Friday, 4 July 2014

Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

Suffer the Children The case against labeling and medicating children, and effective alternatives for treating them by Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D. In the United States, at least 9% of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and are taking pharmaceutical medications. In France, the percentage of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than .5%. How come the epidemic of ADHD—which has become firmly established in the United States—has almost completely passed over children in France? Is ADHD a biological-neurological disorder? Surprisingly, the answer to this question depends on whether you live in France or in the United States. In the United States, child psychiatrists consider ADHD to be a biological disorder with biological causes. The preferred treatment is also biological--psycho stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall. French child psychiatrists, on the other hand, view ADHD as a medical condition that has psycho-social and situational causes. Instead of treating children's focusing and behavioral problems with drugs, French doctors prefer to look for the underlying issue that is causing the child distress—not in the child's brain but in the child's social context. They then choose to treat the underlying social context problem with psychotherapy or family counseling. This is a very different way of seeing things from the American tendency to attribute all symptoms to a biological dysfunction such as a chemical imbalance in the child's brain. French child psychiatrists don't use the same system of classification of childhood emotional problems as American psychiatrists. They do not use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM. According to Sociologist Manuel Vallee, the French Federation of Psychiatry developed an alternative classification system as a resistance to the influence of the DSM-3. This alternative was the CFTMEA (Classification Française des Troubles Mentaux de L'Enfant et de L'Adolescent), first released in 1983, and updated in 1988 and 2000. The focus of CFTMEA is on identifying and addressing the underlying psychosocial causes of children's symptoms, not on finding the best pharmacological bandaids with which to mask symptoms. To the extent that French clinicians are successful at finding and repairing what has gone awry in the child's social context, fewer children qualify for the ADHD diagnosis. Moreover, the definition of ADHD is not as broad as in the American system, which, in my view, tends to "pathologize" much of what is normal childhood behavior. The DSM specifically does not consider underlying causes. It thus leads clinicians to give the ADHD diagnosis to a much larger number of symptomatic children, while also encouraging them to treat those children with pharmaceuticals. The French holistic, psychosocial approach also allows for considering nutritional causes for ADHD-type symptoms—specifically the fact that the behavior of some children is worsened after eating foods with artificial colors, certain preservatives, and/or allergens. Clinicians who work with troubled children in this country—not to mention parents of many ADHD kids—are well aware that dietary interventions can sometimes help a child's problem. In the United States, the strict focus on pharmaceutical treatment of ADHD, however, encourages clinicians to ignore the influence of dietary factors on children's behavior. And then, of course, there are the vastly different philosophies of child-rearing in the United States and France. These divergent philosophies could account for why French children are generally better-behaved than their American counterparts. Pamela Druckerman highlights the divergent parenting styles in her recent book, Bringing up Bébé. I believe her insights are relevant to a discussion of why French children are not diagnosed with ADHD in anything like the numbers we are seeing in the United States. From the time their children are born, French parents provide them with a firm cadre—the word means "frame" or "structure." Children are not allowed, for example, to snack whenever they want. Mealtimes are at four specific times of the day. French children learn to wait patiently for meals, rather than eating snack foods whenever they feel like it. French babies, too, are expected to conform to limits set by parents and not by their crying selves. French parents let their babies "cry it out" if they are not sleeping through the night at the age of four months. French parents, Druckerman observes, love their children just as much as American parents. They give them piano lessons, take them to sports practice, and encourage them to make the most of their talents. But French parents have a different philosophy of discipline. Consistently enforced limits, in the French view, make children feel safe and secure. Clear limits, they believe, actually make a child feel happier and safer—something that is congruent with my own experience as both a therapist and a parent. Finally, French parents believe that hearing the word "no" rescues children from the "tyranny of their own desires." And spanking, when used judiciously, is not considered child abuse in France. (Author's note: I am not personally in favor of spanking children). As a therapist who works with children, it makes perfect sense to me that French children don't need medications to control their behavior because they learn self-control early in their lives. The children grow up in families in which the rules are well-understood, and a clear family hierarchy is firmly in place. In French families, as Druckerman describes them, parents are firmly in charge of their kids—instead of the American family style, in which the situation is all too often vice versa. Copyright © Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D. Marilyn Wedge is the author of Pills Are Not for Preschoolers: A Drug-Free Approach for Troubled Kids

Friday, 13 June 2014

FRANKLY, I'M TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT IT!

Tired of hearing about what? Parent's fears about the socialization of children who attend homeschool. I have been doing this for 35 years and I haven't seen a socially slow kid yet! I have seen kids that didn't get to play high school sports, but they come back years later and say they are glad and how much they appreciate their home school education and how much better prepared for college they were than their peers. Face it parents, I know it's free, but high school is not like it was even 20 years ago! I try very hard to stay abreast of what is happening in education and to keep my parents informed. Many parents see no need to be alarmed at the federal fight for the minds of our children, not because parents don’t care about their children, but mostly because of a lack of time and being exposed to constant propaganda via the media about how wonderful and socially necessary standard school really is. Never mind that “standard” school entails mostly social and sports activities and quite inadequate academic activities. Many students that I have taught over the years are here BECAUSE of the inadequacy of the public/Catholic schools systems. I do not say this as criticism of parents, but many are concerned as much with the social development of their children as the academic development of their children. If I had to pick one phrase that I have heard a million times is, “Well we are worried about his/her social development, having more friends and missing out on fun high school events, like Prom and Homecoming.” This is the American thought pattern as it is propagated by the liberal media and pop psychology. This type of thinking is what has led to America going from the best education system in the world to third-world status. In this on-going public dialogue of social vs academic there is one big question that has been left out. How concerned are we with our children’s spiritual development and what are we doing about it. Public school has just about removed all traces of spiritual, Christian influence; Catholic education has reduced it down to about 2 to 5%. Most of the students sleep, play on their phone or write notes in religion class. In both public and Catholic schools, teachers have their own religious philosophy, or lack thereof, and don’t mind sharing it with anyone who will listen. At a local high school one teacher poked pins in a voodoo doll when students were misbehaving and had no problem sharing her atheistic belief system. (Yes, right here in our small town). Here, I won’t even touch on the number of different philosophies that are brought to school from home by the students themselves – some not so pretty. So it is always a good idea to consider just who it is that you trust to socialize your children. To answer these and other home schooling questions I write this and have included many articles on our website (Lakewoodlearn.com), listing,from reputable sources, the detriment to a child’s academic and social health that standard/parochial education entails. Now, new since 2010, but kept on the QT until this year, we have Federal Common Core, an insidious political agenda, that has nothing to do with the academic betterment of our young, once innocent, children. This is in both the public and Catholic schools all across the country, and yes, even in our small town. Being knowledgeable about Home School will help you know how to vote in future elections. So here are your choices. 1st and foremost, I strongly encourage each parent to do their own homework about the advantages of home schooling over government schooling. Because if you don’t believe in homeschooling and you don’t see the positive things it does for your children then you will easily be swayed by media propaganda, friend’s or co-workers comments, worries of improper socialization, and the necessity of fighting for the right to choose your children’s path of proper education. I can’t stress strongly enough the need for you to be informed about the ravages of social development and exposure to all kinds of diversity, relativism, commercialism, hedonism, social Marxism, and improper college preparation that children in Common Core education face on a daily basis. Spiritual insight as to how to handle these situations will become crucial to our students in the future in this morally decaying country we are living in today. So , again, please read the blogs and articles on the website and search the internet for a greater understanding of just what home schooling is really about and remember, Christian spiritual development is built in to Seton home school curriculum. 2nd. Your children will get a diploma and a transcript upon graduation, so they can go to college without you doing anything different than you are doing right now. They can attend college with the help of grants, scholarships,(provided they work hard and have a good GPA and an excellent score on the ACT), financial aid, or personal financing. If, however, you want your child to be eligible for the state financial assistance (TOPS) program (this is another new rule) you will have to send your own personal letter of registration as a home school to the Dept. of Education each year. You can use our curriculum and send your children here, but you still have to send a letter at the beginning of each school year to register as a home school. This must be done for at least two years before graduation. 3rd . Here is the basic difference in Home School and Public/Catholic School: Home School is primarily 2 to 3 years academically advanced over Public/Catholic School. Home School Curriculum places Spiritual development first alongside Academic development, then aspects of Social development are included in the curriculum as well as interaction with other students. (Note: All of my children and some of my grandchildren have been homeschooled. All are successful in business and all of them were invited, during their high school years, to local public/Catholic high school proms, home-coming dances and sports events. My oldest granddaughter just graduated from college and is enrolled in the graduate program. Our latest Lakewood graduate graduated at 16 and is carrying a 4.0 grade point average her first semester in the very rigorous Nursing Program at a state university. Public/Catholic school places Sports development first, Social development second, and second-class academic development last (which includes hours of nightly homework) so that many have to have tutors during high school and their first year of college. College professors have spoken directly to us saying that P/C high school no longer prepares students for higher education. With the addition of Common Core, school progress and performance will be stifled and students will continue to decline in academics.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The New FCC - Federal Common Core

We have the FCC - Federal Communications Commission that regulates the brainwashing we receive through the media and now we have the new FCC - Federal Common Core that will be programming our children to act and think like left leaning liberal socialists. Common Core is the new Federal Curricula under the guise of individual state choice. Think your local school board has control of what your children are being taught? Most of the board members are naïve enough to think that they do still have control, but they don't. They are ruled by federal points and dollars. Believe me, they follow the money regardless of what they have to do to get it! Federal Common Core will make sure all kids think and are taught alike - poorly! This guarantees that American students will be several years behind high-achieving industrialized countries. The general purpose of our new bureaucratic FCC? Creating dumbed even further down workers, worshipers of liberal politicians. No part of the FCC is interested in educating free thinkers, creators, innovators, and surely not Christian thinkers! This is truly the end of freedom as we have known it. The sad epitaph is that American students were smarter and could read better BEFORE compulsory education began. It will soon be the 100th anniversary of the last state implementing compulsory attendance laws. Since that time education has gone straight down hill. Think about it; only a hundred years. Every year since the 80's we've been sold a bill of goods about a new magic pill that will fix our education system. All these lies have done is put more money in the bureaucrats coffers. It has never been about the kids. It is about big business and politics. So now FCC is supposed to fix everything. Won't happen. Federal Common Core is another ruse to blind the public to the Federal takeover of education, and what the government runs, in today's world, doesn't run very well and isn't good for anything except destroying our once great country. Think about this, do your own research, and remember your kids when you go to the polls in the next election. Their future depends upon it!