Should Parents Step Away From The Medicine Cabinet?

When it comes to raising children, there’s no right side in any debate. There are questions we will simply never be able to answer. Is homeschooling better? Should you shout at your children, or punish peacefully? And, the gem we’re going to take a closer look at today: should you avoid using prescription medications?

This is no new problem. It’s a question parents have been asking for years. But, with more of our kids relying on long-term medication, it’s an issue which has come very much to the fore. The trouble with an argument like this is that you can face hurdles each way you turn. 

The first thing to note is that the right course of action is different for everyone. Our parenting styles are as varied as our children, and so they should be. That is what makes this diverse world so wonderful. But, that doesn’t help if you’re grappling with this issue. However, considering the following question could do just that.

How long would the course of treatment be?
One thing to ask yourself, and the most crucial matter to start with, is how long your child would be taking this medication. One course of Calpol when they’re ill is unlikely to do lasting damage. But, a prescription for issues such as ADHD is a much more long-term undertaking. And, that should play a role in how fast you are to reach for those pills. In less extreme cases, you may be considering conditions such as hay fever. While these don’t mean prescriptions all the time, it does mean exposing your children to medication yearly. Is that too much for you? Consider, realistically, a maximum amount of time you’re comfortable with. If a prescription exceeds that period, you may need to look elsewhere.

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Are there safe, natural alternatives?
One place many of us look in our search for alternatives is the natural method. Why use a strong medication when there’s a natural alternative? The sad fact is that many of these options are untested and potentially ineffective. That could lead to more distress for your child if something doesn’t work. Which is why you should do your research before making any rash decisions. Look into studies on natural alternatives, and only commit to something with proven success. These are options like these for extreme conditions like ADHD. You can also find out how to beat hay fever naturally if you look in the right places. If you opt for this path, it’s vital you remain realistic. Natural treatments are unlikely to have the same impact as medical ones. But, they’re a great deal better for your child’s health, and can still go some way towards alleviating any distress. Choices on offer vary, from natural medications to changing what you feed your kids. At the very least, options like these are worth exploring if this issue worries you often. 

What are the side effects?
Given our love affair with medication, many of us are reluctant to consider the side effects which come alongside most options. But, you can’t think about this issue without factoring this problem. After all, aren’t these side effects the real risk? Even staple medications such as paracetamol can have a massive impact on health. So much, so that long-term use has been linked to heart disease and other severe conditions. Obviously, the small amount in Calpol shouldn’t be a problem, but it’s worth considering. In more extreme courses of treatment, even more, worrying side effects are often noted. These can include nausea, mental confusion, and even death in some cases. Instead of approaching these with an ‘it won’t happen’ attitude, consider the reality. The risk wouldn’t be listed if it hadn’t happened to someone. Make sure you know the side effects and weigh the risks with that knowledge in mind.

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What are other parents doing?
This may seem contradictory given that this is your journey, and in some ways it is. But, there’s no getting past the fact that other parents can sometimes solve dilemmas for us. That’s not to say that you should listen to what other people want you to do. But, other parents who have faced your choice could help you see the impact of a decision. It may be that you have friends who opted for medication, or those who didn’t. Either way, they’re sure to have both plus and negative points of what they chose. This outside view from someone further in the process could be what you need to make your mind up. Seeing their child happy may also give you the confidence to make a difficult decision. After all, your child’s happiness is why you’re thinking about this in the first place.

What’s best for your child?
And, of course, all these considerations lead us back to the one crucial question: what’s best for your child? But, while the other questions include straightforward research, nothing else can help you choose this. It’s down to you to get the right balance, and make the choice with your child’s best interests at heart. And, how do you do that? For one, you could jot down all the evidence you’ve collected so far. Draw out a simple yes and no chart, and see which one comes out on top. This isn’t enough to seal the deal, of course, but it could help you in one direction or another. It’s also important to consider your child’s circumstances. If they’re in a lot of pain, you may be more tempted to go down the medication route, even if you do intend to explore other avenues. As cliche as it sounds, the best choice you have here is to listen to your heart. That is the thing which makes a mother, and it’s why you’re the best person for this decision. And, remember, no choice is set in stone. You can change your mind at any stage if you think you’ve made the wrong decision. So, don’t be afraid to make a choice!

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