- Basic Survival – This includes fishing, shooting a gun, handling a knife, and starting a fire. I don’t say this because I think the government is going to take my house away or that the zombie apocalypse is imminent. I suggest this because these skills will give your son a feeling of self-reliance and confidence like nothing else. Sitting by the fire with my son after a 5 mile hike has to be one of the greatest moments I’ve ever experienced.
- Personal Fitness – Your son may not be a sports star but he should be able to do a push-up and a sit up. He should also know what a baseball is and that too many chips aren’t good for you, but salads are.
- Talk to a girl – If your son hasn’t learned to hide his internet porn habit yet, he will unless you teach him that women are not objects put on this earth only for his pleasure. The pleasure part comes after you have committed to taking care of her for life. That’s called marriage.
- Handle Money – He probably works and works to save his allowance to buy the next video game that he desperately wants. (If you don’t have him engaged in some sort of chore/money routine, start that tonight.) However, he probably doesn’t think about saving or giving. He probably thinks only about what he wants. That’s not good. He’ll be headed for personal ruin if at some point you don’t begin a habitual savings/giving plan with him.
- Read – More than any other habit this will move him ahead of the competition no matter what the industry. It will expand his horizons and give him unlimited growth possibilities. Or maybe you’re OK with him living at home when he’s 30.
Before making any changes to your sons meds, or if you have concerns, consult with your pediatrician, see a counselor, or even buy Sax’s book and read it for yourself. His data and experience in counseling boys is quite compelling. There’s also a great at-home program with proven results. You may actually qualify to get it for free. Finally, you can listen to a podcast on ADHD I did with a Hendersonville pediatrician, Dr Steve Johnson.
Some boys can sit for hours at a time and do their work as requested by the teacher. Others however can barely sit still for five minutes. Most classes are not designed for boys who absolutely must be active. However, it is a fact that if a hyperactive boy is to graduate in this day and age, he must receive some form of help or struggle his entire academic career and within his social circles. Medication is one of these aids.
In 2006, children in the US were at least three times more likely to be taking psychiatric meds as compared with children in any European country. And our kids aren’t just taking one pill. One-third of American children who are taking psychotropic meds are actually taking two to four others. A boy who is on Adderall for his ADHD may also be on Clonidine to control his outbursts, and Prozac to stabilize his moods. The result? A boy who conforms but who is not developing inner strength to cope and control. These character traits should be developed in the home and at school with firm teachers and practical parents.
I work with middle schoolers and a lack of motivation is definitely seen in many of my boys. For some, it’s a phase as they leave the sand box and discover girls. For other, large portions of our boys, they get into an apathetic rut and continue through high school and for a long time thereafter; possibly for the rest of their lives. They simply find new ways to live their lives as slugs. Why? I’ve had my theories but after reading Boys Adrift, I have research-based answers that are difficult to argue with.