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Poor Parenting Skills Can Be A Choice
June 23, 2004
by Tony Zizza

There has been an awful lot of news coverage lately concerning the drugging of our children with psychotropic drugs and antidepressants. If I were to say, "It's about time!", it would be a gigantic understatement.

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer has filed a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of the antidepressant Paxil. Fathers like Chad Taylor of New Mexico are standing up to the Department of Children, Youth and Families who want him charged with child abuse and neglect for refusing to continue feeding his son Ritalin. And concerned citizens everywhere are shaking their heads at yet another government study that allegedly shows depressed teens do better with Prozac than with talk therapy alone.

There is a growing tide, a backlash if you will, aimed at those who believe psychotropic drugs and antidepressants are the answer for all that ails us and our children. Much like the O.J. Simpson murder trial a decade ago, the problem is not a lack of evidence. The problem is one of execution. That is, if we all were willing to look at the mountains of evidence pointing to the horrific dangers of psychotropic drugs and antidepressants, we would become very ashamed we feed our children and ourselves these poisons. We would have to look at ourselves for the solution to our problems and those of our children.

But I am not so sure this is going to happen anytime soon. Why? There is no responsibility, remorse or shame left in our culture. Poor parenting skills seem to be a choice too many parents are making.

Of all the articles, protests, opinions and the like bemoaning the our magic pill society, I think syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker said it best in her June 6th column, "Depressed and Dosed In the Absence of Time."

She correctly scoffed at the study of 439 youths that allegedly showed children do better with Prozac than with just talk therapy.

We are right to put a lot of blame on the mental health profession and the pharaceutical industry for selling and marketing depression and its drugs. The huge rises in the amount of drugs sold and children diagnosed with depression significant enough to warrant Prozac and other goodies is evidence alone our children are under siege.

Nonetheless, we as parents can fight back, be responsible, use common sense, and understand Kathleen Parker is right when she says one of the problems is many parents "don't want to take the time" to even engage our children or see talk therapy through. She notes a psychiatry professor, and this goes for a lot of people, who said in effect it's hard to get people into talk therapy.

It's only hard because we want a quick fix. We want closure before simple discussions about problems have even started. Dangerous psychotropic drugs and antidepressants are fed to our children who live by their credo they "have problems", but don't dare, along with their parents, to try and define "what" the problems are. Just might be - attitude. I shudder to think how many parents have chosen Prozac or Paxil as a buffer to their children's attitude problem because they just don't have time or the temerity to make their children do the unthinkable - open up.

In all of this, everything always comes back to doing good, and "First, do no harm."

We as parents must give a 100 percent effort, and demand no less from our children.

It's time to start improving our parenting skills from within. Stop allowing the pharmaceutical companies with their magic pills, brochures and videos to do what we alone must do - raise our children.

Zizza writes frequently about parenting and mental health issues. He serves as Vice President/Georgia of Parents For Label and Drug Free Education. Zizza also serves as an Advisor to the Alliance to Stop the Influence of Psychiatry in Religion and Education. Email comments to him at: tz777@yahoo.com

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