When my son was five years old, he got his hands on one of those little bottles that are designed to be shots of energy. There are a number of ingredients in them, all of which are legal, but my poor little boy might have taken crystal meth, just judging by the effects on his behavior and cognition. His eyes became wide and wild, he could not sit still, and the poor guy just kept getting in trouble because he had no impulse control. He was just so upset because he knew he was acting badly and just could not stop.
The memory of the way that harmless looking bottle effected my son has colored the way I feel about children consuming caffeine. Although it was only one of the ingredients in that drink, he will ask to have some soda and I will pause, thinking about the look in his eyes that day. The result is my son drinks caffeine free soda and probably will keep doing so for a few more years.
Caffeine is a stimulant that affects children’s brain chemistry more intensely than adults, according to experts, possibly adversely impacting their learning and creating anxiety. There are so many things that can hurt my child in this world, and most of them I have no power to control. This one, though, I can for a while longer, so that is what I will do.