I once had a radio call of a child with “oppositional defiance disorder.” After her mom explained to me what a “monster” her child had turned out to be, I learned he had broken a window to enter his sister’s room and harass her, he had destroyed his brother’s toys by breaking them with a kitchen knife, and he would stand outside his mother’s bedroom window and just stare at her… at midnight. The kid was 6.
“He stares at me officer! I can’t even enjoy a movie at home.” Mom was frantic and wanted me to force her son to take his pill, which according to the psychiatrist would make the child listen to mom’s orders. She added that according to the psychiatrist, her son was also predisposed to becoming a serial killer or a mass murderer. “What if he kills me while I sleep, officer?”
The other siblings standing around chimed in, “I’m scared!”
When I spoke with the kid, he thought all of it was funny. I agreed, he was smart and ballsy, he could make a good Marine one day.
I asked mom where dad was and she stated they were divorced and dad would pick up their son on the weekends, but only after she would remind him. Because I don’t like to intervene with parenting, I asked mom what tactic dad usually used to get their son to take his pill. $20 was her response! Literally, dad would pay a 6 year old $20 to take his medicine!!
Immediately I was infuriated and knew what the problem was.
Calmly, I looked at mom and said, “This kid just wants attention, he’s not a future mass murderer.”
Her response held the answer to all her problems with her allegedly future mass murder 6-year-old son:
“I’m college-educated, officer; I don’t have time for this.”
I wanted to tell her to quit spending so much time watching TV and more time getting her nice home in order, but that was not my place. I looked around her house and, like many other homes with similar issues, this one was in disarray. Her college education got her a good career and allowed her to afford a house in the hills, but she had learned nothing of leadership and nothing about the importance of chores.
There were plenty of them to be had in her home too. Such as organizing the mountain load of video games and toys, some still unopened, scattered all over… and I mean all over: the living room, the three bedrooms, and even the kitchen and dining room. There were enough toys to fill a department store. It seemed she figured as long as her kids had toys and video games and went to private school, all thanks to her college education, she had earned the right to watch TV without being bothered.
TIME IS ALL CHILDREN NEED FROM THEIR PARENTS.
I don’t claim to hold the key to being a perfect parent, but I know this much. The notion that parents and children are separated for extended periods of the day is an alien concept in the history of humanity. For 99.9 % of our existence, children have learned about life strictly from their own parents and siblings by living next to them and following their example.
Here’s the point, it doesn’t matter how rich or poor a parent is. In my opinion, the ones that raise children with behavioral problems are the ones that don’t spend any time teaching their kids anything, or worse, don’t spend any time with them at all and simply throw money at them.
The 6-year-old kid in this story was not the one with a “disorder,” the mom was. Since big pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists are so eager to make money off of basic human behavioral issues which are not really diseases, they may as well create a disorder for parents that refuse to parent.
In the meantime, here are some words from Seth Godin on parenting:
“Sooner or later parents have to take responsibility for putting the kids into a system that is indebting them and teaching them to be cogs in an economy that doesn’t want cogs anymore.”
He then adds that what children need to learn is, “How to lead and how to solve interesting problems.”
“The way you teach your kids to solve interesting problems is you give them interesting problems to solve and then don’t criticize them when they fail.”
With that in mind, if you have children in a home with a carpet that needs vacuuming, dishes that need washing, laundry that needs folding and shelves that need dusting, then I’d say you got more than enough interesting problems for a kid to solve. It’s not just about keeping your home tidy and saving you time, it’s about preparing your children for a better future.