see files below for guidance
Why Newborns Cause
Acrimony and Alimony
“Differences in expectations of what parenting will bring to the marriage, and how to handle children, money, power, decisions, and chores all factor into the stresses that erode so many unions.”
abies enter a couple’s life through birth, adoption, or remarriage, creating new relationships, responsibilities, and joys. Whether a surprise, planned, or long sought, most babies are preceded with increased excitement, careful preparations, and growing hopes. Tiny clothing is -,ought; bedrooms are repainted; the best safety furniture and cariers obtained. Parents-in-waiting attend, prenatal classes, scour books for information, and tolerate bushels of uninvited advice from family, friends, and strangers. Many couples seem overprepared, if such a thing is possible.
Yet, in the midst of this nearly obsessive planning and preparirig, something often evades notice: about one in 10 couples divorce before their first child begins school. How can a baby generate such a series of emotional tidal waves that so often culminate in acrimony and alimony?
The changes in duties, income, and even the layout of the family home are anticipated; my experiences in the therapy room and with professional literature indicate that the true impact of
these changes apparently strikes with little warning. If they are wise, aching new parents in hurting marriages will come for counseling before the damage is irreparable. At the beginning of counseling, Rebecca and Joshua (made-up characters) are angry, hurt, unappreciated, disappointed, and ashamed. “We always put the children first,” they say proudly, but here they are, nearly dashed onto the rocks by an eight-poúnd tsunami.
The little tidal wave sweeps up both parents. Mom may be pulled up towards the crest, immersed in the profound relationship with the baby, while dad is swimming against the current under 20 feet water. These roles will shift as the waves crest, break, and rise again. Changes of all solts—from money o time to perceptions of power and responsibility—drive those gaves of emotional change.
If one parent, often the mother, provides full-time care for the infant, the loss of income creates emotional tension as well as financial stress. Betty Calter, founder and director at the Family Institute of Westchester (N.Y.), discovered in her research that the primary wage earner gradually takes on more financial decisionmaking rather than sharing decisions as when both were employed. In marriages where couples maintain separate finances; the difficulties may be compounded:• “my money” and “your money” become one person’s money.
When Rebecca left her job to care for the baby, she felt like a child having to ask Joshua for money each week; to her, it was like he had a checkbook and she had an allowance. Their eventual solution was to budget an amount each partner can spend on personal activities and purchases, while setting up two individual checking accounts in addition to the family account. This way, each has “my money” and there is adequate “our money.” Neither Joshua nor Rébecca will have to ask permission to have lunch with a friend or get angry about ATM transactions not entered into the family checkbook.
Reducing any feeling of dependency will have to include an effort to discuss finances in terms of “us” rather than “mine and yours.” Feeling dependent can lead to feeling powerless, to and a cutoff of communication; we only can resent those whom we feel have power over us. It may be that the working parent solicits input on decisions but that the nonworking parent seemingly is reluctant to act as a full partner—but each perceives it differently; one feels stuck with full responsibility while the other feels marginalized.
Who has power over whom? While the stay-at-home parent may feel dependent and helpless, the working parentcertainly is not riding the wave. According to a study published in the Journal of Marriage and the Family, men who are the primary or sole wage earner for a growing family often define themselves as successful parents if they provide financially for the family, while their wives define successful parenting based on relationships with the children and their satisfaction with parenting.
Article 27. Why Newborns Cause Acrimony and Alimony
Dad is under pressure to work longer hours, earn more money, and increasingly be concerned about job security and benefits; a man who pleviously explored his options if his current position was not satisfactory may feel painted into a corner because others completely depend on him. Where his wife perceives power, he feels pressure. Separated by a wall of water, they are at odds, with fewer resources.
If they are typical, the couple has little time to discuss their differences. New parenthood correlates with less leisure time together, fewer positive interactions between the new parents, and a sense of reduced emotional availability for both spouses. Rebecca is preoccupied with managing the baby and household duties. Joshua is working longer hours and worrying about the bills and future expenses of childrearing. Like many couples, they may avoid addressing their problems—and tension will build between them. The financial freedom they had to go places has been reduced. Both are exhausted and stressed.
Angry that Joshua is “not helping,” Rebecca turns more and more to her family and girlfriends for emotional support, discussing practical issues as well-as her loneliness, need for adult companionship, and resentment towards her husband. Women, in particular, are likely to look for emotional support outside the malTiage, from friends and family members. Turning primarily to outsiders for support, even extended family—rather than one another—can weaken the relationship, already challenged by financial stresses, interrupted sleep, and shifts in power and responsibility.
Differences in how men and women tend to define family roles, satisfactory parenting experiences, and their expectations for the marriage continue to foment trouble for many couples even after the first months of their child’s infancy, when the parent on leave may have returned to work.
As introduced earlier, men often define themselves as successful parents based on how well they provide for their children. Society reinforces this perspective, from the marketing for the “best” infant equipment to the expectation that the parents of young adults should finance their offspring’s education. Both men and women can fall victim to a societal message that children always must come first. Many men confess to resentment at the pressure to provide financially at the expense of getting to know and enjoy their kids, but, in line with cultural expectations, fathers often focus more on providing and less on handson parenting.
As published in the Journal of Marriage and the Family, William Marsiglio of the University of Florida found that over 10% of fathers never take their child (age four or under) anywhere on outings alone, while 15% never read to their young offspring. Men become more involved as their children mature. Fathers spend more time with sons and outgoing daughters; quiet daughters generally are more difficult for new dads. Mothers report consistent levels of interaction with their children regardless of temperament or parental satisfaction; indeed, the cultural pressure for mothers is to put the relationship with their children above everything else. However, the balance of the family and the relationship between spouses only can suffer when their primary commitment stops being to one another.
“For a woman . . . children in the home tend to bring more work, restricted freedom and privilege, and less pleasurable time with her husband.”
The differences between fathers’ and mothers’ involvement do not appear to be entirely explained by mothers being the at-home parent, as working moms spend much more time with their children than fathers do. Even the morning commute tends to include more parenting-related concerns for mothers than fathers. In many marriages, then, husbands tend to perceive, and act on, a greater range of options in their level of involvement with their children, with their wives carrying the greater part of the burden regardless of whether both parents are wage earners. In such a situation, the wife may grow to resent her husband. She perceives him as wieldThg more financial power and then acting on his apparerit to pick and choose how much to engage with his offspring. He, meanwhile, sees his previous best friend, lover, and companion putting him second, third, fourth—or lower-on the priority list despite his efforts to be a good husband and father.
Joshua, working longer hours and cutting back on his own activities, begins to shut down in the face of Rebecca’s apparent anger towards him. From his perspective, he cannot understand why she seems to be turning against him when he is doing his best to be a good husband and father. She cannot see why he does not want to spend more time with the baby. Didn’t they agree to start a family? She is returning to work and expects him to start doing his share.
The breakdown of household tasks is a common topic for general discussion, women’s magazines, and the occasional serious researcher. While many women stereotypically may complain that their husband does “nothing” around the house, research indicates this may be only a slight exaggeration. In 2004, surveys in the Journal of Marriage and the Family revealed that,
on average, a full-time working married woman with children spent over 80 minutes per workday on household tasks, while her employed spouse spent under 30. He, however, probably is working two-and-a-half to five hours more per week at a fulltime job than she is, making up for some of those missed housework hours. On weekends, her total time went up to almost 140 minutes, while his was just over 50. As time passes, the presence of daughters brings relief not to mother, but to father: The “mother’s helper” tends to take over chores previously done by dad, reducing his duties rather than mom’s!
Despite generally perceived changes in the inequality of male-female responsibility to children, moms still are spending more time than dads on household choles and tending to the kids. Youngsters under five require constant supervision: even a baby-proofed house can be dangerous when—if only for a moment—an adult’s back is turned. Somehow, working mothers are managing to spend well over twice as much time on chores, and perform those chores while keeping a watchful eye on children. It is arguable that those chores might take less time were she not simultaneously managing a toddler or two.
For a woman, then, children in the home tend to bring more
W6rk, rešfficted freedom and privilege, and less pleasurable time witffhèr husband. Meanwhile; her husband terids to be working extra about finances, and looking forward to when the children are old enough for him to enjoy. While it is not a picnic for anyone, it is not surprising that mothers report greater distress during the new parenting period. It is a warning alarm for marriagesThat, for women, greater unhappiness with parenting is correlated to marital dissatisfaction. Essentially, for women, parenting, marriage, and self-image are part of the same package, while for men, dissatisfaction in one area can have nothing to do with another.
Interestingly, fathers often report less satisfaction with their role as parents than women, but compartmentalize this from their feelings about marriage. As women become resentful of men’s decisions about finances, family time, and chores, they seek social and emotional support outside the marriage from family and friends. As fewer confidences are exchanged between the couple, emotional distance develops. As typified by Joshua and Rebecca, the gap may become a chasm if the husband feels criticized, unappreciated, or overwhelmed by his wife’s disappointment and expectations, or if her attempts to make things better are not met with some compromise.
Marital researcher John Gottman, co-founder of the Seattle Marital and Family Institute and author of a number- of books, including Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, has identified this turning away from one another-rather than towards one- another—in times of trouble as one of the danger signs of impending marital failure. Turning away may be a case of seeming to ignore one another’s efforts to mend fences or by investing emotionally outside of the marriage for needs previously met within the union. When couples stop talking about their differences, and no longer turn first to each other in times ofjoy and sadness, they become emotionally disengaged.
Happy marriages are correlated with low levels of distress over the challenges of parenting. Many marriage and family researchers have asserted that the quality of the marriage itself predicts the satisfaction with parenting. Healthy relationships more easily withstand the burdens of parenting. As weønsider the evidence that so many new parents’ marriages devolve into quagmires of power struggles over finances,. parenting, and chores, it becomes clear that differences in expectations are best addressed before the baby affives.
Besides a healthy, honest dialogue about expectations for parenting styles, couples should address how money will be handled, division of chores, who will take family medical leave to provide care for the infant, etc. Whether through family members, professiOnal therapists, or secular or worship communities, classes and guided discussions can provide useful assistance for new parents and: help short-circuit the patterns that lead to divorce preceding kindergarten for so many families. Couples preparing for,parenthood would do themselves a great service by learning about one another’s actual expectations of what family life will be like. In this era of smaller families, many premarital programs include discussions with long-married couples that can enlighten young people (who may have grown up with one or no siblings) about childcare, time demands of children, and some common pitfalls of early parenting. Those of us who have grown up in large families have few illusions about the time demands of parenting and are not shocked that a newborn can take control of a household or create emotional havoc. Inexperienced parents may have misconceptions about normal child. development, leading to anger, frustration, and disappointment with the parenting role. How many of us have seen steely-eyed, clenche&jawed parents striding through an amusement park pushing a stroller with an over-tired, crying child far too young to appreciate a $75 per person, 12-hour day in what is advertised as a family heaven? A one-hour visit to a petting zoo can challenge a young family; heavily invested days of mega-amusement parks are out of line with most young children’s energy and attention spans. Experienced parents or older children in large families know this. New parents from small families may not.
A primary complaint of many mothers is their mate’s lack of involvement with the kids: not just in sharing the burdens of the household, but in actual engagement. One of Rebecca’s main contentions is that Joshua never seems to do anything with the baby: she feels everything is left to her by default. If she does get help, she added, it is with household chores rather than spending time with the baby. Many experts cite men’s relative inexperience and lack of confidence in handling babies and small children. Added to this may be a solicitous new mother’s tendency to hover and correct based on what she would do; daddy may be within the bounds of correct care, but if different from mommy, she is likely to correct him. Providing training to new fathers, and encouraging new mothers to withhold all but constructive criticism can improve inexperienced fathers’ confidence and comfort in accepting more responsibility for direct child care.
Coaching both parents can help them handle various situations and ease fears, perhaps. unspoken, that they will “lose it” and make a terrible mistake with their child. Discussing household tasks and division of duties sounds simple, but most therapists•familiar with couples’. work will assert that such discussions tend not to occur under ideal circumstances. Differences in standards are a good area to seek a workable This requires real listening and work: if one parent believes toddlers need daily activities (play dates, gymnastic classes, etc.) and that the house must be vacuumed daily; it may be necessary to compromise with a mate who believes that weekly—or perhaps twice-a-week—vacuuming is sufficient and that babies do not need expensive daily actiVities.
“Many couples [are dissatisfied] with the marriage because the intimate emotional relationship has beeri subsumed into a parent-child-parent triangle.”
Article 27. Why Newborns Cause Acrimony and Alimony
Bullied by the popular media’s obsession with telling parents how to build the perfect child, Rebecca scheduled exercise classes, music and reading groups, and other activities; besides holding herself up to an unrealistic expectation of household cleanliness. Joshua, meanwhile, was more concerned with having a happy, relaxed family. He could not see the purpose in being frantic about activities that were supposed to be fun or in “dliving ourselves crazy” with daily cleaning routines. Simplistic as it sounds, switching tasks for a few days can be a real
eye-opener for everyone. Coaching mothers in asking for the help they need directly from theft spouse and in being proactwe in arranging for breaks in childcare duties to pursue adult interests is another means to improving the situation. Mothers
can take advantage of fathers’ hands-on time by gettirig out of the house, having alone time in another room, or enjoying an uninterrupted phone call. In situations where the father is the full-time, at-home parent, the roles would reverse: he needs to spend time alone or with friends.
Many couples stop having couple time in exchange for family time, leading to dissatisfaction with the marriage because the intimate emotional relationship has been subsumed into a parent-child-parent triangle. This is unhealthy for the marriage and the children. Kids learn by observation. When they see parents putting one another last, they develop this as a template for their own future relationships. Children who later have difficulty maintaining truly intimate adult relationships should not be a surprise to parents who put family time far ahead of couple time.
I routinely “prescribe” a couple’s night for every family I see, even if the problem is not the couple but a child’s in-school behavior. The parents are urged to set aside one evening for themselves; they do not have to go anywhere or spend money. Couples with infants can schedule this around typical feeding times. If they have older kids, they are to send them to their rooms for an extra hour of reading bef01e bedtime. This will provide a grown-ups’ evening, as simple as a video and dinner, or a game of Scrabble, or pushing back the furniture for so dåncing. Interestingly, my clients often report that their schoo
age children become enthusiastic about the parents’ evening, for example, hearing a teenager explain to a friend, “No, we can’t watch the game here. . It’s my parents’ date night. HOW about your house?” A kindergartner reminds the parents each
Sunday, “Don’t forget! It’s your date night! We get to go to bed early and read,” Children fear their parents divorcing. If Mom and Dad have a romantic night every week, it might be gross— but at least it’s not a divorce, runs the child-logic. The youngster also is getting a powerful message about the importance of the . marital relationship.
Differences in expectations of what parenting ‘Will bring to the marriage, and how to handle children, money, power, decisions, and chores all factor into the stresses that erode so many unions. A combination of education, support in seeking healthy ways to breach differences and strengthen the marital relationship, and, above all, tuming towards one another to find solutions and support rather than turning separately to outsiders, serves to avoid and ameliorate the difficulties of early parenting that lead to so many fractured families before the first back-toschool night.
DOLORÈS PUTERB,WGH, a psychotherapist in private practice in Largo, Fla., is a member of the Advisory Board of the International Center for the Study Of Psychiatry and Psychology.
From USA Today Magazine, by Dolores Puterbaugh, May 2005. pp. 27—29. Copyright C 2005 by Society for the Advancement of Education, Inc. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
10/12/2009 Making an aggressive case for day car…
10/12/2009 Making an aggressive case for day car…
10/12/2009 Making an aggressive case for day car…
Get all the news you need from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Making an aggressive case for day care’s benefits
Wednesday, Apnl 25, 2001
Mark once said that hopefill reports ofhis death had been geatly exaggerated. Parents would do well to take a similar view of last week’s brouhaha over aggression and day care.
News reports quoted a professor who warned that children in rmre than 30 hours ofday care a week are more aggressive. But what he ñiled to is that these “aggessive” children were well within the normal range Weather* ofbehavior, and their incidence ofhitting or bids for attention were no greater
CLICK HERE than in the population at large.
post-gazette.com So anyone to today’s moms with tormrrow’s superHeadlines predators on the basis of this study is way out on a limb.
The professor in question is Jay Belsky, fornMly of Penn State and currently ofthe University and he’s entitled to his spin. But some ofthe study’s other 28 researchers including two at the University of Pittsburgh -have a different interpretation of the same results.
The fidings come from the longest-running investigation into the effects of child care the nation’s history. Begun in 1991 by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human DevelopnEnt, it has 10 teams ofresearchers around the country following 3, 100 ñmilies from the birth oftheir children through the sö(th grade.
Their reports are always eagerly awaited because people on all sides of the day-care debate have signed on to the project. But that doesn’t mean they agree on what the results nEan.
I called Pitt psychologist Susan Campbell, a principal researcher along with her Pitt colleague Celia Brownell, to ask if she agreed with Belskÿs
“Absolutely not, ” said.
The study find that children m rmre than 30 hours ofday care had a higher rate ofaggressive behaviors than those fewer hours or no care, Car*ll said, but even those elevated rates were no higher in the general population of4 and 5-year-olds.
‘These kids are nornnL” said. ‘We’re not talking about clinically significant levels. They don’t need to be referred for help because theÿre aggessive. There is no cause for alarm here.”
Armng the studÿs other recent results:
· Children in higher quality care in the first 4 1/2 years had better language and cognitive developfiEnt and were rmre ready for school
· Children who watched a lot did rmre poorly in language and cogffire developnEnt.
· Caregvers with rmre training and fewer children their charge were rmre stirmlating and responsive, so the children did better.
‘We can’t regulate the way people behave with kids, but there are we can regulate in child care, such as training, education and ratios, ” Car*ll said.
‘th’that we need is higher quality child care across the board.”
SonE have read ofBeLskÿs take on the NICHD study and concluded that parents — usually rmthers — should stay home with their chluren That is always an option for those who choose it, but thß would be a good tinE for a little reafty check.
Last year, according to the Bureau ofLabor Statistics, 9.7 mülion with children under age 6 were in this country. Son•E 6.9 million worked fill] tinE and another 2.8 million part time. All told, they accounted for 7 percent ofthe nation’s enployment rolls.
That’s not enough to collapse the whole economy ifevery one of them quit their jobs tormrrow, but it’s enough to make for a pretty uncomfortable squeeze.
And the fields where dominate the work force — say, teachers, nurses, health care aides and administrative staff– it’s certainly enough to throw the nation’s schools, hospitals, nursing homes and large corporations into a labor crisis.
What thß that day care isn’t going away. Families need it; the economy needs it; welñre reform needs it.
This doesn’t nEan the 30-hours ñctor should be discounted in day-care discussions. Indeed, it could make a good for offeñg the options ofreduced work weeks, flexible schedules or a year off after the ofa child.
But parents should not be scared into quitting their jobs on the basis of this study, reports ofwhich have been yeatly exaggerated.
Sally Kalson ‘s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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Kalson, Sally. “Making an Aggressive Case for Day Care’s Benefits.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 25 Apr. 2001. Web. 22 Oct. 2009
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STOP MEDICAL EXPERIMENTATION ON OUR CHILDREN
By NHF President, Maureen Salaman Gordon
The year was 1961, a time of great darkness in conventional adult psychiatry (the darkness of ignorance is only now just beginning to lift). This is a true story.
Julie was not quite two years old when her father became concerned about her behavior. She fought with her little brother, wasn’t quite getting the right potty training, and openly defied her parents. Normal behavior under most standards, considering her age. However, for a psychiatrist trained in the use of drugs, not child behavior, it was enough to prescribe a heavy tranquilizer with dangerous side effects.
She might never have discovered the terrible secret if her father hadn’t recorded it in her baby book. He wrote, Unusual fussiness and irritability. Much sibling quibbling. It has regressed to bedwetting. Definite signs of psychological insecurity. Dr. Ames prescribed a tranquilizer of the promazine type (phenothiazine). The reaction created spastic movements (dyskinesia), eye rolling (oculogyric), and general tremors.
Julie was admitted to the hospital when she lost motor control of her body. Her neck lost its support of its head, which lolled onto her shoulder, her eyes rolled back uncontrollably, she slurred her words, her hands shook, she had trouble walking, and she had facial tics. She was lucky she didn’t die or end up brain damaged. She was in the hospital two days before the effects of the drug wore off and she started to regain normal function.
More reasons to reject pharmaceuticals for our kids
Only now, almost forty years later, is the FDA and conventional medicine admitting that their policies of promoting dangerous prescription drugs have been victimizing our kids.
We have had a decades-lone experimentation with our children, admits Dianne Murphy, FDA pediatric drug specialist, in a November 1999 article in USA Today.
According to widely cited statistics, 80 percent of prescriptions written for children involve medications approved only for adult use. Adverse drug reactions account for more than 100,000 deaths each year, according to some reports. And at least half a million American children are taking prescription and antidepressants that have not been determined to be safe or effective in children.
Why children kill
There are 3-4 million children and adolescents suffering from depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder in the US, according to a number of sources. Despite the fact that there are a number of concerns about prescribing antidepressants to youths, doctors have been prescribing them for children, with some 580,000 children and adolescents being prescribed SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft in 1996.
The use of Prozac alone went from 41,000 ages 6-12 in 1995 to 203,000 in 1996. Though shocked by bizarre shottings in schools, few Americans have noticed how many shooters are among the six million kids now on psychotropic drugs.
Kip Kinkel, a 15-year-old youth who killed his parents and killed two and wounded 22 of his fellow students at Thurston High School in Oregon, was taking Prozac.
Eric Harris, one of the shooters at Columbine High in Littleton, CO, was under the influence of Luvox (fluvoxamine), an anti-depressant medication. The potential side effects of Luvox are listed in the manufacturer’s warning. Frequent adverse effects include manic reaction and psychotic reaction. Symptoms of mania include delusions of grandeur, intense irritability, rages and delusional thoughts.
Ann Blake Tracy, PhD, author of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? has been studying the violent, dark side of SSRI drugs for ten years. She has researched 32 murder/suicides involving women and their children. She found that in 24 of 32 cases a SSRI drug was involved.
A report issued in 1995 by the Drug Enforcement Agency warned that Ritalin, commonly prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), shares many of the pharmacological effects of cocaine. Some experts believe Ritalin can cause psychotic reactions resulting in suicide and violent behavior toward others.
Most medicines are administered to children lacking manufacturer’s recommendations — in other words, by the seat of their pants. Except for a relatively small number of therapies for infections and childhood diseases, physicians can only guess on dosages for children, increasing the likelihood of dangerous, even deadly, side effects. How many parents do you think are told this by their doctor? How many find out too late?
Drug makers put profit before safety
The lack of clinical data on drug safety and efficacy in children goes back to the long-held belief that it is unethical to enroll infants and small children in clinical trials before obtaining adult test data documenting safety and effectiveness.
This line of thinking was changing by 1977 when the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) asserted that the exclusion of children from trials was more unethical than testing because it forced physicians to prescribe drugs for children based on inadequate information. The FDA responded in 1979 by adding a pediatric use section to the indications section of the label in an attempt to encourage manufacturers to provide additional dosing information.
However, few drug manufacturers were willing to invest in added testing for very small patient populations. Not surprising when you consider that pharmaceutical sales for adults in the United States run about $70 billion a year, while those for children account for a mere $3.5 billion. The figures are even smaller for pediatric use of medications to treat degenerative and potentially fatal conditions such as arthritis, cancer, AIDS, cardiorenal problems and depression. Through the 1980s little changed. Most drugs remained pediatric orphans, with three quarters of medications offering inadequate information on their use for children.
The situation prompted FDA to issue a revised rule in 1994, offering an alternative method to support pediatric use information. It specified that when the course of a disease is similar in adults and children sponsors may submit data from controlled clinical trials in adults, together with testing to show effectiveness in pediatric populations.
The new policy has generated about 400 efficacy supplements. Unfortunately, about 75 percent of them proved to be inadequate, offering minor word changes and unanalyzed literature reviews. The continued lack of pediatric data prompted government officials to try again.
In August 1997 Congress gave the FDA the right to require manufacturers to conduct studies and supply data to document the safety and effectiveness of pediatric uses for all new and existing medications that are likely to be used in children or for those that offer meaningful therapeutic benefits over existing treatments. The requirement was never mandated. There was too much complaining by the manufacturers to risk losing the tax base.
Although they naturally support the concept of developing more drugs for children, thus increasing their profit margin, they object strongly to a government mandate that they conduct studies or label a product in a specific way. Drug makers’ excuses include concern that added information requirements could slow or side-track the development of new therapies for adults, that regulators did not fully appreciate the difficulties of developing pediatric formulations, and that the proposal contradicts emerging international policies — all deemed more important than the safety of our children.
Trying once again, last year an FDA rule required companies seeking approval of new products to do pediatric studies if their drugs will be taken by children. Adding an economic incentive (one they will understand), if companies do pediatric studies requested by the FDA (they have to be bribed to do the right thing?), dederal legislation grants them an additional six months of profit exclusivity before generic forms of their drugs enter the market. Several makers of antidepressants have studies under way. None of the drugs are close to winning approval for use with children.
What’s wrong with this picture?
While the Feds and the FDA walk on eggshells to avoid incurring the wrath or disapproval of pharmaceutical companies, children are being victimized by helpless doctors and parents who deed into the propaganda that drugs are the only solutions to their medical and behavioral problems.
Prescribing medicine is a two-edged sword. Doctors and parents expect the drugs to help a child recover from his illness. However, the specter of side effects, some of which can be serious or even deadly, is always present.
A 1998 Canadian study of 1,545 children under 17 years old who experienced drug side effectrs found that antibiotics are the number-one cause, specifically amoxicillin and ampicillin, which caused 24% of all drug reactions. Vaccines were second at 19%. Antibiotics found to be troublesome included Ceclor, sulfamethoxazole-trimethoprim (Septra, Bactrim), erythromycin, penicillin, cloxacillin, and erythromycin/sulfisoxazole.
Serious side effects from pharmaceuticals designed for adults is a serious issue. The tip of the iceberg are antiviral AIDS drugs which damage childrens’ hearing, cause seizures and cardiac arrest, asthmatic children whose growth is stunded by inhaling high doses of cortico steroids; and children becomming irritable, confused, delirious and even hallucinatory after their parents applied a topical over-the-counter dyphenhydramine product (brand names include Caladryl, Ziradryl and chain drugstores brands like CVS’s Calohist) over large areas of skin.
In December, doctors at a Tennessee hospital gave 200 infants the antibiotic erythromycin as a precaution when they were exposed to whooping cough. Seven of the infants because ill with pyloric stenosis, in which a muscle at the bottom of the stomach enlarges, blocking food from passing to the small intestine, requiring surgical treatment. All the affected babies were under three weeks of age.
Precaution is no excuse for giving antibiotics that pose serious risks to infants, especially to babies so young. Newborns are also sometimes given erythromycin when the mother has tested positive for chlamydia.
Have you ever seen the hot pink diaper rash of a fungus infection on a baby that’s being treated with antibiotics? The overkill is appalling.
Dr. Jonathan Wright did biopsies on children with asthma. He found that in those who were given antibiotics before five years of age, the cilia in the intestine was severely impaired, compromising digestion and creating allergic reactions.
Even the American Journal of Pediatrics admits that chronic ear infections are caused by food allergies. Dr. Wrignt claims that if you give children the age of four antibiotics they will have asthma before the age of five or six, and 50 percent will have epileptic seizures. Incidences of asthma in children under four years of age have increased in the last decade by 160 percent.
Many drugs are approved without pediatric testing and even then manufacturers do testing for correct dosages only after the drugs are approved.
It behooves all of us to insist that natural medicines continue to be studied and embraced, and that man-made chimicals have no place in our lives and the lives oand health of our children. We must demand that pharmaceutical companies be held accountable for their propaganda and that our freedom of medical choice be honored.
Adult Medication is Used on Young Without Testing. USA Today, November 30, 1999
American Family Physician, p.1734, November 15, 1998.
Antibiotic Tied to Seven Newborns’ Stomach Disorder. Bynum, Russ, Associated Press, December 17, 1999.
Antidepressant Makers Study Kids’ Market, Wall Street Journal, v. CCXXIIX, n. 66, p. 81 April 4, 1997
Columbine Shooter Was Prescribed Anti-Depressant, CNN
Interactive, April 29, 1999
Doping Our Kids, Bresnahan, David M., WorldNetDaily.com, April 9, 1999
Drug Reactions, Pediatrics for Parents, May 1999.
Effect of Asthma and Its Treatment on Growth: Four Year Follow-Up of Cohort of
Children from General Practices in Tayside, Scotland, McCowan, C., et al.,
British Medical Journal, 316, 7132, 668(1), February 28, 1998.
Website of the
Pediatric Antiviral AIDS Therapy Damages Hearing in Children, AIDS Weekly Plus, October 26, 1998
The Pediatric Drug Development Challenge, Pharmaceutical Technology, v. 22, n. 8, p. 12, August 1998.
Topic for assignment #4
Gordon, Maureen S. “Stop Medical Experimentation on Our Children.”
Health Care Commentary, Newswithviews.com. Web. 22 Oct. 2009.
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Please refer to Critical Analysis Guidelines for the criteria used to evaluate essays.