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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Diagnosis Male

Well, I hate to keep harping on this whole, maybe we shouldn't be drugging our kids to keep them quiet thing, but I'll be gosh darned if another "event" didn't just get my panties all in a bunch again.

This time it involved my dear, long time friend Gwendolyn, and her quest to enroll her 2 year old son in one of those "statistically proven to help your child do better in school" preschools, in that liberal landmark of the left, the ever so politically correct (BART here!!??) enclave of Marin. (One just pictures the children skipping around amongst butterflies, not hurting anyone's feelings, and under absolutely no circumstances, playing ANY game to win.)

It seems, however, that pre-schools are now big business, not to mention exclusive, and one can't simply pop in with your child under your arm, scrawl your name on a form, hand them your dear child and run out the door before they notice that you wrote "Martha Stewart" on the intake. Noooooooo. There are appointments, and interviews and evaluations where both you and your child are evaluated on your fitness to attend preschool.

It was during one of these "evaluations" that the event in question occured. As Gwendolyn told it, she was sitting there listening attetively to the preschool teacher extol the virtues of their "Program", when the teacher lowered her voice a notch and said in one of those conspiritorial tones, "Of course, I have to tell you that some of the boys have had disciplinary problems, and had to be medicated so that they could continue to participate in the curriculum". She then went on to explain that the disciplinary problems involved not sitting still nicely, instead choosing to run around and disturbing the girls in their reading efforts. Mind you, we are talking about 2 to 4 year olds here, (whose parents obviously place a lot of value on being able to read at a very young age).

Now I grew up one of three sisters, and granted I spent at least a good 10 years convinced that the so called "differences" between boys and girls were merely the product of the white male opression of just about anything that moved and was not white and male. Girls only liked to play with dolls because their foolish parents stereotyped them at an early age, and boys would be just as happy with the same said doll as their sisters. That's what I thought, at least, until I had a son. From then on, all bets were off and I was faced with a small bundle of energy that never seemed to tire of running, jumping, climbing and generally making a racket. Not that my daughter is any shrinking violet, she just doesn't seem to have the inclination to try and hit the 15ft high ceiling with my excersise ball over, and over and over.

And let me dispell any armchair diagnoses that perhaps there is some hyperactivity going on here. In fact, when my son's friends come over, if the ball is in view (and I am not), it will invariablly get a kick, or at least an energetic toss heavenwards. It is, I learned, the nature of the beast, and in fact perfectly normal and desireable.

But Wait! Wasn't it just such similar behavior that was the reason for the little preschooler's precocious sponsoring of the pharmaceutical companies? Such behavior is considered "disruptive" up in Marin Preschools. In fact, an elementary school principal did actually suggest that I take MY son to the "Therapist" and seek some calming remedy in pill form after he and another boy had gotten into a pushing fight in the school lunch line. And it seems, the more often I tell that story, the more often I hear similar tales from other parents.

Somehow, the combination of the feminist Movement, political correctness, increasing violence in schools, an increasingly female school staff and a general acceptance that it is OK to trash the white male and blame him for just about anything has produced the general notion that normal male behavior is aberrant, undesireable and unhealthy and needs to be treated as any illness would be.

In other words, Diagnosis Male.

28 comments:

apeystar said...

brilliantly written

Anonymous said...

GIRls can and are just as crazy in the class room thank god that the school warned you to take him to a doctor because there is nothing that is more depressing then a child who is acutally sick and never gets any help...... parents should have their kids evaluated for all sorts of mental illneses, but not nessasarly medicated, children with ADD and ADHD need to be evaluated and be treated even if its not with medicine

Anonymous said...

GIRls can and are just as crazy in the class room thank god that the school warned you to take him to a doctor because there is nothing that is more depressing then a child who is acutally sick and never gets any help...... parents should have their kids evaluated for all sorts of mental illneses, but not nessasarly medicated, children with ADD and ADHD need to be evaluated and be treated even if its not with medicine

lm1 said...

You are wonderful...my son is so called add. whatever that means.
my father is a child phycologist,
HEH HEH...so my kids are constantly being tested so called
my son is really just clasified as "all boy"...with all the hormonal mood swings and such..he is only 5 soccor is great and any kind of running will get him just about tired out."almost". thanks

Anonymous said...

Hey I'm an adult girl with ADD. There is no such thing as a child who can stay out of trouble all the time. People are living things too they know. I was diagnosed before they even knew what it was and was on Ritalin before the rush on it. It helped but it can't help everyone. They need stricter guidleines to define a child with ADD. They can't just say a child who is active is ADD. If they could, then every child in the world, boy or girl and even adults are ADD.

Anonymous said...

I have taught several years and been involved in the schools for several more while raising my own children (SAHM). I have to say that I only ever ran across ONE CHILD who truly needed treatment for his ADD in all that time. Good for you for not drugging your son; he needed understanding, not drugs! I wish more parents were as vigilant in safeguarding their children's mental/physical/emotional health. As an aside, my son was all boy, and I knew in our district they would ask me to medicate him. I wound up homeschooling my son for four years until he had grown a little more and could control his impulses, talking, etc. It was a wonderful time, and I am glad I was able to do it for my son. The other option would have been sitting with him daily in class, and sometimes you're hard pressed to find a district that's okay with that! For those who are medicating your children, especially your sons, really think about WHY - my nephew is on Ritalin and doesn't need it. His mother gives it to him so she can have more "me time". (sticking tongue out at her idiocy) To me, that's the same as child abuse.

Retro Housewife said...

Kudos to you for taking the time and avoiding the drugs. I realize that life seems to have gotten busier and more hectic than in years past, but there are no shortcuts when it comes to raising a child.

Soccer and a bike turned out to be my son's Ritalin, and getting him away from the principal that seems to have had it in for him.

He is now in the 7th grade, and although he is more interested in his iPod,PSP and video games than schoolwork, he is a calm, well behaved, polite young man who is considerate of others.

He grew out of the temper tantrums and impulsiveness...without the aid of drugs.

RH

Mich said...

Hallelujah - I hear you sister. I am tired of all these excuses for kids being kids. Parents need to be parents and exercise reasonable discipline. I am not promoting smacking I am promoting setting boundaries and sticking to them. If your kid runs crazy - give him time out - consistently but also give him an outlet for the energy. I personally keep my 11 year old son so physically active that he does not have time to run crazy.

Mich said...

I hear you sister. My 11 year old son is kept so physically active he has no time to run crazy.
BUt hang on - lets let our kids be kids. And lets us be adults and set boundaries. I am tired of parents saying there must be something wrong with little johnny when all he needs is some boundaries set and consistent, positive discipline. We - as parents - need to take control.

Anonymous said...

I was one of those kids that were put on Ritalin. After only three months my mother took me off of it. Because once it wore off it caused depression and anger fits. She decided it wasn't worth putting me through all that and instead concentrated on modifying my behavior through other outlets. By the way I'm female and at the time I was in second grade.

Annie

Amby said...

I think alot of schools and even doctors want children on medication because it turns them into zombies and makes them more than easy to handle and doctors want them on it because HELLO have you seen how much those drugs cost?? its insane people are blindly abusing there children and have no idea, I myself was one of those children and the entire time I was medicated my friends started disliking me and my family said they didnt know me I was boring cold and depressed.

Anonymous said...

i am a girl in year 11 and i have been on Ritalin since i was in year 3 it is alot of help but i feel i dont need it and i dont really want it but...
ppl seem to wanna keep me on it
they think im outta controll they are scared of me un medicated
i dont get it !

Anonymous said...

amen sister my sons school did the same thin when he was in kindergarten we chose no to medicate him . we had him tested byour doctor who said it is very over diagnosed here in america he is 10 now and is just a normal boy who needed to be told no and hve a little respect for others he is doing very well now

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry...Anonymous from December 12, 2005 is a school teacher, correct? Sounds like he/she has fallen "hook, line and sinker" for the whole pharmaceutical conspiracy that is being pushed in every school system in America!
Children do not NEED to be tested for various mental illnesses! That's where the whole thing starts.
Parents need to have more confidence in their own child-rearing abilities and stop listening to all this psycho-babble!
Kudos to you, Retro Housewife, for being brave enough to broach this controversial subject. More people should speak out against it. Then, those being so easily influenced might have some contrast and be able to form an educated opinion of their own, not to mention start building some self-esteem in the family leadership arena.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for not putting your child on Ritalin. I am not a doctor but when I see the kids who are being treated for ADD I often think the Attention Deficit is caused by a lack of genuine attention, love, respect and support from parents and other adults. That being said, your son was Not being targeted because he is not a girl. Girls and young women have issues in the classroom in terms of being discouraged from speaking up, learning math and science, and participating in sports. I cant wait for the day when all children are encouraged to be their natural healthy selves and adults with issues are told they need to learn to help children, not harm them.

Nancy said...

I just found this site and will definitely be back. My 4 yr old is very active and his preschool teacher is now sending a calendar home every day with notes on his behavior. Some days he's a problem (we think it might be a sugar thing) and some days he's good. We're still working on it, but it worries me that she might be singling him out because he's not "perfect." He's active at home and we struggle some days in getting him to listen to us, too. We're taking him to see a doctor just to be sure it's just him being a boy and not some other thing.

Anyway, great to find your site.

Anonymous said...

I'm a mother who naturally cares about her son too. And I have my son on Ritalin because there is no other way that he can be controlled in a stimulating environment such as school. My son can NOT sit still in class or elsewhere. He constantly squirms, stands up and gets out of his chair for no reason, blurts out answers instead of raising his hand, is impulsive, hides under the table in class when he gets mad, doesn't come back from recess or lunch on his own. He has always been a very bright child academically he was in the top 3 of his class since pre-school. Somewhere in the middle of 1st grade he started getting distracted more easily, had difficulty staying on task, started having fits, was being defiant in class, was disruptive during the teacher's lessons, started racing through his assignments, his grades began to slide. He ended up in the principal’s office 3 out of 5 times a week. To make a long story short, he was given a Conner’s Rating Scale test and it concluded the likelihood of my having ADHD was very high. He had more than one psychiatric evaluation they confirmed my worst fear. I denied it tried more natural approaches such as limiting sugar intake, behavior modification, sports, etc. Nothing really worked because his brain was going faster that he could control it to try and stay on one thing for an allotted amount of time. I struggled and struggled and gave in to the most minimal dose of Ritalin. I was angry mind you I believed that the Connor’s test was a farce, just another more than a subjective survey to obtain innocent children to do experimental drug research on. But RITALIN worked! My son is able to concentrate, sit still, speak clearly, and complete assignments. He is back at the top of his class, it doesn’t matter if he isn’t at the top or not, he’s up there because he loves to learn and this medication helps him to focus. He has the highest math score in his class. He loves to read more, he doesn’t get frustrated when he plays sports now, and he sleeps soundly for the first time in months, and so do I! You are right Ritalin is not for children that are a bit overactive. It is for children that can NOT control the chemical imbalance in their brain. We are working with ADHD and using Ritalin as well as behavior modification, rewards, therapy with a child specialist who caters to children with ADHD and ADD (who is non bias in relation to meds).This is just one of the many ways we are doing it, working with this condition and it is very difficult, but….we are working with it. Please don’t knock me for being the mother who is using Ritalin. It works for us. Thank you I respect your opinion and all the others. I love your site. I just wanted to share my experience.

Anonymous said...

I'm a mother who naturally cares about her son too. And I have my son on Ritalin because there is no other way that he can be controlled in a stimulating environment such as school. My son can NOT sit still in class or elsewhere. He constantly squirms, stands up and gets out of his chair for no reason, blurts out answers instead of raising his hand, is impulsive, hides under the table in class when he gets mad, doesn't come back from recess or lunch on his own. He has always been a very bright child academically he was in the top 3 of his class since pre-school. Somewhere in the middle of 1st grade he started getting distracted more easily, had difficulty staying on task, started having fits, was being defiant in class, was disruptive during the teacher's lessons, started racing through his assignments, his grades began to slide. He ended up in the principal’s office 3 out of 5 times a week. To make a long story short, he was given a Conner’s Rating Scale test and it concluded the likelihood of my having ADHD was very high. He had more than one psychiatric evaluation they confirmed my worst fear. I denied it tried more natural approaches such as limiting sugar intake, behavior modification, sports, etc. Nothing really worked because his brain was going faster that he could control it to try and stay on one thing for an allotted amount of time. I struggled and struggled and gave in to the most minimal dose of Ritalin. I was angry mind you I believed that the Connor’s test was a farce, just another more than a subjective survey to obtain innocent children to do experimental drug research on. But RITALIN worked! My son is able to concentrate, sit still, speak clearly, and complete assignments. He is back at the top of his class, it doesn’t matter if he isn’t at the top or not, he’s up there because he loves to learn and this medication helps him to focus. He has the highest math score in his class. He loves to read more, he doesn’t get frustrated when he plays sports now, and he sleeps soundly for the first time in months, and so do I! You are right Ritalin is not for children that are a bit overactive. It is for children that can NOT control the chemical imbalance in their brain. We are working with ADHD and using Ritalin as well as behavior modification, rewards, therapy with a child specialist who caters to children with ADHD and ADD (who is non bias in relation to meds).This is just one of the many ways we are doing it, working with this condition and it is very difficult, but….we are working with it. Please don’t knock me for being the mother who is using Ritalin. It works for us. Thank you I respect your opinion and all the others. I love your site. I just wanted to share my experience.

Ginny said...

as a nurse and mother I have to say "right on" America way over medicates for what is active children so that they don't look bad in public. A family member of mine used to teach a one room school house. She told me one time that if she had a student who was having a hard time sitting still or not listening she would just say you have a lot of energy. I bet you could run around the school 5 times as fast as you can in (so many) minutes. Then she said when they were finished they were calmer because they had run off their extra ENERGY. We can not just expect children to stay like cooped up cats all day. this site is very cool!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
Well "girl behavior" is kind of being sexist in a way. Most of our kids both boy and girl are being asked to sit for long periods of time and say nothing during the course of their school day. As far as ADD goes, classrooms are just not suitable for these kids. It is not the kid but the overall circumstances that need to be changed (ie classroom). Medication is abused and overused in this country. The people who are "claiming" to know that the child "needs" medicine indeed do not have a clue.

Anonymous said...

As a nurse and mother, I applaud parents who realize that ADD and ADHD are valid conditions that SOME kids have. Those who talk about "abusing" kids through medication are simply regurgitating anti-pharmaceutical propaganda. If you refused to take your child for medical assistance for a physical problem it could be construed as abuse or neglect. It is the same with mental problems. If your child has schizophrenia you'd medicate, right? Why not with ADD or ADHD? It is important, however, that it was mentioned the school prinicipal made the "diagnosis" because the fact that they do not have any sort of medical degree automatically makes the pseudo-diagnosis irrelevant. However, If a child is having behavioural problems in school it needs to be addressed in some way even if medication is not the answer. The comments about rewarding "girl behaviour" is right on the mark. It isn't a sexist comment at all. It only means that "lady-like" (i.e. calm, composed, attentive) behaviour is rewarded and "active" behaviour (i.e. squirming, talking, horseplay and cutting up) isn't-regardless of the actual sex of the person participating in the action.

k7n43 said...

God bless you for refusing to medicate! Sometimes I picture myself as WonderWoman with those steel bands on my wrists, deflecting all the offers to drug my child! If your child doesn't learn to be who they are, and control themselves at a young age (because they are medicated out of being who they are), they will never learn how to operate their bodies!

Anonymous said...

I'm 16 year old guy and i just wanted to say thank you for putting this out there. I was diagnosed with ADD when I was a little kid. I tested several different pills and wound up settling on concerta, which I took throughout middle school. During this time became extremely antisocial and sort of depressed, which I blame on the concerta.
Whatever caused this behavior, it substantially ruined my life. I went throughout middle school with no friends, and even worse, not really caring. All I want to say is that pills are not the answer to everything, and if it affects the users' mind it should be applied with caution.

Kelly said...

I was outraged when my daughter's Kindergarten teacher suggested she had ADHD. Because she didn't have the a-typical "good girl" behavior she was being labeled a "bad" child! I was tired of seeing teachers (who still think ADD & ADHD are behavior disorders) label any child that did not conform so I refused. During the following summer while at a my daughter's doctor's I decided to bring up the matter. Long story short- she thought so too. Just before 1st grade began she started Strattera. After a few weeks in school I was in tears. When I saw the change in her work I knew this was the right move for her. A couple short years later she began gifted classes & continues to do well.

In the same hand- the same teacher said the same thing about my child's kindergarten classmate, a boy. He too was followed up with a medical doctor agreeing it was ADD. A year later, after a couple of different doctors, they found out he did NOT have ADD or ADHD. The child was Type I diabetic.

Teachers can alert 'abnormal' behavior but, unless they also hold a medical degree, they are IN NO WAY qualified to give ANY type of diagnosis. The above teacher, who was well meaning, should have recommended we seek professional help for the behaviors. She was in no way qualified to label either child with ANY type of condition. In the end it prolonged proper care.

Retro Housewife said...

Good point, Kelly! It is so hard to hear a teacher say something like that about one's child - my first inclination was to punch the lady in the nose (I didn't).

In my son's case, 80% was normal, male behavior and 20% was acting out because his idiot parents were divorcing - at times not well.

Luckily things got better as the adults in his life started acting as such.

RH

Naomi Fox said...

Bravo. It takes guts to stand up to the "experts". These drugs have side effects that can cause the very things they're supposed to cure. Parents need to protect their kids and that often means doing their own "homework". My neighbor put her kid on Ritalan and the result was a child totally devoid of personality; a black hole. She literally wasn't there. The mom's reaction when I told her about alternative treatments? She laughed, said she had enough to do already. Hello? Is that responsibile parenting? Taking the easy way out? My parents surived the depression, death of a (first) spouse, war—and never took a drug. Life is NOT a mental disease.

Consuela said...

Congratulations on not having an ADHD child. I'm sorry to read that in the US the diagnosis get's misused a lot. This makes it very hard for people who actually have ADHD/ADD (like myself: female, 30 ,recently diagnosed) to get the point across that when you actually do have ADHD/ADD it is a very difficult disease to life with.

And even when diagnosed, I never think its NEVER a good thing to medicate a child under the age of (at least) twelve because you have to exclude all other causes of their behaviour first. plus your own personality also needs to develop ( however disruptive) so when you do get meication you can see the point for medication. I got diagnosed very late in life, but the one thing I don't regret about it is that I had the time to develop into an adult ( who knows theirself ) before I got treatment. I now see the point of the treatment which makes the treatment itself more effective.

But this is my own personal opinion!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you. My son too was the same way. Simply being an active boy and the teachers did not want to discipline and so it is easier for them to have the child on drugs.

My husband and I refused to medicate our child. He is now in 3rd grade plays hockey, drums, pottery and does well in shcool. Still very active and I love that about him.