Parenting Decisions – Realizing That You Made the Wrong One

I’ve had a lot of struggles with Andy over the years.  Some of them were because of parenting decisions that I’d made, and others were because of the parenting decisions that were taken away from me when he was young.  Regardless of the reasoning, it hasn’t been an easy road for the two of us.  It took a while, but we have a good relationship, even if it isn’t a traditional one.

I’ve finally had to come to some conclusions about parenting decisions that I’d made about his health.  In short, they were wrong.

When Andy lived with me, his third grade teacher and principal insisted that he was ADHD.  I disagreed, and so did the district psychologist that evaluated him.  I felt pretty darned vindicated, especially given the combative relationship that I had with the administration at that school.  Being right didn’t really help, though.  Andy still had trouble in school.  Not because he wasn’t grasping the materials, but because it was boring and he wasn’t challenged.  I was certain that the issue was them.  Of course, those issues continued when he went back home to Florida.

Last year, his grades were in the toilet.  He was defiant, he was getting in trouble.  He was giving my sister endless grief.  Finally, she took him to our family doctor, the same doctor that treated my parents and my grandmother.  (He knows my family medical history better than I do; he diagnosed the majority of it.)  Our doctor once again broached the idea of ADHD and had him referred to a psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist agreed with half of the conclusions that the psychologist and I had come to years ago: he’s a genius and he’s bored.  He disagreed with our “not ADHD” conclusion.

After prescribing some medication and adjusting the doses, Andy has completely turned around.  And for the first time in his life, he’s living up to his potential and making honor roll.  Last quarter, he had a 3.8 GPA.  Unweighted.

I can’t help but wonder how much easier life would have been for Andy if I hadn’t rejected and fought the ADHD label years ago.  I hate playing “what if.”  It’s a game that I can never win.  Second guessing my parenting decisions does nothing but make me a less confident parent.

Have you ever had such clear evidence that your parenting decisions were the wrong ones?  How did you move forward?

About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. My strategy for parenting and life in general is “If it doesn’t work, change it.” We regularly discuss our failings, seek forgiveness, and work to grow in our relationships with our children. I’m glad to hear that you have an improved situation with your child, and perhaps you could support it with something like GAPS.

  2. I did the same thing for our teen years ago. I decided to go the Psychologist route for a real diagnosis instead of assuming. In the end, he had mild tourette’s (which we expceted with some clearing throat noises,etc.. he was doing) and ADHD was secondary! He does not medicate much anymore and still doing great 3.6 gpa so far a a frehmsan in HS. Sometimes it takes “knowing” you diagnosis and finally understanding it is not just him, there IS a REASONING was better than the medication itself. I hated the idea of meds and glad that he just needed a diagnosis in the end. If in the end all turns out OK, you have done nothing wrong!

  3. I think as a parent its so hard when we don’t want to face certain truths. I am dealing with it now with my middle child. I know he has a speech problem but every where I seek help they said give it time. I am worried that by the time the school finally get involved, or the speech program in our area he will have fallen behind. I am fighting for what I believe in and that’s what you did. Who knows how it would have turned out if you did agree with them but the great thing is that he is excelling now and that’s all that matters at this point.

  4. Moms want to be perfect. They want to make only the best decisions for their children. But there is nothing simple or perfect about raising children. The only thing you can expect is the unexpected. Being a parent who cares is absolutely crucial to ensuring our children are well taken care of.

  5. You cannot live in what ifs! It happened for a reason, that’s what I always say. There is a lesson to be learned in this experience you had and you have grown from it. We cannot always make the best decision for ourselves or our kids. We are only human, we aren’t perfect. And we are allowed to be wrong. Even though it pains us sometimes, we need to move into the future and look back at those events and understand what it is trying to teach us.

  6. I’m going through that right now. I don’t want to think that he has ADHD, but nothing behavioral or dietary is changing my so’s attitude. Glad you found a solution.

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