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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Society has come to rely on chemical medications too heavily, often times to a detrimental degree. Take, for example, the ADD and ADHD problems America has been experiencing. Children with ADD and ADHD were frequently prescribed Adderall, which is chemically similar to a street drug commonly known as “speed.” Today, children with ADD and ADHD are more commonly prescribed Ritalin, because most doctors have decided that it may be safer than Adderall. Ritalin can actually interfere with a child’s development. When taking Ritalin, a child may not grow or gain weight adequately.

When used in conjunction with the proper therapy and counseling, these drugs can offer immense benefits to children that have severe ADD and ADHD problems – in other words, they can be helpful for children that are literally bouncing off the walls. Depending on the parents and the doctor, children can be rather quickly diagnosed with ADD and ADHD by simply asking a list of questions. Some parents are so adamant that their child make “straight A’s,” all of the time, that they can inadvertently place a lot of pressure on their child. The child becomes stressed out and uninterested in learning, the parents conclude it must be some form of ADD, and they demand testing.

When the parents are headstrong about the situation, many doctors will comply with parental demands instead of fully evaluating whether Adderall or Ritalin is completely necessary. Any doctor that immediately jumps onto that bandwagon could be held accountable for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

For a child that has trouble focusing on homework after school, that is making C’s and an occasional B or D, prescription drugs are not the answer. There are activities and changes in diet that can prove far more effective, and healthy, than any prescription drug. Children need about 60 minutes of playtime or other physical activity per day. See if your child would like to start a sport or some sort of volunteer activity. Habitat for Humanity is a great project that both you and your child can get into, and it instills core values we all want to teach our children while allowing for physical activity. Another option for handling a very active child is to research other local schooling options. Some children excel in private or public schools, while it is best for other children to be homeschooled. Certain schools may offer specialty programs, classes, clubs, and free tutoring to cater to your child’s specific needs. Meeting with the school counselor on a regular basis is always a great idea.

Finally, evaluate your child’s diet. You want to minimize the excess sugar and preservatives in his or her food. Cutting back on frozen or pre-packaged food is a great start! B vitamins help your child turn food into more stable energy. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in some peanut butters, salmon, or walnuts, help your child’s brain development. Vitamins A, C, and E are found in many nuts and fruits, such as almonds, kiwi, watermelon, and oranges. You may be wondering, as I have many times, “How on earth will I ever get my kid to eat this stuff!?” The key is to make health food fun. Ants-on-a-Log is an old favorite that is tasty and healthy, but the best part is that your children can help you make this snack. Children like to be active. They want to feel involved and included, in virtually everything you do. Simple snacks that your kids can help you make are a sure-fire way to get them healthier foods. Consider the foods you eat as well, because your children are always watching. The bottom line: it is up to you to be the example you want your children to follow.

Amanda Emerson is a young work-from-home mother who is still figuring out the tricks of parenting. She hopes to encourage a love for learning through her efforts as a writer.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to live healthy lifestyles.

Image courtesy of sean dreilinger via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.