A mother's homemade go-go juice is creating a buzz with parents and physicians.
Julie Shannon, mother of 6-year-old Alana, is a pageant mom with big dreams for her daughter. However, she has recently come under fire for giving her daughter "go-go juice" in order to keep Alana awake and alert. During an interview with "Good Morning America," Shannon revealed that the juice is not juice but actually Red Bull mixed with Mountain Dew.
Parents and physicians immediately reacted to the news and condemned Shannon's actions. Yet she maintained that she was not causing her daughter harm. "There are far worse things," she said. "I could be giving her alcohol."
Shannon and Alana are featured on TLC's "Toddlers and Tiaras," which depicts the lives of pageant parents who push their daughters to win pageants. The show itself has caused a stir among family groups who fear that the young girls are being pushed too hard at a very young age. Shannon, however, has stated that she does not understand why people are coming down so hard on her and other pageant moms.
"There are normal people who give their kids this [caffeine]. Why is it such a big issue with us pageant moms that do it all weekend to keep our kids energized and awake?" she asked. Shannon came up with the idea for "go-go juice" after Alana failed to have enough energy from eating two bags of Pixi Stix, pure sugar candy that many on the pageant circuit call "pageant crack."
During the interview with "Good Morning America," Alana could barely sit still. She was bouncing around, speaking quickly and loudly, and told the host, "Caffeine drinks make me hyper!" On "Toddlers and Tiaras," Alana is again running around but stops to look into the camera and say, "My special juice is going to help me win. My go-go juice is kicking in right now."
Professionals warn of the dangers caffeine poses to younger children. "Caffeine can stimulate immature, neurological systems beyond children's ability to tolerate it, which can have serious effects. Excessive caffeine use damages the attention capacity that children need to cooperate in play, family and school environments," reported American Psychological Association President Terence Patterson.
"Research has shown that the dose of caffeine delivered in a single can of soft drink is sufficient to produce mood and behavioral effects. Children who haphazardly consume caffeine are at risk for going through alternating cycles of withdrawal and stimulation," added caffeine researcher Roland Griffiths.