Blame it on the ADHD?

“Pay attention.”
“Why can’t you sit still for five minutes?”

These words are all too familiar to parents and teachers as they observe children “space out”, interject conversations with random facts, and/or bounce around. Now, I think we can all agree that children are free to be active, get caught up in their surroundings and do what pleases them physically, emotionally and socially. I’m in the trenches of this right now as these aspects of childhood stare me right in the eye through my toddler who, like many toddlers, won’t back down; although they typically become more cultivated with maturity, grooming, and exposure to social norms. Yet some children do not grow out of it.

The term is thrown around loosely, but Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a real neurobehavioral disorder that hampers ones ability to pay attention and/or control their impulses. The reason I bring this up is because the rise in diagnosis of childhood ADHD has exploded over the past few decades. Prior to 1990, fewer than 5% of children were diagnosed with ADHD, while 11% of children are currently diagnosed amounting to 6.4 million children!

My next thoughts are as follows:

– Technology, when properly applied, has extended our lives, yet will more than likely shorten the lives of those planting themselves in front of video games, televisions, and computers all day. We have agreed as a society that inactivity leads to obesity, a growing epidemic, yet we ask our children to sit still for longer and longer periods of time each day in order to achieve academic success. Perhaps the children wandering around in class have it right, and we may want to consider breaking up the academic/work day into digestible chunks with periods of activity between.
– Technology has also allowed more adults to earn a living outside of the workplace, allowing those not engaged in or stimulated by what is being presented to get up and move on. Our children are witnessing adults focus on, and pay attention to, what they desire as well as choose to sit still or not. Can we expect them to not want the same?
– And again…technology. The technological advances of today’s society are far beyond what I grew up with and have actually allowed for a more connected, global society. We are able to call and see loved ones around the world. The backfire is that today’s adults are not even charged with focusing, paying attention, or sitting still. Admit it. How many in-person conversations are you able to complete before one, or both, of you are taking a call, sending a text, checking an email or snapping a picture with your smart phone?

These are just my thoughts, but I really want us to consider if we, as a society, are setting the best possible example for the success of our children or if it really is the ADHD.

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