Archive for the 'Parenthood' category

Docs, you need to take more time 'splaining ADHD meds to parents

May 25 2010 Published by under Drug Abuse Science, Neuropharmacology, Parenthood

As you know, DearReader, I enjoy talking about science with the Boss, aka the US taxpayer, aka my friends, neighbors and acquaintances. In fact I not only enjoy it but I think of it as responsibility both to them, the people who fund the NIH, and to my fellow scientists.
You are also likely aware that I have school-aged children and therefore this circle of interactions with the taxpayer includes chatting with the parents of children that my own kids interact with.
One of the conversations that arises fairly frequently has to do with medications prescribed for Attention Deficit Disorder / Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD, ADHD). This is, of course, a big can of worms to be opening on the blogosphere and let me make it clear I'm not planning on discussing ADHD science per se.
In brief outline of the issues let us reflect on the following.
-as with most of the mental/behavioral disorders there exists a distribution or spectrum of traits, symptoms or behaviors. Depending on how you want to view them. At some point of extremity, we (meaning the clinical psychiatry/psychology communities) define or diagnose conditions as pathological and in need of intervention
-diagnosis is imperfect, we do not have alternate biomarker validation in most cases and there will always be those on the threshold
-specific traits or behaviors can be either trivial or maladaptive depending on circumstances.
-therapeutic intervention, even in the clearly pathological cases, is less than 100% successful.
-interventions which involve repeated or chronic administration of drugs which affect brain and other body systems have risks.
These end up being complicated situations for parents to navigate. Parents are subject to the usual stigmas about mental health, and are reluctant to consider that their child might actually benefit from therapeutic drugs. They are worried about the lasting consequences. They have, perhaps, run across the criticisms (some valid, many not) of ADHD diagnosis and medication that are available on the internet.
And their doctors are failing them.

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60 responses so far

A civil discussion with a small child

Jan 22 2010 Published by under Debate and Discussion, Parenthood

This morning I was having a discussion with one of my children about the wisdom and consequences of future actions. The way the conversation evolved cracked me up.
YHN: "No, you can't put the horsie in the bathtub, because it has batteries."
Child: "Yes, I can."
YHN: "No, see it will get wet and eventually corroded and ruined."
Child: "No, it won't."
YHN: "Yes, it will. Whatever gives you the idea that you can put this horsie in the bathtub?"
Child: "[Elder Sibling] said it was okay."
Right. This would be the [Elder Sibling] who Child opposes at just about every turn, particularly when it comes to [Elder Sibling] informing Child what Child may or may not do. With toys, generally.
Our conversation ran aimlessly for a good while after that with Child sticking firmly to the assertion that throwing a horsie in the bathtub was okay under the aegis of [Elder Sibling]'s authoritative permission*. The discussion was more or less amicable and The Man did not have to break out the tools of repression. I.e., Child was eventually distracted by something shiny.
Deploying a cherry-picked authority in support of what you already believe or want to do, to avoid engaging evidence and rationale (and yes, opposing authority) which you fear might contradict your pre-existing position or desire is apparently an early-formed trait.
No wonder we have such difficulty maturing past it.
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*note that it is entirely possible that Child misunderstood what [Elder Sibling] had to say on the topic or that [Elder Sibling] had never ventured an opinion on the topic.

28 responses so far

Please welcome Small Hyde!

Aug 28 2009 Published by under Blogging, Parenthood, Tribe of Science

One of our dear blogfriends, Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde, indicates that Small Hyde has arrived!
Congrats to the JekyllHyde family, welcome Small Hyde and best of luck to all in the wonderful months to come.

2 responses so far

Repost: Father, Scientist...Mentor

Internet random walk had me returning to this post for some reason recently. It wasn't Abel Pharmboy's excellent post on the women in his life, although that is clearly related. I did have the thought "I've only written one post tagged with methamphetamine? Really?" at one point along the stroll. Anyway.....
This was originally posted on January 28, 2008.


It is not news to observe that child issues cause women scientists some considerable career anxiety. When to tell the lab or the PI that you are pregnant? Should you wait to start "trying" until after the job interviews? Until after tenure so as to be taken as a "serious" scientist? How many children are "allowable"? How many pictures of the little darlin's can go over the bench? Should the "balance" of lab and child rearing be kept as opaque as possible from one's lab?
In contrast men have a much greater ability to conceal their "dad"-ness from their labs. They should not do so.
The father/PI who is seriously concerned about gender equity in science will go out of his way to exhibit his status. If you agree, there is no need to read below the fold.

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10 responses so far

The Kirsh on Overt Displays of Motherhood

May 21 2009 Published by under Parenthood

Sheril Kirshenbaum has a post up On Motherhood, Identity and Feminism over at The Intersection.

A friend recently pointed me to this particularly ridiculous article criticizing moms who post profile photos of their children*. The author Katie Roiphe goes so far as to suggest feminist Betty Friedan would 'turn in her grave' at such behavior

Go comment, I did.

This comes up sometimes in discussions of whether academics should have their office festooned with evidence of parent-hood, have kid pics at the end of their powerpoint presentations and/or allow that slide-show screen saver of the kid photo archive to run at study section.
I tend to argue that fathers should go ahead and do so because it helps to normalize the practice. Thereby letting everyone, including mothers who are judged more harshly, choose whether or not to display pictures of their children.
The counter, which is a serious issue, is whether this constitutes more privilege waving on the part of men because they get the credit for being a nice family d00d (see? He *isn't* just an unreconstructed jerk! He found someone to marry him. and he has *kids*!!!) without anyone seriously thinking they might be, you know, an actual parent that compromises the career for parenting duties.

10 responses so far

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