believe that your son's behavior cannot be managed without Ritalin, then you can feel justified in using medication. In addition to medication, I recommend four to six sessions with an ADHD specialist on impulse control to help your son begin a better school experience.

While our children are created in the image of God, it is unwise to see them - or ourselves - as finished products. Children need the intervention of the adults in their lives to help them become the people God created them to be. It seems your son needs help controlling his impulses and energy, not only for his benefit, but for the benefit of others. God can use your son's unique personality for his glory, whether you put your son on Ritalin or not. But if you have committed this matter to prayer, believe that you have been given wise counsel from the psychologist, and see Ritalin helping your son manage his behavior, you can trust that God will honor your decision.