The Medicated Child Please watch this PBS report when you have an hour to spare, FRONTLINE: the medicated child | PBS Im not a doctor, and neither of my kids was ever suspected of or diagnosed with any type of mental condition. What I do have is some other types of personal involvement, and just some common sense. My ex-wife was diagnosed as being bi-polar a few years ago. She is currently on medication that allows her to function as a normal adult. I personally just thought that she was an alcoholic prior to the diagnosis, and so did her family, and even herself. (Just a quick and funny side note to this is that when my oldest daughter was 16 she once told me Mom is fucking crazy. That was the first time I ever heard one of my children use the F word.) My ex-wife was 40 years old before she was eventually diagnosed as being bi-polar. She had been in rehab clinics numerous times and had seen many psychiatrists and psychologists over the years before this diagnosis came about. So, my question is, how the hell do you diagnose a child as being bi-polar? I once dated a woman that had both her sons under treatment for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The boys were 8 and 11, and she had a 6 year old daughter. The daughter was not under medical treatment. My daughters were 9 and 11 at the time. Me having children at that age, I also knew quite few other parents with children in the same age group. Personally, I never thought her boys were much different in behavior than the other boys I knew that were that age. Except when she had them drugged up. Shortly after she gave them their meds, they were like little zombies. In the mornings, prior to them taking their drugs, they were loud, somewhat rambunctious, full of mischief and just plain fun to talk to. Once those meds kicked in, they were completely different children. Once, when she had to go out of town for a weekend working seminar, I took care of her kids for the weekend. Me, not being in the routine of medicating kids, I forgot to give them their meds Saturday morning. And, I forgot Saturday evening as well. Im telling you, these boys were not out of control, and didnt require any special treatment without their drugs. Sunday morning I remembered I was supposed to give them medication. The 11 year old took his medication. I think more out of habit and expectation than for any other reason. But, the 9 year old challenged me. He didnt want to take the meds. And you know what, he wasnt just being obstinate. I paraphrase here, but this is what he told me, I didnt take my medicine yesterday and nothing bad happened. You didnt have to spank me for being bad, I didnt get in fights with my brother or sister. I played nice with the kids across the street. I didnt yell or scream or throw any temper tantrums. Yesterday was the best day ever, and I want to have another day just like it. I dont think I can if you make me take those pills. Damn, I almost cried. And, I didnt make him take the pills. And he was just fine for the rest of the day. His mother was pissed at me when she got home Sunday evening and I told her about it. She insisted that he needed the meds to control his behavior. I flat out told her that I couldnt date somebody that wanted to drug her children into being little zombies just so she didnt have to be an active, involved and engaged parent. That was the end of our relationship. So, back to the above linked broadcast. While I certainly believe that some children do have emotional and mental issues that need to be treated, I am also firmly of the opinion that in todays current environment, childhood emotional and mental issues are being extremely overly diagnosed and treated. What the hell has changed since I was 10 years old? 35 years ago there were almost no kids being drugged for ADHD, or, as they simply called it back then, hyperactivity. Ill probably get some shit for this, but dammit, we as a society need to quit drugging our children and start being parents. You cant throw your kids into the easy-bake oven of life and expect them to turn out like some sort of celluloid hero.