Hey, Kids! Drugs Are Bad - Sometimes…

by Samantha on April 5, 2013

Drugs are bad, right?

Kids shouldn’t take drugs, right?

That’s the message track that most of us parents tell our kids as soon as they’re old enough to understand. Yet it has become startlingly clear that many of us are a bunch of hypocrites. We drug our kids all the time, and often for our own benefit. Don’t believe me? Click here and here for just a sample of what many parents consider part of their standard arsenal of tools in the battle that is often parenthood. Heck, we even laugh about it too, as evidenced by the popularity of the David After Dentist video that amassed 3 million views on YouTube within a few days of being uploaded.

If you’ve ever been up for 24-48 hours straight because you’ve had to deal with a feverish and delirious child (double or triple this insanity if you’re the parent of multiples), you know what I’m talking about. It’s sheer madness as well as a test of one’s intestinal fortitude and plain old stamina. Man and woman were not made to live without sleep. Mom and dad need their rest - even if it’s only three to four hours at a time, and whatever it takes to get it, we’ll do.

Case in point - the popular act of giving your child just a touch more than they need of Advil or Tylenol when they’re feverish, so that they’ll sleep just a little bit longer. Sounds devious, doesn’t it? Yet I know many, many parents who have done this. You likely do too. Because at the end of the day, mom or dad is no good to anyone if they’re trying to function on a sparse few hours of interrupted sleep.

It’s ironic that when they’re old enough to understand, we will then tell our kids how bad it is to take drugs, yet when they’re too young to understand, we give our kids drugs and think that it’s a good thing. Strange, isn’t it?

This propensity to dispense (pun intended) our own prescription for peace is not a modern phenomenon, either. Soothing a baby’s teething pain by rubbing some sort of alcohol on its gums is an age-old practice. Incredibly, babies in Victorian England who had the misfortune of experiencing teething discomfort were provided with cocaine toothache drops and morphine teething syrup. Sounds crazy but it just underscores the desperate need that parents feel to calm the tortured (and often very loud) stirrings of their child. Sometimes mom’s gotta do what mom’s gotta do.

kid taking cough medicine

So here we are, those of us who have, perhaps, tipped just a tad more Children’s Tylenol or Advil into the dropper or teaspoon before administering it to our kids. Oh, yes, we know that this is verboten. We know what horrible parents we are because we so desperately wanted our kids to sleep just a little bit longer so that we, selfishly, could also experience a bit of shut-eye. We know that we have apparently failed in the parenting department. We will be forever reminded of this by those parents who, apparently, have never done something out of desperation or sleep deprivation. We understand. We are not worthy.

Nonetheless, I digress.

The point here is to convey the utter hypocrisy of not only us as parents in dispensing the “just say no to drugs” message track to our kids while we are just saying yes to dispensing drugs to our kids - and ourselves (more on that later). We, as a society, are more than willing to sit upon our sanctimonious perches, looking down on drugs and their evils, while simultaneously administering - gasp - drugs to our precious children. When it works for us, we embrace it; when it doesn’t, we demonize it. We abhor those parents who would have the audacity to be so low as to give their children medicine for their own selfish means. How dare they?

The insanity of the situation is further compounded by the fact that the same parents that seemingly support the “just say no” philosophy have no problem saying “no” to their own drugs of choice. Beer, wine, and other spirits often flow freely in the homes of these parents who espouse the philosophy of a “clean” lifestyle for themselves of their kids. They don’t see the irony, not to mention the hypocrisy of their actions. They just want to get their groove on and, accordingly, open up yet another bottle of wine.

The point here is two-fold:

Obviously, the “let’s not be hypocrites” message is loud and clear. We really need to stop this, and fast.

What may not be so obvious is the more insidious reality that so desperate are we to gain some semblance of normalcy with our children’s behavior, whether it be related to their hours of sleep or temperament on a long flight, that we’ll do almost anything to get them to comply. In the first instance, it is perhaps understandably, about our need for some shut-eye, so most people can understand, at least to a certain degree. In the second instance - where the public may be involved - we are drugging our child to make other people comfortable. As logical as this may seem, is it really the best option available? More importantly, why is it that we, as a society, feel that our kids need to be silenced? It seems that kids just can’t be kids anymore.

Sure - kids can be annoying, irritating and downright insane when they have one of their monumental meltdowns. And adding the scenario of being trapped in a plane with a cranky baby or toddler is not what most people - parents or not - would envision as their idea of a good time. That being said, perhaps we are prudent to consider other methods of getting our kids to stay quiet. That, or a more unpopular option: accept that kids will be kids and that’s just the way it is.

An interesting and perhaps radical concept but one that would eliminate the discussion about whether or not it’s okay to drug our kids. If we do go with this controversial option, perhaps we may be surprised to see a real change in our children’s behavior overall. By letting children do what comes naturally, we may see that they can indeed be the little darlings that we always knew that they were. And wouldn’t that be dandy?

Now pass me the wine.

How do you feel about giving kids some extra medicine or drugs to get them to sleep or travel better? Have you ever done it? Would you ever do it? Answer in the comments below!

Image courtesy of /www.cwebnews.com


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Pam @Mommacan April 6, 2013 at 5:44 am

Giving kids anything to help them sleep outside of a hospital setting or prescribed by the doctor is wrong, wrong, worng. Especially filling them with anything for travel. Dang it, parents, suffer and sweat like all of us do on that plane, it is a right of passage!
Pam @Mommacan recently posted..Momma Groove- What It Means To Me In Three Simple QuotesMy Profile


Samantha April 6, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Hi Pam,
I think parents are so exasperated and desperate when they consider giving their children extra medication on flights, that they do whatever they think will work to keep the little ones quiet. As I ended the article, the idea of perhaps a bit more tolerance and understanding from all of us was posed. After all, the reason parents do this is not for their own benefit but really for the benefit of others. Perhaps if we had a more child-friendly and accepting society, this wouldn’t even be a topic of discussion. We’re not there yet, but perhaps one day.
Thanks for your comment!


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