Is it Bad Behavior or ADHD?

Read this fabulous article on ADHD by Frances Childs. Should children be raised in a boundary free permissive environment? No, they shouldn’t. Children should be brought up in an environment which fosters human freedom.

They should be free to explore their world and make their own decisions, but we shouldn’t over-protect them from the consequences of their actions.

Freedom isn’t being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want, to whomever you want, with someone else’s money, on someone else’s property, without consequences. That isn’t freedom, that’s insanity. It’s denial of reality. It is the delusion of the tyrant and dictator and it’s the way many parents let their children behave.

Expect more from your children.

True freedom comes from taking full responsibility for yourself, your decisions, and your environment. Once you understand that you’ll understand the power of your own freedom.

The day the finger pointing stops is the day we’ve all grown up.

A truly free man will make the right decision without a gun pointed to his head, because he is intelligent enough to understand his responsibility for his own decisions.

If others are trying to help me learn, and I tell them to go F-off, while I am free to do that, they also are free to walk away and never help me again. They are also free to ask me to leave if I do it on their property.

You cannot be free until you acknowledge every other human being’s inherent freedom.

Putting a fridge in my son’s room, filling it with donuts and Mountain Dew, and then drugging him with Adderal teaches him nothing about freedom. Being truly free is understanding you must earn the capital to buy the room, the fridge and its contents through voluntary transactions with other people. And even then, you still must accept the consequences (obesity and diabetes) of your poor diet and your drug use. There is no escaping the consequences of your actions.

Real boundaries are defined by your actions and other people’s reactions.

I am free to choose not to bring soda pop and candy into my house, and my son is free to swear at me because he wants candy and pop, but if I am an intelligent parent, I will react to his actions in a way that will not satisfy his desires, because, to be truly free, he must learn that he is not the only free person on earth. We are all free to choose and decide, and if you swear at me I will make a decision you will not like.

Hyper kids need to be taught that their actions cause reactions. We should not shield them from unpleasant reactions. We are all connected in this world. There is no denying it.

Free people treat each other with dignity and respect because that is how they want to be treated.

What does this have to with ADHD? Labeling poor behavior ADHD, relieving the child of consequences for his actions, teaches tyranny not freedom. It creates high chair tyrants who demand everything and contribute nothing.

I’m pretty sure I’m ADHD. Many of my friends are ADHD. And I can clearly see that the only control I have is self-control. Amphetamines (that’s what Adderal and Ritalin are) are not an option. I’ve seen people close to me go down that path (both legal and illegal) and it destroys the soul. I’d rather be quirky and disorganized than a shell of what I was.

Don’t drug your children, set a good example for them and hold them accountable for their decisions.

Don’t use drugs to get your kids grades up. So what if he forgets his homework. Grades just aren’t that important in the grand scheme.

(I’m not saying there aren’t hard cases. Maybe your child is one of them. I’m not talking about you. But IMHO ADHD is clearly over diagnosed. In the UK, It’s gone from 2,000 in 1991 to 400,000 today. Clearly many schools and parents are using ADHD to absolve them from confronting and correcting damaging behavior.)

6 thoughts on “Is it Bad Behavior or ADHD?”

  1. Steve,

    I’m with you — I think all the behavior problems and medications are being scapegoat for deeper problems else where. Such as poor diet, lack of exercise and over-exposure to TVs and video games.

    Control the amount of sugar in the diet, get them outside running around, and throw away TV and Wii and disconnect computer. See how they do then. 😉


  2. As a father of two boys, nearly 6 and a few months shy of 4, my challenge is to be hard but fair (which is how I use the “time out” technique) and for them to know that I love them unconditionally. There is no substitute for a parent’s love, time and undivided attention and communication.

    Unfortunately there are some parents who shouldn’t be parents – I acknowledge this is harsh comment to make, but I find it one of the great ironies of society is that many professions require their practioners to be educated, tested and certified/liscenced yet every parent is meant to instictively be a thoroughly competent parent. It’s taken me a few years to find the right skills and tools to be a father. This is something that I’ve had to work towards – I grew up being quickly condemned and sparingly praised by my stepfatheer, and I vowed that I wouldn’t repeat the same pattern of behaviour.

    Steve, I totally agree that drugging kids is a cop-out for lack of parental involvement and discipline. I don’t know if you’re familiar with a TV show called “Shalom in the home”. If not and you get a chance, watch the episode titled “The Di Josephs”, which deals with a child diagnosed with ADHD. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, who hosts the show, is very sceptical about ADHD diagnoses and it’s interesting to see what the causes of the family’s discontents are.

    Thanks for giving me some thought provoking material to chew over.

  3. Steve, another great post. Now then, if only a few million parents (or parents to be) would read this openly, you could change things with these words.

    I mean seriously:

    Expect more from your children.

    That’s the major point here. In it, lies the demand to expect more from ourselves as parents because only parents who expect much of themselves can actually achieve greater expectations from their children.

    I’m stumped sometimes by the degree to which it’s become so acceptable to find “reasons” to explain away problems instead of reasons to try harder to parent more responsibly.

    Not that my young resume as a parent has much sway here, but I’ve never yet had to outright spank my son. I’ve raised my voice at him a few times to make sure he knew I was serious, but I’ve never had to outright discipline him.

    Instead, I sit him with and talk to him. I tell him what I want, I find out what he wants. It takes a lot of effort. I mean a lot.

    At the same time though, the rewards are high. He’s kind, he picks up his toys every night, doesn’t throw temper tantrums, picks up his dishes even. He’s 3.

    And if needs something, without fear of consequence, he comes and asks me.

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