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Should Deception Play a Role in Helping a Child Feel Better?

By May 28, 2008 - 11:48am
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This question came courtesy of the New York Times in an article about a new product created by a company called Efficacy Brands.

The product, the New York Times says is a chewable, cherry-flavored dextrose tablets called Obecalp, for placebo spelled backward. It goes on sale on June 1 at the Efficacy Brands Web site. Bottles of 50 tablets will sell for $5.95. The Buettners have plans for a liquid version, too.

The Times goes on to report that because the pills contain no active drug, the pills will not be sold as a drug under Food and Drug Administration rules. They will be marketed as dietary supplements, meaning they can be sold at groceries, drugstores and discount stores without a prescription.

The idea is the brainchild of Jennifer Buettner who was taking care of her young niece when the idea struck her. The child had a nagging case of hypochondria, and Ms. Buettner’s mother-in-law, a nurse, instructed her to give the girl a Motrin tablet.

“She told me it was the most benign thing I could give,” Ms. Buettner said. “I thought, why give her any drug? Why not give her a placebo?”

So what are your thoughts? Should children be given a placebo to make them feel better?

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HERWriter Guide

I don't think we need to play games with children when it comes to health or medication.

Sometimes you just have to deal with life without having a pill (real, placebo or proverbial!) for everything.

Lots of kids want a Band Aid when they have any kind of hurt because of the Dora/Sesame Street etc characters on it. Our rule is "No Blood, No Band-Aid"!!

And a more important aspect is that a child with that kind of anxiety does NOT need to be given a pretend pill! We don't need to teach our children that one gets a pill when one wants one!

What ever happened to having a chat with a child, reading story or kissing the boo boos away?

I'd honestly be shocked to see a parent give a kid a placebo to shut them up (which, if we're honest, is the point) and placate them. A little 'talk therapy' is a lot better.

We have enough people in this country who pop endless pills. We really don't need our kids to join in. We're setting them up for some very bad habits later on.

Life isn't always fantastic. Kids will learn that and cope well, if we give them the right emotional tools.

I'm sorry Ms. Buettner feels that her idea is such a great thing that she'd go out and invent this. This isn't a 'brainchild', this is one really bad idea. This "pill" isn't for the kids, it's for the parents who can't be bothered with dealing with their kids.

Sassy, whiny, complainey kids is part of the deal. We as parents need to just put up with it. Popping a fake pill in the mouth of a child to shut them up is beyond lazy parenting.

May 28, 2008 - 12:21pm
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