On raising boys

1 Apr

This article in Esquire Magazine gave me a lot to think about. Titled, THE DRUGGING OF THE AMERICAN BOY, it covers how 20% of boys are diagnosed with ADHD.

According to the article 2/3 of the kids diagnosed with ADHD are prescribed drugs such as Ritalin and Adderall. These drugs, interestingly, work on anyone whether you have ADHD or not. They will make you focus and be still. Problem solved.

It’s undeniable that many, if not most, children are misdiagnosed. But the article goes as far as saying that the condition of being a boy is what is being treated, not ADHD

“We are pathologizing boyhood,” says Ned Hallowell, a psychiatrist who has been diagnosed with ADHD himself and has cowritten two books about it, Driven to Distraction and Delivered from Distraction. “God bless the women’s movement—we needed it—but what’s happened is, particularly in schools where most of the teachers are women, there’s been a general girlification of elementary school, where any kind of disruptive behavior is sinful. What I call the ‘moral diagnosis’ gets made: You’re bad. Now go get a doctor and get on medication so you’ll be good. And that’s a real perversion of what ought to happen. Most boys are naturally more restless than most girls, and I would say that’s good. But schools want these little goody-goodies who sit still and do what they’re told—these robots—and that’s just not who boys are.”

While its true that disruptive behavior is not accepted in schools, I don’t see how its from a “girlification” of anything. Children are under a lot of pressure to learn and pass standardized tests that did not exist a decade ago. There is no time for teachers to deal with disruptions.

Furthermore, all children need to learn to sit and focus because the best jobs require that skill. We have few good jobs in the US where you are not sedentary. Its not just the teachers that want the boys to sit still and do what they are told. All of society not requires this.

So what do we do with the boys who just can’t sit still?



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