Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pathetic Parents Doping Kids

The Slacker & Steve Drive Time show on 105.9 Alice in Denver featured a troubling discussion yesterday during one of their "Other People's Problems" segments about parents using OTC drugs such as Benedryl to "quiet" their kids during long flights. It began, as many of their conversations do, with the bachelor Steve advocating this idea and upsetting the parent Slacker who thinks Steve and many adults are simply clueless on what it means to be an adult and a parent. Disturbingly, several callers and comments on their page endorsed the idea, even arguing that they did so on "doctor's recommendations."

This disturbing trend - and discussion - is at the heart of the cultural troubles of America. And it is related to my recent posts about education failures being more about parenting than about schools. The box of Benedryl clearly states DO NOT USE TO MAKE CHILDREN SLEEPY. Anyone who has done so is, in my opinion, shockingly negligent in their roles as adults and parents. And these parents ought to be ashamed of themselves. It is especially disturbing to hear people arguing that they did it on "doctor's recommendation." Doctors are not infallible, and they can be pathetic parents just like the rest who would "dope" a child for peace and quiet. These doctors should have their licenses re-evaluated.

This issue is a broader perspective on the rise of diagnosis of emotional and psychological problems in children as young as three years old. The rise of ADD, ADHD, and other "conditions," is much more a reflection of inept parenting and immaturity than it is about actual medical conditions. The more I teach - and raise my own children - the more I realize how immature and incapable many adults and parents are.


Krista said...

Well said!

As a mother of two young boys, I am appalled when my friends tell me that they use Benadryl to "drug" their kids. Or give them melatonin to make them sleep.

Really!? What is wrong with these parents? The only time my boys receive medicine of any kind is when they are actually SICK! And even then, it's only when absolutely necessary.

Some people disgust me.

mmazenko said...

I hear you - and as a teacher I wait with apprehension for these kids to end up in my school and for their test scores to impact my evaluation. It's too bad a license can't be required for childbirth.

Anonymous said...

How about requiring a license to blog? Or a license to speak?

Or even a license to govern?

All our problems could be solved.

mmazenko said...

Yes, Anon. I see your point. And a license doesn't actually prove much, as evidenced by all the crappy drivers and crappy teachers and crappy doctors who are "licensed." It wasn't a serious point, but more an observation of a problem.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Our older autistic son used to sleep for only about 3.5 hours a night. And he was MOBILE. And he could get into everything. It was getting to be a safety issue. Our developmental pediatrician told us to give a specific dose of Benadryl about 20 minutes before a decent bedtime (I think it was 10 or 11 pm). We did this for about a week and then I suppose he simply was used to that schedule and was easier (note I didn't say easy!!) to get to go to bed.

He now has no trouble going to sleep at a decent hour and staying asleep. We had done all we could with routines and that sort of thing, but the medication gave that extra support for a little bit there.

I think any drug can be abused, but I had never heard of parents drugging their children for *convenience* until a few years ago. That is sick. But that isn't always what is going on.

PS One of the reasons I'm nervous about compulsory education evidenced in the comments. You're wanting a given set of behaviours to occur in the home so that your job is secure. I'm with you on the drugging of kids for convenience, but it's odd... I've heard educators imply that children ought be drugged for theirs on more than one occasion. It's couched in terms of, "Maybe you can see the doctor to see if there is anything he suggests to help Johnny concentrate" sorts of terms... drugs are never quiiite mentioned... but there you go.

I think it should all be up to the parent/physician team, personally. Maybe more of us just need to get used to jumpy and talkative kids. Mine is when he's not asleep. :)

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Of course I mean I'm with you that we ought NOT drug children for convenience. Not sure if I worded that sentence well.