Medi-Kid to Medi-Care

Award winning author, columnist and educational blogger, Joanne Jacobs recently wrote a piece which asked the question: “Why are so many kids hyperactive today?”

Her almost daily blog, Linking and Thinking Education often times is deep, insightful; it is always thought provoking. Like this particular entry, her blogs are more like prompts with unanswered questions.

According to the Center for Disease Control, Attention Deficit Disorder and/or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has risen to 4,858,210 students between the ages of five and 17 in the United States. This is a increase to nine percent over a ten year period. You know where this is headed don’t you? Yes indeed,  “Why are so many kids hyperactive today?”

Pressure on our kids, self-esteem issues; whatever the answer is, no doubt it is as complex as the times in which we live. And one would certainly not want to oversimplify but the fact is we are a society that is quick to medicate. From the elderly to middle agers we are turning to prescriptions in large number. So it is now for our kids whether they are misbehaving or underperforming parents are looking to professionals for an immediate answer and a quick fix.

Back in the day, we would roam from home to home sun up to sun down. “Don’t forget to be back in time for dinner!” Mother would yell and we couldn’t even tell time. But the neighbors did. We’d hop on bikes and scour the alleys or buy some candy at the drug store. The clerk would say, “Be sure to look both ways when you cross the street.”  We climbed trees, we played with imaginary swords and guns and were never scolded for writing with chalk on the sidewalks!

As I look back on my own days of motherhood nearly a quarter of a century ago, my son and I met friends at the park, we took public transportation to explore unknown territory and sang nursery rhymes. Together we learned to sing along with Bert and Ernie counting uno to diez en Espanol! He had sleepovers, turned the house into a fort and even “snuck out” to t.p. the homes of friends (while I was sleeping, of course)!

Being precocious, curious or inquisitive is not a call to medicalization. An active, energetic child needs to be fed play time not pills. We are on a path. It needs to be examined. The direction from medi-kid to medi-care just might not be the right one.

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