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Thread: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

  1. #1
    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D.
    March 8, 2012

    French children don't need medications to control their behavior.


    In the United States, at least 9% of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and are taking pharmaceutical medications. In France, the percentage of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than .5%. How come the epidemic of ADHD—which has become firmly established in the United States—has almost completely passed over children in France?

    Is ADHD a biological-neurological disorder? Surprisingly, the answer to this question depends on whether you live in France or in the United States. In the United States, child psychiatrists consider ADHD to be a biological disorder with biological causes. The preferred treatment is also biological--psycho stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/...dont-have-adhd
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    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    I believe ADHD is very real but extremely over diagnosed and of course, over-treated. However, there are instances of ADHD that have little/nothing to do with social context or parenting. French children also aren't exposed to the massive conglomeration of food additives, processed foods, HFCS and probably vaccinations that US kids are. So, besides the different outlook, I believe there are different factors involved in the difference in rates in the 2 countries.

    I was impressed when the psychiatrist evaluating my 7 y/o grandson told my daughter that if she insisted he'd give him a prescription BUT he felt kids were over medicated and he didn't like prescribing the drugs. This is a conventional psych! YAY My grandson has ADHD beyond any doubt. It seems to run in my family from my youngest brother to my niece to her son and now my grand son. I believe true ADHD is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. He is well controlled with certain dietary restrictions. Corn, sugar and MSG are huge triggers. Food dyes and gluten also trigger symptoms but not to the degree the others do. I think he gets excellent parenting, they are doing the best they can with diet, yet he still has symptoms. Even on his best days, unless he's sick, he's hyper by anyone's definition. Way back in the 70s they wanted to medicate my niece. My sister was an RN and flat out refused. Her daughter did just fine. My niece followed through with her son, refusing medication and controlling with diet and parenting. Drugs are almost never the answer. Unfortunately, most US parents are totally brainwashed and believe that drugs are the answer to everything.

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    Excellent points in your first paragraph. Gabor Maté subscribes to the psycho-social and situational model, supported by plenty of evidence. I see no reason to be exclusive; both can be at play. One of my foster children reacted to sugar and food additives, period.
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    Moderator Julieanne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    I read an article last year on French parenting. Seems they are quite strict, in general, and don't tolerate bad behaviour. It sounded pretty tough to me, but if their kids suffer less from ADHD maybe they are doing the right thing. Seeing kids behaviour today (not ADHD), we have gone very wrong somewhere.

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    Veteran Member Aaltrude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    Quote Originally Posted by Julieanne View Post
    Seeing kids behaviour today (not ADHD), we have gone very wrong somewhere.
    I feel anti smacking laws are the wrong way to go. There is a miles of difference between smacking a naughty child and child abuse.

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    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaltrude View Post
    I feel anti smacking laws are the wrong way to go. There is a miles of difference between smacking a naughty child and child abuse.
    Yes, there is. Unfortunately in the US, anyone can report a parent though and they'll take the kids away first and ask questions later. Parents here are almost afraid to spank their kids. If the kid mentions they got a spanking, the teacher can decide to turn the parent in. If a person sees a mom give a kid a smack, they can decide to call the cops. I personally know 2 families, very very good families, who went through hell and back and even temporarily lost their kids. One because a kindergartener told his teacher he got a spanking the night before and the other because she smacked a 4 y/o on the butt for throwing a fit in the grocery store. It used to be you couldn't get anyone to pay attention to real abuse but now it's gone the other way and discipline is considered abuse. I am only talking about the last few years I was in SC. I don't know if it is that bad nationwide or if it was just that area.

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    Veteran Member highlander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    A spanking should be a very rare thing and should fit the trespass. There are almost always more effective ways to correct a child. In my experience, the most incompetent parents were the ones who habitually resorted to spanking. I think they usually did it out of sheer frustration and/or ignorance. When is it ok to hit an adult? When they hit first. We don't go around "correcting" people with a smack (although I would LOVE to do that).

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    Veteran Member Aaltrude's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    I agree Highlander, but I don't think it should be outlawed.

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    Veteran Member bmc65's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    A spanking should be a very rare thing and should fit the trespass. There are almost always more effective ways to correct a child. In my experience, the most incompetent parents were the ones who habitually resorted to spanking. I think they usually did it out of sheer frustration and/or ignorance. When is it ok to hit an adult? When they hit first. We don't go around "correcting" people with a smack (although I would LOVE to do that).
    Thanks Maury, in the past I have given my son a smack on a few occasions as a last resort, and I can tell you it was absolutely the wrong way to go. It did nothing to stop the undesired behavior, and it initially confused my son about whether or not it's okay to hit.

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    Veteran Member Maurya's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    Sorry, bmc that was Highlander who made the comment.

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    Veteran Member bmc65's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    Thanks maurya. Geez what a gaff. Sorry highlander.

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    Veteran Member highlander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    Not a problem, bmc.

    I could probably count on my hands the time I was hit by adults as a kid. Not once did I think I deserved it. Did they teach me a lesson? Yes. Was it what they thought? No. It taught me that I could not trust any of them and when they said "I love you" my first thought was that they were lying. That's my foundation and it's vivid. Those feelings never changed. Maybe it's good to not trust anyone. Maybe I needed that lesson. I don't know. It sure was a hard pill to swallow at the age of 3.

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    Moderator Julieanne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    My brother and I were evacuated out of London during WW2 - I think I was about seven or so. We were sometimes smacked, but never in anger, and I never resented it. I knew I had been naughty. I loved the couple who looked after us, and even visited them many years later. I felt they were firm but fair.

    People respond differently to smacking. I did smack my kids sometimes (probably wouldn't now, but times change) and my son says he has no bad memories or resentment.

    But the people I stayed with when I was five? I don't remember being smacked, but they were horrible - cold and unloving. I was very unhappy there. There are probably worse things than smacking.

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    Veteran Member Maurya's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    Quote Originally Posted by Julieanne View Post
    There are probably worse things than smacking.
    I totally agree, Julianne. Back when I was a kid, smacking a child to gain his/her attention definitely was the norm in our community. Kids have notoriously short attention spans, and I can see the necessity to grab an arm, or to swat a bottom when the parent's important message to the kid, sometimes concerning the kid's own safety, is being ignored by the kid. Where I always thought that some parents stepped over a line was where my friends got severely beaten as punishment for some violation or infraction. By the time the kid's attention has been given to the parent's lesson, it now is time to stop. When beatings continue beyond that point, no lesson is being learned except that adults are violent and are not to be trusted, as Highlander has described.

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    Veteran Member Mr. Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

    Islander turned me on to Gabor Mate, and I've become a big fan. He maintains that ADHD is both genetic and environmental. In his book Scattered Minds, he focuses on how the parent-child relationship influences the emotional development of the child. He does not blame parents for their children's ADHD--as he and all 3 of his children have been diagnosed with the disorder--but he's emphatic that in today's "stressful, distracting" world, parents need to be more "emotionally available" for their children. As a kid, probably between ages 7 - 11, I remember acting out to get my parents' attention, almost always when I perceived them to be emotionally unavailable to me. I didn't mind being spanked because at least I had their attention. I know this might sound a little crazy, but hey, I was a pre-teen. This was the only way I knew to get their attention. This was true for my brother too, although not so much for my sister. I do think there's a big difference in the way boys try to get attention from their parents versus the way girls do. At any rate, I deserved every spanking I ever received from them. I was never diagnosed ADD. I was just misbehaving to get attention. I think that's where many kids are today. The difference is today they label you!!

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