Tougher, More Biblical Parenting or More Meds

In his book Boys Adrift, Leonard Sax says,

“Thirty years ago, if a boy cursed his parents and spit at his teacher, the neighbors might say that the boy was a disobedient brat who needed a good spanking. Today, the same behavior from a similar boy might well prompt a trip to the pediatrician or the child psychiatrist. And the doctor is likely to ‘diagnose’ the boy with Conduct Disorder (DSM-IV 312.82) or Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (DSM-IV 313.81). The main criterion for both these ‘disorders’ is disobedient and disrespectful behavior that persists despite parental efforts.’ Is there really much of a difference between a neighbor saying ‘That boy is a disobedient brat,’ and a doctor saying ‘That boy has oppositional-defiant disorder’? I think there is. If another parent whom you trust and respect suggests that your son is a disobedient brat who needs stricter discipline, you just might consider adopting a tougher parenting.”

"You can see how the assignment of responsibility differs in these two cases. If your son is a disobedient brat, then your son and you (his parents) have to take responsibility. You have to own up to the problem. You will probably have to make some changes. But if your son has a psychiatric diagnosis, that means he has a chemical imbalance in his brain. He-and you-are no more to blame for that imbalance than if your son were diagnosed with childhood leukemia, right?Psychiatrist Jennifer Harris recently pointed out that today, ‘many clinicians find it easier to tell parents their child has a brain-based disorder than to suggest parenting changes.’"

If the diagnosis is "disobedient brat" then the prescription is tougher, more biblical parenting. If the diagnosis is "Oppositional-Defiant Disorder" then the prescription is medication and more medication. Here's to the reality of the "disobedient brat" being the right diagnosis along with disobedient parents in regards to biblical parenting and the prescription being parents doing the hard work of tough, biblical parenting instead of the easy and less guilt-inducing solution of "I think my child needs an increased dosage of his meds, please."

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