Taming Tom Sawyer:
Ritalin as a Substitute for Character (Part 1)

General Bioethics — By on January 21, 2005 at 7:03 am

[Note: Since I ‘



  • Phil Aldridge

    Not only are we teaching children that drugs make a good substitute for discipline, we are teaching parents that you don’t have to be a parent if you have a generous doctor.
    How did we ever survive before ritalin?

  • http://TheEverwiseBoonton.blogspot.com Boonton

    I’m still undecided here but I’ll play Devils Advocate.
    Why is it wrong to assume drugs cannot be used as an aid to discipline? For hundreds of years adults have used coffee to modify their work ethic a tad in order to get going early in the morning. I’m unaware of any parent does not discipline their kid because ritalin has made it unncessary.
    Alternatively, are beatings and screaming matches better discipline & parenting because they are ‘non-chemical’?

  • Chris Lutz

    Why is it wrong to assume drugs cannot be used as an aid to discipline? For hundreds of years adults have used coffee to modify their work ethic a tad in order to get going early in the morning. I’m unaware of any parent does not discipline their kid because ritalin has made it unncessary.
    If the kid is uncontrollable, then there is nothing wrong with it. However, too often it seems to be the first choice for too many parents with kids that are just energetic.
    I think a couple of factors play a role here. One, I think daycare makes for more unruly children. I’ve talked to a few teachers and they say they can usually pick out the kids that have been in a lot of daycare. Second, people keep putting off having kids until later in life. I don’t know about most people, but the older I get, the less energy and patience I have. I wouldn’t want to have a kid now. Those aren’t the only factors, but I think they play a part.
    In the majority of cases, if you apply a standard of discipline from a young age and stick to it, you don’t have these problems. You also don’t have many shouting matches or spankings.

  • http://www.harmonreview.com/tincan/ Misty

    My husband is diagnosed with ADHD, as is his father and all his siblings. The two youngest siblings are 13 and 8. Though I know the mother and father did not intend it this way, they have set up an environment where ADD is used as a tool and a weapon. When one of the ADD-ers are not acting the best (meaning perhaps just more talkative than usual, besides actual behavioral problems), the other members of the family will often say, “You didn’t take your medicine today, did you?” In particular the 13 year old has taken it up as a weapon against the 8 year old. Since this is considered a legitimate question, it is a valid way to signal to the youngest that his behavior is annoying or out of line–even if it’s not. Since an ADD-er without medication is automatically in the wrong, there is no room to argue. It’s often the quickest way to end an argument–just ask whether they took their medicine.
    I’m still torn on whether ADD is what many claim it is. I lived with my in-laws for a year and a half, and though I admit they had behavioral characteristics that were different than ‘normal’ I wouldn’t say they were so bad as to need medicating.

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