Should I Drug My Kids?

Eddie Braverman's picture
Rank: The Pro | 21,117

Mod Note: Blast from the Past - "Best of Eddie". This one is originally from February 2012.

This is something I've been meaning to bring up on the site for awhile, and the recent thread on ADD really got me thinking about it. I'd really rather this didn't turn into a flame war over whether or not ADD is real; for my purposes it doesn't matter. For what it's worth, I received several very thought provoking PM's on both sides of the issue after the comments I made on the above mentioned thread.

What I'm increasingly concerned about is whether or not I should be thinking about drugging my kids so they're not at any competitive disadvantage in their respective marketplace (at the moment, grammar school). My concern is that, no matter how naturally gifted your kid might be, he's gonna look like a utility shmoe batting next to a juicehead like Mark McGuire or Barry Bonds. Academically speaking, of course.

To complicate matters, there's a difference of opinion in my own home. For those who don't know, I have two boys aged 7 & 8. They were raised in a Russian orphanage until we adopted them at 3 & 4, respectively. So they had a lot to overcome right out of the gate, not the least of which is the fact that neither of them had ever heard a word of English before the first time I said hello.

Their development has been nothing short of remarkable. Studies have shown that children raised in Russian orphanages lose an average of 10 IQ points for every year they're there from age 3 on. Both my boys are able to speak, read, and write English at their grade level and they're lower-middle of the pack in the math (my older boy is actually beginning to grasp mathematics at an accelerated pace).

However, there have been behavioral/maturity issues along the way, especially with my older boy. To me, this sort of thing is natural - I was a complete dick at his age (some would argue nothing has changed). But my wife is especially distressed by it, and the go-to American solution is to drug the kid into a compliant zombie state.

If you couldn't tell, I happen to be against this particular course of action. I'm of the "boys will be boys" school of thought, and the kid has made remarkable progress. I'm not certain ADD even exists; with that said, I AM certain that even if it does my kids don't have it. They're just 7 & 8 year old boys being boys, and school is MAD boring.

My particular concern is what to do when we eventually return to the States and my sons encounter an entire generation of their peers who've been raised on performance enhancing drugs. Let's face it - there is no asterisk in life, only winners and losers.

Assuming for the moment that my kids are solidly average in ability, am I costing them opportunities by withholding the performance enhancing drugs that might take them to the next level? I realize the drugs don't make you smarter, but the increased focus and compliance most likely correlates with better academic results (though I could be completely wrong about that) and, by extension, better opportunities later in life.

I'm really hoping to hear from you guys, because you're really the first generation of Americans to have spent your youth doped to the high heavens. When I was a kid, drugs were something you kept from your parents - not something they forced down your throat with the military efficiency of Nurse Ratchet (but, if you grew up on Ritalin, odds are you don't know who Nurse Ratchet is).

Some of you got in touch with me and told me that your school years on drugs were a nightmare. Others got in touch and told me that ADD/ADHD is very real and even more kids need to be on drugs than already are.

Is it worth giving up a carefree childhood to have a drug-enhanced focus on multiplication tables and Tolstoy? You guys need to know that I'm being totally serious here. My kids started out life with a pretty hideous deficit, and I'll do almost anything to make up for it. I'm curious to see if you think drugs are the answer, and even more important, if my kids will suffer a heavy opportunity cost if I withhold them.

Comments (70)

Feb 2, 2012

Eddie I'm glad you asked this. I started taking a mid-level dose of adderall about 9 months ago (at age 25). I was never diagnosed as a kid. My regular physician recommended that I talk to a psychiatrist after I mentioned some attentional issues. I went in against getting a prescription but after doing some research I decided to try it and it's been life-changing. I don't have any side-effects except for dulling of appetite and I don't have trouble sleeping or notice any change in personality. My productivity level both at work and outside of it has been transformed.

However, I'm still glad I didn't get it as a kid, for a number of reasons:
1) It's not a miracle drug. Long-term, the best way to cope with the ADD mindset is not just drugs. I've made changes to my diet and exercise regime and learned some tricks to help me make up for my "mental tics."

2) Not everyone has the same results from the drug. Many complain that they can stay up all night studying but that they retain less or can't do high-order tasks like writing essays.

3) Adderall blunts appetite and that can impact growth rates in younger boys.

Feb 2, 2012
Kenny_Powers_CFA:

Eddie I'm glad you asked this. I started taking a mid-level dose of adderall about 9 months ago (at age 25). I was never diagnosed as a kid. My regular physician recommended that I talk to a psychiatrist after I mentioned some attentional issues. I went in against getting a prescription but after doing some research I decided to try it and it's been life-changing. I don't have any side-effects except for dulling of appetite and I don't have trouble sleeping or notice any change in personality. My productivity level both at work and outside of it has been transformed.

However, I'm still glad I didn't get it as a kid, for a number of reasons:
1) It's not a miracle drug. Long-term, the best way to cope with the ADD mindset is not just drugs. I've made changes to my diet and exercise regime and learned some tricks to help me make up for my "mental tics."

2) Not everyone has the same results from the drug. Many complain that they can stay up all night studying but that they retain less or can't do high-order tasks like writing essays.

3) Adderall blunts appetite and that can impact growth rates in younger boys.

Glad to hear that you're benefitting from it.

Feb 2, 2012

I started taking Ritalin when I was about 20. Have been on it for about 5 years.

Although I benefit from it, I would argue against giving it to children.

It is different being an adult who can think more clearly about his feelings than being a child who is not mature in that perspective. I had phases were I was overly emotional, phases where I was stressed, phases where i got depressed etc, but I still could deal with it knowing what was happening to my brain. I am not sure whether I would expose my kids to outside-induced mood swings. Kids deserve to be happy when they have fun, be sad when they fight (instead of not caring - which is a classic symptom) etc.. - you get my point.

I would argue that there are a lot of things that can be done before giving ritalin/etc.

I wish I had understood what i means to have ADHS when i was younger. I would have been able to work against the disadvantages (noise-cancelling headphones, limit distraction by sitting in corners or facing the wall , switching off phones, meditating etc.) and benefit from strengths that ADHS brings (creativity, big picture thinking, quick thinker etc).

If you want, we can discuss in more detail when we meet in paris for the Marathon. All in all I would argue, take all steps possible before reaching for medication (and there are indeed a lot).

Feb 2, 2012

Home schooling is the way to go.

If you send them to a public/private school, they'll be distracted with punks. And since they lack the intellectual defence mechanisms, it will distort them.

If you want them to succeed = Home schooling (hire a professional home schooler)

If not = send them to school and drug them.

Feb 2, 2012
Abdel:

Home schooling is the way to go.

If you send them to a public/private school, they'll be distracted with punks. And since they lack the intellectual defence mechanisms, it will distort them.

If you want them to succeed = Home schooling (hire a professional home schooler)

If not = send them to school and drug them.

Isn't being distracted by punks a part of life and a lesson that needs to be learned? Also, I've seen what home schooling does to some kids. I remember back in HS that I became friends with 2 brothers that were home schooled. They were unusually socially awkward and unable to really associate with others who went to both private and public schools.

I think the whole 'keeping your kids away from x' is a bad proposition. After all, they are going to see EVERYTHING by hte time they are 25, whether you like it or not. And who knows.. when they run into that kind of scene when they are 23, what's to say they aren't going to want to jump into that lifestyle for a few years to try it out? If you're going to prevent them from those temptations early on, prepare for blowback down the road.

You can't really 'force' a child one way or another.. sure, it is good to give them a small 'push' a certain way, but ultimately the only way for them to learn is through their own experiences.

Feb 2, 2012
rothyman:
Abdel:

Home schooling is the way to go.

If you send them to a public/private school, they'll be distracted with punks. And since they lack the intellectual defence mechanisms, it will distort them.

If you want them to succeed = Home schooling (hire a professional home schooler)

If not = send them to school and drug them.

Isn't being distracted by punks a part of life and a lesson that needs to be learned? Also, I've seen what home schooling does to some kids. I remember back in HS that I became friends with 2 brothers that were home schooled. They were unusually socially awkward and unable to really associate with others who went to both private and public schools.

I think the whole 'keeping your kids away from x' is a bad proposition. After all, they are going to see EVERYTHING by hte time they are 25, whether you like it or not. And who knows.. when they run into that kind of scene when they are 23, what's to say they aren't going to want to jump into that lifestyle for a few years to try it out? If you're going to prevent them from those temptations early on, prepare for blowback down the road.

You can't really 'force' a child one way or another.. sure, it is good to give them a small 'push' a certain way, but ultimately the only way for them to learn is through their own experiences.

Who cares about social skills. That shit is futile.

Feb 2, 2012

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/opinion/sunday/c...
"Attention-deficit drugs increase concentration in the short term, which is why they work so well for college students cramming for exams. But when given to children over long periods of time, they neither improve school achievement nor reduce behavior problems. The drugs can also have serious side effects, including stunting growth. "

"TO date, no study has found any long-term benefit of attention-deficit medication on academic performance, peer relationships or behavior problems, the very things we would most want to improve."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/08/us/08conflict.ht...
"In 2008, it was revealed that Joseph Biederman of Harvard, a frequently cited ADHD expert, failed to report to Harvard that he had received $1.6 million from drug companies between 2000 and 2007."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention-deficit_hyp...
"Russell Barkley, a well known ADHD researcher, admits to taking money from drug companies for speaking and consultancy fees. There are concerns that this may bias his publications."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, ADD is F.A.K.E. It's a result of collusion between pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatry profession. You are endangering the lives of your children by putting them on stimulant medication.

I can't possibly explain how much this topic pisses me off.

Feb 2, 2012
evilbyaccident:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/29/opinion/sunday/c...
"Attention-deficit drugs increase concentration in the short term, which is why they work so well for college students cramming for exams. But when given to children over long periods of time, they neither improve school achievement nor reduce behavior problems. The drugs can also have serious side effects, including stunting growth. "

"TO date, no study has found any long-term benefit of attention-deficit medication on academic performance, peer relationships or behavior problems, the very things we would most want to improve."

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/08/us/08conflict.ht...
"In 2008, it was revealed that Joseph Biederman of Harvard, a frequently cited ADHD expert, failed to report to Harvard that he had received $1.6 million from drug companies between 2000 and 2007."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention-deficit_hyp...
"Russell Barkley, a well known ADHD researcher, admits to taking money from drug companies for speaking and consultancy fees. There are concerns that this may bias his publications."

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, ADD is F.A.K.E. It's a result of collusion between pharmaceutical companies and the psychiatry profession. You are endangering the lives of your children by putting them on stimulant medication.

I can't possibly explain how much this topic pisses me off.

I don't agree that ADD is fake, but I do agree that long term use of ADD meds won't show any significant improvement in academic performance.

Feb 2, 2012
evilbyaccident:

You are endangering the lives of your children by putting them on stimulant medication.

I don't think that kids should be put on ADD meds but don't you think this is a little melodramatic?

Feb 2, 2012

I suggest that you don't. When they grow up they will be decent individuals as opposed to the army of mindless drones ritalined to a permanent jetlag.

By the way, Russian orphans fit pretty well in the system, heard multiple stories of solid integration (in the UK at least). Boys will be boys, but sometimes they need to be brought back to reality.

Feb 2, 2012

I got diagnosed and tried one of the many drugs out there, and I just wasn't convinced.

This had never occurred to me until now, but come to think of it, going down the list in remembering the absolute cream of the crop in my high school, like the handful of kids with 1600s and a class rank around top 1-2%, not a single one of them used Adderall. Not a single one.

Feb 2, 2012
prospie:

I got diagnosed and tried one of the many drugs out there, and I just wasn't convinced.

This had never occurred to me until now, but come to think of it, going down the list in remembering the absolute cream of the crop in my high school, like the handful of kids with 1600s and a class rank around top 1-2%, not a single one of them used Adderall. Not a single one.

Same here. The people I knew in HS who had Rx were almost exclusively hyperactive, which tends to burn itself out in your 20's. Those who are just inattentive are often not prescribed and they do fine (or not) on their own. Of the people I knew in HS who were on the meds, the only one still on is the one you'd never have pegged as the stereotype "ADD" kid at the time.

Feb 2, 2012
Feb 2, 2012

Eddie, the big piece of advice that's not here is that you should be having this discussion with a psychiatric specialist or maybe a psychologist.

IMHO, every kid should be getting psychological screenings almost like they get physicals. Stuff that's easy to fix when you're 10 gets tougher when you're 20 or 25. And if you have lots of money in the bank like Eddie, talk therapy can work just as many wonders as drugs.

I don't believe in steroids, but I do believe in exercise. If a psychiatrist thinks he can make my kids smarter and more driven with talk therapy sessions, I'm going to send them in. No Ritalin except by prescription for a genuine ailment though.

Feb 2, 2012
IlliniProgrammer:

Eddie, the big piece of advice that's not here is that you should be having this discussion with a psychiatric specialist or maybe a psychologist.

IMHO, every kid should be getting psychological screenings almost like they get physicals. Stuff that's easy to fix when you're 10 gets tougher when you're 20 or 25. And if you have lots of money in the bank like Eddie, talk therapy can work just as many wonders as drugs.

I don't believe in steroids, but I do believe in exercise. If a psychiatrist thinks he can make my kids smarter and more driven with talk therapy sessions, I'm going to send them in. No Ritalin except by prescription for a genuine ailment though.

Agreed. My personal advice is to have your children taken to a child psychologist who practices cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for them to learn self-regulation techniques to help them stay focused. It's difficult to get young boys excited about school, but by shaping their behaviors and habits through a mix of rewards and steering their cognitive mindset to stay focused on a task, it may be what is most appropriate for them at this stage.

Also, please note I said psychologist, not psychiatrist-- psychologists don't write prescriptions, psychiatrists do since they have M.D.s and are legally authorized to do so.

Feb 2, 2012

in my day, cognitive-behavioral therapy meant beatings.

Feb 2, 2012
melvvvar:

in my day, cognitive-behavioral therapy meant beatings.

Same as in Russia today.

Feb 3, 2012
melvvvar:

in my day, cognitive-behavioral therapy meant beatings.

Yup. I'm 23 i got my ass beat by my dad, my 13 year old brother gets his ass beat by my dad, and my 3 year old sister will get beat down as well...

in 10-15 years when i have a set of rugrats I will beat their ass as well when they get out of line. Fuck drugging them.

Get it!

Feb 2, 2012

Totally OT but Eddie I love how you talked about the new generation and then had a Nurse Ratchet reference in the same sentence - I bet you lost the young ones with that one :)

Feb 2, 2012

I don't think that kids should be put on ADD meds but don't you think this is a little melodramatic?

Maybe he is a Scientologist?

Feb 2, 2012

Wow, I was expecting the OP to get bashed and to see a lot of shocked people but apparently everyone doesn't find it alarming to drug kids...

Maybe i'm just too oldschool but I never used drugs for anything and hopefully never will...

Feb 2, 2012

Many have echoed a similar message above so my 2 pence would be the similar.

Kids will be kids and its unfair to rob them of that experience by inducing a zombie like stage for the sake of excellence. While an adult can cope with the side effects (if any), you don't want any subtle long term side effects engrained in your boys that you can't pick up now.

I am an ethnic LOL so my mom always ruled with an iron fist. I was somewhat of a hype kid and couldn't concentrate for shit. My mom decided the best course of treatment was to whoop my ass into shape. Got my ass into shape and turned me into one of those wunderkids. Obviously I am now a product of my environment in my 20s and hence completely retarded but that is besides the point.

I am not saying pick up a belt and beat your kids but the moral is drugs are not the way to go. Coming from the UK, we don't have that 'culture' of beefing kids up with drugs to make them concentrate. I was never at school with anyone that was on medication nor have I heard of it. In fact, teacher's answer to the whole problem is a little extra elbow grease and putting in a little more effort with those kids. It doesn't take medication to ensure your kid reaches his/her full potential, it just takes a little more.

Feb 2, 2012
Rumplesmoothspin:

Coming from the UK, we don't have that 'culture' of beefing kids up with drugs to make them concentrate. I was never at school with anyone that was on medication nor have I heard of it.

Coming to the UK, you do. Probably not your generation, but nowadays in primary schools it's ubiquitious, but kept private, as it should be. I was shocked to know this though.

Best Response
Feb 2, 2012

Funny you should post this, I'm 26 years old and feel, on some level, like I've developed a little bit of ADD. We're so insanely overstimulated through the internet, TV, mobile devices, etc., that it can almost be overwhelming.

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Feb 2, 2012
TheKing:

Funny you should post this, I'm 26 years old and feel, on some level, like I've developed a little bit of ADD. We're so insanely overstimulated through the internet, TV, mobile devices, etc., that it can almost be overwhelming.

I feel similar, but it's because I constantly surround myself with distractions- more of a lack of discipline than anything else. Even if I could somehow convince a doctor to give me an Rx, I can only imagine using it every once in a while...it's usually just a matter of getting off the internet/turning off the tv/etc.

Feb 2, 2012

With the premise that I have absolutely no experience with calm/focus inducing drugs and can only base my opinions on what I have read on the subject, I would say that they are not going to help your kids be competitive.

Yes, ok, they may help for some specific test taking etc etc. But the real issue is having the drive/hunger/commitment and drugs can't help you there. It can be argued that they actually harm.

Now, I don't mean to come of as an ass - I respect you immensely - but it is your job as a parent to instill them the idea that if they want to succeed, drive and sweat are far more important then smarts. And that mediocrity is a terrible faith. Drugs are just the easy way out for lazy people.

Feb 2, 2012

If this is all about opportunity cost, put them in a private school. For whatever the reason, I went to 6 different schools by the time I got to college, so I have a very good basis of comparison: BY FAR the best was a private, all boys Catholic boarding school. We were up at 6, went to chapel, cooked our own breakfast, STUDIED CALC, PROGRAMMING, THREE LANGUAGES, AND ORGANIC CHEM IN 7TH GRADE, excercised for an hour after lunch, studied until 8, had some free time until 10, NO TV, repeat every weekday. Weekends, some people went home, some did not, I lived nearby and didn't stay at the house full time so I wasn't quite as regimented. There were very strictly enforced study times, even on weekends, and the general level of discipline was augmented by zealous fervor....ironically, religion itself wasn't the focus, it was becomming superior people. We lived communally, slept in bunks in a common room (like a barraks, but furnished), studied together, ate together, played sports together, even worked together...hey, somone has to paint the monastary. Being around the older guys made it very simple to progressively accept responsibility: just do what they tell you and watch what they do, next year you adapt to their role and repeat the mindset. There was no detention: if you made a mistake, they instructed you. If you were disobedient, lazy, or just a punk, you got to clean the dishes, mow the lawns (and they were huge), or clean the house. Everyone WANTED to be awesome after a few short months....you just got caught up in it.

This is going to sound strange, but after a period of life where I became soft and lazy, I chose to go to either Wall Street or the military to go back to that focused state of living. Finance took me first, so maybe that's for the better, but my point is that your kids will look at others who struggle with simple things like getting up in the morning and reading with disbelief. Until I went to college, I actually didn't know what 'sleepin in' was. This may sound a little extreme, but it's easier to relax than ramp up the pace, so start them off right. The major downside of these schools is a lack of individuality and creative expression: when I left, I was strongly attracted to the art crowd for years (and frankly, they almost ruined me, I couldn't handle it). So give your kids some time to do their own thing, whatever it is.

I was a good kid, but one of my siblings was a wild man and the discipline and structure did them well. Since leaving the school, they never really have been quite as focused. It made me so competitive that I didn't have to study, ever, between 8th grade and the third year of college to get good grades. In fact, I wish I'd started taking college courses in high school, but no one knew better at the time. My only regret is having left the school after a couple of years, but I had no say, so that's life.

If you have the resources, or the time to donate to the Church, European schools are overwhelmingly superior to most American schools in this area. The order of priests that ran my school were from Europe and answered directly to the Pope. France, despite its current secular state of mind, has some of the most intensely focused religious schools. Keep your kids from buying into the 'word of Gawd' too much and I can say with certainty that these schools will motivate, educate, and polish your kids. Just make sure to pull them out at some point and put them in a place where they can socialize a bit (mine was a state school, I recommend sending them to a private college). If you can, keep them home on the weekends and take them fishing, let them play, spend time with them, and they should be fine.

Please don't drug them. Compliant, information absorbing zombies will do well in school and certain office settings, but after that they are totally fucked. Plus, when they grow up and come off the drugs, you'll be dealing with a different person who you have no relationship with. You can't have someone doped up for the better part of their life and then expect them to just wake up and be independantly productive without a long cooling period, and there's no way to know what that will look like. And make sure that the school has safeguards against pedophiles: the school I went to had a very strict policy of not allowing one on one with the priests/staff, and two adults / senior students were present at all times except rec. Keep the lines of communication open with your kid.

Sorry for the long answer, but there's a LOT of crap about ADD and if someone isn't medically diagnosed with an illness, I'm just not a fan of taking medication for it.

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Jul 27, 2013

Yea that sounds fun.. If your smart you'll succeed no need of near military austere discipline when your in high school. Chances are you'll be a tool when you come out.

I sold some shares, but on a net basis, significantly increased my ownership.
Jeffrey Skilling

Feb 2, 2012

As part of the deal when it comes to adopting Russian kids, you have to have them psychologically evaluated every year for the first three years. This was never really an issue for us because we just thought it made sense to do it anyway. We've just made it a part of their regular health regimen, and it has definitely helped - especially with the behavior issues.

As for discussing ADD/ADHD with a doc outside the US, you'll be hard pressed to find one that even recognizes it as a condition. I'm saying this from personal experience because - being American - the first thought you have when you get a call from the school about a behavior issue is that your kid has ADD. Kid shrinks here don't buy into it, and they certainly don't prescribe meds for it. Our doc told us to make the kid run around the block until his legs fall off.

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Feb 2, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:

Our doc told us to make the kid run around the block until his legs fall off.

That's how Dad did it, that's how America does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far. Seriously, physical exams were a total joke growing up, I never could understand how someone had to struggle with weight if they weren't genetically fat. You want to get in shape? Take them for a long ass walk in the park on the weekends, your wife will thank you for (1) not being a slug and (2) wearing out the kids so they don't terrorize her. Fuck the gym, get the real thing.

Feb 2, 2012
UFOinsider:
Edmundo Braverman:

Our doc told us to make the kid run around the block until his legs fall off.

That's how Dad did it, that's how America does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far. Seriously, physical exams were a total joke growing up, I never could understand how someone had to struggle with weight if they weren't genetically fat. You want to get in shape? Take them for a long ass walk in the park on the weekends, your wife will thank you for (1) not being a slug and (2) wearing out the kids so they don't terrorize her. Fuck the gym, get the real thing.

Used to be, you didn't even need parents to get involved in that. I grew up in the countryside, and after an afternoon of playing outdoors with my friends, I barely had the energy to eat before crashing in my bedroom.

Feb 2, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:

As part of the deal when it comes to adopting Russian kids, you have to have them psychologically evaluated every year for the first three years. This was never really an issue for us because we just thought it made sense to do it anyway. We've just made it a part of their regular health regimen, and it has definitely helped - especially with the behavior issues.

As for discussing ADD/ADHD with a doc outside the US, you'll be hard pressed to find one that even recognizes it as a condition. I'm saying this from personal experience because - being American - the first thought you have when you get a call from the school about a behavior issue is that your kid has ADD. Kid shrinks here don't buy into it, and they certainly don't prescribe meds for it. Our doc told us to make the kid run around the block until his legs fall off.

Good subject - very interesting.

Eddie, assuming you are still in France, please make sure to go see a reputable "Psychiatre" and NOT "psychologue" - one is actually a DOCTOR and went through almost 10 years studying medecine (ultra hard to pass the examination) and then get the specialization.

I can guaranty that ADD is a concern in France too - do not go back to this "charlatan" and give your kids a real professional.

"Whenever you feel like criticizing any one...just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."

'The Great Gatsby' - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Feb 2, 2012

I was always a really vocal advocate of home schooling until I had kids and realized that I absolutely DO NOT have what it takes to be around children all day.

Feb 2, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:

I was always a really vocal advocate of home schooling until I had kids and realized that I absolutely DO NOT have what it takes to be around children all day.

I did that for two years as well, and it's overrated. If you can and want to give your kid a really good education, go for it. Otherwise, you're removed from society for years and come out as a social oddball compared to other kids....it's REALLY hard to fully integrate and I can't say I really ever have.

The majority of parents who do this are too into their politics to realize that even a mediocre school is going to teach the kid to read, more or less. It sounds like you're really looking to give them a leg up as opposed to keeping them home to brainwash them into agreeing with you on everything. My vote goes to private school.

Feb 2, 2012
Edmundo Braverman:

I was always a really vocal advocate of home schooling until I had kids and realized that I absolutely DO NOT have what it takes to be around children all day.

Hire a professional home schooler.

Feb 2, 2012

I was diagnosed with a learning disabIlity but I don't take drugs. My 4.0 still exists though. Don't make them zombies brah.

Feb 2, 2012

There is a very interesting TED talk i saw recently that talks about measuring brain activity by capturing electic signals coming fromt he brain. Basically, they had a device that measures the frequency of beta and theta waves while you go about your normal day to day activity. I forget which, but people with ADD have either too many theta or too many beta waves. So the person giving the talk said one of the applications of this device (which btw just looks like earphones and connects wirelessly to your ipad or another device) is to build apps that reward specific brain wave activity.

So for example, you make a game that basically forces you to use more beta wave type activity (assuming you want to increase beta waves). you control the game just by thought (which is what they showed on the talk and i thought it was amazing!) and it rewards you for using more beta waves in your brain, which in turn passively trains your brain to be more focused and such, and could be alternative therapy to ADD.

The thing is not close to being in production but perhaps something to look forward to. in the meantime i have an app on my iphone called "altered states" which supposedly stimulates your brain to be more focused/energized or relaxes (you can pick what you want) by playing specific sounds at different frequencies. the app actually works pretty good. I use it at work when im falling asleep and tends to work as well as coffee. also i listen to it before going out to clubs and gets me pumped. check it out - its only like $2.

The TED talk btw is here: http://www.ted.com/talks/ariel_garten_know_thyself...

Feb 2, 2012

I personally think the concept of ADHD and ADD is stupid. Its over diagnosed, and there are very few people who trully need it. If you were to drug your children at such a young age you are going to fuck them, and probably their brain development. They will grow up dependent on adderall and by the time they are in college they wont get any performance related boost from it. I experimented with adderall back in college, and the first couple of times I used it I thought it was great. But after a while, I realized that they had a marginal impact on my test results and stopped using it. My other friend became addicted to it, and couldnt study or take a test without it.

There are other issues associated with adderall that you should take into account. Your kids will start to think that its not their fault they arent doing well in school because its a "medical" condition and they cant do anything about it.

The trend of American parents to drug their children only highlights their own incompetency as parents and not their children. If they behave poorly or dont do their homework, discipline them and nut up.

Feb 2, 2012

I'm coming at this from a different side than most, but in my opinion if you give them structure and firm discipline you shouldn't need to drug your kids. And if they're smart, they're always going to be smart. If they're not, the drugs aren't going to help them become Einstein. They certainly won't look like a high school freshman next to Barry Bonds.

I have a brother with pretty bad ADD. He's younger, and has the most energy of any kid I've ever met. He will run around all day and not get tired. It's crazy. That being said, he definitely has an attention/hyperactivity disorder. Multiple times before he was diagnosed I'd watch him try to pay attention and listen and cry and get frustrated with himself because he just couldn't do it. He could be in a spartan room with one thing in front of him, and not be able to pay attention. It's just who he is.

If your kid really has a behavioral problem, you'll be able to tell. Otherwise, nothing a little discipline and laps around the park won't fix in my opinion.

Feb 2, 2012

Definitely against the drugs. I dabbled with Adderall off and on in my late high school / early college years and while it helps you short term have to remember you are effectively using amphetamines and there will be long term consequences - which is why I decided it wasn't worth it. At the very least it will create a psychological crutch (I knew a lot of people who were like "I can't take a test or study without my Adderall").

I think the real issue is the way schools are organized these days. It seems to me when people were creating the modern school schedule they put together a list of everything boys hate, mixed it in with ineffective pedagogical methods, and added a bunch of female "education majors" to lead the charge. What do we expect?

I think there are two things that can help boys in this situation: (i) the curriculum needs to be much more focused on the concept of mastery - this triggers a dopamine response (an earned response not a bullshit drug induced response) which is activated more easily in men / boys. Math should be a primary area of study and should be taught by someone that knows math, not an education major (the Russians coincidentally have a great way of teaching math); (ii) male leadership - boys need to be shown the ropes, taught skills, and effectively initiated by an older man (or men). They need to feel that they are "becoming somthing" and learning valuable skills through a master / apprentice type relationship (they need to see a master effectively using the skills they are being taught). The fact that we think sitting a boy down in a classroom with bunnies and giraffes on the wall, telling him to "sit still" while a female elementary education major coos about "the little engine that could" is a good idea is mind boggling to me.

Bottom line, I think your son needs to be taught in line with his male nature, then I think drugs won't be necessary at all.

Feb 2, 2012

Promote as much of a natural environment as you can. Limit television / computer use in the house and encourage them to play outside and eat plenty of natural foods.

The diseases of the modern era (depression, anxiety, etc.) are diseases of the affluent. The old amish and less affluent countries have a 10 TIMES lower risk of developing depression / anxiety etc. than wealthy Americans. We weren't built for the modern world, and it's hurting us. We compare each other to others over the internet (College Confidential / WSO / etc.), we interact socially over the screen (Facebook etc.) and we lack what our ancestors had millions of years ago (nature, sunlight, friends, family, community). We send our kids away to some "foreign" land known as college to "hook up" with people while blowing tens of thousands of dollars a year (for the majority of students). We are addicted to our blackberries / iphones / the internet. We spend hours and hours a day in front of screens. The modern technological world is literally atrophying our ability to think about complex problems and relate to one another. We are becoming, in some ways, betrothed to the machines we worked to create. Even my current institution, a top research university, is considering banning laptops in many classes because they aren't the magic pill everyone thought they were. Technology and the modern age does have its consequences.

Be a technology rebel. Take a walk in the woods. Sell your iPhone and buy an old flip phone. Simplify your desktop and only use the internet for essential (research) uses. Close your Facebook account. Volunteer in your community. That is the path to true contentment.

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Feb 2, 2012

I'm a teacher and I don't think kids should be drugged at all.

I had a 6 year old kid in my class who was taking drugs for his "ADD problem". One day he came up to me crying because his parents had forgotten to give him the drugs at home and that he would not be able to pay attention or do any work that day at school. Its so sad that a kid would only think he could perform at school if he's using the drugs - what a horrible way to grow up. My students also seem like zombies when on these drugs - they can't relate to other students, they're boring, and lack creativity.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it" - Voltaire

Feb 2, 2012

@zira: 1st? I dunno about that, you may have some competition there sista'

Feb 2, 2012

Personally, I think ADD/ADHD is overdiagnosed. My sister-in-law is diagnosed with it and takes drugs for it. Yes, she is hyperactive and has attention problems. Since I'm an outsider, I see she is that way because her parents and sister(my wife) do EVERYTHING for her. It's like a game she plays, pretty pathetic IMO.

I guess I really think the recent trend in ADD/ADHD is bullshit.

Feb 2, 2012

My brother took Ritalin for about a year in grade school because his grades slipped and parents/ doctor thought 'oh he has ADHD'.

He absolutely hated the drugs and outright refused to be put on it any longer. Eventually my parents agreed and stopped putting him on the shit around him going to HS. When he got to HS I think he started finding his own and his grades rocketed and he was an extremely happy person/ good college / etc yadeyah.

He wouldnt ever recommend the drug. My parents wouldn't. And I certainly wouldn't. I think people are too quick to see a change in their kid which is normal but overreact and put them onto this shit.

Feb 2, 2012

Try it. It's not like they're going to become addicted immediately or create a lasting dependency-especially at such a young age. However if it doesn't work, don't rule it out, maybe wait a few years and try again.

Feb 2, 2012

I did Adderall and Conserta when I was in junior high. Adderall had me laser focused and on the emotional edge of a knife. Conserta didn't work as well and also gave me heart palpitations. In the end, I just stopped using drugs altogether and soldiered on without them. I turned out all right. What I would suggest is that you can overcome ADD without the drugs, although it is very difficult to do.

Specifically, Eddie, I would suggest that you have nothing to fear about having your kids be behind folks taking Ritalin. These are never the people on top anyway. What makes a person succeed is self-discipline and you will have to develop that the usual way with or without the medication. If you decide to not do meds, get your children to be aware that they have a unique problem must make a unique effort to overcome it. As someone who had/has severe ADD it can be done with effort.

I would also like to take a stab at the nonsense being spewed about homeschooling. Homeschooling has been studied with regard to the social and academic comparisons to other forms of schooling. Homeschoolers are consistently more confident, more tech-savvy, more social, and more knowledgeable than their public school peers. As someone who homeschooled for most of his primary education and knows many people who did the same it is perfectly fine. I suppose it is intuitive to think that if you are not in school you have no access to social life. But the reality should not surprise people; homeschoolers find ways of getting their social fix without attending public schools and after you think about it for a moment the idea that social life depends on school is really kind of absurd.

Feb 2, 2012
Feb 2, 2012

Eddie are there any Montessori schools in your area? If there are you might consider looking into them. Most kids understandably hate the "production line" school model and the Montessori is designed to be the opposite of this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montessori

Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art - Andy Warhol

Feb 2, 2012

As you could probably tell from that thread I started on whether Adderall is cheating, I'm against this approach as well Eddie. Let them have a childhood. Kids will have plenty to get jaded and bitter about as they get older without having to resort to the medication.

I hear parents all the time, "my kid is too this," "my kid is too that," etc. The lion's share of humanity has grown up without having to use drugs to correct every little issue and done perfectly fine for themselves. I don't think it's fair at all. My two cents.

Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

Feb 3, 2012

As a parent with an ADHD child... do yourself a favor and get it properly diagnosed from a doctor who specializes in ADHD. Some kids may just need occupational therapy and others may need medicine. My son couldn't sit still in class, interrupted the teacher repeatedly, was off-topic constantly and had tons of impulse issues. His social skills were lacking (because of his impulsivity) and he would spend all day thinking about what another child said or did.
We tried all sorts of non-medicinal therapies that just didn't work for any long periods of time.
Because he was constantly distracted he just couldn't absorb any information in the classroom and homework was an absolute chore. After thinking about it long and hard we finally decided to give medicine a try. At first he was on the lowest dosage of Concerta. That really didn't help. Then we switched to a low dose of Ritalin (25mg long acting) and that did wonders. Everyone talks about kids being zombies but I see it more as a kid acting normal.
We still take him off the medication on the weekends and during school holidays (summer). For us, it was a matter of what was best for him to have a chance at having a normal life where making friends and doing well in school isn't torture. If a kid is constantly failing in school AND having major problems with classmates his/her self esteem will be completely shot. Not to mention what family life is like with siblings.
Definitely see a good doctor and certainly try everything you can before even thinking about medication. But I can attest to the fact that you will see wonders and your family life will be much more peaceful (at least during the school week).
Good luck... I know what you're going through.

Feb 5, 2012
Feb 7, 2012

No, you shouldn't. But a few drops of whiskey always does the trick.

Feb 7, 2012

Berets aside, I saw the article where that picture is from and I think the French might be on to something with their approach to parenting. Maybe that's your ticket Eddie - when it comes to parenting be like the French!

Jul 27, 2013

I must admit I just briefly skimmed most replies in the thread and am pretty much on the run, so unable to really elaborate further. But having been raised and spent most of my life in Western Europe, I can't understand this entire American ADD and depression thing in the first place. I've met so many guys in the US who are or have been taking meds against their ADD, and I get the sense a very high percentage of the girls was or is on some kind of anti-depressent drug, and it just befuddles me. In most cases, I would argue there's no effing need for that crap. We never did that stuff (on a scale anywhere comparable) in Europe, and we turned out just fine. My kids, which I hope to have soon, will never be put on any of that shit, no matter if we raise them here in the US or back in Europe. Not happening.

Jul 27, 2013

hmm..

"A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow."

Jul 27, 2013
Edmundo Braverman:

As part of the deal when it comes to adopting Russian kids, you have to have them psychologically evaluated every year for the first three years. This was never really an issue for us because we just thought it made sense to do it anyway. We've just made it a part of their regular health regimen, and it has definitely helped - especially with the behavior issues.

As for discussing ADD/ADHD with a doc outside the US, you'll be hard pressed to find one that even recognizes it as a condition. I'm saying this from personal experience because - being American - the first thought you have when you get a call from the school about a behavior issue is that your kid has ADD. Kid shrinks here don't buy into it, and they certainly don't prescribe meds for it. Our doc told us to make the kid run around the block until his legs fall off.

Damnit Ed get it together!! Teachers in the US are adults just like you and your wife. I am not pointing fingers at you or your wife but American kids are dicks (just like you said you once were). So obviously teachers do not want to take stress to discipline them, even though it is not 100% their responsibility to discipline but the parents. Hence, these teachers get on the bandwagon that this kid has ADD and he should be drugged. The drugs basically reduces the teacher's stress. Lack of patience on the teacher's side makes me think that they have ADD.

Now in my earlier post I said I was from a BRIC nation, but moved at the age of 13 to North America. Recently, there have been issues in these developing nations that preschool teachers feed young kids with cough syrup to give them long naps so that they could relax. They wouldn't do that in the states because the teachers could get caught easily here because of the strong legal system here.

The moral is that the teachers both in States and in Developing Nations hate to take care of the kids and the only option they have is to drug the kids to calm them.

"A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow."

Jul 27, 2013
VitoCorleone:
Edmundo Braverman:

As part of the deal when it comes to adopting Russian kids, you have to have them psychologically evaluated every year for the first three years. This was never really an issue for us because we just thought it made sense to do it anyway. We've just made it a part of their regular health regimen, and it has definitely helped - especially with the behavior issues.

As for discussing ADD/ADHD with a doc outside the US, you'll be hard pressed to find one that even recognizes it as a condition. I'm saying this from personal experience because - being American - the first thought you have when you get a call from the school about a behavior issue is that your kid has ADD. Kid shrinks here don't buy into it, and they certainly don't prescribe meds for it. Our doc told us to make the kid run around the block until his legs fall off.

Damnit Ed get it together!! Teachers in the US are adults just like you and your wife. I am not pointing fingers at you or your wife but American kids are dicks (just like you said you once were). So obviously teachers do not want to take stress to discipline them, even though it is not 100% their responsibility to discipline but the parents. Hence, these teachers get on the bandwagon that this kid has ADD and he should be drugged. The drugs basically reduces the teacher's stress. Lack of patience on the teacher's side makes me think that they have ADD.

Now in my earlier post I said I was from a BRIC nation, but moved at the age of 13 to North America. Recently, there have been issues in these developing nations that preschool teachers feed young kids with cough syrup to give them long naps so that they could relax. They wouldn't do that in the states because the teachers could get caught easily here because of the strong legal system here.

The moral is that the teachers both in States and in Developing Nations hate to take care of the kids and the only option they have is to drug the kids to calm them.

While research on the subject is still in its infancy (albeit the same can be said of neuroscience in general), the scientific consensus is that ADHD is primarily inherited, and has a strong neuro-biologic component.
"Disciplining" children has nothing to do with it, especially because inattentive-predominant ADHD kids are usually extremely disciplined and quiet (to a fault, even).

Medicine is not an exact science, but from a neurobiological point of view, ADHD kids appear to have brain impairments in the Orbital-Prefrontal Cortex, Basal Ganglia (mainly striatum and globus pallidus) and Cerebellum (central vermis area, right side). Good luck curing a brain impairment with a "beating" or "discipline". Meds aren't the cure either, but they can help.

Your comment is strongly misinformed and ignorant, do yourself a favor and read up on some science.
Not hearsay, but science.
As a starting point, I recommend:

Divulgative:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/09/30/us-adhd-...

http://www.news-medical.net/news/20120730/Evidence...

Technical:

Zametkin,A.J.,Nordahl,T.E.,Gross,M.,King,A.K.,Semple,W.E.,Rumsey,J.,Hamburger,S.,& Cohen,R.M.(1990) Cerebral glucose metabolism in adults with hyperactivity of childhood onset. The New England Journal of Medicine,323,(30).1361-1366.

Cook,et.al.,(1995) Association of attention-deficit disorder and the dopamine transporter gene.American Journal of Human Genetics,56.993-998.

Jul 27, 2013

I don't think one can look to the systematic faults of our social system (e.g. school, workplace, etc) to solve something that is ultimately interpreted by our own brain.

Distractions tend to be natural, internally constructed deviations from an otherwise unapparent goal. External distractions are a little more difficult to control, but I think internally imposed distractions are challenges such that if one can learn to control them, he or she will benefit greatly.

Bottom line: achieving a modicum of control over the matter between one's ears is difficult, but is an asset greater in value than the cost of all of the world's Adderall and Ritalin combined.

Disclaimer: I am the oldest of 5 and have no children.

CS

Jul 27, 2013

ADD medicine is relaly helpful in school. As a pretty big fuckup in middle/high school. Adderal just gave me that boost and really helped me out. In college hwen I finally tried, i got amazing grades. Eventually I weened off of it and i do even better than I did before at work. I can balance so many things at once.

Its hard to explain to someone who doesn't have adhd. But when you can "control" it, it is a gift not a curse.

Jul 27, 2013
csanchez:

I don't think one can look to the systematic faults of our social system (e.g. school, workplace, etc) to solve something that is ultimately interpreted by our own brain.

Distractions tend to be natural, internally constructed deviations from an otherwise unapparent goal. External distractions are a little more difficult to control, but I think internally imposed distractions are challenges such that if one can learn to control them, he or she will benefit greatly.

Bottom line: achieving a modicum of control over the matter between one's ears is difficult, but is an asset greater in value than the cost of all of the world's Adderall and Ritalin combined.

Disclaimer: I am the oldest of 5 and have no children.

CS

Would you go tell a narcoleptic that sleep is something we all should learn to conquer, and that he should simply get his shit together and skip drugs?

Would you go tell a diabetic that he should "just learn to manage his insuline"? That he's "lazy" in his pancreatic function?

Do you see where I'm going?

Jul 27, 2013
ametista:
csanchez:

I don't think one can look to the systematic faults of our social system (e.g. school, workplace, etc) to solve something that is ultimately interpreted by our own brain.

Distractions tend to be natural, internally constructed deviations from an otherwise unapparent goal. External distractions are a little more difficult to control, but I think internally imposed distractions are challenges such that if one can learn to control them, he or she will benefit greatly.

Bottom line: achieving a modicum of control over the matter between one's ears is difficult, but is an asset greater in value than the cost of all of the world's Adderall and Ritalin combined.

Disclaimer: I am the oldest of 5 and have no children.

CS

Would you go tell a narcoleptic that sleep is something we all should learn to conquer, and that he should simply get his shit together and skip drugs?

Would you go tell a diabetic that he should "just learn to manage his insuline"? That he's "lazy" in his pancreatic function?

Do you see where I'm going?

Well, I hope you are a doctor or in the field of medicine which might make it easier for me to believe you. In my previous comments all I was saying is that medication SHOULD NEVER be the primary method to help cure something. I never stated that kids cannot have ADHD; I am just saying that SOME teachers (again there are some very good ones) claim that every kid that causes them stress has ADHD.

One of your links claim that ADHD is genetics but that chain could be broken if the parents are patient enough to change their lifestyle and help kids overcome ADHD.

For example, many people take sleep medications because they cannot sleep at night. One of the key reasons is that they tend to go to sleep immediately after being on a computer, smartphone, tv etc. Hence, instead of taking medications; just stop being on any electronic device for an hour prior to going to bed.

Again, to reiterate, I was not planning to argue with you or anyone. I just wanted to provide my opinion that medication should not be the first choice.

"A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow."

Jul 27, 2013

I guess letting kids be kids is passe now.

Jul 27, 2013
UFOinsider:

If this is all about opportunity cost, put them in a private school. For whatever the reason, I went to 6 different schools by the time I got to college, so I have a very good basis of comparison: BY FAR the best was a private, all boys Catholic boarding school. We were up at 6, went to chapel, cooked our own breakfast, STUDIED CALC, PROGRAMMING, THREE LANGUAGES, AND ORGANIC CHEM IN 7TH GRADE, excercised for an hour after lunch, studied until 8, had some free time until 10, NO TV, repeat every weekday. Weekends, some people went home, some did not, I lived nearby and didn't stay at the house full time so I wasn't quite as regimented. There were very strictly enforced study times, even on weekends, and the general level of discipline was augmented by zealous fervor....ironically, religion itself wasn't the focus, it was becomming superior people. We lived communally, slept in bunks in a common room (like a barraks, but furnished), studied together, ate together, played sports together, even worked together...hey, somone has to paint the monastary. Being around the older guys made it very simple to progressively accept responsibility: just do what they tell you and watch what they do, next year you adapt to their role and repeat the mindset. There was no detention: if you made a mistake, they instructed you. If you were disobedient, lazy, or just a punk, you got to clean the dishes, mow the lawns (and they were huge), or clean the house. Everyone WANTED to be awesome after a few short months....you just got caught up in it.

This is going to sound strange, but after a period of life where I became soft and lazy, I chose to go to either Wall Street or the military to go back to that focused state of living. Finance took me first, so maybe that's for the better, but my point is that your kids will look at others who struggle with simple things like getting up in the morning and reading with disbelief. Until I went to college, I actually didn't know what 'sleepin in' was. This may sound a little extreme, but it's easier to relax than ramp up the pace, so start them off right. The major downside of these schools is a lack of individuality and creative expression: when I left, I was strongly attracted to the art crowd for years (and frankly, they almost ruined me, I couldn't handle it). So give your kids some time to do their own thing, whatever it is.

I was a good kid, but one of my siblings was a wild man and the discipline and structure did them well. Since leaving the school, they never really have been quite as focused. It made me so competitive that I didn't have to study, ever, between 8th grade and the third year of college to get good grades. In fact, I wish I'd started taking college courses in high school, but no one knew better at the time. My only regret is having left the school after a couple of years, but I had no say, so that's life.

If you have the resources, or the time to donate to the Church, European schools are overwhelmingly superior to most American schools in this area. The order of priests that ran my school were from Europe and answered directly to the Pope. France, despite its current secular state of mind, has some of the most intensely focused religious schools. Keep your kids from buying into the 'word of Gawd' too much and I can say with certainty that these schools will motivate, educate, and polish your kids. Just make sure to pull them out at some point and put them in a place where they can socialize a bit (mine was a state school, I recommend sending them to a private college). If you can, keep them home on the weekends and take them fishing, let them play, spend time with them, and they should be fine.

Please don't drug them. Compliant, information absorbing zombies will do well in school and certain office settings, but after that they are totally fucked. Plus, when they grow up and come off the drugs, you'll be dealing with a different person who you have no relationship with. You can't have someone doped up for the better part of their life and then expect them to just wake up and be independantly productive without a long cooling period, and there's no way to know what that will look like. And make sure that the school has safeguards against pedophiles: the school I went to had a very strict policy of not allowing one on one with the priests/staff, and two adults / senior students were present at all times except rec. Keep the lines of communication open with your kid.

Sorry for the long answer, but there's a LOT of crap about ADD and if someone isn't medically diagnosed with an illness, I'm just not a fan of taking medication for it.

Yea that sounds fun.. If your smart you'll succeed no need of near military austere discipline when your in high school. Chances are you'll be a tool when you come out.

I sold some shares, but on a net basis, significantly increased my ownership.
Jeffrey Skilling

Jul 28, 2013
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Jul 29, 2013
Jul 29, 2013