medicating kids can help in the short term but real coping skills are far more important.

Meds can be tricky to depend on though.  It would need to be in combination with other coping techniques, additional skill sets.  Nobody likes feeling that they are wrong or abnormal for very long and being on medication to assist self-control sometimes causes someone to feel that they’re not in control, but rather the medication or the rehabilitation program, or the system they are put into is in control of their lives.

I’ve never needed medication, outside of some Lorazapam for some panic attacks in my 20s and the occasional pain reliever.  But I’ve known people who were on various “behavioral control” medicines; for schizophrenia, for ADHD, for depression, for manic-depression (I don’t remember the new term for it)… and they all seem to reach a point where they say, “NO MORE!” and ditch the medicine quietly in the belief that doing so will give them control back.

Or the medicine may work well enough where they don’t feel they need it.  “I feel fine, I don’t need the medicine” – not seeing at that moment that it is the very medicine they’re taking that is helping them feel fine.

I wasn’t them but finding some commonality, there are many self-control techniques that are easily learned that allow people to regain self-control the moment they feel themselves starting to get out of control.  Perhaps they will not help in all cases or in all situations, but it’s a surprising thing JUST how important a sense of I am the Master of my Destiny is for most people, children as well as adults.

I believe medication is a valuable tool as are other rehabilitation methods.  Perhaps it’s not possible to catch the cases before they begin; perhaps society is not yet reached that point.  But the public attitude needs to change towards these kids, and policies need to change.

In the USA, the 90s saw a proliferation of these “Tough Love” camps; rehabilitation camps where army-style training was supposed to reform troubled kids.  There may have been successes but it’s hard to know because all that ever gets reported are the failures and abuses.  I have a strongly negative opinion towards them, yet I have never seen a balanced assessment.  Perhaps there isn’t one or I just haven’t seen one – so my negative opinion has to stay until then.

I believe there needs to be an inbetween;  perhaps something that is inbetween school and hospital and detention.  Perhaps it already exists.

But public opinion is hard to change.  We’re more aware now that, yes, children beyond the age of 7 often know exactly what they’re doing in criminal cases yet sometimes they shouldn’t be responsible.  They are not supposed to be entirely responsible for their actions until they are 18 in the eyes of the state.  They are wards of somebody until then.

Are they truly responsible?  Public opinion leans more and more towards “yes, they are”.  People crave “justice” over fairness.  I don’t think much change will take place until our media and political presentation of these children changes.  Any rehabilitation programs that costs more than punitive programs will fall heavily under public scrutiny for effectiveness or cost. sigh.  I wish I had the answers, honestly.

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