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Esquire: The Drugging of American Boys

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Songbird, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    This is a cool little 3-graph bit that appears after the lede though it could have started the piece:

    Just starting the story, which seems like something I've read before.

    Maybe Dick Whitman can find something in the NYT or other journals he reads.


    I've always had a short attention span, and was a moody and hyper boy into my teenage years, and exhibited other psychological signs that are mentioned, but I chalk that up to being tethered to the teat of the Sugar Queen. I'm just glad my parents didn't rush me to one child shrink after another and that I never had to take the kind of head meds discussed in this piece and others like it.
  2. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Amen. Call me sexist but I've seen enough anecdotal evidence that we are drugging these otherwise normal boys because female school teachers, and to probably an equal extent, mothers don't want to have to deal with them being hyper (i.e., normal). The drugs are the baby-sitter. Plus, feminists likely think boys need to have aggressive behavior curbed, no matter how harmless it is.
  3. hondo

    hondo Well-Known Member

    Here's the money graph in the story, to my thinking:

    "We are pathologizing boyhood," says Ned Hallo-well, 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."
  4. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    If you look at the symptoms for ADHD, or even some levels of the autism spectrum, you could put every boy on it. That makes it hard to figure out whether your son needs help, or whether This Too Shall Pass. But as the story mentions, there are incentives for parents and schools to have kids diagnosed with something. I think we all know of parents who are way too happy to have their child labeled, which to me makes it more difficult for those whose kid really need the help.
  5. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    As a former hyper child, I am thankful my parents never put me on drugs to chill me out. It would have stifled my creativity that helped make me who I am. Your idea that "female" teachers don't want to deal with it is spot on. Female teachers couldn't handle me and it made my younger years at school miserable. I was sent out in the hall routinely, or forced to sit in the corner. I missed out on everything and always had lunch and after school detentions. None of these punishments were for anything malicious. I never bullied or fought people, I just had a lot of energy. Nine out of 10 times, I'd get in trouble after my work was done because I was bored and had nothing to do. Instead of giving me more work and helping me to learn the teachers would just discipline me which led to me getting singled out. Also led to me being grounded all of the freaking time by my parents who were sick of me getting in trouble in school.

    So basically, my hyperactivity forced me into situations where I had to sit quietly by myself for long periods of time at school and at home. Thanks teachers.
  6. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Oh man, does this resonate.

    When my son was in first grade, we had one of the normal, regularly-scheduled parent-teacher conferences, when the teacher goes over his grades and progress, which was all at the top of the spectrum - best grades and and reading several years ahead of grade level, above 90 percent in all subjects of the standardized tests - then she says, "He has a knack for being loud at times and can be tough to get back on track, especially when coming in from recess, lunch or P.E. From what I've seen, little BWIP has exhibited some symptoms of ADHD. I would recommend he be tested."

    My wife and I look at her kind of dumbfounded, and she says, "You know, ritalin has something of a negative stigma, but it can work wonders with children like your son."

    We finished the conference, and happened to have a regular doctor's appointment set for a couple of weeks afterward, where we mentioned that to the doctor. He was as shocked as we were, and said we could have him tested, but he doesn't see anything that would lead him to a diagnosis of even minor ADHD.

    In talking to some other parents in that class, the teacher used the same spiel on at least 4 other parents of boys in her class at that time. Obviously it was an attempt to make her life easier and not have to deal with normal 6-year-old boys. We all contacted the principal and superintendent, with cc's to every member of the school board, about our concerns. She was not offered a contract the next school year.
  7. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Before drugs, I'd turn off the TV. For years.
  8. swenk

    swenk Member

    If my 19-yr-old son was posting here, he'd tell you he has ADHD, and his medication saved him...academically, socially, athletically. He'd show you how he went from failing high school to earning A's in college. He'd say people take medication for all kinds of things without social judgment from others who have no idea what they're talking about. Oh, and this: he'd definitely tell you he's normal. Which he is.

    It's not a disease. He's not mentally ill. He's a totally normal young man who, as a little boy, had an incredibly hard time sitting still, paying attention, following directions, completing tasks. No doubt that describes a whole lot of totally normal little boys. You can discipline many of them. You can't discipline a kid with genuine ADHD because he has no control over the behavior you want to discipline.

    I don't know too many parents who are ambivalent about putting their child on psychotropic drugs; it's a tough decision, just like many of the decisions we make for our kids. Look, are there doctors who are just happy to write the prescriptions? Sure. Are there teachers who would rather throw the problem at the parents than deal with a challenging kid? Of course. No question the lack of a definitive "test" turns every diagnosis into an excruciating leap of faith. But I'll take my son's success over the angst of social navelgazers, and encourage any concerned parents to trust their own instincts over the judgment of Esquire headline writers.
  9. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    If ADHD isn't a mental illness, what is it?
  10. swenk

    swenk Member

    I guess that depends on your definition of "illness." Is a learning disability an illness? Dyslexia? Language and auditory processing? They're all neurological issues, same family. Are they illnesses?
  11. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    And the video games.
  12. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    Ding ding ding.

    The screen time that today's young'uns take in is disturbing. Park the toddler in front of the TV so Mom and Dad can get shit done. Watch the drop-down TV in the minivan for any trip longer than a half-hour. An extra hour of TV at night instead of quiet reading time. Weekends full of video games.

    It's another blanket statement in an issue full of blanket statements to say that excessive screen time equals behavioral issues, but there are a lot of studies that back that up.
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