Dr Phil's "Parenting With Pills"
I caught wind of the Wednesday's Dr Phil - Parenting With Pills. Oh, if only it were that easy.....
It was a trainwreck. It's the kind of thing that you know is bad, but you just can't look away. First of all, they featured, I think 3 families. Three families in one show - is it possible to get any benefits from a 10-minute conversation with Dr Phil?
They also crammed in the author of a book called The ADD Solution (oh great, another solution). And they crammed in some teachers wanted a chance to explain why they want these kids on drugs at school (parents want alternatives but these parents expect the school to come up with alternatives, why should we have to put up with these unmedicated kids?)
In the middle of some medication-bashing, Dr Phil says that since he's not an MD and can't/doesn't prescribe these meds, he can't really address medication problems. This is after he perpetuates a few myths, namely, that ADD is "way over-diagnosed", that parents are the most to blame for their kids' having ADD, and that a medicated kid is generally a sign of a lazy parent.
I don't agree that you can "commando parent" a child who has ADD - not with any lasting success. I know that "commando parenting" would have made only a slight difference in my symptoms when I was a child, and it may have made ADD symptoms worse. A little pressure makes ADD symptoms seem to lessen because of the stimulation an ADDer can get from it. But too much pressure just causes the ADD brain to shut down.
There is, of course, a difference between ADD behavior and just plain bad manners (or, to be fair, a co-occuring conduct disorder). Unfortunately every kid that was shown on video during this show was shown losing their temper and screaming at their parents. This is not ADD in my opinion. My parents would never have let me or my siblings treat them this way. This did not prevent me and one of my brothers from having ADD, however.
I am left wondering what happens to these people after they appear on Dr Phil's show. I hope there is some followup with these families because what I saw on this show was not very helpful to the families. What he did tell them - to be consistent about rules and not to argue in front of the kids - was good advice, but it didn't go far enough.