Child Depression On The Increase

We Must Stop Drugging Our Lively Children ..
In 1980, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) was ‘invented’ by the American Psychiatric Association..
In 1987, ADD was revised, becoming ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).
Once children are labeled with ADHD, they are no longer treated as normal.
Once psychotropic drugs courses through their brain and body, they are, for the first time, physically, neurologically and biologically, abnormal.
There are no ‘medical’ ways of testing for ADHD such as blood tests or scans.
Children as young as 5 are diagnosed with ADHD mainly from information given by the parents.. Parents who expect their child to keep quiet and sit in front of the television.. Parents who don’t give their child attention and exercise.
Parents who stuff their child with junk food, sweets and fizzy drinks.
Parents who are then paid by us to care for their ‘mentally disabled’ child.
Have doctors and psychiatrists identified an old disease, or invented a new one ?
Getting agitated, losing your temper and being bored are classic symptoms of ADHD – but don’t all children behave like that sometimes ?
I don’t believe that ADHD exists and is certainly not a genuine illness.
What our neglected children suffer from is moral poverty, a mental diet of television and computer games and an almost total absence of good examples from the adults in their lives.. All children have some problems with self-control.
We must stop stigmatizing our children, and drugging the lively ones.
Parents should stop searching for alibis for their own failure in controlling unruly or boisterous children.

The French Way Of Treating ADHD ..
French child psychiatrists view ADHD as a medical condition that has psycho-social and situational causes.. Instead of treating children’s focusing and behavioural problems with drugs, French doctors prefer to look for the underlying issue that is causing the child distress.. Not in the child’s brain but in the child’s social context.

They then choose to treat the underlying social context problem with psychotherapy or family counselling.. This is a very different way of seeing things from the UK and American tendency to attribute all symptoms to a biological dysfunction such as a chemical imbalance in the child’s brain.

Parents May Be The Problem ..
In the UK we have an epidemic of parents looking for a scientific excuse for their own disappointment in their children, and we have a glut of lazy doctors willing to prescribe whatever drugs parents request.

The problem isn’t our children.. the problem is us.
We’ve created their social context, and it’s not a place where they can thrive.
It’s time to admit that parents are the problem, not the children.

Medicalisation Of Our Children ..
National guidelines in England and Wales say children with ADHD should receive ‘comprehensive’ treatment, including psychological, behavioural and educational help.. Budgets have been cut and psychiatrists feel they can’t follow the official guidelines, which recommend therapy before drugs.
The number of drugs prescriptions to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has leapt from 92,100 in 1997 to 786,400 last year (2012), say NHS figures.
It is feared that youngsters are being given them instead of more expensive counselling and other treatments.. Some parents are also believed to be pressurising GPs for drugs to help boost performance at school.. Health guidelines say they should not be given to children under six.. Symptoms of ADHD include an inability to concentrate and restless or impulsive behaviour.
Often, the first response now is to issue drugs, not offer therapeutic help.
Claims are being made that hundreds of children under six, some as young as three, are being given drugs, which might have little impact without other therapy.

Children who grow up getting nutrition from plant foods rather than meats have a tremendous health advantage. They are less likely to develop weight problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and some forms of cancer.
( Dr. Benjamin Spock )

Cases Of Child Depression Have Been Growing ..
According to the World Health Organisation, depressive disorders were the third biggest global health problem in 2004.. By 2030 they will be number one.
Cases of child and adolescent depression have been growing, although this could be partly because we have become better at diagnosing.
The government has not collated statistics on minors since 2004, but we do know that between 1991 and 2001 the number of children prescribed antidepressants in the UK rose by 70%.
According to the Nuffield Foundation, the proportion of 15 and 16-year-olds reporting that they frequently feel anxious or depressed has doubled in the past 30 years to two in 30 for boys and two in ten for girls.
A year-long study by YoungMinds, the UK’s leading charity for improving the mental health of young people, found that hospital admissions owing to self-harming have increased by 68% over ten years.
In the past year alone they have risen by 10% for under-25s.
Various reasons are cited.. the fragmentation of the family, increasing focus on academic achievement, earlier access to alcohol, social-networking sites, a materialistic society that values image above happiness, bleak employment prospects.. Experts say we have yet to see the full effects of the most drastic changes in modern society.
Lucie Russell, the director of campaigns policy and participation at YoungMinds, says that the pressures on young people today are unprecedented.. “Young people need to build a resilience to navigate the world they live in.. There’s this online world where someone might have 500 virtual friends but no real ones.. There’s cyber bullying, porn, sexting, violence.. Many are not likely to get jobs and there are exams, exams, exams.. Education policy is very much about academic achievement.. It’s not about wellbeing.. That has been taken out of the Ofsted indicators.”
Eleven per cent of the NHS budget is spent on mental health..
Of that, just 0.7% goes on children.
It is estimated that between 35,000 and 40,000 children and teenagers are being treated with Prozac-type drugs.. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines state that children with mild depression should be offered talking treatments before medication.
For the very ill, medication can be a lifeline, especially if they are suicidal, but some medication can cause suicidal feelings, so children must be constantly monitored.
( An extract from a report by Carol Midgley, October 2013 )

A Free Pass To Privilege

A Free Pass To Privilege…
What a surprise to learn that far from being a ladder to excellence for state kids, Michael Gove’s free schools are simply a queue-jumpers’ charter for pushy parents with the right contacts..
One in five of the Tory flagship schools are giving priority places to “children of founders” despite them being paid for by the taxpayer.
Free schools are turning out to be exactly what we expected.. a free pass to privilege for middle-class parents who can’t afford to go private.
The day I’ll believe the Tories are serious about free schools is when Eton charges local parents from Slough nothing to send their kids there.. Which is never.
(Brian Reade, 09.05.2013)

In Japan.. In between lessons, older Japanese primary school pupils have to clean corriders and classrooms.
These extra duties are accepted as part of the school’s role in teaching youngsters essential discipline and life skills.
English has become a compulsory primary subject since April 2012, so Japanese children can compete with other Asian countries.

In the USA.. Primary pupils start doing multiplication at seven and eight.
They are expected to know how to add and subtract by seven.
President Obama unveiled massive investment in teaching to tackle the chronic underspending.
He wants poor children to get the same chance to succeed in publicly funded schools.

In Singapore.. Their school leavers are doing our old GCE O-Levels, which were replaced by far easier GCSEs here.
In Hong Kong.. Their equivalent of our GCSE grade A is a C.

In Germany.. School starts at six, but many kids go to forest kindergarten first, for children aged three to six, and the focus is on playing, exploring and learning in the natural environment.
Typical activities include building shelters from branches, memory games from natural objects, climbing trees and hide-and-seek.
From age six to nine, pupils have one teacher for basic skills like reading, writing and maths.. They also learn local history, geography and biology.

In France.. French youngsters don’t have to go to school until they are six, but many parents send them to state nursery classes from as young as two.
Reading starts in the final year of nursery.
Because the school week only has to cover 24 hours contact time with the teacher, most children have Wednesdays off.
Currently an hour and a half is devoted to a foreign language.. often English.. eight to ten hours are set aside for reading and grammar.
In recent years the government has banned the use of modern teaching methods in all primary schools, insisting on a return to more traditional teaching of the language.
Children don’t wear uniforms.

In Finland.. It has no league tables or targets.
Instead it relies on its teachers to prepare their lessons.
As a result of the added responsibility and input, teaching there is the most sought-after career in the country.
All teachers have to have a Master’s degree.. thus enhancing the status of the profession.. In England you can qualify with a third-class degree.

In China.. The primary school curriculum consists of Chinese, mathematics, physical education, music, basic science, history and geography, combined with practical work experience around the school campus.
All primary schools are required to offer morality and ethics and English is often introduced at age seven.
The development of primary education in China over the past 60 years has been a formidable achievement.
In 1949, enrolment rates were around 20%, today they are over 98%.

Children must be taught how to think.. Not what to think.
(Margaret Mead)

What Should Be Said To Every Child…
Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this :
You are in the process of being indoctrinated.. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination.. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do.. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture.. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be.. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors.. It is a self-perpetuating system.. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements.. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.
(Doris Lessing)

Shameful Neglect Of Children

Shameful Neglect Of Children…
Child poverty scars kids for the whole of their lives, crushing dreams and cruelly robbing the young of hope..
The leap in the number of boys and girls living in poor homes, their parents lacking enough money to give them a decent start in life, is a grotesque stain on this Conservative-Liberal Democrat Government.
We were critical of the last Labour Government when it missed ambitious targets to give youngsters a comfortable childhood, yet Tony Blair and Gordon Brown still threw a lifeline to hundreds of thousands of kids.
So we condemn unreservedly David Cameron and Nick Clegg for the shameful neglect of children as hundreds of thousands more are dumped below the breadline.
The Prime Minister and his deputy would not want their own children to miss hot meals, clothes, toys and holidays.. That they allow poverty to mar the childhoods of increasing numbers in other families is a disgrace.
(Daily Mirror, 14.06.2013)

Children Living In Poverty…
Almost one in three children is living in poverty, according to shock figures.

The number of youngsters on the breadline is up 300,000 to 2.6million under the Coalition.. But with housing costs factored in it rises to 3.8million – and 67% are in working families.
Matthew Reed, of the Children’s Society, said “It’s shameful that as one of the world’s richest countries child poverty is being allowed to increase.”
The figures for 2011-12 were in the same year the Coalition cut £1.5billion of support for low-income families.
(An extract from an article by Jason Beattie, 14.06.2013)

Playing In A Virtual World…
In their early years, children grow best in an environment of physical interaction with the natural world.. running in fields, climbing trees, playing about in the mud and wondering at an empty sky.

But increasingly, their free time is taken up by playing in a virtual world.
(Sally Goddard Blythe, Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology)

A Pillow Over The Head…
Until the advent of the welfare state, many urban families lived in a permanent state of near-starvation.. White bread was the staple diet, eaten with jam containing so little fruit that wood chips were sometimes added to mimic pips.. Infectious diseases were rampant, and poor families could seldom afford to call a doctor.
At the turn of the century, Seebohm Rowntree, the social reformer and chronicler, found that in one impoverished York parish a third of children died before their first birthday – compared with fewer than one in ten among the ‘servant-keeping classes’.
Not all these children died from natural causes.
In 1900, the infant murder rate was 15 times what it is today.
In the days before contraception or abortion, a pillow over the head was a brutal form of family planning.. They had children chiefly to shore up the family finances.
Children were expected to go to work as soon as possible and support their parents in old age.. This is one respect in which childhood has been utterly transformed in the modern era.. Far from contributing to the family coffers, our offspring have to be subsidised for two decades or more.
(An extract from an article by Jemima Lewis)

My Father Taught Me

My Father Taught Me…
My father, an actor, didn’t believe in owning things.

He believed in travelling the world and doing what you want.
When I was five he took my family and lots of other people out to India.
We moved from hotels to hostels to digs – we never owned a house.
My possessions had to fit in one trunk.
My father taught me what little you need and what is important in life.
I wasn’t handed anything on a plate except a very strong work ethic and I look back now and am very grateful to my parents for giving me that.
And a tremendous amount of love.
I used to wish I hadn’t made mistakes, but now I’d say every mistake you make gets you to where you are now.
(Felicity Kendal)

My Full-Time Job Is Being A Mother…
As my children (Ava, 13, Deacon, 9, and Tennessee, eight months) are getting a bit older, I feel it’s so important to be there with them as much as possible.

I have very little enthusiasm to spend three or four months on a film set and not be part of their lives or disrupt their education.
It’s not fair to them and I also feel much happier being a mother and enjoying my life with my family.. Working in Hollywood is more of a diversion for me now.
I still love acting, but my full-time job is being a mother.
I like being home when they wake up, making their breakfast, taking them to school, helping them with their homework and enjoying dinner, and putting them to bed.. That’s my real job.It’s strange but sometimes I find myself repeating the phrases my mother used or little rules she imposed on me while I was growing up.
I laugh when I catch myself doing that.
(Reese Witherspoon)

Growing Up In The Sixties…
Growing up in the Sixties, I was a free-range child – we all were.
From the age of eight or nine, at weekends and during school holidays, my mum would pack me off to explore the outside world.
As I went out the door, she gave me one simple instruction: ‘Be back home for tea.’
For me, and for all the boys and girls of my generation, this was a passport to freedom.
We climbed trees and built dens, picked flowers and played conkers, and filled jam-jars to bursting with frogspawn.. Occasionally we indulged in more dubious pastimes, such as scrumping apples and taking the odd bird’s egg.
I don’t want to give the wrong impression – that we lived in some kind of rural idyll, like something out of Swallows And Amazons.
In reality, I grew up on a housing estate on the edge of London’s suburban sprawl.
We used to play in the scrubby strip of woodland that ran along the back of my house, which we called ‘the forest’, or the local gravel pits – for us a real-life adventure playground.. Back in the Sixties, my friends and I weren’t posh or privileged, with doting parents to take us on country walks.. Exploring the natural world was just one of the things we all did to quell the constant threat of boredom.
Remember, children’s TV was only on for a couple of hours each afternoon, and mobile phones and home computers were still decades into the future.. We would often come home with grazed knees and torn trousers, much to our mum’s annoyance.
Sometimes we got caught in the rain, and on one memorable occasion I plunged waist-deep into muddy water in pursuit of an escaping frog.
But most of the time we simply had fun.
(An extract from an article by Stephen Moss, 09.04.2012)

Some Are More Equal Than Others…
One type of political hypocrisy is particularly galling for those parents who each year battle to ensure that their children get into oversubscribed state schools.

Politicians of all parties repeatedly manage to obtain for their own children what they deny to others.. The latest to do so is Helen Grant MP, whose ministerial responsibilities include equality.. She has got her son into a renowned selective grammer school, many miles from her home.. The method she has used to do so is lawful, if unappealing.. But that is not the point.
If she believes such schools are good, then she should not belong to a Government which flatly refuses to allow any more of them to open.
Truly, some are more equal than others.
(The Mail On Sunday, 24.03.2013)

Thinking Of The Past

Mothers look at their newborn babies with awe…
So small.. so dependent.. so packed with secrets and possibilities.
But they are sure that love will see them through.. And it does.
Though through joys and troubles beyond their imagining.
Somehow they find strength and wisdom they never knew they possessed.
Somehow they become, quietly and unobtrusively, the keystones of our lives.
This is to thank them all for all their courage, patience, kindness and understanding.

Thank you for never interfering, but always being there for every one of us.
Thank you for forgiving me when what I had done was just about unforgivable.
Thank you for being ready to lend anything, give anything that will help us through.
Thank you for always being ready to help.
Thank you for believing in me when I no longer believed in myself.
Thank you for helping me to accept myself as I am and to be glad to be alive.

Thank you for the sleepness nights, the anxious days and the financial nightmares that were part and parcel of my childhood.. But about which I knew nothing.
I only knew the happiness of your love and the certainty of your care.
Thank you for making me sure and certain that for you a child outweighs any possession, however treasured.
Thank you for kissing things better.
Thank you for comfort.. in illness, in sorrow, in anxiety, in disappointment.
Thank you for all that you have given me.
The gifts of life, of love, of laughter.

Your hands held mine until I could walk alone.
You taught me freedom.. and when the time had come you let me go.
When I look back over my life, I can find nothing in your treatment of me that I would alter.. You’ve always been there to pick me up and guide me.
You’ve shared my happiness, my love, my sickness and my health.
I always have a model to look up to, and that makes it easier for me to develop into a good, independent person.
The years you have given us are part of me.
Thank you for those years.

Children pillage their mothers’ lives..
Taking whatever they require, as if by right.
It is only later that they come to realise that mothers too have dreams.

Most mothers, in one fashion or another, raise their children and send them on their way with the best gift that anyone can give.. The certainty of love.

The improvement of the world can only arise when loving mothers are increased thousands of times and have more children.

You gave me everything that you had to give.
You have made my life a happy one to live.

You put up with me through all the nothing days.. when nothing made sense..
When nothing was worth bothering about.
You went on believing that one day I’d come out of the fog and find the sun again..
And I did.

I keep thinking about you every few minutes all day.
Thinking of home.. Thinking of the past.. Brings me closer to you.
You brought lasting joy into my life.

I hope you are as happy as my heart wishes you to be..
Happiness that never knows an end.
I know very well that I shall never love anyone as much as you.
God bless you and keep you, and my love to you every minute and always.

I want to say I’m thankful every day my whole life through..
Not just because I love you.. But because you love me too.

My mother was the making of me.
She was so true and so sure of me..
I felt that I had someone to live for..
Someone I must not disappoint.
The memory of my mother will always be a blessing to me.
(Thomas A. Edison)