Reiterating Dr. Breggin’s point about children and psychiatric drugs

On the Peter Breggin hour, late in the show, Dr. Breggin gave us an illustration of what kids conclude when they are given psych drugs. I think what he said is true.

He says that kids conclude that they are innately “bad,” and that the drugs will make the “good.” This is black and white thinking, but I think most young kids can’t conceptualize past that.

They are told they are bad, in school and maybe in the home, either on purpose or inadvertently, through a punishment-and-reward system.

There’s nothing particularly terrible about being sent to the end of the line in school, but kids learn through the shaming attitude of teachers and aides that ending up there is something horrible. You’re bad. From what I have observed, this is caused by a random whim of the teacher. She is not comfortable with your behavior, so you are banished. If you get banished enough times, your parents will receive a note. Uh oh.

So now, the school has shifted the blame and responsibility onto the parent. Not only is the child bad, but the parent is also bad.

Parents get desperate. Possibly the fear of having their kids taken from them spurs this fear on. They have to fix their kid. Drugs offer a supposed “quick fix,” not for the kids, but for the frustrated and scared parents.

To any parent out there who is considering drugging their child: You need to witness what childhood Tardive Dyskinesia looks like. Yes, I know it’s painful to know another parents’ child can’t walk properly, can’t use stairs, will never be dexterous enough to use a keyboard, needs help feeding himself, can’t use his hands properly, makes faces at other children (they’re used to it!) and because of this severe and permanent movement disorder, feels left out, singled out, and will likely drop out.

Are you really willing to risk this? I know parents who say they are. I know parents that argue “quality of life” without realizing that TD is very low quality of life even if it’s only in their child’s future.

Dr. Breggin says that it doesn’t even take long to get the child to not feel “bad” anymore. He says that often the parent has to also shake this belief. He says the child needs consistent discipline (no game playing on either end) and to be listened to.

Consistency is possible in the home, but likely not in school, where kids are exposed to numerous adult teachers and each teacher has her own teaching style. That plus invariably, there is inconsistency between the morals the school teaches and the morals taught at home, for better or worse.

Here is an example. I noticed that my classes of children loved to sing in Spanish. I went a step further and taught them a few Spanish words. One kids came up to me and said, “My parents don’t let me speak Spanish in my home.”

This was heartbreaking to hear. I can kinda liken this to not being allowed to sing Christmas Carols in my home, or not ever saying the word, “Jesus,” or discovering that my dad couldn’t bring himself to eat Japanese cuisine, since he had fought in World War II. Still, I thought it was odd to forbid speaking in Spanish. I told the boy, “You are not home now. You are in school. I’m the teacher, and I allow it.” He seemed happy about that, but I felt odd conflicting with the parents. Was he now getting a mixed message?

No matter. When he’s a teen he will be deciding these things on his own, and I doubt the parents will have much say in it after a while. That is, he’ll think for himself, unless, of course, he’s on drugs.

 

Feedback and comments welcome!