Labels Belong On Clothing, Not Children
I was visiting family over the Thanksgiving holiday when a family commented how his energy was well above any of the other kids aka his cousins. I responded he was like that all the time. He’s rearing to go from the moment he wakes up until he goes to bed. Any who she then proceeds to mention we might want to take care of that sooner than later because while she thought her son was ready for advanced classes when he was younger, unbeknownst to her he was having difficulty in school. ADHD apparently was the cause along with a little medication to solve it. I immediately took offense but kept it to myself. I don’t think she meant any harm by it but still. As a parent, you don’t want to be the first person who labels their child as having any physical, mental or emotional disabilities. Nor do you want to fill their bodies with medications that usually have unwanted side effects such as low appetite, stomach pains or sleep issues. I also know as a parent you only want to do what’s best for your child and hope that the pros far outweigh the cons. So before I allow myself or anyone else for that matter try to label my child, I’m going to look a little further into what that means as well as take a hard look at my child. My son? He’s high energy. He’s rambunctious. He often talks more loudly than he needs to in public and likes to try to hide in the clothes at Target. He’s also four years old. Kids that age love to run around, scream, giggle, wrestle and also have a short attention span. I’ll admit that there are times his teacher at the montessori where he attends, has spoken to us about him not listening in class, rather choosing to do his own thing or playing around. But its’ not an everyday occurrence or every week. He simply has no chill at times. But then there are other times he will totally engage in an activity or story. He’s also very helpful in the kitchen wanting to help prepare almost every meal. He will gladly take on responsibility if provided the opportunity. He can count and I don’t simply mean 1,2,3 but actually giving value to a specific number of things or objects. He also wants to travel to other countries to visit places such as Stonehenge or Big Ben because he’s learned about them in school. He’s constantly trying to read by sounding out words on our shirts, buildings or books. So while he may not pay attention at every moment, he’s learning. I see it everyday.
While the Montessori covers everything from science, math, reading, practical life and the typical subjects you would find in any other school, not everyone will be his favorite. Not every subject will draw his attention. As adults, we experience the same thing when we go to work everyday and have to deal with parts of our job that simply bore us to death. I know that my husband has told me about countless hours he’s spent in meetings discussing meetings about other meetings while trying to keep awake, let alone trying to sit and actually pay attention. I would even say you’ve experienced something similar. I know you’ve doodled a time or two during a meeting or thought about anything but what was going on in front of you. But as an adult you can’t act out. You can’t start randomly making silly faces or doing fart jokes because you’ll soon quickly find yourself without a job. So you go back to the above mentioned activities while trying to keep your composure and maintain your sanity. Or you simply do like I do and constantly find reasons to get up and walk around or strike a few yoga poses because the work in front of makes me want to cry from boredom. Seriously. But on the flip side when you’re really into your job or in a child’s case really into a particular subject, you’re all ears, eyes and hands. You. Are. There for it.
I say all of this because I know there are kids out there who truly have ADHD and that whatever is being prescribed be it therapy, medication or both is truly helping. But how many others are being diagnosed unnecessarily because they're bored or hungry. If you haven't had food for breakfast or the night before as some kids unfortunately don't you won't be paying to much attention to what's going on in the class. You'll be trying to block out the hunger. Or what about all the time spent in front of screens before school, after school, in bed, at dinner? It's no wonder kids can't pay attention to a person because they haven't been taught to do so. Or parents who simply trying to find answers and help by taking an online assessment for ADHD go to their child's doctor with their findings and the doctor agrees because why? Big drug companies. People have to make a buck right? In the early 2000s it was 1 in 20 kids being diagnosed. Then around 2011, 2012 it was 1 in 9. Why the huge increase? Anything listed above could be a reason.
But as for me and my family, I'm not going to be so quick to label my son. He's loud. He's funny. I’ll even call him my little wild child. But i know he's learning and he's far ahead than I thought he would be and proves it to us daily. So before you try to label him after one interaction, just get to know him. He's one incredible little person.