It seems that wherever I turn I meet someone with a child with a "syndrome". Aspergers, RAD, ADD, ADHD, ODD, CD and so many others.
Here is the description of Oppositional Defiant Disorder:
A pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least 6 months, during which four (or more) of the following are present:
often loses temper
often argues with adults
often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults' requests or rules
often deliberately annoys people
often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
is often touchy or easily annoyed by others
is often angry and resentful
is often spiteful or vindictive
Hmmm, that sounds like my child, but he doesn't have ODD. He is just almost three. Luckily for him, I realized that he needed me to be stricter with him. Let's face it, kids are tough. Kids push the line every chance they get. They have incredibly strong wills. Why? Because they want it to be their way.
Personally, I want my son to be strong willed because that means his will be independent. He won't be easily swayed by every passing fad. I don't want to break him of it, I want to show him the limits.
I am not saying that there are no kids who legitimately have these syndromes, but I can't help but think that many parents look for labels to put on their kids. Our children shouldn't be perfectly obedient, malleable little clay people. They are going to question and push the limits. They are going to act up when they are bored, tired, and over or under stimulated. They are kids! We have to be parents.
If we refuse to to be parents and enforce our strong wills on our children, we can expect "problem children".
Several years ago a school nurse diagnosed my friend's son as having ADD. My friend's wise response? He isn't ADD, he is BAD. Guess what? She modified her parenting techniques and he is fine now. His behavior actually worsened when he was given the label of ADD and when she tried to parent him properly, he would tell her, "It's not my fault. I have ADD, I can't help it."
While this may seem an odd topic for a blog about Catholicism, I think it is just one more side effect of the culture of death. We have created a false ideal of the normal child. We have created a stereotype of the average child: good-looking, obedient, brilliant, athletic. If our child doesn't fit that stereotype, there must be something wrong. So we put a label on the child and before long the child begins to fit the label. Why? Because we raise the child according to the label. It is easier to say there is a psychological problem rather than to admit that the problem is the result of poor parenting or a bad home situation.
So who really has the syndrome, the kids or the parents. I am now announcing the discovery of a new syndrome. I call it SS "Syndrome Syndrome". The symptoms are parental lazyness, the believe that normal children are perfectly obedient, and the need to attach a label on children.
I know this post will infurate many people, so I am putting my flame suit on now.