Our children are exposed to more medication today than ever before. It’s sad when kids grow up thinking that taking a pill will solve all their problems, or will help them have a good time. Some parents are too quick to give their kids medication, even to the point of overmedicating. There are many tragic stories about kids that are negatively impacted, injured, or killed because of medicating by their parents.
There is an overall attitude among some groups of parents today that it is ok to give their kids pills if it makes the parents’ day easier. For example: Benadryl. This wonder drug can reduce the symptoms of allergies and colds, and stop itching from mosquito bites and poison ivy. It can also make a child fall asleep. It’s common knowledge in some circles that if you need your child to sleep on a long car ride or if they have trouble going to bed at night, a small dose of Benadryl will give them sweet sleep. No more arguing, no more hassle, no more having to yell at your kids, thanks to the little magic pill.
How unfortunate that parents have resorted to these measures! In some cases, ADHD medication is the same way. Some kids are misdiagnosed as having an attention disorder and put on meds that sedate them, when really it is a behavior problem. Parents need to be taught how to lovingly discipline their kids from the time they are young, while watching out for serious medical disorders, rather than make them pop pills to get a moment’s rest.
Any medication given to a child can have side effects: increased heart rate, seizures, coma, weight gain, stunted growth, delay in brain development. A couple in San Diego killed their baby because they gave him dose after dose of sleep aids, acid reflux medicine, and Benadryl, and sadly, they are not the only ones that have done this. Medications are not something to play around with, and we shouldn’t be too quick to reach for the pill bottle, especially when it comes to our child’s health.
There are times, however, when medical intervention is necessary with our kids, and one of those instances is mental illness. In fact, mental illness is the one area that parents, in general, under medicate their kids. Parents, especially in inner city or low income areas, aren’t always aware that kids can suffer from depression, insomnia, anxiety, ADHD, and other mental disorders. In the case of mental illness, parents should seek out a trusted physician to diagnose and prescribe medication, if necessary. Parents should be aware of possible side effects, and closely monitor their child for any problems. A cautious approach to medicating should always be taken in the case of our children.
Children need to be taught to respect medication and only use it when necessary. It starts with parents being good role models for their kids by leading and encouraging a healthy, more natural lifestyle.