Suffer the Children: The Case Against Labeling and Medicating and an Effective Alternative

Marilyn Wedge, Author
Marilyn Wedge, Norton, $26.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-393-07159-7
Open Ebook - 243 pages - 978-0-393-08057-5
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Wedge, a California-based family therapist, asserts that the medicating of inattentive or hard-to-manage kids has become a dangerous but socially accepted way to deal with children's problems. But psychiatric drugs may have serious side effects for children, and the benefits do not always outweigh the potential for harm. Wedge reveals how family therapists approach such symptoms as unhappiness, moodiness, or jumpiness, not as signs of a "psychiatric disorder" but as evidence of something wrong in a family that can be remedied with the right interventions. Without blaming parents, Wedge describes how she helps the family system as a whole, treating it as a living organism with an amazing capacity for self-healing. In her "strategic therapy toolbox" are such methods as getting parents not to fight or discuss financial matters in front of kids (children may have a tendency to exaggerate their parents' problems in their own minds), encouraging parents to speak positively about their lives, and learning to identify significant events in a child's life that may be related to when a problem behavior began. Like a clever detective, the author allows the child to guide her to the heart of a family's problems. Interweaving a range of fascinating case studies, Wedge proves that the road to a child's healing can often be successfully navigated without the use of labels and potentially harmful meds. (Mar.)
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