Channing Tatum: I’ll “Never” Medicate My Child For Learning Disabilities

Channing Tatum unofficially became the ‘Sexiest Dad Alive’ on Friday after welcoming daughter Everly with wife Jenna Dewan-Tatum. Before that happy day, the Magic Mike star, 33, spoke to Vanity Fair about impending fatherhood, growing up with a learning disability, and medicating children.

On preparing for fatherhood: “I don’t think you can prepare. It’s a bit of a freestyle.”

On his own parents: “[They] weren’t perfect. I don’t know anyone who did have perfect parents. It’s provided me with lessons I’ll try to improve upon when I’m up to bat. I’m just going to be a good friend to my kid.”

On his father’s less-than-perfect moments: “That whole ‘I don’t want you to make the same mistakes’ mentality. My dad didn’t have much money growing up; he didn’t have much of an education. He forced that on me, and I didn’t want it.”

On struggling with a learning disability:”I [still] read so slow. If I have a script I’m going to read it five times slower than any other actor, but I’ll be able to tell you everything in it. It kills me that there are standardized tests geared towards just one kind of child.”

On medicating children: “I truly believe some people need medication. I did not. I did better at school when I was on it, but it made me a zombie. You become obsessive.” Likening drugs such as Dexedrine, Adderall to “coke, or crystal meth,” he added, “The more you do, the less it works. For a time, it would work well. Then it worked less and my pain was more. I would go through wild bouts of depression, horrible comedowns.” He added, “I understand why kids kill themselves. I absolutely do. You feel terrible. You feel soul-less. I’d never do it to my child.”

On fame at a young age: “I worry about Bieber, man. That kid’s wildly talented. I hope he doesn’t fall down into the usual ways of young kids because it’s so hard for someone to be responsible when they’re not asked to be. We’re not asked to do things ourselves. You have someone there with a coffee. ‘You want food? I’ll get you food.’ I put my bag in the trunk yesterday—I can’t drive here—so my driver, great guy, Terry, amazing, I call him T-Bone, I drop my bag in and left the trunk open. And I get around to my door, and I’m like, ‘What the fuck am I doing? That’s not my behavior.’ ”

For more from Channing, go to Vanity Fair

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Photo credit: Vanity Fair

  • SMH

    I actually agree. I think some kids thrive with medication (my boss’ grandson who has ADHD she said it’s the best thing ever that happened to him) while I think others are just over medicated bc some people don’t know how to deal with a child. Back in my generation I swear 1:3 kids were on Ritalin!!

  • Jen

    I agree with him. While medication may be the best course of action for some children, I do feel that some are quick to rely on it whether or not it is actually what is better for the whole health of the child. Whether or not their grades or learning abilities increase is not the only factor to take into account when determining the effects of these medications on children. At the end of the day, it is his child and it is up to each set of parents to determine what is best for that child. He has a unique ability to apply his own experiences of being on these medications when determining whether he would pursue them for his child and those experiences have led him to decide not to if the situation arose. Isn’t that parenting? Don’t we all rely on our childhoods and our experiences growing up to mold how we will parent our own children?

  • Anonymous

    I agree 100%. Some doctors are so quick to diagnose and whip out the prescription pad its scary.

    I was put on meds for what they said was ADHD when I was 4 and while my attention got better my behavior was horrible so I was put on more meds for my behavior which made my moods worse so I was put on meds for my mood swings, etc. By the time I was 12 I had been on 14 different medications and given about 9 different medical diagnoses. Things got so bad I ended up being removed from my home and lived in a group home until I was 18 and was put in special-ed in highschool due to my behavior. When I turned 18 I stopped taking all of the meds I was on (I believe I was on 5 at the time) and fired all of my doctors and have not had a single problem since.

    I am now 31 and living a happy, healthy life completely med-free. I often wonder how different my life would have been if someone would have taken the time to try and figure out what my problem really was, not just decided that medication was the be-all and end-all.

  • DJ

    I agree with him 100% I have a brother who had severe HDHD along with a learning impairment and the medications through the years robbed him of his joy, his personality and his spunk. His personality would only return during the summer months, when he wasn’t medicated since school was out. Our mother finally took him off the drugs for good as a young teenager, but I’ll never forget the hardship he went through, at the advice of doctors. I’ve worked in a pharmacy for a number of years now and it is heartbreaking to see entire families on these drugs, three children medicated and the parents. It’s diet pills for adults and a built in behavior monitor for kids, it takes away their energy. Parents should be ashamed of themselves for unnecessarily medicating their children!!! Down arrow all you want, but kids are meant to be kids! They have energy, they have hardships, they have shortcomings, they will have small mountains to climb – they need teachers, guidance, mentoring, but not to be drugged! Since when is there a magic parenting pill?? There isn’t!

  • DJ

    P.S. I actually respect him more after reading this article. There is more to him than just a nice face, etc. He has a good heart and good sensibility. I wish him and his wife the very best with their new chapter, in becoming parents.

  • winnie

    but here’s the thing… isn’t he taking exactly the same “don’t make the same mistakes I did” approach as his father? Medication did not work for him so he won’t medicate his child. BUT what if his child needs medication?

    I agree with his first point – often the most difficult thing in parenting is getting yourself and your disappointments and frustrations etc out of the equation. You have to give your instinctive approach a whirl but be open to the possibility that it might not work and be prepared to change tack.

  • Jj

    What an idiot. He’s been a father for 2 days and now he’s an expert on raising kids – especially ones with learning disabilities. He and his stupid kid’s name needs to shut up.

  • SMH

    He never claimed to be an expert he is talking from personal experience. Read it again he clearly says that meds may work for some but not for him.

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