Stop Medicating Black Boys

When I made the decision to homeschool my preschooler, he wasn’t a hyper child. Only when he attended a two-day-a-week preschool program did I continually get reports and brazen pressure about how hyper and disruptive my little boy was. My son listens well at home and is very calm and focused. I routinely take him to opera shows and on 3 hour train rides to Toronto to see family while he behaves like a little gentleman. Not perfect, but still quite exemplary. My son is full of energy because he’s a normal, kinesthetic boy.

The town I live in is notorious for medicating the children in their conventional schools. Our beloved next door neighbour, a lovely 7 year old girl who plays hockey and does ballet has been diagnosed with ADHD and started her medication a few days ago. She is like a shell of the vivacious girl who would come over and play hide and seek with my son. Another neighbour’s son is on his third brand of medication. Teachers and teaching assistant’s are crying ADHD, it seems, at the first fidget or the first interruption. And if there is absolutely one thing we must fight, it’s our children being misdiagnosed and placed on these serious medications.

When my son gets hyper or antsy, I’ve come up with a few natural ways to kind of bring him down a few levels.

  1. Turn off the lights, light a few candles, play some calming music. You can add lavender to a diffuser for an even more relaxing effect. I ask my son nicely to please calm his body and mind.
  2. Go for a walk or do some physical activity outside.
  3. Taking a screen/technology break. This is a hard one because I am in school online, and the courses require me to check my email and talk to my professors and do a ton of work on the computer. I’m constantly glued to my screens so putting them all way (phone included) after checking things in the morning helps us stay focused.
  4. Give my son one-on-one attention. Playing with cars, colouring together and being silly on the carpet really helps with misbehaviour.
  5. Not rush. I make sure we get to karate class 15-20 minutes early, and we read a few books and get changed in a very laid-back manner.
  6. Ask him to “look at me” when I’m speaking so he’s focused on what I’m saying.
  7. Having a routine helps a lot.
  8. Making sure to go over the “rules” before we enter any establishment (library, grocery store), before I make a phonecall or when someone visits our home.
  9. Allowing my son lots of time to run and play. Accepting he will be loud, messy and unpredictable and making sure he has opportunities and do these things appropriately.
  10. Hugs and kisses. Sometimes my son expects me to be furious with him, and he completely stops the madness when I just pull him in for some love.

It’s up to us to make sure our children are not being medicated just because they may be a bit difficult. Children were never meant to be perfect mini adults. Our children may not listen to us sometimes, but they will follow what we do. So don’t give up on them, or they will give up on themselves.