School is back to in-person classroom learning! Your kids are going to go through some adjustments. Your son likely had more freedom to be active over the past year; the transition back to class will likely be challenging.
Have you already heard from his teacher(s) that his behavior at school is a “problem?” Were you told he has trouble focusing or he’s being disruptive?
That’s not abnormal; we encourage our kids to get outside and play from as early as Spring through the Summer months! They’re running, jumping, riding bikes and swimming (and they should be) then comes the “shift.” It’s an abrupt shift from fun and games to a sit down and be still environment! For boys, it’s not only grueling, it’s intensely more difficult.
Boys are hard wired to be:
The list goes on, the point is this. Boys have a difficult time sitting still in a desk all day; boys are quick to feeling bored. They have a need to do, undo, touch and feel! They innately want transitivity (the right information, the right way, at the right time).
A “Pill” Doesn’t Fix It
Many times, to get a boy to behave in the classroom they are being mistakenly diagnosed as ADD or ADHD and medicated. Trust me, I’ve done the research, Lessor, C. (2017) “Difference of a Counselor Facilitated Adolescent Boys Group on Behavior.”
When a boy is having problems in school, typically, a counselor or teacher will suggest parents talk to their family physician. They may diagnose the child as having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Five of six children sent to their doctor for characteristics of ADD or ADHD (APA, 2013) are boys (Lawlis, 2005). Lawlis (2005) noted that ADD and ADHD are over-diagnosed, and medications are overused in treating boys with behavioral problems. Behaviors associated with ADD and ADHD may be associated with other characteristics from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to environmental and social factors (e.g., parental instability or bullying). Once a family deals with the root cause, ADD or ADHD symptoms usually abate.
A Better Option
Here’s what I suggest.
- Consider the doctor’s diagnosis as one piece of the puzzle.
- Before starting your son on medication, ask his doctor or psychiatrist to refer you to a therapist in your area who specializes in working with boys to explore non-medical solutions.
- Enroll your son in a group program like The Quest Project® where he’ll have a chance to actively work through his issues and learn to channel his energy.
My extensive research included a study that involved two groups of middle school aged boys. A control group (they did not participate) and a Quest Project group (participating in The Quest Project processes) both groups utilized the exact same behavioral observation scale.
- The Quest Project group had positive results with improved behavior(s) in all participants.
- The control group was unchanged to declining behavior(s).
Although every situation is unique, they hold one thing in common. BOYS NEED A MODERN-DAY RITE-OF-PASSAGE®! Before jumping to conclusions when your son has been “labeled” disruptive or a problem; consider all the circumstances and environments he is exposed to and insist everyone work together towards a resolution! To put it bluntly, medication should be a last resort.
I’ve authored two books, “Generation of Men” and “Saving Our Sons” that are great resources for parents on rite-of-passage processes. Read and educate yourself first, then teach your son how to thrive, survive and become a healthy responsible young man.