May/June 2001



SPECIAL REPORT

When Your Child Won't...
Can't...
Doesn't...

by Kari West


"By kindergarten, my wiggling daughter spent more time squirming out of her chair than coloring within the lines."

Hyperactive," the learning center specialist wrote. "Poor concentration; problems with short-term memory," the psychologist said.

"Your daughter will have to work twice as hard as other students," the second grade teacher explained.

When I first held Melanie 19 years ago, I envisioned her reading third grade books by kindergarten. I pictured her exhibiting perfect behavior and snuggling quietly beside me as I worked at my knitting.

But by kindergarten, my wiggling daughter spent more time squirming out of her chair than coloring within the lines on a ditto sheet. She bounced and chattered through church and in restaurants. I cringed when the phone ran in the evening, because I knew Melanie's teacher would be on the line: "She talks too much... won't sit still... can't concentrate... can't... doesn't... isn't."

I searched for answers in parenting books, support groups for hyperactive children and special diets free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and salicylate. We tried drug therapy, tutoring, a private school and Special Education classes in the public school. Nothing helped.

"I hate school. Everybody says I'm in the retard class," Melanie whined, refusing to cooperate.

"I feel like such a failure as a parent. I don't know what to do next," I told the pediatrician.

"Haven't you tried everything?" he replied.

"But I can't let her fail."

Each day I added another mark to the chart of unhappy faces and red marks on the door of the refrigerator. Another stuffed animal was snatched away because of defiant behavior and poor academic performance. Each night Melanie battled with reading, pronouncing one painful sentence after another, word by word, sound by sound.

"Why should I even try?" she'd cry, slamming her head into the damp crease of her book.

"Because we're not giving up," my voice would spiral with anger, frustration and resentment.

"Oh, God, what am I doing? Help me," I prayed.

When Melanie turned eight, I volunteered in Junior Church for two Sunday mornings. The first time, I heard only Melanie talking over the voices of the other children: "I want to do something else."

So do I, I muttered to myself. "Honey, we're doing this now," I sweetly smiled.

"I'm not," she blurted. The entire room looked at me. I focused on her shrill loud voice, the squeaky chair legs rubbing the linoleum and the floppy blond hair bobbing like a restless cork.

Getting to Know Janine

The second Sunday morning, I noticed a new girl, Janine, pacing back and forth alone in front of the windows overlooking the church lawn. I guided her toward other children cutting and pasting at a table.

"What is your name?" I asked.

"I don't want to sit with her, Mom," my daughter interrupted, as I watched a girl sitting next to Janine move her chair further down the table.

Arms flailing and loudly muttering to herself, Janine held up a Medi-Alert bracelet. My eyes scanned the words, "Speech and Language Disability." Janine was different. She knew it and so did the other children.

I don't remember the lesson we taught the children that Sunday. But I will always remember Janine and the lesson God taught me.

Intellectually, I understood hyperactivity. Yet emotionally, I struggled accepting "Melanie's hyperactivity." Meeting Janine showed me my daughter's pain.

I saw how much it hurt to be different.

Walking into the sanctuary one morning several months later, a well-meaning Sunday school teacher grabbed my arm. I barely heard her words, "You must do something about Melanie. She won't... can't... doesn't... isn't."

But this time I was out of answers. Sitting alone in the back pew, I sobbed, "Lord, I can't take any more. I can't fix Melanie's problem. I give it to you." As the communion plate passed, my voice stumbled midway through the Lord's prayer: "Thy will be done."

Rescued by a Horse

Melanie's hyperactivity decreased in adolescence but left low self-esteem and a sense of failure. But God, with an incredible sense of humor, sent a hyperactive Arabian horse to the rescue.

After three months of riding lessons and stable work, Melanie asked about leasing a horse. Her stepfather and I agreed, if she would pay one-fourth of the monthly board. One day the horse bucked. Despite a broken arm, she climbed back on "one more time."

"This horse is so stubborn -- just like me, Mom," Melanie said. "He's hyper and unpredictable. If I ever get him under control, I'm going to ride him in a horse show."

Blue ribbons and a regional championship plaque now decorate my daughter's bedroom walls. I've pranced through more manure than I care to admit photographing my poised, disciplined equestrian daughter.

I now know that inside my daughter beats a tender heartfor others with disabilities. Iremember how Melanie finally

befriended Janine, sitting next to her each Sunday. She was the only invited guest at Janine's 13th birthday party. A few years ago, when boys on the school bus called a speech-impaired neighbor girl a "stupid retard," Melanie spoke in the girl's defense.

Last week, she told her step-father aboutthe new ranch boarder. "She's a blind lady. When she rides in the arena, I call out positions along the rail so she knows herlocation."

I finally appreciate Melanie's uniqueness. I thank God his will was done. And I'm grateful for Janine who taught me to move from annoyance to a place of acceptance.

Now I wonder if the greatest disability of all is not seeing past a disability to a child's uniqueness. 

Kari West is the author of When He Leaves. Her second book, Dare to Trust, Dare to Hope Again -- Living With Losses of the Heart, releases this fall. You may write her at P.O. Box 11692, Pleasanton, CA 94588 or visit http://www.gardenglories.com/.


 

A Generation Under Sedation

by Clem Boyd

Rambunctious. Full of energy. A real handful. Everyone knows a child like this-they never sit still, they talk incessantly, their minds seem to operate only at top speed.

In the late 90s we started to hear youngsters like these described as having ADD -- Attention Deficit Disorder. Used just as often is the acronym ADHD, with the "H" standing for "hyperactive." And usually, within several seconds of "ADD" being mentioned, another now-familiar term will accompany it -- Ritalin.

Ritalin is the medication of choice for children diagnosed with ADHD. Although its prevalence and easy accessibility would suggest that it's as harmless as a chewable vitamin, it might be time to take a closer look.


Ritalin, also called methyl-phenidate, is a powerful stimulant marketed by the drug company Novartis, formerly Ciba-Geigy. It is listed as a Schedule II drug in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), a law passed by Congress in 1970 to regulate narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens and anabolic steroids.

Schedule II of the CSA contains "those substances that have the highest abuse potential and dependence profile of all drugs that have medical utility," according to Terrance Woodworth, deputy director for the Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration. The next level up, Schedule I, is reserved for the most dangerous drugs with no recognized medical use.

Ritalin is one of only two controlled substances prescribed to young children, the other being amphetamine, under the trade name AdderallŽ or DexedrineŽ, also used to treat ADHD.

While all are stimulants, each drug has been noted to have an opposite effect on children with ADHD -- it calms them down. And anyone who's spent time with such a child can appreciate that. Children on these prescriptions seem to be able to focus, sit still and learn. Their mood straightens out, and they're not as prone to fits of rage. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde stories are common among parents of ADHD children now taking Ritalin -- Mr. Hyde before the drug, Dr. Jekyll after.

But some are beginning to wonder. The line for lunchtime Ritalin doses at some schools has begun to resemble a mid-day military parade. There are stories of teachers and school administrators pressuring parents to medicate "overactive" children. Reliance on stimulants to control hyper behavior is a relatively new phenomenon and was begun with no research into long-term effects.

Could the calming effect of Ritalin that seems to help these youngsters concentrate more at school and home be, at least in some cases, another example of the American tendency to look for shortcut answers? To date, the people asking those questions are in the minority.

What's Going On Out There?

No doubt, there are many children who benefit from Ritalin.

Mary Robertson is a registered nurse and the parent of two children diagnosed with ADHD. She is also a past president of Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders (CHADD).

Speaking before the U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families, Robertson recalled the painful experience of retrieving her son Anthony's belongings from the preschool which did not want him back. She recounted his time at the "Hyperactivity Clinic" at the University of Kentucky Medical Center where he was first diagnosed as ADHD.

"I was trying everything in my power to help him, but it was not enough," she explained. "We sought evaluations from a neurologist, then an allergist, then a hearing specialist, had his eyes checked, made repeated trips to his pediatrician, visited other psychiatrists and psychologists. We tried allergy shots, special diets, behavior management, accommodations and interventions. Nothing seemed to help.

"He seemed to always be getting into trouble. He could not stay in his seat; not at home, church or school. His level of energy and movement caused things to spill, fall and break. His frustrations were beyond words. Blocks and chairs were thrown. Occasionally, he would have hysterical temper tantrums that would last for hours."

Finally, tearfully, and with much trepidation, she and her husband agreed to try Ritalin. It helped, but Anthony had tremendous "rebound" side effects when the drug wore off. They switched to another stimulant which finally settled him down. As a preteen, he was put on a combination of antidepressant and stimulant, accompanied by counseling, an individualized education plan and lots of love and help from his family. In May 2000,

Anthony graduated from eighth grade as an honor student.

Dr. William B. Carey, clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, believes there are some kids who can profit enormously from Ritalin, kids who are qualitatively different than the rest of the population. "That's probably one to two percent of all children," he offered. "But the way [Ritalin] is handed out, we're up to 10 to 20 percent, and that's simply unjustified. It's out of control."

In his testimony before the Texas State Board of Education, Carey noted that some children are so pervasively overactive or inattentive that these qualities "get in the way of normal living and make these children very hard for any caregivers to manage." He added, "For that small group medication may be a rational choice as part of a larger plan." But current figures on Ritalin use are way beyond "small."

By the Numbers

Estimates on the number of children on Ritalin in the U.S. vary widely. In a presentation at the National Academy of Sciences, United Nations Foundation President Timothy E. Wirth put the total at 1.5 million in the U.S. "The number of children taking Ritalin for ADHD has doubled every four to seven years since 1971," he explained.

Dr. Lawrence H. Diller, a pediatrician and author of the book Running on Ritalin, puts the figure at around 5 million, up from 900,000 in 1990. "These figures -- derived from the amount of medication prescribed for ADD -- suggest a problem of epidemic proportions," he explains in his book.

The U.N. International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) issued alarming statistics on Ritalin use in its 1995 Annual Report. "The worldwide use of methylphenidate increased from less than three tons in 1990 to more than 8.5 tons in 1994 and continued to rise in 1995," the report stated. "The global trend largely reflects developments in the United States, which accounts for approximately 90 percent of total world manufacture and consumption of the substance."

The report suggested that between three and five percent of all schoolchildren in the United States have been diagnosed with ADHD and are being treated with methylphenidate.

The trend continued through the late 90s. By 1998, the INCB estimated that treatment rates for ADHD in some American schools was as high as 30 to 40 percent per class, and children as young as one year were being treated with methylphenidate. INCB was concerned that such drugs were being prescribed "without heeding their abuse and dependency potential."

"Ritalin may be the greatest drug problem we have in this country,'' commented Rep. William Goodling, (R-Pennsylvania), chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

"We do not know what the long-term effects are for the child who takes Ritalin for ten or twenty years," added Rep. Michael Castle, (R-Delaware), chairman of the subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families. "I hear reports that students are selling Ritalin at school and that schools are reporting thefts of Ritalin under their control during the school day."

How Did We Get Here?

Pediatrician-author Diller says the sharp rise in Ritalin use is like a canary in a coal mine. "When the bird is overcome by low levels of gas in the shaft, the miners know to get out, for a literal explosion may follow," he says in Running on Ritalin. "The surge in ADD diagnosis and Ritalin treatment is a warning to society that we are not meeting the needs of our children."

A number of youngsters today are labeled as ADHD when they're simply exhibiting the normal range of childhood behavior, explained professor of pediatrics, Carey. For instance, there's the case of Steve, who visited Carey last fall.

"[His] parents had been told by his preschool teacher that he had ADHD and should be treated with Ritalin," Carey explained. "They wanted a second opinion. My review of his behavior revealed clearly that he is not overactive, not impulsive and not distractible.

"He does have a challenging temperament, which includes traits of shyness, slow adaptability and not as sunny a disposition as one might like. About ten percent of normal children have this 'spirited,' challenging or 'difficult' behavioral style, which makes them hard for adults to manage, but it does not fit the existing criteria for ADHD and its presumed brain abnormality."

As Carey noted, professional training in education, as well as medicine and psychology, "has generally not included developing an appreciation of the wide range of normal behavior, with the result that any traits that a teacher or other caregiver does not like are in danger of being labeled an abnormality suitable for medication."

Congressman Castle made a similar observation during Congressional hearings. "The symptoms of children with ADD/ADHD can include inattention and restlessness -- which may simply be youthful rambunctiousness," he offered. "Or it may be that the child is acting out in response to serious stressors like divorce or neglect -- or it may be that the child does have ADD/ADHD. The bottom line is that it is difficult to make an accurate diagnosis -- especially among young children -- unless the physician makes a thorough evaluation of all aspects of the child's life."

Thoroughness of evaluation is one of the issues that trouble some people.

A recent report in the journal Pediatrics pointed out that among 401 primary care pediatricians and family practice physicians with a study population of 22,000 children throughout the country, only about half obtained school reports, and only 38 percent used the official American Psychiatric Association criteria in arriving at the ADHD diagnosis.

Criteria for Diagnosis

Another study published last year in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry showed that prescribing methylphenidate to 4,500 children in western North Carolina was, for the most part, not supported by fulfilling the accepted APA criteria.

So what are the criteria? According to the APA Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders, a child must meet at least six of nine criteria for inattention and six of nine for hyperactivity-impulsivity to be classified as ADHD. These symptoms include:

ˇ Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly

ˇ Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities

ˇ Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as homework)

ˇ Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)

ˇ Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat

ˇ Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected

ˇ Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate

These symptoms must be present over a six-month period and show up in a way that is "maladaptive and inconsistent with development level," the DSM states. In addition, some hyperactive, impulsive or inattentive symptoms that cause impairment must be evident before age seven. Symptoms should occur in at least two settings, like home and school, and there must be "clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic or occupational functioning" as well as no connection to another mental disorder.

Even though the criteria sound very thorough, what child doesn't show at least some of these characteristics some of the time? And exactly how often is "often"? As Diller observes, "In the real world of medical practice, ADHD remains a diagnosis very much 'in the eye of the beholder.'"

During his Texas testimony, Professor Carey pointed out that "this crisis in diagnosis and management cannot be resolved until the faulty diagnosis of ADHD is revised.

"Therefore, it is entirely appropriate for concerned citizens and official bodiesto write to the

APA [and other professional psychiatric organizations] to tell them that the diagnosis of ADHD, as presently formulated, is too vague and cannot be applied with a sufficient rigor at the practical level."

Where Do We Go From Here?

"[Ritalin] has become an easy 'quick fix,' a substitute for a more adequate evaluation and appropriately individualized management of the child in question," Carey told the Texas board.

Carey thinks it will take several steps to get thinking set straight on Ritalin. First, more education for parents and teachers to understand normal behavior variation in children; second, better testing, including psychiatric exams; third, a better diagnostic tool; and last, greater use of traditional educational techniques and less reliance on medicine.

And what if someone suggests your child may have ADHD? On his web site (docdiller.com), Pediatrician Diller suggests the following steps:

Before investigating a "chemical imbalance" consider a "living imbalance." Are the expectations for your child's behavior and performance too high or are they reasonable in the settings where he functions? Is his performance all that much worse than other children?

If the problems are long standing, say more than three months, consider speaking with a pediatrician or family doctor. This physician should be familiar with your child and be able to offer initial opinions, advice and direction. "Be cautious, however, when after a 15 or 20 minute interview Ritalin is offered," Diller says. "No evaluation that brief could possibly address the numerous and complex factors involved in a child's behavior."

Remember, there are no definitive biological or psychological tests for ADD. "Some people and doctors see ADD in virtually every problem situation; others, including some doctors, don't believe that ADD even exists," Diller observed.

If you go to an ADD specialist, like a child psychiatrist or behavioral pediatrician, ask about his ideas and beliefs regarding ADD and Ritalin. Investigate how they arrive at a diagnosis and conclusion. "If you're not comfortable with their approach, find someone else," he adds.

A good ADD evaluation should address all areas of a potential living imbalance. "Both parents should give their versions of the problem to the evaluator," Diller says. "Some doctors prefer to use written symptom questionnaires. They are not a replacement for face to face talking between the parents and evaluator or calling the teacher on the telephone." If the doctor interviews your child, this should include an assessment of the child's emotional status, temperament and learning abilities. The doctor should also meet the child's entire family at least once.

After possible emotional, family or school problems have been evaluated and addressed, there may be a role for a medication. "Ritalin or similar drugs have been used safely in children for fifty years," Diller comments. "No parent is immediately eager to start medicating their child, but they should not feel guilty when, after a thorough evaluation and multipartite treatment plan, they decide to try Ritalin for their child." 

Clem Boyd lives in Beavercreek, Ohio, with his wife and two children.

Tips for Parents of Challenging Children

When I looked at my daughter as a whole person, multifaceted and unique, not merely as a hyper-annoyance, I started focusing on the positives.

ˇ I became Melanie's biggest fan. When she called herself stupid, I said, "I believe in you. Just think, you're so special to God he made only one you."

ˇ I let Melanie learn from failure. When she wanted to give up, I said, "Remember that success is just getting back up one more time than you're knocked down."

ˇ I chose to define, not just react to problems. When Melanie tried to manipulate me into doing her work or talked back, I replied, "Let me know when you are ready to talk to me decently, and I'll help you."

ˇ I did the unexpected. I tucked happy-faced love notes into Melanie's sack lunch or filled an empty spot on her dresser with a garden bouquet.

ˇ I made the consequences of irresponsibility her problem. She recently told a girlfriend, "Your mom washes your clothes? My mom made me do mine when I was 12. She was real unhappy one night when she caught me wiping up a mess with the shirts she'd just washed."

Living with and loving my daughter challenges me even today. But Melanie reminds me, "I'm doing fine, Mom. I'm a good kid. It's my problem, remember?"

 


Raising Nonviolent Kids

by John Rosemond

According to a 1995 study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, the most rapid rise in violence in the United States is taking place among children. The tip of the iceberg consists of a handful of very disturbed youngsters who commit violent crimes heinous enough to generate national media attention, but the larger problem is that the rate of child and adolescent violence has increased more than threefold since 1965.

Some chilling facts: Between 1982 and 1991, the juvenile arrest rate for murder and assault increased 93 and 72 percent, respectively. Sibling conflict has become more violent. Forty years ago, siblings fought mostly with words, by refusing to share and by cheating during games. These days, according to pediatrician reports, it is not at all unusual for a sibling to physically assault and even injure a brother or sister.

What was unheard of a generation or so ago-children three and older hitting their parents-has become nearly epidemic. In the 1950s and '60s, it was rare-extremely rare-for a student to even threaten a teacher. In recent years, teachers have been hit by children as young as five. The rate of adolescent female violence is increasing more rapidly than the rate of adolescent males.

Furthermore, the violence being done by children is directed not just at other people, but also toward themselves. Since 1960, the teen suicide rate has tripled, and for every successful child/adolescent suicide there are at least 50-100 suicide attempts.

Reversing the upward trend in child violence will require more effective law enforcement, education and treatment, but in the final analysis, no efforts can match those taken by parents. What, then, can parents do?

Teach manners and morals. In Toward a Meaningful Life: The Wisdom of the Rebbe (compiled and adapted by Simon Jacobson), the late Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson says that a child's character education should take priority over his academic education. In fact, the esteemed rebbe says all other educational efforts are basically meaningless unless built on a solid foundation of good character, which is a matter of manners and morals.

My personal and professional experience has been that the well-mannered child is more obedient, does better in school and gets along far better with siblings and friends-in short, is more well-adjusted and, therefore, happier. Teaching manners requires modeling as well as instruction-reminding, explaining, correcting and rehearsing. The first manners a child should learn, by his or her fourth birthday, are (in no particular order):

ˇ Saying "please," "thank you" and "you're welcome" when appropriate.

ˇ Saying "I'm sorry" when he has hurt or offended someone.

ˇ Saying "excuse me" when appropriate.

ˇ Sharing toys and other possessions freely.

ˇ Saying "Yes, ma'am/sir" and "No, ma'am/sir" when appropriate. (I'm betraying my Southern roots here.)

ˇ not interrupting adult conversations, even with "excuse me."

Teaching proper manners is an important prerequisite to teaching proper morality, the essence of which is knowing the difference between right and wrong. The earlier this teaching begins, the better. Studies have shown that a child who has not acquired a working understanding of moral values by age seven or eight has considerably increased chances for antisocial and at-risk behavior during adolescence.

Proper example and instruction from parents is crucial, but the next most important influence seems to be that of a faith community. Several recent studies all found that children who regularly attend a church, synagogue or mosque -- children who are therefore exposed to ongoing moral instruction -- are far less likely to engage in inappropriate behavior as teens. They are less apt to abuse drugs or alcohol, engage in premarital sex, be arrested or develop academic problems. And when they become adults, they are more likely to enter into marriages that succeed.

Be a family, a real family. In many of today's families, after-school activities dominate everyone's discretionary time. The parents never seem to have time for themselves or their marriages, they frequently complain of exhaustion and stress, and the entire family seems to be in a constant state of "hurry-up-we-gotta-go."

I recommend no more than one activity per child at any given time and no activities that interfere with the family meal, which should be at home nearly every evening. A parent may then ask, "But what if my child has a lot of innate talent for, say, music, and I never let him develop that talent?"

In the first place, if your child has a lot of musical talent, he'll choose some musical program as his one activity. Second, if he doesn't choose what you'd choose for him, then he'll take his talents and put them into some other area.

Here are a few guarantees: The fewer after-school activities your children are engaged in, the more relaxed the family unit will be. You'll eat more evening meals together, and the kids will be better behaved. Studies show that the more often a child eats dinner with his or her parents, the less likely it is the child will develop behavior or academic problems.

Here's yet another guarantee: Less focus on children, combined with a generally more relaxed family atmosphere, translates to a stronger marriage.

Be a dad, a real dad. While it has become politically correct to downplay the role fathers play in child rearing, David Blankenhorn, president of the Institute for American Values and author of Fatherless America, has found that, by and large, children reared by single moms do not do as well on any measure as children raised in two-parent families. But a father's mere presence in his children's lives is not enough. To make a difference, he must be actively involved.

Children who grow up with involved fathers tend to be more self-confident, well-behaved and achievement-oriented.

The role of fathers becomes especially crucial during the teen years. Studies show that teens with active fathers are less prone to having problems with sex, drugs or alcohol, and more likely to go to college. As adults, they are more likely to enter successful marriages and eventually become good parents themselves.

Discipline with plan and purpose. Over the last 30 or so years, mental health professionals have succeeded at giving discipline -- especially the old-fashioned kind -- a bad name. It damaged self-esteem, they said, and high self-esteem is essential to good behavior and high achievement. Turns out they were wrong. The latest research says the most well-disciplined children are also the most well-adjusted. Even spanking, long maligned, is proving to have beneficial, if limited, effects. Several studies show that parents who occasionally spank are more likely to raise well-adjusted children than parents who never spank. Furthermore, parental permissiveness, it turns out, correlates highly with aggressive behavior in children.

As for self-esteem, a landmark study conducted by psychologists at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Virginia found that people who score high on measures of self-esteem are also highly prone to resorting to violence when they feel they've been treated unfairly. In fact, some of the highest self-esteem scores obtained were from career criminals, gang members and spouse abusers.

Humility and modesty are timeless virtues that shore up character, making for good citizenship and promoting higher achievement. In fact, if everyone had slightly "low" self-esteem, the world would be a more peaceful place.

Censor the media. By age five, the average couch potato trainee is watching close to three hours of television per day, more than 1,000 hours per year. She comes to first grade having watched more than 4,000 hours of television. In one survey of children ages four to six, more than half stated they preferred watching TV to spending time with their parents. The problem of children and television is not simply one of excessive time spent in front of the tube but the violence children are exposed to in the process. Prime-time television programming averages some five violent acts per hour, whereas children's Saturday morning programs average from 20 to 25 violent acts per hour.

Does watching televised violence predispose children to violent behavior? Indeed, almost every study done to date has found a strong relationship.

The problem may be even more pronounced where video games are concerned. Two of the most outspoken critics of video game violence are David Grossman and Gloria DeGaetano, authors of Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie & Video Game Violence. Grossman and DeGaetano say we are "raising generations of children who learn at a very early age to associate horrific violence with pleasure and excitement -- a dangerous association for a civilized society." Grossman and DeGaetano advocate a strict "no video game" policy for children of all ages.

So, to my way of thinking, the keys to raising a child who's not violence-prone are manners, morals, family, fathers and parents who are as careful when it comes to the media messages their children consume as they are about the food their children eat. Nothing new here, folks. It's responsible parenting of the sort that prevailed not so long ago, when the words "children" and "violence" were rarely found in the same sentence. 

For more information on John Rosemond and his organization, please visit his website at www.rosemond.com or call 1-800-525-2778.

 

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Copyright 2002 by Kari West