Skip to comments.Latchkey Nation:Home Alone in America
Posted on 11/14/2004 10:22:35 AM PST by Founding Father
Latchkey nation: Home alone in America
Why is the mental health of America's children declining so precipitously? Isn't it obvious?
Sunday, November 14, 2004
BY MARY EBERSTADT
If there is one subject on which doctors and teachers and other experts involved with children would agree, it's this: Over the past generation, the number of American kids diagnosed with mental disorders has exploded.
In January 2001, the Surgeon General issued a report declaring that the United States faces nothing less than "a public crisis in mental care for children and adolescents." Similarly, the National Mental Health Association estimates that one in five American children has a diagnosable mental, emotional or behavioral disorder.
This new reality is something many readers will recognize from personal experience. Diagnoses of Attention Deficit Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, conduct disorder, bipolar disorder, autism and depression have become all too familiar. School districts and college campuses across the country have been struggling with the accommodations required for these children. Millions of American kids are taking mind-altering prescription drugs; Ritalin production alone increased 700 percent between 1980 and 1990, and the number of children taking all manner of psychiatric drugs tripled from 1987 to 1996, according to one landmark survey of 900,000 kids.
(Excerpt) Read more at nj.com ...
Beginning about a decade ago, diagnostic criteria -- in particular, those of the commonly consulted Diagnostic and Statistics Manual IV (DSM-IV) -- changed considerably. Not only have new disorders been added to the list of problems, but existing disorders have been redefined with broader criteria, meaning that more children are now considered disordered and diseased.
And this one, too:
It is, instead, a dynamic in which adults who are around children less and less find their behavior more and more problematic and in need of alteration. This dynamic works the other way, too: Children who are around parents and other family members less and less feel and behave worse and worse.
Most of us already new this. When my daughter was pregnant, I preached, stay home with your twins. do not leave your children to be raised in their formative years by a stranger that may have weird ideas or mental makeup.
actually most of us already KNEW this.
Now we are raising a generation of psycho drugged children - and what will be the result when they are fully grown?
I shudder to think.
I ws a latchkey kid in the late thirties and forties,along with a younger brother. There was no term for us then,we just had a father who died young.
We turned out okay!
I was a latch-key kid and survived!
It would be nice if every woman that chose to stay home with her young children was able to. But stay-at-home moms is not the issue. The true feminist perspective is choice with both roles ( career, job and family) deserving of respect.
Both my parents had to work. I was left alone from when I got home from to school till about 6pm. No day care, no special programs. I was told what to do and not do during that time. A snack was an apple or orange. When my parents got home we all ate dinner together (take out was rare). I did homework, my parents read or my dad played the piano to relax; mom knitted sometimes. We watched an hour or so of tv together. It was unheard of going out on a school night. There was plenty of talking and interaction time with my parents. The weekends were chores (another marvelous family bonding experience!) and family get togethers were priority.
I will agree that the consumerism driven society today puts "things" ahead of family. And lots of parents don't want to discipline, its just too much of a hassle.
That's very true. Although there are very real cases of ADD, ADHD, etc., with the new definitions nearly every pre-teen boy would fit the new diagnostic guidelines. lol A lot of the behaviour they want to change is nothing more than a kid being a kid. (I'm not talking about behaviour exhibited because of a lack of discipline, just ordinary child behaviour.) We can't keep expecting children to act and react like miniature adults, and "diagnosing" them with some disorder when they don't.
They are not "alone"...they have the internet where they reach out to strangers to fulfill their needs and teach them about asundry things. They have their "live journals" where they talk about sex, suicide, politics and trash each other over small things. They have email and phone networks that spread rumors like wild fires. The underground digital age is teaching our children and it's not pretty.
Drug using parents (sorry Libertarians, but it's the truth)...
Sky-rocketing number of legal and illegal immigrants...
Mothers who refuse to stay home and BE mothers (sorry, feminists)...
Did I need to commission a government study to figure all this out?
NO, I used something much better and infinitely cheaper!
It's called COMMON SENSE!
We should all buy some and use it OFTEN!
Maybe someday we'll have a discussion on the root causes:unconstitutional programs resulting in greatly higher taxes, causing both parents to work to make ends meet
Excellent point. It is far more difficult for young couples to keep mom at home during the pre-school period than it was 30 or 40 years ago. Taxes, insurance, increased debt, and real estate speculation have a LOT to do with it.
I too was a latchkey kid in the early 60's when my parents divorced, my dad skipped town, and my mom went to work to support her 5 kids. I was 10 years old, taking care of my 8 and 6 year siblings after school, plus cleaning the house, and cooking easy meals. Did I develop some bipolar mind disorder? Hardly, I went on to graduate with honors from high school and college and have a work ethic that few people can hope to achieve.
Parents need to stop blaming their kid's problems on everything except where it truly lies.....themselves (the parents). They're all too quick to resort to medicine or God forbid...it's the school's fault. Wake up and smell the coffee parents, it's YOUR fault your kid is screwed up. Time to take some responsibility for how your children turned out and not blame it on everything else in the world to make yourself feel better at what a lousy parent you are. Maybe if parents would act like parents and not their kid's best friends and buddy, we wouldn't have half the problems that we do in our schools today.
parents who appear to not really want their kids- I see children treated as an annoyance- a distraction from what the parents would rather be doing. I see it in high and low income families- well-educated and not.
The child is seen as some kind of status symbol: we have the Ivy League education, the law degree, the McMansion, the Lexus - now we need to get ourselves a child to make the picture complete. Of course, a child is neither programmable nor easily turned off when the parents are tired of him, so hence the frazzled and distracted behavior; the rude comments to mothers blessed with 4-5 kids ("HOW can you STAND it - I'm going crazy with one," yadda yadda); the push for full-time day care at two months postpartum.
sadly common sense is not that common.
This is just another bash family articles to counter the notion that Marriage is to raise children. (as opposed to the homosexual notion that marriage is about orgasm)
The problem with the "uninvolved" is that until recently (and still in some states), generous welfare programs paid women to crank out babies w/o having to work. The kids were basically a ticket to a welfare lifestyle. That mentality does not change overnight, even with federal welfare reform. You get more of what you subsidize.
Hmm? I didn't see this as an anti-family article at all. It got to the nugget pretty quick - kids are experiencing psychological problems because they spend too much time separated from their parents (and indirectly, from their siblings.)
It's not an "either/or" thing - marriage is about children *and* about orgasms; some in more proportion than others, depending on your stage in life...
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