CALawMama's Blog

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Experiences at the interface of life, law, and motherhood in Cali

The Overprotected Kid

I saw this article the other day, and I read through most of it. (Sorry to report that as a mom of 4, including one newborn, I don’t often have the opportunity to make it all the way to the end of a long form article these days.)

I often pay close attention to articles like this one, because I am by no means a free range parent. However, the farther I get away from law school, the less I see creeks running through parks as attractive nuisances, and the more I encourage my kids to climb trees as they please.

That being said, as I found myself nodding my head in agreement to much of it, one passage in particular struck me, and it was how this alleged overprotecting is affecting children, they are becoming:

less emotionally expressive, less energetic, less talkative and verbally expressive, less humorous, less imaginative, less unconventional, less lively and passionate, less perceptive, less apt to connect seemingly irrelevant things, less synthesizing, and less likely to see things from a different angle.

I thought to myself, all of those qualities are those in which my kids are off the charts. They are literally running around expressing themselves, and being creative and quirky all the time. Here’s the further irony, all of those qualities are things that may pose an issue in the increasingly overcrowded classrooms, where compliance is the goal. Which brings me to this piece, about the alleged over diagnosing of some 1 in 7 to 1 in 5 young boys with ADHD, and the resultant medicating. 

{As I do on facebook, I would like to take this opportunity to point out that I KNOW ADHD is real, I know there are legitimate diagnoses, and I am sure that some kids really do need it in their parents’ and medical providers’ opinions. My point has nothing to do with the legitimacy of these situations.}

The point is that the typical more physical and allegedly hyper “boy” behavior (while I have two boys, my oldest is not even 3, so I do not feel comfortable making any judgments on boy behavior, I speak merely from what I have heard/read) is increasingly being isolated as problematic, and resulting in alleged unnecessary drugging, thus removing the tendencies to express themselves in the “hyper” way.

So it appears there is a forced dilemma over whether to encourage physicality and this type of play, or whether to encourage more sedate behavior. You can’t have it both ways, so it seems.

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