Educating Our Children- Do They Really Need Medication- Part I

g. kirklandholmesStarred Page By g. kirklandholmes, 22nd May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Education

This is Part I in a five part series on child behaviors in school mostly with the ending of the home environment. There are many questions today in our educational systems about what are some of the best practices for educating our children. Have times really changed such that even toddlers are so out of hand? Who is responsible? Who is aware of what needs to happen? Who is going to step forward with some strategies that work?

Educating Children in the United States

As my life would have it, I grew up in South Carolina. Back then, it was like teachers were naturally-born to be teachers. All through school, it just seemed so apparent to me as a young child that our teachers were very special people. Somehow they seemed to have an extra special touch of knowledge about just what to do with us to help us learn. Now as we look back, not all of us may have agreed with some of the approaches they used, but if they worked, it seems as though, "it was a hands-down or hands-off approach." It also seem to me like parents didn't have to go to the school as often because there were fewer educational problems or concerns.
Or did it just seem that way as a student growing up and going through the educational system?

What Are the Responsibilities of Those Who Are the Educators?

Of course being a young student, one certainly would have a different perspective back then versus being an educator today. Now is it really that I have moved from the south to the midwest. After all we are often told that the southern states' educational system are lagging behind those in other parts of the United States. Now who made this determination and how, are among some of the questions?
Now some would beg to argue or to disagree because of the criteria that might be used. Are they only using some form of standardized test that is supposed to be the be-all to everyone- each competing student should be able to score in the same range on the same test regardless of circumstances and situations?
Well then as we are sending more and more teacher educators out into our educational systems everyday, what do we expect from them? What are their obligations to our children?

Are Children Really So Different?

Now with my being one of the people at a teacher-preparation institution, we are asked each day "are we preparing our teachers for the real world of teaching?" Then each one of us instructors begin to visualize in our minds what is the real world like today? Have times really changed that what we are doing is no longer effective for today's children? Are children really so different? Has the twenty first century really impacted their entire well being that we had better come up with some totally different approaches and strategies, unless the whole educational system will be rendered useless for most of our students?
Because corporal punishment is not allowed in most schools in the United States today, are teachers/educators saying that they can not fulfill their positions because of the children's challenging behaviors?
Are we trained to meet the needs of children with disabilities? Is it really realistic to assume that all children should not be expected to be fully integrated into the regular classroom and not in segregated classrooms?

Whose Going to Stand Up for the Children?

Now as I have been listening to different groups of educators, dependent on whom I am speaking to, there are more and more complaints about the students' behaviors, mostly disruptive in the classroom. Then there is another group who shares of the students' lack of motivation and non-interest in learning. So out of frustration or not knowing what to do, some teachers are making the choice to isolate the disruptive student from the remainder of the class. Because the behaviors seem to be constant, these students are left in isolated areas of the classroom for long periods of time. Those who really know about learning models know that this is one of the least effective approaches to use with students who may already be delayed educationally. The acting out behaviors may be a sign of crying out for help. Instead of the attitude of helping, there is a promotional attitude of punishment, thus in some cases enhancing the inappropriate, non-compliant behaviors and increased isolation. But whose there to stand up on behalf of the student? Whose going to be the voice crying out in the wilderness about giving the student another chance? Are you willing to stand up for the children?

Whose Going to Speak Up About Children's Rights?

Now when a group of parents came to our church during Sunday School, they really had a need to express themselves and their concerns about how their children were being treated in schools. Some expressed concerns about the safety of their children because they felt like some teachers don't understand their children and they worried that they would be mistreated. They based their perceptions on the fact of some of the written reports from the teachers. Many of them were purely negatively written statements about their children. Of course one was so atrocious that she did get fired by the school district because her comments in reference to some of the students in her class were just too unprofessional to even be recorded on paper for any eyes to view. Some teachers and educators must forget that children have rights too. So when it comes to daily educational programming, I think many of us forget that if the students were not in our classrooms, we would not have a job. It is time that we treat them with dignity, respect and as valued citizens. We all should be speaking up everywhere we go for student's rights. Their young voices don't always have the words to say what they really want to say.

Whose Going to Speak Up for Educator's Rights?

Now many educators feel that their rights are taken away from them because they feel that they are doing their best with each child. When the teacher feels as though she/he is giving their best, and yet they are still being criticized, many say that is a very "hard pill to swallow." But some school districts say, we have too many children being left behind. Others are saying that the achievement gaps continue to widen among minority and non-minority populations. Questions continue to pour in from educational experts all over the world about what are we going to do about these gaps? Do we understand some of the reasons for these differences in performance? Do we have any approaches and strategies to use to help students do better in school? Why are we still sending so many children to the principal? Why are so many people exaggerating some of the behaviors concurring with the need for the student to be placed on behavioral-altering medications?
For some it is the only way that they will be able to cope with those children entering their classrooms. It is as if there is a fear of the students being aggressive enough to hurt the teachers regardless of whether they have shown any of these types of behaviors or not.

No, I Do Not Want You Giving My Child Behavior Altering Medications!

So this young teen mom, began to cry as she told how whose felt about the whole process of her child entering kindergarten. I was so excited about him starting school. I always felt like he was smart because he did everything early according to when they say they were supposed to do them. I remember he even walked at nine months. He started talking in sentences very early also. People would always come up to this mother telling her how smart her son was. She shared that she would just proudly beam about the compliments. While she and his dad were not married, his dad would come and get him and spend quality time with him. His dad also noticed how smart he was. of course both sets of grandparents thought he was wonderful also. Of course they tell me that grandparents always love their grands, adore them and of course think that they are the smartest of all times!
So our family was quite surprised to hear the teacher as she began to give a report on my son, his behavior, his developmental delays and how she thought he could really benefit from the medication, ritalin or one similar to it. She had seen students just like him and once they start taking this medication, "it settles them down," "it helps them concentrate better" and most of all "they seem ready to learn." The mom shared how disappointed and hurt she was that anyone would be recommending that she put her five year-old on some medication. Medication for what. She told the teacher that her mother never put her on any medication and that she really was an active child. The teacher told her, but you were a girl and the research is showing that more little boys need this medication than girls. I asked her why. I am not sure how else she responded, but tears started rolling down her cheeks, she said. Then she felt like she lost it and started screaming at the teacher, saying, "No, I am not going to let you or no one else put my child on any kind of medication." She got her son, who was continuously asking his mother, "Mama what they want to do with me? I am not sick, why they want to give me any medication?"

Join Us for Part II in a Series- Who Started this Medication Strategy Anyhow?

Don't miss part II- "Who Do You Think You Are- Giving My Child Medication to Learn?"
As we prepare for Part II, think about what questions you may have about giving children as young as 18 months, behavioral changing medications. Here are a few more thoughts:
1) How do you know if your child needs medication?
2) What are some reasons for requesting that children take medication?
3) Who recommends and who prescribes?
4) What are some behaviors that one would consider as inappropriate that would call for a medication request?
5) What is the difference between a student having a short attention span, being bored or disinterested in the subject at hand?
Stay tuned for the next part in this series that should get all of us to thinking regardless of the roles that we may play in the lives of children!


Behavior Help, Behavior Modification, Behavior Of Children, Behaviors, Behaviour Pattern, Behaviour Problems, Child, Child Development, Childhood Memories, Children, Childrens Health, Childs Rights, Educate, Education System, Educational Ideas, Educational Tips

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author avatar g. kirklandholmes
I am an early childhood educator and taught pre-school-kindergarten multi-age grouping classes and early childhood courses at the University of Northern Iowa. I also publish with

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author avatar Delicia Powers
22nd May 2013 (#)

Bravo...well said g....and many thanks!

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author avatar g. kirklandholmes
23rd May 2013 (#)

Thank you for your comments!

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author avatar GV Rama Rao
22nd May 2013 (#)

Thought provoking article. Education and its reform is always a fascinating subject. Awaiting part 2.

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author avatar g. kirklandholmes
23rd May 2013 (#)

Great! Thank you and getting ready to bring forth part II.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
22nd May 2013 (#)

please NO medication for children...parents are not told of the multiple poisons contained therein...a wonderful piece indeed...thank you

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author avatar g. kirklandholmes
23rd May 2013 (#)

Thank you for your comments! Appreciate them and your awareness of this issue.

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