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The ADHD Controversy

Hyperactive children can be unmanageable, defiant and aggressive. Many parents have their fingers in their hair, staring at this little creature and think: “This isn’t what I signed up for”. Children are supposed to be the ultimate joy in a parent’s life.

So what went wrong?

While it is true that some children need ADHD management and medication, the rate of misdiagnosis is staggering. Earlier research stated that about 2-3% of children, more boys than girls are affected by ADHD. Looking at reality, in a class of 30 kids about 5 or more are on medication which is about 16%, far more than the 2-3%.

Some people claim that ADHD can be better diagnosed and therefore more children are being picked up (research shows that 10% of children are now diagnosed), but I believe that the true reason is misdiagnosis.

How many mothers have you met who says: “Jason was diagnosed with ADHD when he was grade 1, but when I had him retested in grade 3, they said that he didn’t have ADHD.” I know quite a few mothers with the same problem. Children are being misdiagnosed and put on medication they don’t need.

Why are kids being misdiagnosed?

There are several reasons. One is that a teacher complains to a parent about their child being hyperactive, distant or short concentration span. Parents want their child to be the best, nicest and most beautiful, so such a report must be changed.

Another is that parents compare their kids to their friends’ and find that their child is naughtier or more defiant than their friends’ “little angels”, resulting in medical intervention.

There are many other people who regularly complain to parents on the behaviour of their kids - grandparents, friends, babysitters, etc.

The next step is to have the child tested by a professional who will find the child has or doesn’t have ADHD and take necessary action.

Misdiagnoses happen when normal children seem hyperactive.

Now you may think I’ve lost my mind, but there are a number of reasons why a normal child displays characteristics of hyperactivity or attention deficit.

1) Children consume too much sugar and preservatives and too little nutritional food or drink. Children need real nutrition for their brains and bodies to work properly. How much frozen, crumbled chicken or other shaped food do you serve your kids? They’re easy to make: just bake, pan fry or deep fry, they keep for ages in the freezer and kids love them. Why you shouldn’t give your children food like this: they’re full of preservatives, salt, sugar, fat, ground up meat off cuts, and more. The amount of real nutrition in these is shocking. Your children need to eat real meat: chicken, beef, fish and vegetables (not take-away cheesy veggie bites) and fruit. The fresher the food, the better the nutrition. Frozen veggies can be used, but fresh veggies tastes better and are actually better for your family. Rule of thumb: if it doesn’t spoil, don’t eat it; but eat it before it spoils.

Here is a fantastic article written by Dr. Michael G. Conner (Psychologist) which explains how food and TV can make your perfectly normal child seem hyperactive, defiant or even mentally disturbed.

2) Children need to drink enough water. This is actually part of the previous point, but it is too important to skim over. Kids love sweet drinks, soda and flavoured milk, but the fact is that the need water. You can treat them from time to time with their favourite drink or candy (not a bucket load of candy, just about one child’s handful), but they need to eat fruit and drink water daily and by default. Your kids should know that the answer to: “Mommy, I’m thirsty,” is “Here’s a glass of water.”

3) Children need involved, assertive parents. If you let your kids walk all over you, that’s exactly what they will do. Your house is not a democracy - you are in charge and your kids need to understand, from as early as possible, that your rules are the law. I’m not going to go on and on about how to be a good parent. There are numerous books and articles out there to help you be a better parent. Still, even if you’ve read every single book and article on parenting, it is still your house and you have to be comfortable with your life. Just make sure that the kids understand that the parents have to be obeyed and they can’t manipulate you. Make sure that your rules serve the purpose of loving and protecting your child and your choices have their best interest at heart.

Children disobey parents and teachers when they aren’t sure that they are loved and/or when they always get their way. The latter can make children become increasingly manipulative with parents, other people in authority and peers.

If you suspect that your child has ADHD, first eliminate external factors, like diet and parenting style, before you march off to the doctor.


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