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 ...
Good for you----I admire women like you and my mother,I had it easy.
You touched on the constant disagreement I have with my sister. She works full-time, as does her husband so that she can have vacations, two new cars, and so her kids "won't have to want for anything." She thinks my husband and I are foolish to risk financial insecurity "just so I can stay home and bake cookies." It leaves me at such a loss when talking to her that she can't see the real reason we do what we do - it's also hard to explain to her exactly why I am home with the baby without insulting her choice, I guess.
We aren't that close, needless to say. And for the record, my mom stayed home with us and baked cookies. I don't remember much about what we got for Christmas, Birthdays, or other gifts. I just remember Mom being there in the afternoon so she could read to me. I want the same for our son. :-)
Please allow me to thank you on behalf of your son. I chose to do the same for my boys. Speaking of which, I think it's time we do some cooking baking.
I have to diagree. What has happened is a couple things. First, school districts receive financial aid based upon the number of "special needs" kids. The more kids with special needs, the more money. So the criteria for these disorders have expanded to include more kids.
I remember that my daughter had a tough time adjusting to fourth grade. She and her teacher had very different personalities. There were a couple times my daughter cried in class. The principal didn't know what to make of it. So she suggested that perhaps the child -- who was a straight A student -- should be placed on Ritalin. I ignored the advice; my daughter got through fourth grade; and today she is an honors student in high school.
So the second thing that has happened is that teachers -- who are so overwhelemed with discipline problems (God forbid that a child be punished), and multitudinous other problems, have no time for anything outside narrowing limits. Ritalin has become the answer.
I don't doubt there are some children who are medically in need of these kinds of drugs, but it is far fewer than the number of children who are actually taking the drugs.
I went to a relatively small school and the only kids that ended up being problem children were the ones that were over indulged by their parents.
Never underestimate the disuasive value of the fear of an ass kicking.
That being said, turn off the MTV, it is the absolute worst thing for kids to be exposed to.
Having been on the receiving end of many an ass kicking as a kid, I have to concur.
My kids know better when they get "The Look". Two ass kicking (one each) were enough to stop the madness.
I would suggest that Ms. Eberstadt read "Don't You Know There's a War On?" by Richard Lingeman.
The book describes "Homefront USA" during WWII. Proportionally, there were many more "latchkey" (the term was first used during the war) kids then than now. The overwhelming majority of them turned out just fine.
Oh. They weren't victims in those day.
Fathers who refuse to marry and settle down
Fathers who do marry, but refuse to be a responsible role-model
Parents who refuse to act like parents by refusing to give their kids boundaries
Parents who put their own pleasures before the needs of the family
Too often in this forum, mothers take the brunt. Everyone time I meet a wrong-headed mom, I feel as though she needs a good shaking. The fact is there are many fathers out there who should make good FRdads angered, too.
Your premise is completely incorrect. The constitution is a contract between states to cede certain enumerated powers to a central government. Any powers not expressly ceded are reserved to the states. There is no such concept as "extra-constitutional." I suggest you read the constitution and look particularly at the 9th and 10th amendments. What the heck---pay particular attention to the entire document. You are 180 degrees off.
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.
Good for you! Today's kids are too pampered. We have bears in our neighborhood. One day recently a bear knocked over a neighbor's garbage can and dragged the garbage into our yard. Havnign cleaned it up several times in the past myself and being tired of it, I went next door and asked the mom if she could send over one of her boys -- ages 12 and 14 -- to clean it up. Her response was that she could ask, but that the boys wouldn't do it. I was amazed!
When my kids get home from school, they know they have their priorities: (1)homework, (2)chores, (3)goofing off. Each day they have a couple chores that we list for them: emptying the dishwasher, taking the garbage cans out front for trash day, cleaning the cat litter box, etc. It takes work to teach kids values and responsibility. Most parents don't want to put forth the effort to do it.
My kids grew up witha parent working nights (mom) and a parent working days (me). She got them off to school and I was there right after the came home. They knew that the old man would be there and there was no chance for shennanigans. It worked well till they got freedom and then it all went to hell in a handbasket!
It's not allowed in my house.
Obviously, one thing that draws a family (or even friends) together is shared activities. Your sister's family is more affluent, but her children will not have the happy memories of doing things with her. Their memories will for the most part involve doing things with other people In the long run, it will be more difficult for her to form a close bond with her children. Also, she is setting a bad example of making money paramount. When she is 80 years old she shouldn't expect her children to personally look after her. Hopefully, they'll take the trouble to find her a good nursing home.
It really helps a mother if she has a male authority figure in the house to back up her authority. This is true for stubborn toddlers and teenagers alike. The classic threat of "Just wait until your father gets home" is effective -- there is greater respect for male authority.
Dad is a career Army officer. Mine know better than to cross either of us.
He has a scarier "Look" than mine.
BIG BIG difference. today the kids are innundated with societies worst. With no one home to guide them it's no wonder they are having serious emotional problems.
I have kids in grade school and high school. My kids are capable of staying home unattended for many hours. They also feed the dogs, make their beds, clean their bathroom and do their homework without being nagged. They are all boys and are capable of doing a load of wash or cooking a simple meal.
They go to school with kids who live on take out and collect welfare. Not all of them, of course.
You did a great job. They are wonderful kids! I was a bit (ha!) goofy in my twenties, but it all comes back to the basics of how chldren were reared when they were little. I had the basics and that's what counts. Unfortunately, today's kids don't often get a shot at that initial training and have no way to get back.
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