Traveling Children Must Be Drugged

… that’s essentially the stance of one parent from a recent Wall Street Journal article and poll:

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One mother, on a message board attached to the poll, defended her use of Benadryl to calm a frightened toddler, asserting it’s “the right thing to do for the child, the other passengers, the flight crew and yes, the parents as well.”

As Ben from notes: “What ever happened to just being well-behaved?” I find despicable the whole notion that almost 40% of parents polled (according to the same WSJ article) reported either drugging their kids or at least considering it while traveling.

Where does this chemical replacement for good behavior stop? Should we be drugging them on car rides? Maybe just long car rides? What about at the movies? Or in the doctor’s office waiting room? Or any other place where parents find it hard to get their children to sit still?

These are the same parents who, at their child’s slightest lapse in attention span, start crying ADD and prescribing every psychoactive drug available to curb same. You’re the parent. Start parenting for Christ’s sake.

Founding Editor
  1. This is a tricky one. Sometimes, as a (childless) passenger on long-haul flights, I WISH parents would drug their cranky kids because it’s extremely disruptive to have to hear a baby crying or throwing a fit for 14 hours. I wonder whether even the best-behaved child is susceptible to tantrums on planes due to earaches and whatnot; and perhaps it’s somewhat of a fallacy to assume the slippery slope, that resorting to extreme measures on long-haul flights would open the door to similar solutions in less stressful situations. However, I also agree that parents should learn how to parent their kids and not rely on drugs to do their jobs for them. I guess it’s not something I’ll have full perspective on until I’m a parent!

  2. I guess it really depends on the age of the child. If it’s an infant, and the crying seems nonstop and for no good reason, then one can probably assume an earache might have something to do with it. I wonder if there’s something that can be prescribed by a pediatrician that would help in that case?

    But if we’re talking about a two-year old who just won’t behave or sit still, drugging them is rather extreme.

    The “slippery slope” argument is definitely something to be concerned about here in the States. I remember an article a while back stating something like 20-30% of children under 12 were on some sort of medication – like ritalin, etc. That’s a staggering number to me. Americans jump all too quickly to drugs as a cure-all for everything and, in many cases, a remedy to bad parenting.

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