Thursday, 1 March 2012

problem child

There was a woman with her son on my train home from work tonight and the kid was acting up.
Not much really, he kept standing on his seat, she kept telling him to sit back down and he was being a bit loud and cheeky.
The train was pretty full but nobody seemed bothered by him, if anything he was entertaining. Every time he stood up he was chatting to the man in the seat behind him, who didn't seem to mind, but the mother apologised saying the boy had ADHD.

I don't think he did.
He was clearly excited to be on the train and judging by the amount of luggage they had they were either on their way back from or going on holiday.
What was evident was that the mother had no idea of how to manage her son, he was about 5 or 6 and yet there were no comics or toys on their table. He was not listening to her, but she had nothing to offer him as a distraction. I don't know how long they had been on the train but common sense should tell you that the average 6 year old is not going to sit still for too long unless he has something to occupy his mind.

What is wrong with this picture.

I have worked with children who really do have ADHD, and even with medication they are hard to control. Actually I'll rephrase that, since with them it's more that they have a hard time controlling themselves. I have seen kids work themselves into a frenzy, unable to stop whatever it is they are doing even though later they will tell you that they didn't want to - they cannot stop.
I have even known young people ask that staff restrain them when they get that way because they want someone else to take control for them.

Nowadays it seems to me that it's all too easy to label a child as being or having a problem when the real problem lies with the lack of parenting skills.
Doing so can have adverse effects on the child in several ways.
There is stigma attached to any negative label that can stay with you into adulthood, and telling a child it has ADHD can sometimes give it what it takes as an excuse to behave badly, or might mean that adults do not challenge the behaviour because they think it's to be expected.
I've heard parents say that their GP made the diagnosis, I can't speak for other countries but in the UK only a child mental health practitioner is qualified to make that decision or prescribe the drugs used to control it.
All a GP should be doing, if they think there is a problem, is referring a patient to one.
And even they can get it wrong, mild autistic disorders such as Aspergers can often produce similar symptoms.

The drugs that are used to treat the condition can have horrible side effects.
Stunted growth, delay of puberty, excess hairiness and even tourettes - which will appear as tics. I've worked with kids who exhibited all of these, in their cases all were on quite a high dose and a couple were also on anti-psychotics, a combination that is not unusual for extreme ADHD.

When you've seen kids like those you know that a bored six year old having trouble staying in his seat and wanting some attention has only really got one problem.
A parent who has no clue.

I was quite tempted to ask her how she knew her son had ADHD, and was it really a case of she couldn't control him.
But stupid people don't listen anyway, and I'm feeling very tired today so she had a lucky escape.

And whilst I'm talking about lucky escapes meet the latest hunk to message me on a dating site.
I really don't know why I'm bothering.
Blog fodder I guess.

Oh joy, someone who has nipples that are pointing further south then mine.
Ok, I know I am probably what some people might call a lady of a certain age but I still want to actually fancy someone. And anyway I knocked ten years off am vague about my age on my profile.
This is what he has to say about himself,

I am me ?
That's a shame because if you were someone else I might be interested.
Some body ?
Is he into necrophilia ? Sounds like he's not too fussed either way.
This is why you should REALLY be extra careful about grammar when composing profiles, and I can't help thinking about dog treats when I read the last sentence.

I also decided to take a look at the competition . . . .

Ladies - you know how much we hate it when we go out and someone else is wearing the same frock ?

Not only is this the most unflattering article I have ever seen, but there are two of them wearing it.

Yeah, I REALLY don't know why I'm bothering.
Unless I want to buy an overpriced ghastly creation that makes me look like one of those pictures you stare at when you're tripping to make your eyes go wonky.

Thanks to everyone who voted in the poll.
The winning result was that yes I should run for prime minister, but I have to pay you to vote for me.
Just as I thought. . . you lot are as corrupt as me.


  1. Your right on with that ADHD thing! Theres actually an epidemic of GPs on the east coast of north America diagnosing kids as having ADHD and making lots of money of the medicine! Its quite apauling!

    I too am bothered by how dumb some parents are! I know adults who'd get bored on a train ride, how can a kid not! All it takes is a couple toys or a book! (or just talking to your kid!)

    I'm glad your posting about this! though most people who will read it will probably know better lets just hope some dumb parent stumples apon this blog post, reads it and smartens up!

    1. Ummm? I honestly don't think I am a dumb parent but my son has a doctor's appointment next week about this. I really don't want to see my kid on meds. I believe he is nothing more than a kid just being a kid.

      He is the youngest student in his class and the teacher is having a hard time controlling him. This is kindergarten we're talking about here. He is only 5 years old. Of course he is going to want to play and run around! He don't follow instructions very well but does any kid this young ever listen?

      I am glad I seen this post. I will have to make sure the Mrs sees this. We may not be the best parents but nobody is perfect. I don't believe medication and doctors visits are the answer. We only need to work with him more on his listening skills and following instructions.

      The only thing wrong with the kid is that he is spoiled rotten. He thinks everything is about playing and having fun....something we as parents make sure kids get plenty of. I mean who doesn't like watching their kids running around having fun and using their imagination?

      Thanks for posting this....and don't judge me just because he is going to the doc for possible ADHD diagnosis. The Mrs and I are awesome parents!

    2. Dan, I would not judge anyone for being a concerned parent.
      But if it is the teacher suggesting this then perhaps it's them that has the problem and not your son ? At five, as you say, he is going to be boisterous. Not his fault if his teacher can't manage her class.
      In all the child protection training that I did we were always told to be aware of kids that were shy, quiet, reserved and struggled in social situations - not the noisy extroverts.
      So yeah - I'd worry about the teacher.
      Also those kids I worked with were in care, so they had a stack of other issues besides ADHD.

      Sounds to me like you're not spoiling your son, you're letting him enjoy being a kid.
      And at five kids SHOULD think they are the centre of the universe and life SHOULD be about playing and having fun.
      When it isn't - well that's when they can end up like the kids I knew.

      Listening skills and following instructions ? You think those are hard now - wait 'til he's a teenager....

      Whatever the outcome of your appointment follow your heart and don't give him medication, it's vile, and as you clearly get already there are other better ways.
      He obviously does have awesome parents, and that's really all any kid needs :)

    3. i just wanted to add my comment to this....i have had several meetings with his teacher and have even watched her teach (she didnt see me) and i can honestly say she handles her class very well. she has a small class and even has a helper teacher, thus the reason i picked this school. she was my daughters k teacher so i knew when my son got her that he was getting a great teacher.

      anyway back to my point, in our meetings we have discussed my sons behavior. he is very well behaved in school. his only problem is when they are working on something he cant stay focused. she agreed that since he is only five that we should give it time and wait to see if he matures. there is only 3 months of school left now and if anything my son has gotten worse. she is having to sit next to him while doing activities and keep reminding him that he is to be writing or coloring. and the same goes for home. i dont know how many times i have to remind him that he is to be eating or getting dressed.

      my son was also born premature and was always way behind in his growth but he has finally caught up to where he needs to be...he might just need a little help maturing

      im not saying my son is adhd but i am a little concerned with some of his behavior. i do feel that i am a good mom and i could be a better mom but no one is perfect.

      i dont like the idea of putting my son on meds but i also dont want him to be behind in his education because i was too scared to give him the help he needed.

  2. Yes, ADHD has become quite the go-to for American kids. It's frustrating to me. Why medicate? Shouldn't it be a last resort.

  3. Yeah - the ADHD thing. People bandy about labels like confetti. Another one is when people who have a cold have the flu - honestly! a runny nose and a headache and you've got flu??? Try bedridden with fever a bucket on the side - then I might agree.

  4. Really good post. A lot of people use spurious claims about ADHD or learning difficulties as an excuse for piss poor behaviour.

  5. I voted just that yes you should run. One of my nieces is suspected of having ADHD, she rarely eats, rarely sleeps, and rarely stops moving. There is a difference between actual ADHD and just bad parenting though, one people just don't seem to get. I wonder what more that guy could offer besides sex.

    Good sex?

  6. That photo of the woman smoking while worrying about the sound of jackhammers sickens so much, it's so hypocritical and contradictory, it really annoys me. Great post in general about the ADHD too DCG, I always get irked at labels put on perfectly healthy, normal children that implies something is abnormal or badly different about them when in reality all they are is children. It's something that's ridiculous and shows society is constantly regressing which is depressing.

  7. That dress is fugly. That man is even fuglier. If you sit on command, maybe he'd give you a cracker. I think way too much emphasis is put on diagnosing children instead of treating them as children. They need stuff to keep them busy and even then, they'll probably get a bit wound up. Big deal if the kid stood on his seat and spoke to the man behind him. If it bothered the man, he could say so. I quite often speak to children who are bored, as long as it doesn't upset their mums. Maxwell's guest post is at my blog today.


  8. ADHD and bipolar disorder are by far the most over-diagnosed conditions out there right now. These things do exist and they are a problem for the people who have them, but it's crazy how many people think they or their kid have one of them.

    It sounds like the woman on the train had the problem and its called 'bad parenting skills.'

  9. He sounds like a normal kid to me, hell I would have been happy if mine wasn't ripping the seat apart!

  10. I tell people I suffer from ADHD when I feel too polite to say 'fuck you'.

    If you're not going to go out on a date with that wonderful gentleman, can I?

    1. No I'm not - I'll pass on your details !

  11. Wow that is some awful, awful grammar. It is as if the site gave him only twenty seconds to write his profile.

    His best-formed line is that when he says "I knows how to treat a lady." That is just skeevy.

    1. It is as if the site gave him only twenty seconds to write his profile.

      This made me laugh... and also think.

      I'm pretty sure that they SHOULD only give 20 seconds to write the profile. That would really tell people something about their potential suitors!

    2. It took me longer then that to work out my 'new' date of birth.

  12. There is a blogger and writer called Stella Deleuze who has ADHD and has learned to control it without medication. I'll forward this post to her.

  13. I couldn't agree more.

    Someone very nice referred me to your blog, knowing that I know a thing or two about ADHD since I am one of those who has this condition, though I got diagnosed as an adult I never use that excuse. It's something you learn to work with. Well, I did. I was offered a cocktail of medication and denied.
    You are quite right re the boy. Even I get impatient if I don't have anything to distract me; music, a book, a chat, so how can you expect that from a child. Those parents need a slap, seriously. And telling the man that the boy had ADHD, using it as an excuse is outragous. Is she going to use that, too, when he's an adult and assaults someone?

    1. Welcome Stella.
      Reading these comments has made me realise I have more to say about this subject, I spent six years working in residential kids homes with some very traumatised young people and the effects of the medication often made our job so much harder. Trying to help people face up to and come to terms with the source of their pain is tough enough, never mind when they were numbed out on meds.
      I'm going to check out your blog later :)

  14. I think that the explosion of childhood dysfunctions can be explained by expanded diagnosis and not that all of the sudden kids are broken more. And I say this as the father of a child who was diagnosed with autism. By todays standards I would have been on the spectrum as well. But because there was no diagnosis, I had to learn to cope. We do our children a disservice by labeling everything.

  15. I feel bad for the poor kid whose mother is handing him excuses rather than teaching him coping skills (if he does have ADHD). I think a quarter of my class in elementary class was on Ritalin. The teachers used to recommend the diagnosis. Yes, apparently my teachers were pediatricians in their spare time. Well easier to handle doped up kids than to actually teach I guess.

    That guy "good sex" *shudder*

  16. Great post! I agree with your take on society's penchant for over-labeling children (as well as with several of the people commenting above).
    On a side note, if you run for Prime minister and win, I just might have to move back to the UK. :)

  17. Soooooo. are you gonna go GET rowdy with that fellow at the pub?

    1. Well I'll be damned.

      Where the fuck have you been Rafa ?

      And no, it's gonna be hard but I'm going to resist, tempting as it is.

  18. That woman is smoking a fag (NOTE: This has a COMPLETELY different meaning in the States).
    As far as that 65 year-old "I am me" dude: Look on the bright side. You can share brassieres.

  19. I have a long running argument with my wife over how there seems to be this craze at the moment of labelling children. It seems that unless a kid is above average in school then there has to be a medical reason for it... I'm not saying there aren't genuine conditions that need help and support but sometimes kids are just kids.

  20. Moobies.
    Excited children on crowded traincars.
    A-crap-o-lyptic signs of the times???
    Naahhh, just lack of proper attention.


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