let kids be kids

I think I was born without the gene provides maternal instincts. I'm just not the that into kids. I don't get excited when I see babies. Even as a teenager, I found the idea of babysitting appalling.

But there are too many people out there who don't know themselves well enough to know they either aren't ready for parenting or aren't interested in parenting. And they go ahead and make babies anyway.

Take Michael and Carolyn Riley, who've made headlines for the past couple months after their 4-year-old daughter Rebecca died from a prescription drug overdose. At age 2½, the girl had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactive disorder. She was prescribed several psychotropic drugs for all these ailments. Her siblings had similar diagnoses and prescriptions.

Kids at that age are just learning to talk. They've just starting walking. Everything they encounter is new and exciting. They have more energy than any of us ancient 20-somethings and beyond. They've probably eaten too much sugar and have already been exposed to our instant-gratification, ADD-inducing media culture.

Of course these kids are hyperactive and have short attention spans. Has our society really forgotten - that's what being a kid is all about. You run around and do crazy and fun things and hurt yourself and eat lots of candy and have not a care in the world.

Family of Rebecca have come forward to say that her parents routinely gave her drugs to sedate her. Preschool workers and other aquaintances described the girl as zombie-like. And the parents, who had a history of run-ins with DSS over abuse and other troubles, seemed to keep "losing" prescriptions for Rebecca and needing them refilled early.

It's just depressing. If the facts that have come out in the news are true, if Michael and Carolyn Riley drugged their kids to get them to shut up and go away, then they really weren't emotionally ready or available to take on the responsibilities of parenting.

I wish more potential parents would take a serious look at themselves and honestly answer whether or not they are financially and emotionally ready to take care of a child, to put someone else's needs above their own self-interests. And if the answer is "no," that they find something else in the world that is fulfilling for them. There's nothing wrong with that.

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