Dave: I have to take a moment to applaud my good friend and muse, Amy Begel, who has a splendid capacity to wrap complex experiences in words. I am a […]
Parenting advice often describes ways to “manage” a child’s temper tantrums. But temper tantrums, or defiant behavior in kids contain important messages for the parents. Often, without meaning to, kids are responding to underlying tensions in the family. They react in the only way they know how: through their behavior. The message: HELP!
We’re revisiting a past article by Dr. Allen Frances, a prominent psychiatric “insider” who now spends his time railing against the overprescribing of psychiatric medications. Here he talks about the New York Times article which connected the proliferation of “ADHD” in kids to the profiteering by the drug companies. This is a wake up call to parents and professionals alike. Frances says, “as it stands now, we are doing an uncontrolled experiment on our kids with no clue about the long term effects of the meds on their brains and behavior.”
“Chemical Imbalance” has become a generally accepted way to think about psychological conditions like depression and anxiety. But David Keith offers another perspective: In fact, emotional problems may be a sign of mental health.
These days kids are reflexively and routinely given stimulants like Ritalin if they are designated as having ADHD. Dave Keith offers an alternative perspective: He works with the family relationship patterns in order to treat the child. The side effects are good.
Good physicians take a clinical history in the interest of arriving at a diagnosis. While the clinical history is a review of ‘facts’, there are in fact, few ‘facts’ about human experience. Different examiners will get different histories depending upon what they ask about. Different family members give different reports of the same set of events. In my view clinical histories are a form of fiction pretending to be ‘objective’.
Kids instinctively “worry”, that is, feel responsible for their families. Don’t forget that. Children worry about their families. They are trying to help the parents become not only better parents but better people. But their therapeutic methods get diagnosed as mental illness.
For Amy and Dave, common psychiatric “disorders” are part of relational patterns, usually embedded in the dynamics of the family. You just have to know how to look.
Understanding and changing family relationship patterns can make a huge difference for kids diagnosed with ADHD.
Lack of curiosity is a dangerous thing–in medicine, therapy, culture. Trump’s manner of speaking certainly promotes “not knowing what you don’t want to know”. He is a disturbing model for over-simplified explanations and sneering at complexity or any level of sophistication or subtlety.
In many professions now, so-called “quality measurement” is the dominant language, reducing, quantifying, and eventually, side-lining the importance of human interaction. This can not be good for us as living, breathing, multi-dimensional beings.
Here’s a first session with a “misbehaving” boy that reflects the corrosive effect of “enforced unity” in families
ADHD in Kids: Our family therapy view of behavior problems in kids looks at some of the hidden pattern in parenting that can contribute to these problems. Good to know. Then change is possible.
Dave: In an earlier post, Defiance in the Family: A Rebellion in the Name of Health, I described our idea that Defiance occurs as a result of a collapse of […]
Dave: The birth of the baby represents a quantum jump in intimacy and the complexity of living. There is a deep mutuality in the relationship between a parent and an […]
Defiant kids, angry kids, crazy kids, are a byproduct of family interactions, and simultaneously a byproduct of the family’s interaction with the culture.