My friend and I were having a lively conversation the other day when the topic of conversation turned to our children. Now our conversations always include something about our children because we are stay at home moms and our children are the majority of our day. Our conversations always include a story or example of something our children have done or said that really stood out.
My friend mentioned that her eight year old was having trouble in school with his reading skills and had told his mother that he didn’t want to read in front of the class because it made him feel stupid and kids would make fun of him. This revelation came after approximately three days of acting out at home and an eight year olds attempt at ruling the house and having everything his way. Now all young boys attempt this at some point in their growing up, but this she said was excessive.
After my friend finished her tale of home upset we began comparing the way our children behave now verses how we remembered behaving growing up, and I shared experiences similar to hers that I had experienced with my five year old.
We have both noticed an increase in the sensitivity of our children’s feelings toward life and life’s experiences. The extreme need they have that everything be just so in their lives, that everything is just right, or they will dissolve into tears with the slightest provocation. Minor discipline becomes a major event, getting exactly what they want for dinner, specific clothes, the restaurant of their choice and the list goes on. Now every child goes thru a stage where they want to make choices for themselves and be a part of the decision making process but this has continued for at least a year in my child’s case and probably as long with my friend’s children.
If I don’t fix exactly what my son wants for dinner it’s immediate tears and anger. If he cannot wear the outfit he wants to school its tears again. If we don’t go to McDonald’s instead of Burger King it’s a fight and refusal to eat. My friend’s son is the same way, if she didn’t thaw out what he wants for supper it’s a fight, anger, frustration, tears. Acting out and attempting to order around other siblings comes next. With extreme sensitivity to any suggestions you might give.
We continued to compare behavior amongst our children, seven in total between us, and began contemplating what the cause of this excessive sensitivity might have come from. We don’t remember being this sensitive growing up or having this many problems getting along with others.
My friend and I have somewhat different parenting styles. While both of us are stay at home moms, my friend works exclusively from home while I volunteer for my local rescue squad outside of the home. We both are in our early thirties and have multiple children. My children have been in daycare while hers have only been watched by family members and very close friends. My friend is extremely crafty and looks for things she and her children can create together while I on the other hand prefer independent play with use of their imagination. We have both been diagnosed with depression and have both taken different antidepressant medications while being pregnant.
We began to wonder if our generation’s use of prescription antidepressants was the cause of the extreme sensitivity in our children. In our parents day antidepressants were not a widely prescribed as they are now and we don’t see the sensitivity in our generation that we are seeing in our children. Is it possible that our children are experiencing a side effect of us taking antidepressants while pregnant with them, or are their other factors that we haven’t considered? Is it possible that the use of antidepressants during pregnancy has some kind of an effect on a child as they grow up that will cause the chances of them to need medication as they get older, or is it just the world changing around them and their attempt to cope?