Mental Illness or License to Act Out?

medsMental illness is a very real thing. I do not mean to take away from the reality and severity of it as I write this piece.  That being said, I am given to wonder if the license that has been given out to those who do evil didn’t begin in their childhood with the ADHD phenomenon and the new parenting. By this, I mean the modern movement of parents to reason with their children, unlike generations before that practiced consequences for subpar behavior.  If a child acts out, instead of discipline and consequences, it is easier to drug him. It makes the child more docile.

From 1989 to 2001, the prescribing of medications for ADHD had risen 381%, with very little real study into the causes and effects of the syndrome.  The facts are that ADHD is difficult to determine from normal high activity.  When there is no discipline at home, the child is uncontrollable in school. Teachers are not in charge of molding your child into a model citizen. They are only in charge of educating the students that they have in an allotted amount of time.

If the teacher talks with the parents and the parents do not administer adequate discipline the problem will continue.

Many parents want to make excuses as to why their child cannot behave. Mental problems like ADHD have become a crutch to those who can’t or won’t take time to do the hard work of parenting.

Being a parent and doing it right is hard work, so do not make a mistake about that fact. It is sometimes about standing still yourself in order to allow your child to move forward.  It is not for those who only want to show pictures of their darlings and be their “best friend” (as the parent of a recent Disney child actress-turned-vixen has been quoted to say…)
Children need an authoritative set of parents. They have friends their own age.

Children are often noisy and loud. They have boundless energy. Their minds and souls are blank pages. They are the result of what they are taught at home.  If they are not given values, consequences and taught to be independent, they will falter. As much as each of us wants to wrap our child in sweetness and light, we cannot.  If we do, we make the child a cripple in this world of violence, hatefulness and toil.

When children deal with bullies, and confront them, regardless of the outcome, they build character. They learn to be strong and not allow someone to run over them.  Making a law against bullying is non productive at best, ridiculous at least.

Bottom line, there is no effective way to legislate morality. Society must mete out punishment for poor behavior as it has done in decades past. When kids go out for a team sport and don’t make the cut, or don’t win the game, they learn to deal with disappointment. When they receive a trophy for participation, they are being denied the lesson of trying harder next time. When everyone receives gratification and validation for little or no effort, they think that is the way life goes.

So, when life hands them a lemon, they don’t have the skills to make lemonade. They just cry because it is sour instead of sweet. When reality continues to make life sour, it is no wonder that many do not have the skills to deal with it. They cannot understand why they have not achieved their wants.  They begin to feel that someone has deprived them of the things they are entitled to have.

When never allowed to learn that life is not fair, to get over it now, as my mother continuously told me, they are not equipped to cope with the disappointments that come into the lives of all.

A great example of being unable to deal is in our Hollywood community. There are so many child stars that are now adults. They lived a charmed, well-financed young life. They turn 18 and start making bad decisions. Their lives begin spiral into abuses, decay, despair and crime.

They aren’t necessarily bad; they are simply poorly prepared for reality.

Granted, those with a true mental health issues will react to negative things with a more exaggerated obsession.

The truth is, we as a country do not have enough options for those who are challenged in this capacity.  The question is how can one tell who is mentally incompetent and who is just acting like a child having a tantrum?  Oh yes, we have many doctors that have studied to be experts in this field.  It is time to find a way to correctly diagnose the difference between true mental illness and lack of being properly brought up. Health insurance must change to allow greater coverage for these necessary treatments.

The government could shift some of the money that we give to other countries to mental health care.

The government could properly tax corporations and sports organizations, such as the NFL even if it hurts some of their good friends and campaign contributors along the way.

There are endless ways of getting the revenue.

The old saying of “charity begins at home” has never been more apt than it is right now.

Candace Hardin Littlejohn

Georgia PolitiChick Candace Hardin Littlejohn lives in Atlanta, Georgia, but grew up in Western North Carolina. She has been greatly influenced in her writing by the culture in the Appalachians. Candace attributes her love of words to her Mother, who taught her to read at four years old. She is the creator and publisher of the literary magazine, Bohemian Renaissance, a magazine designed to launch emerging writers to publication, while providing good literature and art free to the community. Candace is 100% fluent in Spanish and a student of Latin. She loves dogs and spending time with friends and family. Visit Candace's website:

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