The American Spectator: The Drug War on Boys - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 04-08-2013, 09:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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http://spectator.org/archives/2013/04/05/the-drug-war-on-boys

 

As the mother of a boy,I found this article shocking. I am also so grateful I am not dealing with this issue with him. I do appreciate that some children needs these medications to function in life. But I also believe they are way over prescribed.

 

 

 

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week that nearly one-fifth of high school-age boys have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Doctors eventually medicate two-thirds of them. The diagnoses represent a 41 percent increase over the last decade. 

 

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Boyhood isn't a medical condition to be cured. The God-complex of doctors, on the other hand, could use an injection of humility. Physician, heal theyself. 

 

 


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#2 of 8 Old 04-08-2013, 10:50 AM
 
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I blame the over-feminization of education more than I do doctors. The doctors only come into play when teachers refuse to teach kids unless they are medicated. At that point, what are parents and doctors supposed to do? (I realize there are other solutions, but teachers tend not to be very receptive to these solutions and demand that parents control their kids remotely when they're at school).

 

I also think it's ridiculous to call anything a "gateway drug". All drug addicts have to start somewhere, why not call oxygen a "gateway drug"? 

 

I was diagnosed with ADHD as a teenager and have been on "narcotics" most of my life. I've never had a problem with drugs. To be honest, I'm not the least bit worried about the "white coats" pushing drugs on my son, I'm more worried about him getting a teacher who has no control over their students and expects me to medicate him if it isn't necessary. 

 

Schools have interrupted the natural behaviour of boys because of people's obsession with lawsuits. There is now zero tolerance on everything that comes naturally to little boys. Boys need to be hunting, building, inventing, roughhousing, climbing, etc. not expected to sit quietly through an entire day of class writing poetry and discussing feelings. I'm not saying boys should be taught to be macho and dripping with testosterone, but they should be allowed at least a little bit to be who they are naturally and not be shoved into a classroom and be forced to learn the way that's most convenient for the teacher and cost-effective for the school.

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#3 of 8 Old 04-08-2013, 02:45 PM
 
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Escaping, wow, tell us how you really feel! Not that I am disagreeing with you. I'm not in the states, but 1 out of 5 sounds insane to me. And here the stats for ADHD have gone up, I think I read 150% each year, though don't quote me. Point is exponentially. Why? Yes, I think part of it is the schools, and expectations of what is considered acceptable behavior. I wonder if back in the day of ruler across the buttocks and patriarchal discipline and authority, that some of the ADHD kids would have been more subdued out of fear? Or out of totally different expectations put upon them? About the rough play and risks - we don't have the lawsuit issue here - if your kid busts their arm or ends up in ICU as mine did by being electrocuted by an open wire at school, oh well, too bad. Suing never even crossed our minds, was just a non-option. And our kids get a ton of exercise in the younger years. Basically school is 8 until 12 or 1 for the first 3 years, and that time also includes a lunch break - usually outside, and a 15 minute outside break. And then from 1pm until parents pick up at 4 or 430 is also mostly running around, or coloring or building or playing soccer... Yet we have the same crazy stats here about ADHD. What else has changed? I think of all the chemicals and additives in the processed food we eat. Not saying this is the root of the problem, but maybe a contributing factor. But then again, dont ask me about monsanto or I might start flaming away. 

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#4 of 8 Old 04-15-2013, 09:04 AM
 
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What else has changed? 

 

 

We have preschools and schools that are increasingly scholastic, with kids lined up in desks and sitting still for long stretches.  When I was in kindergarten (1975-- it was still pretty new back then.  My sister never went to kindergarten and she's only 4 years older than I) there was no such thing as an all-day kindergarten.  Kindergarten was more like a typical preschool is today.

 

Time out of school meant time away from schoolish things.  Most of us back in the day had no other lessons (maybe music, the rare few had gymnastics or other lessons).  We also had no homework.  I mean, zero, nada (I received my first homework in 5th grade--one page of math).  Going home meant going to play.  The only routine that might have changed from summer to school was an earlier bedtime (the sky wasn't light until 10pm anyway.)   

 

We have kids who get dropped off or bussed to school, even when the school is a few blocks away.  I don't see or hear kids running or biking around the neighborhoods much anymore.  Even if they have run-around time at school, they are still missing before and after.  (I will say this-- when I was a kid, we walked ourselves to school--even long distances.  Kids were running and biking and shouting and skateboarding all over the place.  Now if I see kids walking to school, they are walking calmly and quietly with their parents.  Then, repeat that on the way home, but with double the energy because Hooray! school was out!)

 

We are in our cars more, in part because of what I mentioned-- less walking to and from school, more commuting to various lessons.

 

We have video games marketed to ever-younger kids.  TVs are getting huge, and even if kids are not directly watching it, studies have shown having it on can still be disruptive to children.  

 

And, yes, certainly, who knows what is in their foods anymore?  Or the air?  Or sprayed on our couches?  Increasing use of the "air waves" for wireless devices.  ????

 

Certain "boyish" behaviors are not tolerated, because when taken to the extreme they can be dangerous and we live in an age of zero tolerance.  We've swung the pendulum pretty far the other direction, and I think that leaves kids without certain outlets-- throwing things, play-fighting with sticks, wrestling-- that could be perfectly acceptable if it weren't for our sensitivity about injury and bullying (and I'm not suggesting we shouldn't be sensitive about those things--  that's the difficulty of this particular situation).

 

We also have more drugs to treat this condition, and parents seem more likely to seek professional help.  We are not shy anymore about talking about these kinds of things.  Those drugs were out there when I was a kid-- I remember that my friend's little sister was on drugs for "hyperactivity"-- and who knows how many kids took them I didn't know about?  

 

It does feel like there is a "war on boys" going on, even to this mom of 2 girls.  But I think it is more that we have less tolerance for exuberance than we used to, and we are providing fewer and fewer outlets for that.  I also like to point out that girls are not necessarily on board with these changes, either.  They might comply with things more easily, they might prefer talking about things more than boys (as a whole), but I don't think they love the sitting down, I don't think they wouldn't love to have learning be more active and hands-on and, yes, exuberant.  I don't think they love the seemingly endless shuttling-off to activities.  I think that boys simply resist more--and are less capable of controlling their impulses than girls their age.  And, of course, while girls love to run and jump, boys on the whole do seem all about running and jumping.  So, I think these changes are only favoring girls because girls are capable of complying, not because this is what they prefer.

 

 

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#5 of 8 Old 04-18-2013, 12:41 PM
 
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Sigh. My 7yo has finally been diagnosed with adhd and recommended medication  for impulse control. His impulse control  tends to be lacking in classes that involve alot of words and interpretation-he starts singing to himself-he thinks its boring.

 

I felt sad this morning because before my kids were at school we went outside every morning first thing to play, to run and jump, to breath the fresh air, and only after that, we did home activities.

 

I wish school started that way-one hour at least of sports/physical activity/free play movement, and  only after that settle down for  academics.

 

Instead i have to  bundle my son up onto a bus,  where he has to sit still, then go to class where he has to sit still...given these demands, unnatural as they are,  i personally think my sons impulse control is fantastic!!!  

 

At home, i dont have any problem whatsoever with impulse control. 

 

My question is, how do the other kids do it?? Whats wrong with THEM?

 

I think my son is NORMAL

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#6 of 8 Old 04-18-2013, 09:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

 

And, yes, certainly, who knows what is in their foods anymore?  Or the air?  Or sprayed on our couches?  Increasing use of the "air waves" for wireless devices.  ????

 

 

yeah -- at the same time that rates of ADHD have gone up, rates of autism have skyrocketed. (I don't know about other learning differences.) It seems quite possible to me that whatever is causing rates of autism to rise and rise, in also causing the rates of ADHD to go up. I think there is more to this rise than just changes in expectations at school -- partly because I work at a school!

 

I work at a Title One school -- about half my day is in K, and the most of the rest is in 1st. (part of the time I'm with a special needs class). Anyway, so much of what I read here and other places isn't true of the school where I work. We start our day with recess before the kid even enter the building. Then we have a mid morning recess (with a snack), and then another recess after lunch. In the classroom, the children sit at tables, but spend a lot of time sitting on the carpet at the front of the room. Lesson are interactive -- some based around the smart board, some around centers, and lots using manipulative. Each class has a "read to someone" block each day where the children get to be with a friend and read together -- where ever they want.

 

I honestly think that the way the school is set up would cause FEWER children to be dx'ed with ADD than the way my classrooms were set up back in the late 60's early 70s -- when we sat in neat rows and read from Fun With Dick and Jane.

 

I don't see that anything is being done "for the convenience of the teachers," but rather out of an attempt to reach and teach kids who mostly aren't getting any sort of back up with academic life at home.

 

None the less, in spite of doing so many things "right,"  we have kids with ADHD at our school. Kids who have to be medicated to get through the day. Kids who would most likely be coping much better with meds, but aren't on them because their parent doesn't want them on them. These kids have social problems as well because their impulse control spills over to other areas.

 

I thought the article was poorly written. It didn't provide any data about how kids do on meds vs how they do off of them. It researched previous drug mis-steps, which isn't relevant. They didn't prove ANYTHING about ADHD meds.

 

Also, not just boys get dx'ed or medicated for ADHD.

 

It would be far more interesting to read a study comparing outcomes for kids with ADHD who were medicated compared to kids with ADHD to the same degree who were not medicated -- which one end up with better self esteem and better learning outcomes?

 

It's nearly impossible to do, though, because the severity of ADHD varies widely, and for the most part, the more severe the ADHD, the more likely the child is to be medicated. There really are some kids who are like watching a human pinball when they aren't medicated, and without modern meds they would have to be taken completely out of general education and just put some where -- which is what used to happen. Then there are kids who are in the middle and it is judgement call if med will help. There are also kids with mild ADHD who can thrive with behavior support. One cannot compare to the severely ADHD kids who are medicated to the mildly ADHD kids who are not.

 

But pretending its the teacher's fault? Seriously?

 

I


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#7 of 8 Old 04-18-2013, 10:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

 

 

We have preschools and schools that are increasingly scholastic, with kids lined up in desks and sitting still for long stretches.  When I was in kindergarten (1975-- it was still pretty new back then.  My sister never went to kindergarten and she's only 4 years older than I) there was no such thing as an all-day kindergarten.  Kindergarten was more like a typical preschool is today.

 

Time out of school meant time away from schoolish things.  Most of us back in the day had no other lessons (maybe music, the rare few had gymnastics or other lessons).  We also had no homework.  I mean, zero, nada (I received my first homework in 5th grade--one page of math).  Going home meant going to play.  The only routine that might have changed from summer to school was an earlier bedtime (the sky wasn't light until 10pm anyway.)   

 

We have kids who get dropped off or bussed to school, even when the school is a few blocks away.  I don't see or hear kids running or biking around the neighborhoods much anymore.  Even if they have run-around time at school, they are still missing before and after.  (I will say this-- when I was a kid, we walked ourselves to school--even long distances.  Kids were running and biking and shouting and skateboarding all over the place.  Now if I see kids walking to school, they are walking calmly and quietly with their parents.  Then, repeat that on the way home, but with double the energy because Hooray! school was out!)

 

We are in our cars more, in part because of what I mentioned-- less walking to and from school, more commuting to various lessons.

 

We have video games marketed to ever-younger kids.  TVs are getting huge, and even if kids are not directly watching it, studies have shown having it on can still be disruptive to children.  

 

And, yes, certainly, who knows what is in their foods anymore?  Or the air?  Or sprayed on our couches?  Increasing use of the "air waves" for wireless devices.  ????

 

Certain "boyish" behaviors are not tolerated, because when taken to the extreme they can be dangerous and we live in an age of zero tolerance.  We've swung the pendulum pretty far the other direction, and I think that leaves kids without certain outlets-- throwing things, play-fighting with sticks, wrestling-- that could be perfectly acceptable if it weren't for our sensitivity about injury and bullying (and I'm not suggesting we shouldn't be sensitive about those things--  that's the difficulty of this particular situation).

 

We also have more drugs to treat this condition, and parents seem more likely to seek professional help.  We are not shy anymore about talking about these kinds of things.  Those drugs were out there when I was a kid-- I remember that my friend's little sister was on drugs for "hyperactivity"-- and who knows how many kids took them I didn't know about?  

 

It does feel like there is a "war on boys" going on, even to this mom of 2 girls.  But I think it is more that we have less tolerance for exuberance than we used to, and we are providing fewer and fewer outlets for that.  I also like to point out that girls are not necessarily on board with these changes, either.  They might comply with things more easily, they might prefer talking about things more than boys (as a whole), but I don't think they love the sitting down, I don't think they wouldn't love to have learning be more active and hands-on and, yes, exuberant.  I don't think they love the seemingly endless shuttling-off to activities.  I think that boys simply resist more--and are less capable of controlling their impulses than girls their age.  And, of course, while girls love to run and jump, boys on the whole do seem all about running and jumping.  So, I think these changes are only favoring girls because girls are capable of complying, not because this is what they prefer.

 

 


Great post! And, thank you for understanding boys' behavior and what drives it, given that you are mom to two girls! I especially appreciate your perspective and understanding given the rough day I've had with a playdate where my son was the the only boy amongst five other girls! Two of them are his good friends, but I feel constantly judged and tense about his behavior when I am with these girls' moms. Because of this, I tend to be harder on him for doing things which are perceived to be too loud/naughty/silly...whatever. Today was another such stressful (for me) playdate. There was a boy he used to be very good friends with, also a 'typical' boy, but they moved away. I never got these negative vibes during their playdates! He is an only child, so I figured as long as he is happy I shouldn't crib about the company he keeps! Having said that, I am hoping he finds some other boys to be friends with. It's easier to establish a rapport with people who get it and understand!

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#8 of 8 Old 04-19-2013, 08:31 AM
 
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For the record, I also thought the article brought up some good points, but wasn't a good article about the issue.  It seemed more like a rant.


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