I N T E N T I O N S
Well it seems help comes from unexpected places. In this case: France. Quoi! For years I've tried to alert you to the unnecessary and often dangerous drugging of our children with psychotropic drugs such as methylphenidate. Well it seems that one way to avoid this is to raise your children in France. The rate of children being diagnosed and treated for ADD/ADHD is 9% in the US but only 0.5% in France. An article in Psychology Today "Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD (psychologytoday.com/blog/suffer-the-children/201203/why-french-kids-dont-have-adhd) describes the situation as such:
"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 psychosocial 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." (Emphasis mine)
Well judging from the comments in the combox the author, especially with that last statement, ticked off lots of American parents. An experience with which I am not unfamiliar. I find it strange how fiercely some parents will fight to keep their kid on drugs. I think some parents think that if you can give the kid a pill then the problem is biological and it's therefore not my fault. Well no one is blaming you for your child's behavior. But you have to remember that as parents you are part of the solution.
G. K. Chesterton wrote, "Science in the modern world has many uses; its chief use, however, is to provide long words to cover the errors of the rich." Hence children from middle and upper class backgrounds have ADHD while poor inner city children suffer from a lack of poor parenting and no self-control. It is not merely a game of semantics. When you so casually give children with growing brains dangerous chemicals that can cause psychotic breaks with reality, eruptions of violence and suicide it is no longer a play on words but playing with a child's life and wellbeing.
Are there some children who benefit from these prescription drugs? Maybe. But I do know there are more parents and teachers who benefit from not having to do the hard work or make the necessary changes to find other solutions that help a child deal with his or her unique challenges. The drugs might not solve the child's problem but they sure solve the adult's problem of dealing with a hyperactive child.
So apparently we can learn more than cooking from the French. To every parent who struggles to deal with a child that is hyperactive or can't focus I say leave no stone unturned in trying to find a long-lasting solution and not just a quick fix to your child's unique personality. And also remember not to mistake temporary for permanent. Children do change and grow and if you are careful about it you can help them find the tools they need to hand the challenges they face.
Love, Fr. John B.
P.S. Neuro-feedback is one very helpful tool that helps bring the parts of the brain that are over or under active into equilibrium. We offer it at the Parish Office. Contact Dr. Monica Breaux at the Office.
P.P.S. I highly recommend the book "It Doesn't End Here" by Dawn Marie Roeder in which she tells her harrowing experience of being given methylphenidate and her journey back to wholeness.
>>> Want to re-read one of Fr. John's past letters?
A N N O U N C E M E N T S A N D E V E N T S
- JUN 1
to Benefit Father John’s 25th JubileeRead more
- JUN 1
with Rebecca De la Torre and Jaime CortezRead more
- JUN 22
with the Daughters of St. Paul, Missionary Sisters of CommunicationRead more
- JUN 24