Legal Drugs & Our Children
Throughout my early years as a psychotherapist, about half my client base had an ADHD or ADD label. What is ADHD? Simply put, it is a focusing disorder that shows up in children, as attention deficits, hyperactivity and assorted behavior problems. Over the years, I began to distance myself from what I felt were labels that kept children and families stuck with no practical applications to encourage new ways of engaging life. At that time, whenever the local school district had child they couldn’t handle, they sent to me! What a blast! This delightful group of children that I was blessed to work with, were intelligent and creative! They were high-risk takers, a hallmark of ADHD, who were not afraid to tell me how they felt and what they needed. Lately, however, it seems as though drugs are the key to treatment, but I challenge this notion.
This focusing disorder is frequently diagnosed in our country and it is no accident that America has a higher percentage of individuals with ADHD then other countries. The very notion of sailing over the ocean in flimsy boats to seed the Americas takes courage, high risk and impulsivity, the qualities inherent in ADHD. This country has more then their fair share of people with these qualities. Other countries, like England, have low levels of ADHD. In fact, some of our corporations thrive on these high-risk individuals who are not intimidated by their own disorganization, they have “people” for those skills sets and thrive on multitasking skills. Actually, we praise people who are great at multitasking!
Even so, I want to encourage anyone who may have the label, ADHD, or a child with ADHD/ADD, to embrace the qualities that make them who they are and educate themselves in how to make the most of these skills. Instead of being frustrated or depressed, turn them into an advantage. We hear a lot about the downside of ADHD, but there are many upsides as well. Those with functional ADHD have high social intelligence, great empathy, and exceptional ability, are very caring, they usually excel at life and many times have a special creative talent or hobby, such as music. Embracing themselves and all of their talents helps those who bear the weight of an institutional label. That said, it is overused and an excuse for the drugging of America. (There are links to a few very short videos (generally 3-4 minutes) that will say more about this very important issue in our country. Really, don’t we want our children to grow up clear of thought, and not drugged?
Parents who have the joy and frustration of raising a child with these heavy labels, will do well to educate themselves and their family on how to manage these symptoms. Regardless of labels, I encourage parents to use every moment as a teaching moment. Learn parenting skills that help you teach setting boundaries with your children. Help them find organization within the chaos they may be feeling. We are all different; and in celebrating these differences rather then seeing them as a challenge that cannot be conquered, we teach perseverance and mastery. Some of these qualities can be seen as exceptional, and if they find that inner connection, children will grow up to make a profound difference for humanity.
Helping those with ADHD, either children or adults:
Behavior management, set firm boundaries, until they can set them their selves. Adults, find a coach, if needed to identify those boundaries
Meditation and Breath-Work; focus on the breath in increments, 10 minutes morning and evening, at first, use visualization/story to help
Color-coding, time management and other organizational skills
Research shows that meditation and breath-work will decrease ADHD or ADD symptoms and enhance executive function over time. Studies show that kids who practice meditation, breath work and mindfulness are:
Less negative, aggressive, and agitated
More attentive and get better grades
Visualization is useful tool for anyone who wants to meditate, and especially in working with meditation for children. This is because it helps kids stay focused in the beginning, something that is harder for those with ADHD. Children are very good at pretending and visualization is a good extension of that skill, in addition, it raises creativity even more. Meditation and breath work is the foundation of my practice today, among other techniques, although this base helps everyone to connect to their spiritual center. I now work more expansively with spiritually counseling, and I think it is no accident that I was led to make this transition. I would assert that the planet will be served better if we learn to see individuals as spiritual beings first, intellectual beings next, and then a body last. Our world is at a threshold of a great change for the better and moving past legal drugs is the first step in raising consciousness, moving past the obstacles of life and opening the doorway to a new way of seeing our challenges.
Education is key and an excellent book on ADHD is by Hallowell & Ratey, two MD's wrote, "Driven to Distraction, at least one of them have ADHD, excellent resource. In addition, there are many videos on the subject, but these 4 make the point crystal clear:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv49RFo1ckQ Labeling Kids with Bogus 'Mental Disorders'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgexCUFDOQc No More ADHD
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRJN_NfyiH4 Guns & Doses - School Shootings
https://youtu.be/TlvJTYbUFuk Parents Know Your Rights: About ADHD & child 'mental disorders'
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b57QvR1Ysyw&list=RDb57QvR1Ysyw%23t=20 50 Meditations for Children