Many children are given unnecessary stimulant drugs due to the overdiagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some children, specifically boys, are just more active than others and most of what passes for ADHD these days is really no more than developmental difference. The statistics show an outrageous account: at an overblown 11%, the rate of ADHD in the US has tripled. The sales of ADHD medication are approaching an appalling $10 billion a year. It is absurd that one in five adolescent boys is diagnosed with ADHD or that one in 10 is medicated for it.

The overtreatment of ADHD is caused by poor diagnosis by clinicians, misleading marketing by drug companies, overreaction by worried parents, and schools with overcrowded classes and too few gym teachers.

The leading expert on demedicalizing hyperactivity, Laura Batstra, gives the following tips to parents facing the task of containing a rambunctious kid:

  1. Trust your own instincts.

  2. Get information on ADHD from resources independent from drug companies.

  3. If you decide to seek help for your child’s inattentive and hyperactive behaviors, start with parent and teacher courses.

  4. Some children can be very demanding, but always keep seeing and enjoying the positive behaviors and interactions.

  5. Spend at least 15 minutes a day alone with your child, in which you give him close attention.

  6. If you tell your child to stop a particular unwanted behavior, tell him also — in detail — which behavior you would like to see instead.

  7. Most children get nervous and hyperactive in new or unstructured situations.

  8. Listen to your child.

  9. Run with your child.

  10. Ask your child regularly how he feels and whether he’s suffering from his hyperactivity. 

  11. Give yourself a break. If you have an easygoing child, it’s not hard to be an easygoing parent, who is always nice, rested and consistent.

  12. Last but not least, take good care of yourself and your relationship with your spouse.

Children in the park -