Darwinian pediatrics: Painkillers are *counterproductive.*

I think I’m much more sympathetic to this viewpoint than might at first appear. New Scientist reports on medical philosophy that holds that when kids are in pain and discomfort, their bodies are doing important things:

What do you do differently from other doctors?
One example is when a child twists an ankle playing soccer. Everyone rushes to offer ice and ibuprofen. As the father of a soccer player, I’ve seen this happen many times, and it didn’t take me long to earn the label “cruel and unusual”, by insisting that my son needed neither. As a Darwinian paediatrician, I think the pain and inflammation that made my son cry and his ankle swell are an evolutionary response to injury, which suggests that they are part of the solution rather than the problem. They exist to promote healing.

Do your ideas extend to other areas of parenting?
Yes. Sometimes people don’t understand how child-centred we have evolved to be. I want to get the message out that it’s OK to make your children and grandchildren the centre of your life.

It’s the taking those two views and bringing them together that fascinates me.