Okay, so the medication debate is not as black and white as the title may suggest. It sure is worth having, however, as an article that came out this June in APA’s Monitor on Psychology about the inappropriate prescribing of psychotropic medication spells out.
This makes sense, right? Children who must face ongoing fighting and conflict between their parents while they also endure all of the changes prompted by their parents’ separation or divorce would probably struggle more and have more anxiety and depression than those children who go through the separation or divorce but do so within a low conflict, cooperative parenting arrangement. So you may say, “Fine. I get it. But how on earth am I supposed to peacefully parent with my kids’ other parent when the very reasons that we got divorced still cut so deep and he/she continues to act like such a [insert your choice of words here]?!” The simple answer is STAY FOCUSED.
Pass and colleagues took a look at around 60 mothers in the UK who were diagnosed with anxiety disorders (specifically, social phobia with about half also having generalized anxiety disorder) and 60 mothers who weren’t. They compared information gathered on their children as they were getting ready to begin formal schooling (around 4 ½ years old). After the children completed the first term of school, the researchers gathered more information from mothers and also from teachers.
The researchers used data from a nationally representative sample of over 11,000 children gathered in the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study’s Kindergarten Cohort of 1998-1999. Children included in the study were from one of four racial groups: White/Non-Hispanic, Hispanic, Black/Non-Hispanic, and Asian. Using data from both kindergarten and third grade for the students, they collected information on spanking, child externalizing behaviors (e.g., arguing and fighting), and parent background (e.g., family income-to-needs, parent education, marital status, and employment status).
Since then, the attack on parents appears to be relentless. Our media outlets are filled with misinterpretations (and sometimes accurate interpretations) of research findings and statements by clinicians that directly or indirectly blame parental behaviors for their kids’ problems.
While sleep studies typically focus on adults, a study in the Journal of Sleep Research by Berger and colleagues looked at 30-36 month olds. They studied ten healthy children with no assessed sleep problems and looked at the impact of missing one nap. Parents kept a strict sleep schedule for the toddlers for five days, at the end of which they either allowed or did not allow the daily nap. They then repeated the same strict sleep schedule for five days and did the opposite nap arrangement (i.e., nap or no nap).
Let’s first think about why lying gets under our skin so terribly. Well, as parents we know that honesty is critical to healthy relationships, to having integrity, and to resolving problems. Dishonesty can land you in a heap of interpersonal, academic, legal, and/or professional trouble both in the present and in the future and nobody wants that for their kids.
As I mentioned in a recent editorial, data from the Multimodal Treatment Study of ADHD (MTA) revealed some surprising results about long-term outcomes for children with ADHD. Among the results include a finding that what we typically do to treat ADHD (medication and/or psychosocial treatment) does not significantly improve peer problems. And long-term peer difficulties can lead to a host of externalizing and internalizing problems that can last into the adult years.
Now before I go any further, let me make clear that I am not a medical doctor and I am in no way trying to urge parents to discontinue their child’s ADHD medication. I am, however, suggesting that parents continue to inform themselves of research findings in this area so they can discuss new information with their child’s treating physician and make informed choices as a result.
What is a parent to do?When presented with this recommendation, many parents agree and seek intervention for their kids, while many others decline the recommendation, either because they believe it is not necessary or that the intervention would not do anything.