(This entire text is from Penelope Trunk's Homeschool blog today. She's so blunt, so honest, and I think there's truth here. Without further ado, her thoughts on 'The Difficult Child':)
"To be clear, my older son is medicated for anxiety.
So it's not that I think kids are born without problems. But I think
the idea of a difficult child comes after the idea that kids are there
to accommodate the lives of parents. My kids are never difficult unless
I ask them to do stuff that is boring to them. School is incredibly
boring to most boys. Which is why so many boys are medicated for ADHD.
"Don't tell me boring is acceptable, expected, part of adult life.
There is no model for adult life where we think boring is good. No
adults want to be bored. So why tell kids they need to learn to accept
being bored? As adults, we decide what we want from our days and we put
up with things we don't like in order to get what we want. Kids don't
need to learn to be bored. Kids need to learn to identify what they want
so much that they'd be willing to be bored to get it.
"So the difficult child is the child who is being asked to do things
that aren't right for that child. Maybe the child needs medication. You
know how you can tell? If medication improves the child's ability to
cope. The Week reports that 40% of kids medicated for ADHD don't stop
showing signs of it in the classroom, and then they get categorized and
difficult and unmanageable.
"But if you take a kid out of school then there is little chance that
they will need medicine in order to cope with playing all day. Some kids
will. Those are the ones who need medication. The New York Times quotes
Dr. Michael Anderson attacking the issue head on: 'We've decided as a society that it's too expensive to modify the environment so we are modifying the kid.'
"So if you have a child who is difficult, take the kid out of school.
Let the kid do whatever he or she wants, and watch what happens. It's
much easier for parents to call a kid difficult because if you call the
environment difficult, you have to remove the kid from the environment,
and that means no more free babysitting."