Judith Warner writes today about The Med Scare, of the over-medication of certain groups of children within a broader pattern of lack of medications for many children with mental health problems. She is particularly concerned with “the narrative of the disastrously overmedicated American.”
The whole article is worth a read, but I was particularly struck by her cultural analysis near the end:
Why, then, the exaggerated belief that we’re raising a nation of pacified, high-performance zombies? I think it’s because we have real worries about the state of children – and childhood itself – in our time. We know that our current lifestyle of 24/7 work, constant competition, chronic stress and compensatory consumerism is toxic. But we also know – or feel – that there’s not much we can do about it. We feel guilty about the world we’ve created for our kids, one of lots of work and not much free play. But we’re also wedded to that world, invested in it, utterly complicit with its values and demands.
And so we shift the focus of our fears away from big forces we feel we can’t do anything about (globalization, an increasingly merciless marketplace, a growing gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else, the general indignities of life in the beleaguered middle class). Instead, we focus on decisions we can control (whether or not we will “drug” our kids). Our minds shift away from the myriad ways we collude in making life toxic for our children, and we obsess instead on condemning other people for allegedly poisoning their children’s bodies.