To my friends and acquaintances who are re-posting the article, “Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD”:
I want to ask a favor: Please don’t.
For those of us who have kids with ADHD (my middle child does), it feels like one more judgment on top of the heap of judgment we already feel from so many others…judgments that in essence say, “If you were better parents, your kids wouldn’t have ADHD.”
My middle son (age 9) has always been on a schedule, with established routines. He’s had firm, consistent boundaries. He’s always eaten healthy (low sugar, avoiding preservatives/artificial colors, plenty of veggies and protein, etc.)
Just like our other 2 kids, who don’t have ADHD.
We didn’t relish the idea of putting our son on meds, but 2 years ago we tried them. And the meds made a miraculous difference. Not just for us as parents (containment!), but also for our son: he likes himself better on the meds. They help him control his body and focus his mind and tighten his grip on his pencil and regulate his emotions and make better decisions overall. So we give them to him every day.
Wedge’s article is irresponsible at best and damaging at worst. She shows absolutely no cause and effect relationship between parenting techniques and prevalence of ADHD. She makes broad, sweeping evaluations of how the French parent, verses how Americans parent. It just “all makes sense” to her.
Those of us who parent special needs kids are already exhausted. From the nights we’ve stayed up late researching on the Internet and reading books about ADHD. From worrying about how we’re going to pay for the specialists and the testing. From the extra time we’ve put into therapy, to learn how to parent our kids differently from typical kids. From fighting for our kids to get specialized education plans at school.
When we see articles like the one Wedge wrote, with her dismissive tone and “simple” answers, it just beats us down even further.
Are American kids over-diagnosed and over-medicated? Perhaps.
But for those of us in the midst of the battle on behalf of our ADHD kids, this is real. And there are no easy answers.
We don’t need someone from the outside throwing “easy” answers at us. Please, no more, “If you just did X, your son wouldn’t have ADHD.”
We need people to join us in our struggle. To pray for us. To listen to us. To believe the best in us. To not assume that because the way you raised your kids “worked” for you, it would work for us.
You know the old saying, “Until you walk a mile in someone else’s moccasins…” We’re not asking you to do that. You can’t, really.
But you could walk a mile alongside of us. Keep us company for one leg of our tiring journey.
Just don’t tell us, “You know, if you only wore sandals instead of moccasins…”