Dear Backroads Miz Manners:
I recently caught my son throwing away his medication. It was a Zyrtec pill he had laid out the night before and forgotten to take. Rather than slip the over-fifty-cents-per-dose pill back in the bottle, he stuffed it deep into the wastebasket while my back was turned. I am not made of money. The boy also takes Nasonex to the tune of $40.00 per month. I will not be able to afford lottery tickets and Sonic sodas if this behavior continues. A stern talking-to merely elicited a shrug of his shoulders. How can I nip this behavior in the bud?
It depends on the age of the child. A tot might simply need his pill shoved into a spoonful of ice cream or pudding. However, since you say the boy laid out his pill the night before, I am going to assume the offspring is in the upper teen years. Only a teenage boy could set out a pill one minute, then be distracted by a refrigerator, pantry, and cabinet full of midnight snacks just crying out to him: "Eat me! Eat me!"
In dealing with the upper adolescents, a calm dose of reasoning might do the trick. Explain to your spawn that you have entrusted him with his personal health care. You are treating him better than a common cur, in that you do not drop a pill into the back of his throat and hold his muzzle closed until he swallows, perhaps stroking his throat to precipitate the ingestion.
You allow him to choose the time of his dosage. HE laid out the pill, not you. It's not as if there might be a stigma attached, as Jerry Seinfeld discovered in quizzing his girlfriend on whether her undergarments were 'the panties your mother laid out for you'.
Point out that the boy could suffer worse treatment than a single, small, beveled-edge, rectangular, clear-coated Zyrtec pill once at bedtime. It's not a giant horse-pill of a potassium tablet, or a prenatal vitamin, or with a sandpapery finish, or tasting like that bitter little divider in a pecan that can make you pucker up worse than a truckload of lemons.
These adolescents are well-known for their slacker behavior. One is more often to be found laying face-down in a La-Z-Boy recliner than outside by the creek cutting firewood for the winter. No doubt the wastebasket was a mere three steps from the laid-out pill, while the medicine cabinet was four.
Explain that due solely to the fact that he is your favorite son, you are allowing him a second chance to self-medicate. Any violation in the terms and conditions of already-established dosage instructions may result in a nightly line-up of meds distribution in which you hand him the pill, he swallows, and then opens his mouth wide while lifting his tongue for your inspection, as seen in Girl, Interrupted and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
I am confident that he will hear this message loud and clear.
Backroads Miz Manners