The Truth about Unhappy Children
Despite the many benefits of modern life as we know it, unhappy children seem to abound. They seem to have it all, yet the video games, the play dates, the watchful parents, the childproof homes and cars, all seem to make no difference in terms of child happiness. If you listen to child psychologists, they will tell that unhappy children are growing in number and that we need to turn our sights on how we as a society can help them.
The problem, of course, with the notion of unhappy children, is that it a very difficult concept to understand. When psychologists claim that there are growing numbers of unhappy children today, they invoke a concept that is difficult to define and highly unscientific. After all, what is the exact definition of happiness? How exactly would you test someone as to whether they are “happy” or “sad”? You could ask them, of course. This too, however, is problematic, since respondents will respond in the way they are taught to respond, with denials of unhappiness in certain more reserved cultures, or perhaps by parroting what they have heard in the media in others.
The Unhappiness Industry
Part of the problem also, is that various industries have a stake in promoting notions of unhappiness and dissatisfaction. The last thing that a retailer wants to hear is that someone is content with his or her wardrobe. They want there to be this unresolved need that will keep lining the retailer’s pockets.
Child psychologists and psychiatrists also have a stake in diagnosing children as unhappy. The more adult disorders that such medical professionals can transfer to a childhood complex, the better the profits will be for drug companies and health care professionals.
Thus in the last generation we have seen a growing number children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and its various kissing cousins. A naïve observer might conclude that there is a rising epidemic of this condition in recent times. The truth, however, is that the spike in diagnosis for this disease has much more to do with the psychiatric industry than the actual number of children coming down with this condition.
In all fairness to the dedicated child psychologists who truly wants to help kids, the mental health industry would argue they have gotten better at catching problems that used to be swept under the rug. The problem, however, is the treatments that follow such diagnoses are neither minor nor are they proven to be effective. Therefore, when a child is diagnosed as ADD of ADhD, their psychiatrist will prescribe any number of drugs—often anti-depressants. These are meant to help children control themselves.
The problem however is that no standard for giving such drugs safely to children has been developed. In addition, many of the side effects for these drugs may exceed the minor forms of ADD. Children develop ticks or have their biochemistry permanently thrown off balance from these drugs.
Many children actually find themselves worse off in terms of depression as well. For this reason, parents should be hesitant in following any plan that involves the medication of children. This is, of course, difficult for parents because often those that want to push parents to place their children on medication are trusted teachers and educational administrators. Given the dangers of such a procedure, parents will want to make sure that there really are no other solutions before allowing their child to undergo such treatments. Parents should get second opinions from other doctors and do careful research on the drugs being proposed. Their children’s happiness could depend on it.