Sunday, July 13, 2008


So I'm working today, checking in children, reviewing health histories, going over medications, and I'm absolutely DISGUSTED. Disgusted by the fact that ONE FOURTH of the children I checked in today are diagnosed with ADHD, ADD, ODD, OCD, Anger management issues, etc. As I'm pouring over the lists (yes, some children come with a list) of medications to distribute this week, I am absolutely amazed that half of these children are actually upright and walking. And I'm even MORE mad at the parents. As I remark to one parent "Thank God!" cause she is only holding 2 vials of meds, she interprets it differently and says, "Thank God for this medication, I KNOW!"..... WTF????? NO! Not thank god for the medication......... EEERRRGGHHAAA.....

Ok, maybe I should back up a bit here. I'm sure most people are familiar with what ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) are, ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) is a relatively new one. If you're not familiar, Wikipedia is a great resource for these....

Well, here's the way I see it...... (mind you , i'm no doctor or shrink, just a nurse who paid attention in class and observed along the way)

First thing.... let those kids be KIDS for Christs sake! Kids are SUPPOSED to be loud, play, test boundries, run free, hurt themselves, then brush it all off and do it again the next day. It's the nature of a child. it's how a child learns! I learned so much growing up by experiencing it myself. I fell off the swingset and it hurt. I didn't do it again. Was I not minding my parents? Probably not.... but did they know that if I fell and it hurt that I wouldn't do it twice, and if I did, I was dumb? Yep. We live in this little bubble of "safe children" that it drives me CRAZY. How is a kid ever gonna know what the results of there actions are going to be if we stop them from finding out?

Our other little bubble is of the "perfect child". The child that minds their parents. The child that sits and focuses on one activity at a time. A child that doesn't get in trouble and always pays perfect attention to his parents, teachers, etc. So parents will run for the shrink as soon as the child violates this perfect child image. And then they medicate them, problem solved right?

NOOOOO! It's just an easy fix! This is when I blame parents for a lot of this. Granted most parents are over loaded. Most kids come from a two parent working household. This is so sad that it has to be this way....

How about instead of medication, we teach our children respect. We teach them things like accountability, responsibility, and the difference between right and wrong. Sure, it takes more work, time, and effort then just popping a pill in their mouths and calling it a day, but it's WHY CHILDREN ARE ON THESE MEDS in my eyes, because our children aren't being taught these things.... Maybe some would think of me as a bad mom, but my children also know punishment. They are allowed to be children as much as they want but if they cross a boundary I have given, they will be punished. If my child disrespects me or their teacher, they will be punished. They will APOLOGIZE and lose something they want.

If anyone reads books about child rearing, a lot of books suggest that there should be communication between the child and parent, and all things should be discussed in a calm and rational manner. Abuse can scar a child for life.... but I think we have all forgotten that abuse and discipline are two seperate entities. I will admit, right here, I discipline my children. I have on occasion spanked them. I want to establish with them that there is no "power struggle" here. I am the parent, they are the children. Have we forgotten these simple measures in raising children? I think we have..... grab the ritalin, I'm sure it will help establish this.

Okay, I'm just rambling on here cause I'm so mad I can't think or type a rational sentence here.... I have deleted numerous parts of this post and I'm quitting right here. I could really go on and on about this topic because it amazes me and angers me both at the same time. I want to just hug all these children and let them know they're loved and it's OK to be a kid.... I also just wanted to yell to the world that we should all let our children play outside til dark. We should let them climb trees, chase after lightening bugs, fight with each other. We should be teaching them good characteristics of human nature instead of medicating them. We should want them to learn and be free but to do it with boundaries. We need to TAKE THE TIME to be GOOD parents, attentative parents, disciplining parents. I'm willing to bet if half these kids on meds had parents like that, they wouldn't need those meds anymore!


Jack said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack said...

You know, I'm so not qualified to speak about ODD, et, al. But I do know that we, as a culture, are fixated with putting order where we think we see chaos. Maybe society is mistaking freedom with chaos...I was never as free as when I was a child.


SpunDrunk said...

Interesting post. I agree that many kids are over diagnosed and over medicated. In May I attended a School PTO meeting where the Principal was discussing how they had re-engineered the school day to accommodate an "early out" day for teachers to "collaborate" and thus improve our children's education. They did this by reducing or removing recess times altogether so that the kids would have the same "uninterrupted learning blocks" of time. I spoke up and stated exactly what you wrote about the need for kids to be kids and the whole over diagnosis of ADHD - especially in boys who aren't allowed to run around on recess and burn off that excess energy.

But last year my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD and was prescribed Adderall - an amphetamine salt timed release medication. Her inattentive variant of the disorder dramatically improved and her grades went from D's to A's and B's.

I recognized the almost identical nature of her symptoms with my own and got evaluated at the Neurological Behavior Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah where I received the exact same diagnosis. I've spent 25 years feeling like a loser because I could never hold down a job or finish college and now, at forty, I have a solution and several strategies for dealing with this pain-in-the-ass disorder.

So yes, we over medicate our kids and it's also true that we under-medicate our kids who need treatment and legitimately have this disorder. It's counter-intuitive but not a mutually exclusive social diagnosis.

Best Wishes,

Anonymous said...

It is 2008. The nutritional value in the food we buy has gone downhill, the fast pace of our daily lives is constant and unforgiving, the family struggles to survive in the space available on this planet. Life goes on and peace and harmony needs to still be available to all, even if it means for some by way of medicated children/adults. Don't let it get you down in spirit to see children and/or adults have to take medication to cope/live/move on with life. Let it be and go on with your own life and family.

Theresa said...

I totally agree with you. I also agree that with so many food additives and our busy live styles that it does cause problems (chemical and emotional) with our children and does require some extra attention and for some..medicine. With that being said, I think too many use ADD, ADHD, and especially ODD as a scapegoat to bad parenting or as you said ...wanting the 'perfect' child. A friend of mine's son was diagnosed with ODD..I am sorry but I think it is a load of crap to diagnose a young boy esp. with this. It first starts with discipline, then respect..boundaries, limits, are going to be defiant, hell my teens still are to some degree. Kids are going to push the boundaries and talk back and act up--DUH, isn't that teh job of the children. It is getting ridiculous really.
Anyway, i could go on and on like you, but there is not much point in it since none of us can really change it all.