ADD, ADHD. Are the parents guilty? What the French can teach us about that…

why the French has less ADHD childrenIs ADD and ADHD a nature or nurture phenomenon? There is a surprising answer: we compare American and French children with regards to ADD...

Based on an article by Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D. "Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD? French children don't need medications to control their behavior."

First off: what is ADD and ADHD?

Attention deficit disorder is a symptom. According to Dr. Daniel Amen, when an ADD/ADHD person wants to concentrate, at a certain point their prefrontal cortex shuts down... much like your computer crashes when you overload it.

The H in ADHD adds a second symptom: fidgeting, hyper activity, loudness, interrupting, fighting etc. the constant need for excitement and stimulation.

According to the article,

  1. in the United States, at least 9% of children (ages 4-17) are diagnosed with ADHD, and are prescribed drugs for it.
  2. In France, this number is less than .5%.

denis lack of self-awareness, self-discipline, self-controlDo these numbers talk about nurture or nature differences between these children?

  • In the United States, ADHD is considered a biological, neurological issue, and therefore it is treated with psycho stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall.
  • French child psychiatrists, view ADHD as a condition that has psycho-social and situational causes. Instead of treating children's focusing and behavioral problems with drugs, French doctors prefer to look for the underlying issue that is causing the child distress in the child's social context.
  • The French choose to treat the underlying social context problem with psychotherapy or family counseling. This is a very different way of seeing things from the American tendency to attribute all symptoms to a biological dysfunction such as a chemical imbalance in the child's brain.
  • The focus of French psychologists is on identifying and addressing the underlying psychosocial causes of children's symptoms, not on finding the best pharmacological bandaids with which to mask symptoms.
  • The French definition of ADHD is not as broad as in the American system, which "pathologizes" much of what is normal childhood behavior. The American system, the DSM does not consider underlying causes, nutrition, family environment, traumas, etc., instead it encourages practitioners to treat children with drugs.
  • The French holistic, psychosocial approach also looks at nutritional causes for ADHD-type symptoms — noting the fact that the behavior of some children is worsened after eating foods with artificial colors, certain preservatives, and/or allergens.
  • In the USA, clinicians AND the parents of many ADHD kids ignore the dietary issues and prefer to use drugs.

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Child Raring Philosophy of the French

Another big difference between growing up in France or in the USA is the vastly different philosophies of child-rearing in the United States and France. French children are generally better-behaved than American children.

French parents provide their children with firm boundaries and structure. No snacking between meals. Meals are at four predetermined times. French children learn to wait thus avoid the immediate gratification syndrome of Americans. French parents let their babies "cry it out" (for no more than a few minutes of course) if they are not sleeping through the night at the age of four months.

French parents, love their children just as much as American parents, maybe more. Allowing the children to snack, misbehave; using TV to babysit children is the opposite of love, in my opinion. French parents' philosophy of discipline are more in line with what works:

  1. Consistently enforced limits, in the French view, make children feel safe and secure.
  2. Clear limits, they believe, actually make a child feel happier and safer — something that is congruent with my own experience as both a therapist and a parent.
  3. Hearing a firm "no" rescues children from the "tyranny of their own desires."
  4. Spanking, when used judiciously, is not considered child abuse in France.

French children don't need medications to control their behavior because they learn self-control early on. The children grow up in families in which the rules are well-understood, and a clear family hierarchy is firmly in place. In French families, parents are firmly in charge of their kids — instead of the American family style, in which the situation is all too often vice versa.

My opinion about American parents

My opinion is that American parent, or in general, people, don't like to take charge of anything... including their children, their pets, their finances, their eating habits... and it is getting worse and worse, generation by generation.

ADHD ADDSelf-control, self-discipline, once not learned as a child, is very hard to learn as an adult. And without self-control, without self-discipline nothing will happen in your life... you'll have difficulties learning anything, doing your job, starting a business... being well.

As I said before, clear limits, rules, increase your sense of safety, increase your self-confident, because your limits, your rules teach you to make the most of life inside rules, to honor inner freedom instead of the liberty of a poorly behaved child.

Could the Avatar State Audio Self-Discipline Activator work for you? I don't know... if you do the work of setting limits, setting rules for yourself, and then intend to honor those, then the answer is yes, it will help you a lot... it will remove your unconsciousness, while it's playing.

Once you have a lot of practice and an unconscious competence in honoring your own limits and rules, you won't need the audio any longer...

You'll be able to trust yourself to take that newfound self-discipline to becoming an Expanding Human Being.

Author: Sophie Benshitta Maven

award winning architect, magazine publisher, transformational and spiritual coach and teacher, self declared Avatar

7 thoughts on “ADD, ADHD. Are the parents guilty? What the French can teach us about that…”

  1. This made me think….is it possible to make your child or myself to follow rules without force…like you have to fix your bed, you have to clean your room, you need to get in bed…? Does our beingness needs rules? Wrong is the hardest issue I deal with and I associate rules with that there is something wrong therefore I need limits and rules. I will try to observe if I can create rules and live within them with out have to and need to, something wrong…

  2. you need to invent a context, but you can’t do it on the top of what’s there… force, wrong, and such.

    you may have to do some work before you can invent a new context. But you can practice setting boundaries for yourself, and HONOR them, cherish them for what they can do for you. Including your thinking.

    You never did clean up, unfortunately.

  3. I need to go reread your articles on cleaning. I didn’t get it fully.
    I’ve been looking and thinking could being a Word be a living within rules? Few weeks ago after reading your article on Word. I decided to be my word. Together with kids we picked what is that we say that we will do. My son picked fixing his bed and read every day, my daughter chose to sweep and keep shoes organized, I chose to keep kitchen tidy, be an organized teacher and read every night. We’ve been doing it for about 3 weeks now. Once it will be our second nature I will add more things to the list. I dont see it, what I chose doing, as need to or have to I just think of it and do it. Will that be like creating rules? I am not sure if I can distinguish it all yet. I can see though by reading your articles that there is a connection and they all interweave together. One yet many. Thank you Sophie.

  4. you are keeping your word, with lower case.

    Word is sacred, and is not available to you just yet. Word creates beingness and you have no idea what that means.

    But for starters creating promises is a good thing to do.

    Boundaries are not promises to do something, they are promises to not do something… that’s what you call rules…

  5. I see the difference. I will create a list of rules and will work on that. Thank you!

  6. I’ve often wondered if the higher percentage of ADHD diagnoses in the USA is because of how we got here. Unless you are Native Anerican or of slave ancestry, you have ancestors who left it all behind/risked it all to try a new life. Who is more likely to do that, a person who is unusually stable in attention, thought, disposition, etc or a person with the characteristics we call ADHD? I think ADHDers keep things fresh, new and advancing and the “normal” people keep things running normally enough that we survive. the French are historically big on genetic purity. Perhaps they just don’t have as much of the genetic predisposition. All their ADHD ancestors probably emigrated to North America! Maybe all those ADHDers are part of the reason this country is so successful. And the OCDers without whom no ADHD ideas would survive.

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