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,
- in the United States, at least 9% of children (ages 4-17) are diagnosed with ADHD, and are prescribed drugs for it.
- In France, this number is less than .5%.
- 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.
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:
- Consistently enforced limits, in the French view, make children feel safe and secure.
- 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.
- Hearing a firm “no” rescues children from the “tyranny of their own desires.”
- 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.
Self-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…