Can Parents be Addicted to Worry?

We read a recent article published on called i-Dosing: Can You Download a Drug High?, and it grabbed our attention.

Author Meredith Melnick writes, “Drug-seeking teens are going online to download a new kind of digital high, according to fast-multiplying media reports. Instead of a chemical substance, these digital drugs are audio files, with names like “Crack,” “LSD” and “Heroin.” When played through headphones, they supposedly alter listeners’ brainwaves and create a drug-like buzz — for about $1-$2 per dose. Already, the “craze” has got parents, teachers and at least one state narcotics bureau concerned.”

Addiction experts are not impressed, noting that i-dosing is no drug. Rather, it’s binaural beat therapy, which was first discovered in 1839 and has been used in clinical settings to research hearing and sleep cycles, to induce various brainwave states, and to treat anxiety.

Sleep therapy and relaxation devices available at gadget retailers like Brookstone use similar digital technologies. The difference is they’re marketed to upper middle class Boomers anxious to chill out without alcohol or prescription drugs, instead of to teens ready to jump on the latest youtube craze.

Yes, it would be nice if they weren’t sold using drug names, but let’s not lose the forest for the trees.

Please, media moguls, give us parents a break! There are enough serious problems in the world without creating imaginary threats for hyper-vigilant moms and pops to fear. In the scheme of things, are sound waves in varying frequencies worthy of a big red flag?

If we’re prompted to worry about everything, can we really worry about anything? Isn’t there a finite amount of worry to go around?

So here’s a short list of things we believe parents should stop worrying about. Because you have enough on your mind …

SAT Prep courses

The perfect birth experience

Dirt and germs

Buying the very latest it toy

Potty training too early

Potty training too late

Room temperature infant formula

Sibling fights

Birth spacing

Force feeding veggies

Tantrums in the supermarket

An occasional cookie

Hiring a babysitter too often (it’s never too often)

Volunteering at school

The perfect teacher’s gift

That one time last year when you yelled something you didn’t mean

Telling them you never smoked pot (or telling them you did)

Missing the 7 year check-up

Ignoring the huge bottle of kid’s multi-vits on the shelf

Closing your bedroom door

Planning the BEST birthday in the neighborhood

Organizing all those digital photos

The science project

The time the Tooth Fairy forgot

Your best friend’s homemade Halloween costumes

Weaning too early

Weaning too late

Missing the 2nd grade Holiday Songfest

Making the decision to repeat kindergarten

The lost lock of hair from the first haircut

That C+ that ruined the 9th grade report card

… and the thousands of small and not-so-small mistakes, omissions, and boo-boos you’ll undoubtedly make over a lifetime of parenting.

Reconsider, apologize if indicated, forgive yourself, and move on. Your little Prince/Princess is unlikely to be scarred for life. Resilience is an important skill that’s learned by facing a reasonable amount of adversity. There are no perfect parents and no perfect childhoods.

Less worry makes for a more joyful parenting ride.





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Rachel Zahn, MD is a pediatrician turned health writer who had three kids during medical school and pediatric training—crazy, huh?

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