Parents Use Drug to Make Their Kids Sleep on Time

October 19, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. synthetic (adj.) 
[sin-thet-ik] – produced artificially; not natural in origin
Example: The wallet is made of synthetic leather, but it looks like natural leather made from animal skin.

2. chemical (n.) [kem-i-kuh l] – a substance that has a specific and unique composition
Example: The human body produces different kinds of chemicals.

3. psychological (adj.) [sahy-kuh-loj-i-kuh l] – relating to mental and emotional processes and behavior
Example: She experiences psychological stress because of pressure from her friends at school.

4. alleviate (v.) [uh-lee-vee-eyt] – to lessen pain or difficulty
Example: As a boxer, he often takes medicine to alleviate body pain caused by hard training.

5. decline (n.) [dih-klahyn] – a loss of good qualities (such as strength, value or usefulness)
Example Older people should have regular exercise to prevent a fast decline in health. 

Read the text below.

In the US, giving synthetic melatonin to children is becoming a trend to parents who want their kids to sleep on time.

Melatonin is a body chemical or hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin controls the body’s sleep-wake cycles. Studies say that giving synthetic melatonin to children seems to be safe, but there might still be risks in short-term and long-term use of the drug.

Dr. Keith Ablow, an American psychiatrist, says that even if the drug is not proven as dangerous, giving melatonin to children discourages them from finding natural solutions to their sleep problems. He says children may become dependent on the drug to achieve mind relaxation and better sleep. Later on, they may rely on other drugs to solve other emotional and psychological issues.

For example, many kids with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are treated with drugs to help them focus, but these drugs are often not needed. Many teenagers, on the other hand, regularly use illegal marijuana to try to alleviate emotional stress.

Dr. Ablow says that for sleeping problems, instead of giving drugs to children, parents can teach their children that it is sometimes okay to have difficulty going to sleep.

According to Dr. Ablow, giving drugs to kids is a common solution nowadays because some parents may just be lazy and want their problems to be immediately solved. He believes society is experiencing a “psychological decline,” or the weakening of the will to face life problems, which is why many people want easy and fast solutions.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you agree with parents giving medicine or drugs to their children to make them sleep? Why or why not?
·         Can you think of other means to help people who find it hard to sleep at night?

Discussion B

·         Is there any evidence of “psychological decline” in your country? Can you give examples?
·         How do you think “psychological decline” among people or as a society can be solved?


October 19, 2012