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Psychology: Children's Behavior Today

Updated on January 27, 2014

Why are Many Children so Angry and Aggressive Today?

Have you ever wondered why there are so many angry and explosive children today?

After 17 years of working as an RN in a school for children with psychiatric and learning disorders, I continue to ponder that same question. As a matter of fact, I have a slew of questions as to why there are so many children with behavioral "issues", and even more questions regarding the laws and regulations that govern the education and treatment that these children receive.

By creating this Lens, I am hoping to raise awareness about some of the mental health issues that plague today's youth.

My Focus

Experience is the greatest teacher - and believe me when I say, "I have had 15 years of very tedious experience in the field of pediatric psychiatry." I honestly believe that I have seen it all. However, I am not claiming to be an expert.

The purpose of this lens is not to give you in-depth information regarding disorders, treatment, therapy or medications. Instead, the content I will present is based on my own opinions, observations, and questions that I have developed through my experiences.

My focus will be about:

1) Some of my thoughts as to why behavioral issues appear more prevalent today than throughout earlier history.

2) Some issues that I consider to be obstacles that hinder the treatment of children with special needs.

I will start the lens off with a very brief overview of a few of the more common disorders. I will provide some links, through which you can gather more in-depth information regarding disorders.

How Does a Psychiatrist Determine a Diagnosis?

Psychiatrists use the DSM IV criteria (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) to assist in diagnosing and treating a person with mental health issues. Certain criteria must be met before a diagnosis can be given.

Common Psychiatric Disorders in Children

#1 ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

This disorder is most often treated with medications called stimulants, such as: Ritalin, Vyvanse, Adderall, Focalin and others. Some non-stimulant medications are also used, such as Strattera and Intuniv.

I have seen first hand how a child, who is sometimes literally "climbing the walls", will settle within 20 minutes of taking their medication. They become more focused on their work and are able to learn. Although, it doesn't always work this perfectly. Sometimes a child may remain a little hyper, but is generally more easily redirected.

These are a few links which will give you more information regarding ADHD and treatment.

#2 Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety Disorder is characterized by irritability, restlessness, and trouble concentrating resulting in poor school performance. They often shy away from social interactions and have difficulty making friends. They frequently have physical symptoms such as palpitations, elevated blood pressure and heart rate, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and headaches.

Anxiety disorders are often treated through cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications.

#3 Mood Disorders

Mood disorders refer to a category of mental health problems that include all types of depression and bipolar disorder. Mood disorders are sometimes called affective disorders. (See link below - Wexner Medical Center)

Symptoms can vary from person to person and also depends on the specific mood disorder that the child may have. Some of the symptoms include intense feelings of sadness, hopelessness, inadequacy, irritability, aggression, sleep problems, changes in appetite, etc.

Mood disorders are often treated with psychotherapy - and is often combined with medications such as antidepressents, antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, etc.

#4 Other Disorders

There are many other disorders such as autism, PDD, eating disorders, disruptive disorders, etc.

1) Why Is Mental Illness in Children So Prevalent Today? - Did It Not Exist Long Ago?

This is a question that I frequently ponder. How often do you hear an older person say, "Children weren't like this in my day." We've all heard our grandparents tell stories of the "innocent childhood pranks" and the stories of that "one bully". However, I don't recall my grandparents telling stories about classmates having drastic mood swings, going into rages and becoming violent.

First, one has to understand a little about childhood growth and development. Then, one must have a little knowledge of the evolution of society.

In short:

A child's nature is to be curious and active. Children learn by living, playing, observing, and self-exploring. In ancient times, people were basically hunters and gatherers. The men hunted food and the women gathered food. Children were free to play and explore their world all day, thus, learning all they needed in order to survive as adults. Children were not expected to be responsible for real labor until their teens.

With the rise of agriculture, families settled down on farms. Families were often very large so that there were enough children to help with all the farming chores and care for the younger children. Here, we see the beginning of children being forced to work and having less time for play and exploration. When their curious and active nature took over, corporal punishment was used make them behave and to work.

With the rise of industry, children were forced to work in crowded, filthy, unhealthy factories along with the adults. The cruel punishment to keep children in submission continued. Many children even died under such circumstances. There was no distinction between children and adults. And schooling was reserved only for the wealthy.

Persons who had "gone mad" or "insane" were referred to as "lunatics". They were often locked away in dark and dirty asylums. Children and adults were thrown in together. Could these be the same children, who today, are diagnosed with mood disorders, ADHD, etc? In the 1600's, some of the asylums started creating a separate unit for children. There is little documented history on these patients.

As the industrial world progressed and people became more aware of emotions and behavior, the humanitarian movement started, and laws were made to limit work hours for children, and to start providing education for children. It was believed that repetition and memorization was important for children to learn. However, as I explained earlier, this is not the natural way for children to learn. Rather, it is a boring and tedious task. Severe punishments continued to be used for children who "misbehaved".

In the 1700's, New England states created free public education for all children. The New England Primers were the main source of education. Education was based on morality, with prayer being very important. Reading, writing and math were taught along with certain trades that were common in that jurisdiction. Mothers stayed at home with their children and religion was important. Children learned respect for others and lived by a stricter moral teachings. By the mid 1700's, the literacy rate was at it highest in all of American education history. Educators became stand-in parents and disciplinarians of the children during the school day. Punishments did remain harsh for children that "misbehaved".

Up until the early 20th century, punishments remained harsh. Education became government run and the curriculums changed greatly. All children were required to go to school - and all children were required to learn and master all of the same subjects. As humanitarians worked for children's rights, corporal punishment was banned - but certain forms of punishment continued through the early 1960s. Many changes took place in the schools in the 1960s, including the removal of prayer, and morality became a thing of the past. Eventually, all forms of discipline were basically banned.

2) Has Morality Died?

In the 1960s, there were three pivotal lawsuits that attacked the spiritual well-being in the schools. These were:

1) Engel v. Vitale, 1962

2) Murray v. Curlett, 1963

3) Abington Township School District v. Schempp, 1963

In each case, the lawsuit was filed by persons who wanted prayer taken out of the schools. The decision? Prayer was banned from schools. Children are not taught morality - right and wrong - respect for life. They grow up not knowing God and goodness. The family is not the intact unit that it once used to be. Mothers are forced out into the workforce, leaving children home alone and unsupervised. Most families don't even have a sit-down dinner together.

Children are exposed to violence on a daily basis. Television shows, commercials, and even cartoons have been overtaken with violence, sex, drugs, alcohol and disrespect for life. And what's up with adult cartoons? Are they just a ploy to poison the minds of our children. Even most of the video games that kids play are filled with violence. The news is filled with sex, crime and violence. It is often glorified by the media and perceived as "cool" by kids.

Many children have parents with substance abuse issues and often use violence and aggression in attempt to solve problems. Many children witness violence in their own homes on a daily basis. Many children are even physically, verbally, and/or sexually abused by their parents or other caregivers.

Immorality and violence is just the norm now. Children are desensitized to the immoral views of society. How can we expect them to behave any differently when they are surrounded by it?

What Do You Think?

Do you think prayer should have been left in schools?

See results

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/010628/dq...

Children who are raised in homes where violence is prevalent often have more behavioral problems as per the chart above.

3) How Has the School System Failed?

In America, our education system is known as compulsory education. All children are required to attend school and learn and master all of the same subjects. It is expected that all children should be able to learn all of the same concepts and facts. Children with learning disorders may have a specialized curriculum, but they are still required to take the same subjects. They are still tested and require passing grades. Most public school systems do not want to pay to send these children out into special programs, so they try to keep them in their home school - and sometimes in with the general population.

It seems to me, that if we are all unique and have our own special talents, then we would not all be able to master the same exact things. I feel that most of the content that children are forced to learn is boring and is really just tedious work for them. Their nature is to play, talk, observe, explore, etc. It is not natural for children to sit still for 45 - 60 minutes and listen to boring information that they find little relevance for in their world.

For a child that has ADHD, this is torture. That child cannot sit still, cannot stay focused, and cannot learn in such a situation. The child becomes restless, loud, silly, unfocused, and disrupts the learning of other students. The teacher gets upset (and rightly so - because they must make their students produce passing grades in order for them to keep their jobs).

The child then becomes more agitated and upset and may often feel "stupid" and humiliated. He/she then becomes angry and impulsive, and begins to curse, rip up papers, etc. The teacher is basically stripped of all disciplinary measures. The only disciplinary tools that the teacher has is to redirect the child, give him/her choices, remind him/her of the consequences for their actions.

This is not effective for a child with ADHD, learning disorders, mood disorder, etc. Withholding recess time is a common consequence for misbehaving. So, now the child has lost all focus except for the fact that he/she has not "earned recess". Anger and frustration take over. The child gives way to impulses such as throwing objects (even chairs and desks), and even physically attacking the teacher, or even another child whom they believe is making fun of him/her at the moment.

He/she is often allowed to spin out of control with their behavior because of strict laws that prevent allowing adults (teachers, school staff, etc) from even touching them or hugging them. Once their behavior has spun out of control, imagine how they must feel.

TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL! - UNSAFE - POWERFUL ENOUGH TO SELF-DESTRUCT - without anyone stopping them. The adult in charge can not even lay a hand on that child unless he/she is appropriately trained, and only if the child is in imminent danger of harm to self or others. Children today are allowed to destroy entire classrooms, computers, and any other property they so desire. And they know that adults can not touch them. And it is a huge risk for an adult to touch that child, for fear of a lawsuit. This topic can go on forever.

And how must the other children in the room feel, especially a child with severe anxiety or autism. Such violent events can even trigger children with "post traumatic stress syndrome". Another child may perceive that the aggressive behaviors are directed toward them - and that child may start to become aggressive. And soon - you have an entire classroom out of control.

I certainly do not believe in corporal punishment - however, I believe that some sort of discipline is very necessary. Without discipline to control the children - we use medication for overly active children to help them remain seated for 6 hours, and repeat and memorize content. Is it really necessary to force these children to endure subjects that they cannot grasp or understand? Why not focus on their strengths and help them to develop skills in those areas? If they are given an opportunity to excel at something they enjoy - they might be a little more open to learning other subjects.

4) Why Standardized Testing is Wrong!

Flicker Photo by Justin
Flicker Photo by Justin


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

As I said above, most school systems are keeping special needs children in their home schools instead of referring them out to specialized programs. Children with learning and behavioral disorders who are left in their home schools and placed in "special classes" are often made fun of. These children frequently feel embarrassed and often have a low self-esteem.

Since the public school systems are trying to keep children in their own schools, specialized programs are receiving the sickest and most aggressive children. However, these programs are receiving less funding to keep running. This often means a cut back in staff required to keep the program running smoothly. There are several reasons, but one of the reasons is that these programs often score poorly in standardized testing.

What is standardized testing? It is a series of tests that is used in helping to assess how effectively students are learning in each school. It requires that all children test at their age appropriate grade level, not at their cognitive level. For example, a 12 year old child whose cognitive level is that of a 2nd grader, must still test at a 6th grade level.

This is equivalent to making a 7 year old, 2nd grade student take a test designed for the average 6th grade student. This is unfair. Imagine how frustrating this is for a child with processing and learning difficulties. Many children have incredibly high levels of anxiety on these test days. They know they do not know the answers. They may already have low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy, and now they are being tested on information that society is basically saying, "You are 12, you should know this stuff, what's wrong with you?"

Sure, the tests can be modified, but the guidelines make this very difficult. The easiest way to modify the test is to assign a moderator to that child during the test. This in itself is a difficult thing for school personnel to make happen. Each child must have his/her own individual moderator. In a specialized program, most of the children require a moderator. It is often difficult to find volunteers to do this. Generally, every staff person must be a moderator, leaving little to no staff to handle behavioral issues as they arise.

The moderator must read the exact wording of the test to the child, and then mark down his/her answers. In no way, can that moderator explain what the question means or help the child understand the question in words that he/she would understand. How frustrating for that child.

1) Imagine a classroom with 10 students, and 7 of those students each have a moderator trying to quietly read the test to them.

2) Imagine a child with ADHD trying to concentrate.

3) Imagine a child with severe anxiety or a child who suffers from auditory hallucinations having to test in this environment.

4) Imagine a child with severe mood disorder - who is already frustrated - who feels incompetent and has difficulty with simple tasks - who has poor impulse control - and place him/her in this situation. That child is a ticking time-bomb - ready to explode at any moment.

OK - so testing is over and the scores come back. Now, people in government positions want to know why this school is getting such poor test scores. They want to know what is wrong with the curriculum, what is wrong with the teachers. Does anyone stop and wonder what is wrong with the government run educational system?

Many people believe that today's children are over-medicated, that psychiatric disorders are bogus, and medication is not needed!

I also believe many children are over-medicated.

But, I am referring to children with severe psychiatric and behavior disorders. Unless you have walked in the shoes of mental health care providers who care for these children, or the children and families, you cannot begin to understand the reality of the devastating effects these disorders have on their lives.

6) Government Quotas on ADHD Medication Production

There is a lot of controversy that surrounds the use of stimulants for children diagnosed with ADHD. Most of the medications used to treat ADHD are stimulants. These include Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Daytrana, Concerta, Metadate), Dextroamphetamines (Dexadrine), Vyvanse, and Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine (Adderall), just to name a few. Stimulants can be addictive and can cause cardiac and other side effects. They require close monitoring.

(Photo taken by me)

Recently, non-stimulant medications have been developed to to treat ADHD. These include Strattera, Intuniv and Kapvay. These medications have less side effects, and are not addictive.

Many people argue that doctors are unnecessarily "drugging children". I do think that sometimes, general practitioners may misdiagnose a child as having ADHD and then prescribe stimulants. ADHD should be diagnosed and treated by a psychiatrist - using the DSM IV to assist with the diagnostic process, along with some of the other diagnostic tools available.

For a child who is clinically ADHD, treatment with stimulants is amazingly helpful. These medications can help the most hyperactive and unfocused child be able to calm and pay attention and learn. If the medication is not effective, then it may be possible it is the wrong dose or wrong medication for that child, and maybe a different dose or type of medication should be tried. If several of these medications have been tried without success, it is possible that the child does not have clinical ADHD.

The use of stimulants for ADHD was found purely by mistake in 1937 by Charles Bradley. Charles Bradley was conducting neurological evaluations on children suffering from pneumoencephalography headaches - due to loss of spinal fluid. He was using a stimulant named Benzedrine - in hopes that it would stimulate the production of spinal fluid. While the Benzedrine did nothing for the headaches, teachers noticed that children with ADHD were better able to focus on school work, thus getting better grades.

Back to my complaint

"Greater Louisville Medical Society" on Flickr
"Greater Louisville Medical Society" on Flickr


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/glms1/5512922038/

The government puts quotas on the amounts of stimulants that can be produced in a year. I do understand the need to control stimulants because of their widespread abuse, however, many children suffer the consequences.

Stimulants are controlled substances. These medications have a high potential for being abused. Therefore, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) sets quotas on the numbers that can be manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. Once those quotas have been met for the year, production of these medications must wait until the new year. Then it may take another month or more before the pharmacies receive their stock.

This past year (2011), as early as August and September, pharmacies started seeing shortages of these medications - they would often have to call around to other pharmacies for extra stock, and patients would have to wait a week or so. In October, the shortage was worse. In November, some pharmacies were out of these medications and had to tell patients that they would not be able to get any more of the medication until after the new year. Even then, it would be another month or more after January 1st before pharmacies would receive any shipments. Without their medication, many children's behavior spiraled downward quickly.

My thoughts on "why the shortage?"

1) There is the abuse factor. A lot of college students abuse them - to help them stay up all night and study. They are often abused and sold as street drugs. Are there a lot of general practitioners that are prescribing these stimulants to persons without accurately diagnosing them?

2) There is so much wasting of medications. Many times, doctors will prescribe a medication, only to find out a few days later that the dose needs to be adjusted or even changed to a different medication. Instead of writing the prescription for a week or two to see how the child responds, the prescription is written and filled for a month supply. This is often to save patients money due to co-pays on medical insurance. Then, the leftover medication needs to be disposed due to strict regulations regarding controlled substances. In group homes, hospitals, residential care facilities, etc, the wasting of pills is a daily occurrence.

3) Also, the cheaper generic brand supplies seem to be the ones to run out. The DEA assures that there are enough medications available. However, these are usually the more expensive brand name medications. Often, insurances will not authorize use of these brand names due to high cost, and the parents are unable to afford to pay for the brand name medications. I wonder, do the pharmaceutical companies make more of the brand names in attempt to make more money and/or to rebel against the quotas?

A Scenario Frequently Seen:

"One of Those Days" by Sharon Mollerus on Flickr
"One of Those Days" by Sharon Mollerus on Flickr


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/clairity/2105532204/

Little Billy has been doing poorly in school. He constantly talks, is unable to remain in his seat, demonstrates loud/silly/disruptive behavior, is rude, is often very agitated and sometimes becomes physically aggressive. He is failing school, has had multiple suspensions, and now has been expelled from the public school system. He has been referred to a special, level V, non-public school program. After diagnostic testing, individual psychotherapy, and psychiatric evaluations, he is diagnosed with ADHD and a mood disorder.

Since admission to the program, he has spent most of his time in the resource room because he is extremely loud & silly, and disrespectful. He is unable to understand and follow directions. He is unable focus on classwork. He frequently misinterprets what others say. He believes he is stupid and will never learn. He gets frustrated very quickly and rips up papers and books. He quickly escalates to aggressive behavior such as throwing his chair, knocking over his desk, hitting himself in the face, attempting to bolt from class and the building itself. Therefore, he is not learning.

Once he is diagnosed and placed on Adderall and a mood stabilizer, he is a different child. His visits to the resource room have decreased greatly. He is able to remain in class most of the time and is learning and getting better grades. He actually feels proud of himself.

September - his pharmacy is having difficulty getting his Adderal in stock, and Billy runs out of medications for a few days. He is having difficulty remaining focused, becomes easily agitated, and has increasing visits to resource. After a week, his pharmacy is able to fill the Ritalin prescription and he is back on task and doing well again.

October - his pharmacy is unable to fill his Adderall prescription. They've called around to several other of their branches, but none of them have any Adderall. Once again, Billy is spending more time in resource and is not learning. He can't take some of the other medications because either he is allergic or has had side effects from the others. Other medications are just not effective for him.

There is another medication that is available but it is much more expensive and his insurance won't cover the cost. The parents cannot afford it and Billy goes several months taking a medication that is not really effective for him. For the next 4 months, he remains hyper, irritable, loud/disruptive/silly, off task, and spending much more time in resource. His grades suffer greatly. He loses confidence in himself, and once again believes he is stupid and will never learn. He loses all hope and decides there is no reason to even take the mood stabilizer anymore. He is once again is becoming aggressive and unsafe.

THIS IS ONLY ONE CHILD. THERE ARE MORE CASES LIKE THIS IN THE SCHOOL. STAFF IS OVERWORKED, AND NOW SPENDING MORE TIME ATTEMPTING TO CONTROL BEHAVIOR, AND LESS TIME ACTUALLY TEACHING.

7) Medical Insurances Dictating Medication Treatment

Medical insurance companies often dictate which medications can be used in the treatment of most disorders - both medically and psychiatrically. This is done to save insurance companies money. Medications are grouped into tiers.

1. Tier I medications are usually the generic brands and are the cheapest in cost.

2. Tier II medications are brand name medications and are a little more expensive.

3. Tier III medications are often more expensive medications that are similar to a one on a lower tier that provides the same benefit for a lower cost. However, these Tier III medications typically have fewer side effects. Other medications are placed in Tier III because they are newer medications on the market and are still being monitored for safety and effectiveness.

4. There is also a tier IV which includes the most expensive medications - usually specialty medications.

Many of the Tier III medications already proven to be more effective and have less side effects, are the ones that insurance companies do not want to pay for.

Therefore, health care providers are forced to prescribe the cheaper medications that have the most side effects or least effectiveness. It is only after a child has no response, side effects, or adverse reactions to these cheaper medications that the health care provider can send documentation to the insurance company for authorization for the better medications.

You can read more about the different tiers of medications in the following links.

Conclusion

There is so much more I could write about this subject.

Yes, there are many children with behavioral issues that do not require medication. They need love and care, discipline and limit setting, supervision/parental guidance, stable and consistent home environments, etc.

But there are many children who also have genetics that put them at greater risk for real psychiatric disorders. There are many children who have been affected by drugs and alcohol while in utero. There are many children who have been victims of lead poisoning. And there are many children who have suffered great emotional trauma and neglect - this affects the way the brain is developed.

I will end it here, and just say that today's world is a complicated place for all of us. But it is overwhelming to those who have suffered great trauma, whether it be physical or emotional in nature. I believe that "mental health disorders" should be renamed something like "neurological brain dysfunction". The brain is an intricate hard-wired network of neurons, neurotransmitters, lobes, ganglia, synapses, connections, inputs, outputs, etc. Everyone's brain is wired a little differently. When there is a dysfunction in particular areas (often due to imbalance of brain chemicals), there is a disruption or malfunction in the transmission of information. Humm - sounds like a medical issue to me - much like electrolyte imbalances, irregularities of electrical activity of the heart, hormone imbalances, diabetes, etc. Mental illness is a real medical disorder for which medications are often a necessary part of treatment.

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    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Very well done lens with tons of good info. You've obviously experienced it.

    • RoadMonkey profile image

      RoadMonkey 3 years ago

      I also think that a good rigorous fitness program would help. Children need a LOT more exercise than they are getting in this car-driven, TV-watching, Game-playing society. As a child, there was very little TV and no computers or internet and few people had cars. We walked and ran and jumped, in streams, puddles, climbed trees and were away for hours, with no mobile phones to call you back! Yes, our teachers had the cane and I was caned occasionally (for talking in class) but most kids had plenty of exercise and less energy to burn off in class.

    • Zeross4 profile image

      Renee Dixon 3 years ago from Kentucky

      I love this, I'm majoring in Psychology- although I had to put my next semester off because of my pregnancy- I can't wait to finish! I love child psychology especially :)

    • JustineKnott profile image

      JustineKnott 3 years ago

      The more I read and understand about mental health and behavioural disorders I believe most of them are biologically predetermined. Perhaps some people can be pre-dispositioned and there are triggers in the environment which bring out or worsen the condition. Trauma and environmental influences can impact on the brain and conversely, the brain can restore pathways where healing and therapy is provided. I always believed ADHD was more behavioural until a family member had to deal with this, and I have seen first hand how medication was the only answer for this neurodevelopment disorder. This is a well thought out lens, thank you.

    • Laurahadges LM profile image

      Laurahadges LM 3 years ago

      I am studying psychology and am a student at ETSU. I want to become a drug abuse counselor. This page is great! Very informative! Thanks!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 3 years ago from United States

      I think many of us have asked the questions of what is going on, why are things so different from one generation to another and I don't believe there are any easy answers or solutions. The one thing that I do have a problem with in our overall society, is labeling a child. I have seen parents and teachers do that often. I believe people, not just children, often live up to expectations. I agree with you about renaming "mental health disorders". That term has connotations that make people want to avoid someone who has those disorders, causing even greater isolation and nonacceptance for the child.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 3 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      I'm glad you pointed out that some of the behavioral disorders experienced by children have a neurological/medically-related basis as I find labeling everything a 'mental health disorder' hard to grasp.

    • Lyra Kua profile image

      Lyra Kua 3 years ago

      Excellent lens. In my school, we were encouraged to pray every class. We even have a special subject about morality. I think it's really important for children to learn about morality.

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 3 years ago

      First class lens

    • Tamara14 profile image

      Tamara Kajari 3 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

      Excellent article. Yes, it's a far too complicated of a world today but people tend to complicate things even when they're quite simple. Same goes for raising happy children. Unfortunately the school system is something that can't be changed (improved) overnight and in the meantime many kids suffer.

    • invest90 profile image

      invest90 3 years ago

      I prefer to call it "information overload". I have 3 children and 1 grandchild. They don't ask family questions anymore and at the dinner table they are lost without their phone in case a message comes in. We don't allow phones at the table by the way. Today's kids can get the answer that THEY want from the internet. They are not developed enough to process all of this and formulate their own conclusions. My granddaughter thinks that you just speak to the screen and an answer comes up and everything must be swipable. I like your articles and only wish that some of the kids of today would read it.

    • HSP Connections profile image

      Peter Messerschmidt 3 years ago from Port Townsend, WA, USA

      Very much enjoyed reading this-- nice job!

      Sadly, we never talk about the "root causes" of our problems in schools (and society) which-- it seems to me-- is a bi-product of the lifestyle our culture has chosen to pursue. Of COURSE there will be different issues in a world where mom and dad BOTH have to work 50+ hours a week just to SURVIVE, and arrive home exhausted. What we experience in schools is just an extension of the fact that we don't have time to LIVE. Places like Norway and Finland (often cited) have it "better" because a "full work week: over there is 32 hours and you get 6-7 weeks of paid vacation per year. We can look at them to our heart's content, but it's comparing apples and oranges. Sad... very sad...

    • profile image

      tahirmahmood 3 years ago

      LOVE the lens!

    • MarathonRunning profile image

      Martina 3 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      You made excellent points in this article and gave many options to expand horizons. I also worked with children and I don`t believe in brain drugs. They are the only solution in some cases, but that is rare. I agree with you that support and care are of great importance in solving the matter, but I don`t believe that religion must be included in schools. Prayer will not solve the problem, it can only add more issues because most children will feel obligated to do it and there is also a great possibility to stimulate even more detachment of children from nonreligious families.

      Very thought-provoking lens. Nice job!

    • profile image

      Colin323 3 years ago

      Very interesting and balanced lens. You raise important issues for society.

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      Impressive lens, keep the good work. :)

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 4 years ago from Australia

      Wow! What an interesting day you must have every day! Thank you so much for sharing your professional experience. I do think we have lost some of our morality and a lot of respect - for ourselves and for others.

    • newyorkdude profile image

      newyorkdude 4 years ago

      Wonderful lens full of thought-provoking content. Unfortunately, I don't have the time after my first reading to comment. I will be back -- often -- to comment on some issues. As a psychologist who specialized for a long period of time in developmental psychology, I have a few things to say. My knowledge is more 'theoretical,' while this lens author mel-kav has far more practical experience than I. Best regards!

    • minpinmojo76 profile image

      minpinmojo76 4 years ago

      Good lens. Public education has definitely taken a downward spiral. I think government and society are equally responsible. There is no easy solution but some type of action needs to be taken to get the future of this country on track.

    • merfzel profile image

      merfzel 4 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Excellent, excellent lens!!!! Very well done.. I bookmarked it so I can refer to it later. My 3rd child is having lots of trouble and is actually seeing the doctor today.

    • mel-kav profile image
      Author

      mel-kav 4 years ago

      @merfzel: Thank you for the nice comment. Good luck with your child. I just wish the educational system would adapt to the needs of individual children.

    • MelanieMurphyMyer profile image

      MelanieMurphyMyer 4 years ago

      Excellent, comprehensive article!

    • ZoieZoe profile image

      ZoieZoe 4 years ago

      Nicely put together and very informative!

    • profile image

      Mobley5 4 years ago

      Very thought provoking.

    • Boyd Carter profile image

      Boyd Carter 4 years ago

      Mel-Cav, you've done an excellent job of expressing the needs and frustrations of children and their broadly-based group of care-givers. Well done!!!!!

    • federico-biuso profile image

      federico-biuso 4 years ago

      This lens is very interesting... well done!!!

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from London UK

      PS well done on a well deserved purple star

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 4 years ago from London UK

      Bravo! A wonderfully thoughtful lens. Factual, accurate and thought provoking. Bravo indeed! Please write more.

    • SBPI Inc profile image

      SBPI Inc 4 years ago

      Great lens and there is much more that can and should be done starting with getting back to basics which include social structure, Gog, family and life values.

    • darkflowers profile image

      Anja Toetenel 4 years ago from The Hague, the Netherlands

      Wow, I loved your Lens, you share very valuable information and did a lot of work to make your points. Big thumbs up for you, it is very interesting information every parent, teacher, etc. should read. Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

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      changrcoacher 4 years ago

      I respect what I've read here so far and I hope you continue. Don't feel like "voice crying in the wilderness" .You and I come from very different paradigms but there is value in each. I believe we, as a nation, are undernourished and over-medicated.. I am working with kids that I believe need caring parents instead of medication!

    • Demaw profile image

      Demaw 4 years ago

      Adults need to lead their children and not follow trends and media. We choose as individuals how we want to live, if we want our children to have morals we need to have morals. Not just talk or sing about it but walk the walk. As for prayers, the world is my chapel I can pray when I feel I need to. Parents should discuss religion and spirituality with their children and live the life they talk about. Yes the world is changing but it never was an easy place for children. Remember child indentured servants, child soldiers, slaves were and still are a part of the world.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi thanks for sharing.

    • PlumberJorge profile image

      PlumberJorge 4 years ago

      Very good informative lens!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 4 years ago from Colorado

      There are so many conversations that can and should be generated by this lens. As a lifelong educator, I have seen so many changes over the past 30 years (in student behavior, parent interactions, school cultures, assessment, etc.). I can't do justice to the questions you raise and the points you make in the space of this comment box. I'm still processing all that you have presented. I can tell you put a lot of thought and energy into this lens. Thank you!

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 4 years ago from Arizona

      I hear about all sorts of problems with kids and it scares me for the future. My children are young and show no signs of problems but you never know when something is going to become an issue, or other children become an issue for mine.

    • EdTecher profile image

      Heidi Reina 4 years ago from USA

      I've seen it all in the classroom. Don't know if it's more prevalent now than in previous generations. What I found most helpful was to keep the kids active and engaged in learning, lots of encouragements and celebrations, and providing quiet and safe spaces when a child emotional. Thanks for the wealth of resources.

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      grannysage 4 years ago

      @grannysage: Just found this quote that I thought would apply. âChildren are living beings - more living than grown-up people who have built shells of habit around themselves. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for their mental health and development that they should not have mere schools for their lessons, but a world whose guiding spirit is personal love.â

      â Rabindranath Tagore

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      grannysage 4 years ago

      Wow, there is so much information here that it is impossible to respond to it all. I like that you provide links to your resources and appreciate the work you are doing with children. I do agree that the way the education system is set up is a major factor in discipline and learning problems. The system is designed to turn out homogenized worker citizens who cannot think for themselves. My husband has ADHD and in the hunter/gatherer times it wouldn't be a disorder. The ability to notice everything would be an asset to the tribe. It is time for us to rethink and redesign how we teach the children and perhaps the frustration of having to go to school will be reduced for all children, even those who appear to be coping.

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      Stephanie 4 years ago from Canada

      This is a fantastic lens! I'm a teacher and I see so many of these behaviours. It's so hard (especially as a substitute teacher) because we have so little power to make students do anything. When there is home support, it is better, but many children with behaviour issues come from unstable homes and there is little to no support, so teachers are essentially powerless. It's such a shame that our society has come to a point where many children cannot learn because of the behavoiur of their classmates or because of their own behaviour.

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      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      Most mental problems need therapies that don't need medication. Medications typically poorly suppress symptoms while causing side effects, and don't address the underlying cause of the problems. It's a dishonest way to treat someone and get them out the door quickly.

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      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      As a TotH you have tapped into some issues where people want to play the blame game. You know what I mean seeing this on a daily basis also. For every reason I may suggest there is a counterpart, so that's why I pray a lot :) Thank you for serving our children in kindness.

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      ChocolateLily 4 years ago

      You have done an excellent job thus far explaining what people need to hear. Now we just need the government education officials to learn what most of the rest of us have figured out!

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      Chuck Nelson 4 years ago from California

      Very interesting article and you make some great points - well done.

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      antoniow 5 years ago

      Fantastic lens, well done! Thumbs up

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      It's a shame that insurance companies won't pay for medications with the least side effects. Thank you for sharing how hard school is for a child who has ADHD.

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      dscribbler 5 years ago

      My heart goes out to all those kids suffering. Every case is different, but the end result seems to be the same: low self esteem and feeling like a failure.

      I recently read that over 50% of NASA employees are dyslexic; because they have incredible problem solving skill and 3D spacial awareness. I wonder how many dyslexics there are in jail, because their parents couldn't cope with the challenge and the system let them fall through the cracks.

      Imagine feeling stupid because you're unable to 'sound out' the spoken word "yot" from "yacht".

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      Silencespeaks 5 years ago

      Its Totally psychological Lens.. wow you are well aware of child behavioral study

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 5 years ago

      Generations of American children from 1690 until well into the twentieth century learned to read from the New England Primer and the Bible. Even the American Founders learned to read from these books. This little book was crucial in the founding and the molding of the American character that gave us so much liberty.

      Then came the McGuffey Readers, a biblically based set of readers. When McGuffey died in 1873 his readers were secularized, with every mention of God and the Bible being removed.

      John Dewey was next on the scene advocating for progressive education and liberalism. He was a secular humanist who saw Christianity as false and harmful. Implementation of his ideas into public schools was a heavy blow to the teaching of morality in schools.

      The removal of God, the Bible, and morality from schools is one of the major reasons for today's bad behavior of students and society in general. There are many facets to this problem but I believe this one is the basis for the rest.

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Excellent information. I think it's a mixture of lack of teaching of morals, and that begins at home, in other words the parents are to blame in many cases. The schools should also teach this, and WHY don't we see more television shows promoting this to teenagers, rather than the same old violence. Nicely done, blessed.

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      candidaabrahamson 5 years ago

      Very deep and insightul lens, with incisive questions. Are you aware there's a new one slotted for the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, called Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder? I guess it's supposed to take over some of the workload from pediatric bipolar. The same questions apply!

    • profile image

      candidaabrahamson 5 years ago

      Very deep and insightul lens, with incisive questions. Are you aware there's a new one slotted for the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, called Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder? I guess it's supposed to take over some of the workload from pediatric bipolar. The same questions apply!

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      A brilliant lens -very controversial--and I wonder where the parents fit in

    • siobhanryan profile image

      siobhanryan 5 years ago

      A brilliant lens -very controversial--and I wonder where the parents fit in

    • bigjoe2121 profile image

      bigjoe2121 5 years ago

      "Discipline" and medication are not necessary for children who are allowed to follow their own impulses from inside, and who are not required to sit still and shut up for hours every day. My son has ADHD and we have zero issues, because we homeschool in a very relaxed manner.

    • Ninche profile image

      Ninche 5 years ago

      This is great and important topic, that can be discussed in many directions. From my experience of working with kids and my point of view - it is scary that we have to put words "medications" and "kids" in the same sentence...

    • themeanviolets profile image

      themeanviolets 5 years ago

      Very interesting lens. Kids today are under so much pressure compared to when I was in school, and even then it was bad, but doesn't seem nearly as much as now. It's a very important topic. Great job!

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      Risteard O'Marcahain 5 years ago from Wales

      Your work at the front line must be very hard seeing so many sick children. As I grow older I am very aware of things happening around me. There are outward signs of a deterioration in Society like drunkeness among young people or talk about self wounding which I never saw or hef growing up in Ireland but I see great things also - young people giving generously of their time to good causes. On balance I think things generally are worse than when I was younger but by how much I'm not sure

    • Close2Art LM profile image

      Close2Art LM 5 years ago

      Very interesting and important, Blessed.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have 4 children. My eldest is 34, my youngest 13, so I have been raising children and putting them through school for just over 30 years. It places me in a unique position to think about what kids are like now and what they were like then. Then you had a couple of kids in each school with the "invisible disorders" apart from dyslexia which was just starting to be properly recognised.

      Then you did not have so many working mothers.

      Then you did not give your kids so much prepared food, that contains so many harmful additives.

      While not denying that psychiatry and modern medicines have a part to play with helping the kids of today, I do think some of it is down to the fact that family life has changed so much in the last 30 years. Something that is conveniently ignored by Governments who would rather women went out to work so they get more in Tax revenue.

      Perhaps if more mothers were given more of a choice to stay at home if they wanted to, we would not have so many kids with these sorts of problems?

    • HeartBroken62 profile image

      HeartBroken62 5 years ago

      Very nice work. Thank you for the work you have done here. Too often, I hear from parents: I am going to work to give my children everything I never had...sad. When so many say this type of thing it speaks to me as if they forget the one most important thing in raising children...Love! To me, this is part of the start of our problems with our children...parents run off to work and make that the most important part of their lives instead of showing their children how important they really are to them with the Love they have for them. Thank you for being concerned about the importance of mentally stable children...they do grow up! and when unstable as a child...we create unstable adults!