Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Opinionated much?

Today, our 8 year old son told us that a 10 year old girl on his swim team gave him an "energy pill" that looked like a jelly bean, and told him that it had "a lot of caffeine" in it and that he would feel really tired after it wore off.

Let me preface my next few paragraphs by admitting to how disappointed I was in both my son's decision to take this "pill" and in myself for not realizing that I hadn't done enough so far in teaching my son how dangerous this situation could have been.

So, I did what I could in impressing upon him the possible risks he had taken in accepting the offer of an energy pill, explaining that it was irresponsible for him to take something when he had no idea what it was. As any good mother would, I gave him several examples of the worst scenarios I could think of, including of course the possibility of his own death.

Next, I placed a call to his coach... And tonight I made a call to the mother of the girl who offered this to my son.

Turns out, after hearing a long list of justifications from her on why her daughter had jelly beans that have caffeine added and was peddling them off to other kids on the team - ranging from hypoglycemia to preventing dehydration (?) to "there's really not THAT much caffeine in them" to training for a triathalon (at 10 years old???) And blah, blah, blah...

I began to wonder: Why is a candy company jumping on the energy supplement bandwagon and marketing this stuff to kids? Energy supplements are worthless at best and deadly at worst. No wonder our professional athletes (role models?) and even olympians are under such scrutiny for performance enhancers. If we're telling our 10 year olds that they can't compete without "energy pills" disguised as jelly beans (candy!), then how can we expect them to know where to draw the line? Energy drinks? Anabolic Steroids?

In any case, I'm glad I got the chance to teach my son a valuable lesson about making responsible decisions if he's ever presented with this situation again, and I'm glad that it was just a jelly bean with a little caffeine in it and not something worse.

He knows that he can have fun and even compete without any extra energy. Even if he never beats the girl with the caffinated jelly beans, I'll make sure he knows who the real winner is.

1 comment:

Pat said...


In other news, I don't think I new you had a blog. I blame the media, and a terrible shortage in caffeine filled candy that could make me more alert to the world around me.