Sunday, July 29, 2007

Antipsychotic Drugs for ADHD on the Rise

(Photo By Joel Salcido for USA TODAY first appeared 5/02/06)

Evan Kitchens, 10, suffered severe side effects as a small child before being weaned off atypical anti-psychotic drugs.

According to a special report published in the St. Petersburg Times today, "more and more, parents at wit's end are begging doctors to help them calm their aggressive children or control their kids with ADHD. More and more, doctors are prescribing powerful antipsychotic drugs. In the past seven years, the number of Florida children prescribed such drugs has increased some 250 percent," reported Robert Farley.

There is so much to this issue, I can't encapsulate it in a blog post. But the concerns are many. How often are antipsychotic drugs actually necessary? How much of a child's environment affects his behavior and emotions? Have we counted the costs? All of them?

One pediatrician interviewed for this article said this. "Some parents are so stressed out, they come in seeking a pill," Dr. Esther Gonzales said. It's easy to medicate kids; "it is very hard to change environment."

There is more divorce and more drug abuse, more domestic violence, physical and sexual abuse. Working parents are overwhelmed. This may be one collection of reasons, but I don't think working parents are the only ones overwhelmed. We need to study that more.

Do the side effects outweigh the potential benefits of the drugs? I don't know.

Anyone out there have personal experience with this issue that you can share? Help us understand how you battle on behalf of your child.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Give Me an 'A'! - for ADVOCATE

(Photo courtesy: The Victoria Advocate; appeared on this website)

"The Fischer family sought legal counsel, San Antonio's Anderson & Duke P.C., and is willing to go to court if Wycoda is not allowed to be a cheerleader."

Read the rest of the article here.

One of the principles behind Standing Up for Your Child without Stepping on Toes is:

Guiding Principle #3 – Keep the long term best interests of your child in mind when you intercede. It may seem like a good idea to get your child what he wants at this moment, but in the long run it may be detrimental to his character. We live in an instant society that wants what it wants right now which counteracts the long term values of persistence, perseverance, and long-suffering.

Do you think this family has stepped over the line here? Have you ever felt compelled to do the same? It's not easy sometimes to discern when to step in and when to step back.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Your Child's Worst Enemy

(painting by Julia Lucich

My mother always said that I was my own worst enemy. And she was right. The same can be said for my own children. At one time or another our kids get in their own way of getting what they want or need. Sometimes it's our job to protect them from themselves.

Sometimes that means being the "bad guy" or "raining on their parade" but as the grown up, the one who has already "been there, done that" we need to believe in our own credibility. You actually do know better.

The older they get, the higher the stakes get for our kids. The older they get, the less time we have to impart all we wanted to on their lives.

Time is short - so as I argue with my 16 year old that he can't and shouldn't buy an overpriced light sabre on EBay and save his money instead, I need to win the argument. Today I'm the bad guy. Today I'm the unfair mom. Today he doesn't like me very much and won't talk to me.

But that's part of the job too.

Stand firm and do the hard thing. They'll thank you later.

Friday, July 13, 2007

What Do You Think? - "Snakes" (I mean "Kids") on a Plane!

This story, along with others, is getting a lot of attention right now. Have you ever been on an airplane with an annoying or unruly toddler or child? If you were a mom or dad in that situation, what did you do and how did you feel? Did you know that once the doors of the jet closes, you are under the strict jurisdication of the FAA and must follow whatever they deem is necessary to secure the safety of passengers. As we learn how to stand up for our children, how does this situation challenge your advocacy skills?

Watch and Let Us Know What You Think

You'll need a version of Windows Media Player 7 or higher to view the video. If you need to download it, go to The video player is supported by Microsoft IE 5.0 and above.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Every Friday I'll offer you a piece of advice that may apply to standing up for your child. Grab this quote and write a response to it on your own blog. Invite others to check back here every Friday to respond to our weekly quote. Leave a comment before you go on your way.

The mother- or father-bear behavior that surfaces when your child is threatened must be tamed if you're going to accomplish anything.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

PROMise Me

I meant to post this a long time ago, but never got around to it. This is our oldest son, Christopher. He will be a senior in high school this year. He went to his junior prom this spring- without a date. He and many of his friends met there to celebrate together. They had a blast and I am so happy he went. He rented his own tux (without having to match it to a girl's dress!) and drove himself to the beachside restaurant where the prom was held. He came home late, but not too late. He was safe. I was relieved.

Before he left for the evening, I went over my "list of promises" with him, knowing he's heard it all before. It never hurts to say it one more time.

- Promise me you will drive safely.
- Promise me you will be polite to everyone you meet there.
- Promise me you will not do anything "stupid." But if you do, you will find a way to make it right.
- Promise me you will call if you find yourself in a situation you're not comfortable handling on your own.
- Promise me you will come home safe and sound.

He promised. . . I waited up and watched for his headlights. Around midnight they grazed the front of our house and I relaxed.

The promises we solicit from our children should be no different than those we make to them. They aren't guarantees, but they point us all in the right direction.

What promises do you hope your child will keep?

Monday, July 02, 2007

Four Tips for First Job Frustrations

"I want a different job," our youngest, age 16 said when he came home from work. He's a server in the dining room of a retirement village near our home. His brother works there as well, but in a different building.

"What happened this time?" I asked.

"My manager just yells at me for no reason. I feel targeted. It's like I can't do anything right," he was frustrated, and I would be too.

He was already on the hunt for a new job when he voiced his ever-increasing anxiety. He's only been there for three months. This particular job has high teenage turnover. Kids come and go all the time. I'm sure it can be just as frustrating for a manager as it would an employee. But we had a golden opportunity to help our son navigate through this turmoil and not run from it.

We all prefer the path of least resistance, but it doesn't often lead us where we want to go. Perseverance and a strong work ethic can overcome a multitude of job related frustrations. But how do you encourage your teen to stick it out when all they want to do is quit?

There were some things we realized our son wasn't prepared to handle in this job, and addressed those first. These four issues go a long way to longevity and job satisfaction.

You only have to work your assigned hours. Sometimes employers take advantage of teens in the workplace by asking them to come in on their days off or stay "just a little longer" past their shift or come in earlier than was scheduled. In these instances, your teen can say "No. I'm sorry but I can't do that." Legally he or she is within his rights to say "no." But most teens don't know that and are afraid to say "No" so they begrudgingly do what their boss says.

For more information for what the child labor laws say about teen workers, click here.

Make sure you are always doing what you're supposed to be doing. It's easy in a work environment with other teens to go along with the crowd and maybe not do what you're supposed to do. During a "shift meeting" our son got called out for talking, but he wasn't the only one. It didn't matter that his friend didn't get called out; what mattered was he wasn't doing what his boss expected him to do. Encourage your teen to go above and beyond, regardless of what anyone else is doing. If they do feel targeted, this will take away any amunition their boss may have had to pick on them.

Do your job with a happy spirit. Even if they have to fake it for a little while, encourage your teen to put on a happy face while at work. It will make him feel better and show his boss and those he serves that he respects the position and those he works with.

Don't get caught up in workplace drama. It's easy to be a whiner when everyone else is whining, but learning to rise above the "drama" in a workplace is something we all have to learn how to do. If that alienates you from the other kids at the job, so be it. You're not there to impress them. You're there to impress your employers and those you serve.

As tempted as we may be, as parents, to run interference for our teens in their first and subsequent jobs, it's crucial that they learn how to stand up for themselves. This is the perfect time to give them the tools they need and then send them out to practice on their own. If things do get out of hand, or there are safety, health, or legal consequences due to bad management, then of course, step in.

Do you have a first job memory that you can share that illustrates some of these concerns? However you handled it way back when doesn't matter. What matters now is how you'll help your teen handle it.