Your Child and the ADHD Label
There is a very entertaining and extremely enlightening TEDX talk by British professor Sir Ken Robinson on the topic of ADHD. He gives the example of Dame Gillian Lynn, an ex ballet dancer and renowned choreographer of musicals such as ‘Cats’.
When Gillian was 8 years old, her mother took her to a doctor as she was at her wits end about Gillian’s inability to sit still and concentrate. As Sir Ken puts it, ”ADHD hadn’t been invented” then (1930’s), so the label couldn’t be attached to Gillian. She was extremely fortunate that the doctor was a wise man, and seeing how Gillian reacted to music, he told her mother to take her to dance classes. Her child was not hyperactive or inattentive. She was a dancer. Gillian herself described dance and movement as the way she thought. If she couldn’t move, she couldn’t think.
Could Hyperactive Be The New Active?
If this is chiming some bells for parents reading this, then good! Let’s consider this further. Children are meant to be active. This is a necessary outlet and many are denied it today. When I was a child in the 60’s and 70’s I walked to and from school 4 times a day. In the break periods I chased around outside playing Tag. When I got home I skipped (jumped rope), roller skated, rode my bike, and I ran around the garden pretending I was a horse and rider jumping over obstacles. I was an enthusiastic sports player, swimmer and rider. Yet I was also an avid reader who could easily read all afternoon. In no way could I be described as hyperactive. I was simply active. In thinking back to write this, there was not one child at my school that could fit the ADHD term.
Over Stimulation and Under Motivation
When I was a child, there were no DVD’s, no computers, no mobile phones, no means of access to daily passive entertainment other than the TV.
So ADHD IS a new phenomenon, racing away to epidemic proportions, over diagnosed, and plenty of medication is doled out to deal with it. It is symptomatic of a western lifestyle that has children sitting instead of doing – which should be at their own pace I hasten to add.
So firstly, do think how you can give your child more scope to move, dance, climb, run, swim. Whatever floats their boat. Life has altered so much in the last 30 – 40 years that this doesn’t seem as glaringly obvious as it would have once. We have all been programmed to watch more and move less.
Give Your Child Freedom to Move All Day
A less obvious way to address ADHD is to home educate your child. This is suggested by ‘Attitude’, an online magazine about ADHD children. The reasoning is sound: they get to move more and learn what interests them. It is a big step and may not be possible for everyone, but thousands of parents do it, and I did it with my 5 children too when they were young. There are many support groups, so you will not be alone.
Use Earthing to Calm
But what if you still feel something is not quite right? Well, it is true that our children are more susceptible to over stimulation than we are. They are surrounded just as much as we are by wifi, constant music in public places, traffic fumes, toxic household cleaners and skin care products, and their little bodies can sometimes react more extremely than we do. Their sleep is disturbed by light pollution. In all likelihood many hyperactive children are sleep deprived. An Earthing mat in the bed will aid in achieving much better sleep in quality and duration. Children’s systems need to be connected to the earth as much as adults’ do.
Feeding your children a healthy healing diet in the face of all the temptations placed in front of their eyes from advertisements, fast food joints and supermarket shelves is tricky, but part of caring for your child is saying ‘NO’. They do need boundaries with food as much as anything else.
If your child has been medicated, it needs to gently detox and re alkalise. Any medication will cause an acidic state in the body. A high raw diet will aid them greatly.
Just as most adults are dehydrated, the same applies to children. Water (pure, un-chlorinated, minus fluoride and not from plastic bottles please) hydrates, not commercial juices and fizzy drinks. My children only ever had ‘soda’ at birthdays and other celebratory events. A child drinking these every day is being overdosed on sugar or aspartame and other additives.
Giving them fresh made juices or runny smoothies from fruit and vegetables is beneficial, as is organic coconut water. Keep it as natural as possible, i.e., homemade rather than store bought.
Extra Vitamins and Minerals
Dr. Leo Galland, author of ‘Superimmunity for Kids’, suggests that hyperactive children have higher magnesium requirements. As magnesium is available as a lotion, this is an easy way to get it onto and into your child (it is absorbed through the skin). Magnesium is known as the calming mineral, and for calming vitamins, it is the B group. Bee Pollen is full of B vitamins and is easy to add to smoothies.
Re Appraise Your Life
Have you considered you are trying to change your child, or someone else is (teacher?) because it fits better with an adult world view? I am not speaking as a calm “anything goes”, ex earth mother. I did home educate, but my children were by no means allowed to behave in an unruly manner. So I am talking about a sensible balance.
If you are a stay at home mum, you can give your child what they need, not try and squeeze them into the space you need them to inhabit so that you can function as a worker. This may be the answer for your family. It is only a few years to give to raising them. They grow up and leave very quickly!
Remember Dame Gillian Lynn? That ‘hyperactive’ child became a multi millionaire. Can you view your child as a mover, dancer or adventurer instead?
Florence Williams writes in ‘Outside’ magazine:
”…ADHD traits are so common among modern-day alpinists, rock climbers, BASE jumpers, snowboarders, and other extreme athletes, that the observation raises several important questions: If adventure sports are such a great fit for people with ADHD, why aren’t more doctors, schools, and families boosting participation? And, as kids are asked to sit still for longer periods of time indoors and given more medications to help them do it, what is the fate of the next generation of adventurers? Does the mass medicalization of ADHD mean the human species has reached peak exploration?“
Explore your reasons for medicating your child and look at the alternatives.
A small and over simplified example of this is my own son as a toddler. (I had 2 girls, then a boy, then 2 more girls). He was never happier than when he had emptied out all my kitchen cupboards and was attempting to suck things up the vaccum nozzle. This was annoying for me as I side stepped my way through the debris and tugged greaseproof paper back out of the hoover, but he, from his perspective, was exploring, discovering, learning.
I noticed by the time he was aged 2, all I ever seemed to say was NO (you can’t do that/wear that/have that/eat that/cut your own hair), so I had to alter ME and give him more leeway to be him. He was not like his 2 sisters, so why treat him the same?
I am not implying it is that simple, but it is worth considering whether the constraints you place on your child are for their benefit or yours.