Too many thoughts, too little time.

My oldest (8 yrs old) is giving me a hell of a time lately. He “forgets” everything. Everything is “too hard”. Or “not fair”. He wrecked TWO cars in a week, because he wasn’t paying attention on his bike.

His legs are tore up from cat scratches because he will NOT leave the cat alone like we’ve asked, every. single. day. for the last year.

He “can’t” memorize his multiplication tables, because it’s “too hard”. This is the same child who gets a 6-8 line Bible verse from the church he goes to with Grandpa every week, and doesn’t even look at it until the drive to church and has it memorized before they walk in.

He apparently wants confetti and a parade every time he picks up a piece of dirty laundry.

Punishment just does not work.

I was at my wit’s end this morning, when I vented on a message board I am a part of. The first 2 replies were “You need to have him evaluated for ADHD.” I kind of ignored those two, and then I got a handful of people going “he sounds like a boy. Send him out to pull weeds.” I got a lovely piece of advice, reminding me of what my job actually is, which is to train him on how to do all these things, and yes, I do need to do constant reminders. Not that he shouldn’t be held accountable, but, he’s still learning. Which I needed to hear.

Then, I got more than a handful of parents telling me how their kids just needed drugs and now they are fine.

Then, I got bombarded with private messages from teachers, telling me, if a child in their class acted like mine, the first thing they would do is tell the parents to have him evaluated and probably medicated. When I said I didn’t think that was necessary, I was accused of child abuse, and that if my child was in their class and I refused, it was their responsibility to call CPS.

Because I don’t want my child turned into a zombie? Because I would like drugs to be the last resort?

I’ll say it…I don’t think ADHD is a real thing, or maybe it is, but certainly not to the extent it is diagnosed. I think there are a LOT of people who have some serious issues, and need help. I know some kids and SOMETHING is wrong with them, but, to diagnose practically every kid who likes to run and doesn’t want to do things that aren’t fun as ADHD, does a great disservice to the kids who really do have issues. It amuses me, in a sad way, when an adult numbs their feelings, their pain, with alcohol, we call it a disease. When an adult numbs their problems with illegal drugs, we arrest them, but when we don’t practically put drugs in a candy dispenser to drug our kids,to numb them, to calm them, to quiet them, that is abuse.

I think it’s interesting the US is falling behind most other industrialized nations in, well, almost everything. We medicate our kids to fix them. But, oddly, the symptoms of ADHD and the signs of a gifted child are very close to the same. So, are we turning our smart kids from kids willing to tell the teacher they are wrong, who are happy to get engrossed in a new “invention” into kids who all act the same, because they are all on drugs that make them easier to handle? We don’t know why are kids are getting fatter, but we drug them if they don’t sit still.

I knew a woman whose son was an absolute terror. He makes mine look like perfect children. He screamed at, cussed at, and his his mother. He’d steal thing, He’d destroy property. He was terrible. And his mother dealt with it by saying “Martin you need to calm down” then she would take away something from him, he’d scream and take it back, and she’d throw her hands up and give in. Finally he was diagnosed with ADHD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. ODD…look it up. The symptoms are your kid is a brat. The treatment? drug him up. Well, no, therapy, you don’t drug kids with ODD, but, they almost all have ADHD, which needs to be drugged out of them.

Why are we the only country that has such a prevalence of this disease?

Why am I being told my kid needs medicated to do his homework, because his brain makes it hard for him to sit still and concentrate, but…he has no problem reading a book. He sat still just fine on the 16 hr car ride last week, great behavior. He needs drugs to remember things, but, he doesn’t need drugs to remember Sat is soccer, or what day the minecraft video game came out, or what time the library closes, or what days we go to open swim at the YMCA. You know, I forget mundane things and remember fun things as well, apparently I’m ADHD. He needs medication to remember his multiplication tables, but, can remember a Bible verse fine, because he likes to be the best.

I don’t know what the answer is with my son, but, he was out pulling weeds, and mowing the lawn today, then he had chores inside as well. We’ve severely limited video game time, and canceled cable. We’ve all been changing our diet, to less processed food, less dye. Maybe none of this will have any effect, but I certainly can’t see how it would be bad for any of us either. And, I honestly think, I am now having to fix a few years of not great parenting, and I don’t know that I need to give my kid drugs with potential harmful side effects, so this is easier on me. I think there are far too many variable present, that can and should be changed before we rush to medication.

Now, I’m curious to see if I even have any more people reading this after this post, because I know one reader is completely against drugs and medication, and I know another one is a psychiatric nurse. I’m not trying to put down anyone, I’m just saying, I was concerned with how quickly I was told by complete strangers my kid needed medicated, because I was frustrated with him, and how when I said I wasn’t ready to worry about that at this point, I was accused of abuse. It isn’t even like anyone can claim he’s bothering a classroom. When he gets to be a handful, he gets to go out and pull weeds, that seems to help some.

I love Calvin and Hobbes, but this is so sad, and so true.

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Comments on: "There is Nothing Wrong with that Child" (5)

  1. Janette said:

    I couldn’t agree more. I often think that medication for ADHD is nothing more than an excuse to continue lazy parenting…because to handle the problem head-on with consistent discipline, being actively present to find the causes of behavior ,and following through with consequences of disruptive/disrespectful/defiant behavior requires WORK on the parents’ part….and that’s not fun, easy, or enjoyable. And apart from continuing medication for a lifetime, it also doesn’t help a child learn how to deal with their impulses or how to prioritize their wants/desires with their needs/requirements. Yep- I’m sure there are kids who have a disorder and need medication, but I agree that the rate in which it is given out is ridiculous.

    I feel I am constantly asking myself this question lately: “how on earth did people survive 100+ years ago or more without (fill in the blank here)” If ADHD is a mental disorder, that means it didn’t JUST pop up….it’s been around, even before there were meds to control it…and yet, there weren’t these insane numbers of people ages ago who were running around unable to control their impulses. There may have been a few, yes….but I think we like to label ADHD quickly because we don’t just want to chalk it up to being an active kid with a quick/sharp mind. That kid requires effort on our part.

    I imagine pulling weeds will help a ton….I’m interested to know if helping him expend more energy physically helps him in turn calm down his brain later.

    • Isn’t it funny we drug the kid for not wanting to do things that are not fun, easy or enjoyable, because otherwise it isn’t fun, easy, or enjoyable?

      I know brat boy is very smart, is also very energetic. These are GOOD things. He just needs to learn how to handle them. I read a quote once, I can’t remember where now, but it was something along the lines of “our greatest weakness is our greatest strength, uncontrolled.” are parents dulling these kids strengths because they see them as a weakness? I walked out to the garage once to see my oldest taking apart his bike because he was trying to replace bolts with pegs so his friend could ride on them. Impulsive? Probably. Not very well thought out? Yup. But, I was honestly proud of him for attempting it. This is the same kid who took off his brothers training wheels, alone, at 3, the same one who took apart, fixed, and put back together the DVD player at about the same age, alone. Do I wish he’d quit taking things apart sometimes? Yeah…but, he is also the same kid who isn’t sure if he wants to be an engineer or a mechanic when he grows up. I don’t think I want him “easier to deal with” because I don’t know what good qualities I’ll be numbing, and I don’t think that is worth it.

  2. As a former school nurse, currently a psychiatric nurse, someone who’s been a stay at home mom and a working mom, and the parent of an ADD kid… I have some strong opinions about the ADHD epidemic and the rampant medicating of our youth.

    Yes, I think some kids need to be medicated, but they are the exception rather than the rule. In my public school nursing career, I saw maybe half a dozen kids that, without meds, would’ve been crippled by their behavioral and attention problems. But I medicated half a dozen kids a DAY for ADHD (it was a small school). So about 1 out of 5 kids really needed meds (just my opinion, of course… I’m sure their doctors and parents would disagree with me.)

    I see the push to medicate kids as a way for us to close our eyes to the choices we’ve made. We medicate them so their out of control behavior won’t spoil the illusion that the way in which we live is working just fine… I think much of the ADHD epidemic (not to mention many adult personality disorders) is a direct result of us focusing on the wrong values and/or not being around enough to parent effectively.

    So what changes do I think we need to make? Parents have to grow a freakin’ backbone, for one. Seriously. So much of the behavior problems we see in kids stem from parents who can’t maintain a boundary or a consequence. They foster little Johnny’s self esteem to the point where he’s so entitled and his ego is so big he can’t get out of his own way.

    We also need to spend more time parenting. We can’t maintain boundaries and follow through with consequences unless we’re PRESENT. Working full time doesn’t leave much time or energy for parenting, and parenting is a FULL TIME JOB. How can we expect to do right by our children when we only give them 20% of our time? Quality over quantity is a myth…kids need quality AND quantity.

    So yes, I know it’s just not possible for many parents to provide the quality and quantity, but that’s exactly my point… our society, as it is now, simply does not support or value that.

    The idea that it’s our god-given right to be happily fulfilled individuals has been around for a long time, but it started to really take off at the family level after WWII. Within a generation, it became socially acceptable to have kids and put them in daycare, leave them alone at home until 6 or 7pm, and only really be present with them for an hour or two a day and on weekends. We think we can keep our fulfilling full time careers (or the ego boosting things our careers allow us to buy) and be part time parents… and if our kids don’t turn out the way we think they should, we’ll just medicate them into a more pleasing form.

    Guess what…

    that’s just plain delusional thinking – but don’t worry, there’s a med for that, too.

    • Leanne, I’m glad you replied to this, I was honestly slightly worried I would offend you. I knew what you did for a living. I was looking forward, however, to what you had to say. I agree, and I even said in my post, I think now I’m having to fix some bad parenting, some habits I allowed to grow, out of guilt, out of not knowing what to do. I don’t think I should drug my son up to make this easier on me.

      Their dad was diagnosed with ADHD when he was young. His mom still maintains giving him the medication was one of the worst things she did. He was easier to deal with, but he wasn’t HIM anymore. One day, he was blaming something on his ADD, and I got annoyed and said something like “oh, come off it. There is nothing wrong with you, you can concentrate when you feel like it and I’m tired of your excuses.” (sympathy has always been one of my strong points lol) you know what his response was? “thank you. I’ve been told for 20 some years there was something wrong with me, you’re the first person who said their wasn’t.” That hit me…how does it make somebody feel when their parents, their teachers, their doctors etc. all think their is something “wrong” with them? When everyone will accept their diagnosis as a free for all excuse? When we say “I can’t expect you to remember your homework unless you take your pill.” why should they remember it? Or even try? When we say “I can’t expect you to sit still and be quiet in the movie theater, you forgot your medicine.” and then when the kid lives up to our expectations, acts up, and instead of removing the kid, we whisper to the person next to us, “I’m sorry, he has ADHD.” what are we teaching the kids?

      Sorry, this ended up being another blog post, didn’t it?!

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