Medication roulette, mini edition

So today was our annual trip to the paediatrician. Number Two Daughter was weighed and measured and checked, and then we went on to discussing her behavioural issues. Because (here’s the bit where you judge me for being a bad parent) my daughter has massive, unmanageable tantrums. I have no idea how to deal with them. Her teacher, who has thirty-odd years of teaching experience, has no idea how to deal with them. It’s pretty bad.
When she is good she is utterly adorable, and charms everyone she meets. When these tantrums happen, people just look on in horror. How could something that cute do that?
It affects our lives. I hate going out with her in case she has a meltdown. We’ll cut short trips if she’s starting to get touchy. If we’re out and it happens it’s so humiliating. If we’re with family I just want to sink into the ground. I feel like it’s my fault for not raising her right.
We’re being referred to a Ministry of Education parenting programme to help learn some strategies to deal with it, but in all likelihood that won’t run until school starts in February next year. It will be good, but it’s a good couple of months away at least. We need something now. So (this is the other bit where you judge me) we’re trying some medication to see if it helps.
I’m not going to try and justify why we’re taking this route. We need help and this is one intervention that may help, so we’re giving it a go. The medication is an antidepressant called Citalopram which also has strong anxiolytic effects. The idea is that she is probably experiencing anxiety and reacting badly to it, and this medication may bring those emotions down to a point where she can deal with them in a sensible way. I hope it works. There are other drugs that may help if this doesn’t, but we start with the most likely.
I feel very conflicted about giving my baby drugs, but in the end I want what is best for her, and having bouts of uncontrollable rage that cause her to spend hours in the principal’s office or even be sent home is not best for her. Medication is not a magic bullet, I know – that’s why we’re doing the parenting course. But medication can help, and we need help right now.


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