by Jessica Fox, M.A.
What do parents do when they have little reason to trust their teenager because they have caught them in a lie so many times? Many parents’ first thought is “I’m not going to let them pull one past me again!” Today, parents have ample opportunity to catch their adolescent in a lie. Years ago it was not so easy for parents. But now there are Facebook statuses, Twitter, and all kinds of ways to check where your teen is or says he or she is.
Unfortunately for the teen, it is all too easy for their parents to figure out a computer password or make a privacy settings prohibited. It is unfortunate for these same parents because while parents think they are being smart and resourceful, they are actually modeling deceitfulness and dishonesty for their children and reinforcing that going behind somebody’s back is acceptable. Of course parents should monitor what their children are viewing on the Internet, but there is a fine line between “monitoring” and just plain spying. If you want your teen to stop lying it would be more beneficial to have consequences that fit the crime. Or, if you are going to go behind your teenager’s back and checks or her text messages, emails, tweets, Facebook, etc., then tell them that you are doing it and at least model what the truth looks like!
If your teenager has given you reason not to trust them it would be a good idea to reevaluate what discipline looks like in your household and come up with some creative consequences. However, if you are one of the few lucky parents with teenager who is compliant, follows the rules, and meets his or her family responsibilities, then giving your teen a little freedom and privacy will most likely enhance his or her decision-making skills, increase self-esteem, and promote a healthier relationship between you and your child. They will probably be more likely to tell the truth if they feel you trust their abilities as well!
If ADHD is really a mental illness, a neurobehavioral or even neurological disorder, it should not be cured so simply by parents. But it is cured that simply*.
Many clinicians have worked with children diagnosed with all three types of ADHD—Inattentive, Hyperactive-Impulsive, and Combined—by equipping the child’s parents to enact and enforce consistent, strict, fair, and loving limits and boundaries. Dr. David Stein is one psychologist who has gotten astounding success with children formerly diagnosed with ADHD. Howard Glasser has taught scores of schools how to provide appropriate behavioral intervention to radically change children who once seemingly could not behave properly in a classroom.
I have worked with children for 18 years in a variety of settings, including schools, residential homes, inpatient hospitals, and private practices. It is a joy and pleasure to work with parents who want to be the agent of change in their child’s life and who commit to doing so without a diagnosis. Almost every one of those families—when they consistently and properly employ reasonable discipline—have transformed their child from one who “has ADHD” to one who does not. Many of the children had been diagnosed ADHD by professionals who are eminent in the field of child psychiatry.
Heck, if I can train parents to make such fundamental change in their children and cure a “serious neurological disorder” in such a short time and with such simple principles and techniques, I should be up for a Noble Peace Prize. I’m not holding my breath.
*Notice I did not say “easily”, but “simply”. Reasonable discipline is simple. Enacting and enforcing it can be very difficult for parents who do not know how or lack the will or ability to do so. Some parents are so locked into permissive parenting or rely on methods that worked well for one child that they can’t conceive of another way to do things. Others are so overworked, overstressed, and overwhelmed that they simply do not have the will. Yet others are stuck parenting on their own with no support from spouse and other adults. This makes reasonable discipline genuinely difficult, but it does not change the reality that if proper limits are enacted and enforced, the child will respond to them—usually rather quickly.
by: Dr. Dathan Paterno
Sometimes I look at the diagnostic criteria for ADHD and just laugh.
The ADHD diagnosis includes a list of several behaviors that are bothersome to adults, including:
- Often fails to pay close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
- Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
- Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
- Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
- Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
- Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as schoolwork or homework)
- Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
- Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
- Is often forgetful in daily activities
First of all, “often” is not a scientific term. What is often: once an hour? Once a day? However often it takes to drive Mom to drink? Any symptom description that is so subjective should be rejected out of hand. This unscientific nonsense would be funny if it weren’t used to diagnose so many children with the baloney ADHD diagnosis.
Second, the geniuses who created the DSM-IV determined that a child must exhibit 6 or more of these “symptoms” in order to meet that magical threshold of a neurological disorder. Brilliant. So if a child has 4 or 5 of these, he doesn’t have a neurological disorder, but if that child also avoids or dislikes doing homework, THAT makes a neurological disorder? Even the most skilled science fiction writer couldn’t come up with anything this fanciful!
Third, since when is disliking homework a symptom of a mental illness? This is manifestly absurd.
Fourth, are not all of these behaviors trainable? Certainly a child who sometimes pays close attention or sometimes listens to when spoken to directly can (and should be) trained to do so most of the time. That is the job of the parent. The diagnosis of ADHD, however, suggests that the child simply cannot perform these tasks often enough, due to some imagined neurological deficiency. But research has proven that firm, consistent, loving, and reasonable parenting almost always results in significant improvement in all of these symptoms.
Finally, children who exhibit these symptoms almost always are quite able to perform them when involved in tasks that are enjoying to them, such as Legos and video games. So what happens—the neurological disorder just disappears when the child is in the presence of Legos? Baloney! The fact is that attention, concentration, and self-control are inextricably connected to motivation. With proper motivation, children can behave quite well.
This ADHD stuff is simply baloney.