Before medicating your child for ADHD or depression, see the documentary at http://www.documentary-log.com/you-are-watching-the-drugging-of-our-children/. Then read my Parent's Guide to ADHD to find other ways to help your child.
I acquired a lot of technical knowledge about psychology while working on my doctoral studies at the University of Illinois, but my real education took place over the next thirty years.
The many young therapy patients I worked with were my real teachers. Most troubled children and adolescents, I learned, are acutely aware of their problems and needs. They helped me understand why they misbehaved, felt depressed and anxious, had trouble getting along at home, or weren't doing well in school. Once they were able to share their knowledge with the important people in their lives, the solutions for even the most difficult problems tended to be clear.
Living the exquisite joys and daunting challenges of being a foster mom also played an important part in my education. Helping to raise six children sensitized me to parents' struggles. It definitely made me more sympathetic to their dilemmas and need for concrete answers!
I began each new parenting book by reading all the self-help books and scientific studies I could find on the subject, and this research rounded out my education. I was amazed to find that often the self-help books and formal studies were at odds. For instance:
* Most potty training books say that children aren't ready to begin learning until age 2 to 2 1/2, while the research shows that most of the world's children are fully trained by age 2! In the early 1900s, most parents began working with infants on potty skills at age 2 months.
* While most self-help books recommend Ritalin and other psychiatric drugs as the only truly effective treatments for attention deficit disorder, the research shows that changes in diet and exercise can dramatically reduce or eliminate most children's symptoms!
* Research studies suggest that children with particular personalities respond differently to particular child-rearing methods, but most self-help books propose a single method for everyone.
Despite my many decades of study, I don't pretend to have all the answers about how to make the life better and happier for children. My ideas continue to change and evolve. I have many more books planned, and hope that this forum can be yet another method of educating myself. Let me know what you have learned, and I'll pass it on!