Friday, August 13, 2010

Best of the Blogs: Boys in the News

Fridays have traditionally been Best of the Blogs day here at Blogging 'Bout Boys, a round-up of some the best boy-related blogs on the 'Net. But this week, I ran across so many fascinating news articles that I'm going to focus on news instead. (Who says journalism is dead?)

I first saw Debra-Lynn B. Hook's article, "There's Something to Be Said for Summer Vacation," in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, but apparently (and thankfully), her article ran nationwide. Hook, a mother of three, decries the push toward year 'round school. An excerpt:

My built around the the concept of "academic achievement." Don't get me wrong. I support public education and every child having the opportunity to do well in school. What I do not support is academic achievement as the definition of childhood's success.

CNN also ran an interesting article this week, entitled, "ADHD: Who Makes the Diagnosis?" All too often, the article suggests, teachers are the ones who suggest a diagnosis of ADHD -- but only physicians are qualified to diagnose and treat the disease. Other conditions, such as depression or anxiety, can trigger similar sypmtoms but require a completely different approach. If you have a son in school, you owe it to him to learn as much as you can about ADHD; ADHD is most often diagnosed in boys and occassionally used as a catch-all diagnosis to describe boys who simply have a hard time sitting still in classroom settings.

In fact, if ADHD has ever been mentioned in relationship to your son, you deserve to know about a new study out of Duke University. As reported in the Sept. 2010 issue of Family Circle, Duke researchers strongly suggest re-assessing kids with ADHD every year. A different classroom dynamic, they say, may lesson symptoms. In fact, they found that one-third of kids with ADHD showed no trouble concentrating the following year.

Another longitudinal study suggests that personality is pretty well established by first grade. The 40-year-study, soon-to-be-reported in the the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, followed 2400 individuals from childhood to adulthood and found that "talkative youngsters tended to show interest in intellectual matters, speak fluently, try to control situations, and exhibit a high degree of intelligence as adults. Children who rated low to verbal fluency were observed as adults to seek advice, give up when faced with obstacles, and exhibit an awkward personal style."

Finally, Colin Mason's article, "Are Children The Enemy of Productivity?" expresses my experience perfectly. I have four kids, and the writing/parenting question I get most often is, "How in the world do you manage to write with all those kids around?" The logistical answer is that it's not always easy. The logistical answer includes a basement office, a shared parenting schedule and kids who know that "Mommy's doing an interview" means "stay out of my office!" But the full truth is that I wouldn't be writing without my kids. From Mason:

Children see things that we cannot see, they remind us of truths and insights that we long ago forgot. And they remind us that the greatest insights in the world were discovered not while ponderously meditating, but while delighting in the simple pleasures and pains of life...Children are a great blessing to grown-ups not simply because of the joy, the wonder, and the incredible privilege of caring for a young soul that they provide. Children are also a blessing because they are a kind of living alarm clock, telling us that it is time to wake up and seize the day.

That's the message, I think, that has gotten lost in our society's obsession with happiness. Children may or may not make us "happier," but they enhance our lives in myriad ways.

Happy browsing!


  1. As always, you've given me several things to read and think about -- that's why I love visiting you, Jennifer!

    I totally agree with what you've written about ADHD, both in my experience as a mom and as a teacher.

  2. I read the CNN article about ADD/ADHD, which I found very interesting... my son has ADHD, and my daughter ADD.

    It WAS a teacher that first alerted us that perhaps my daughter should be evaluated, and we resisted for almost 2 years. We went first to the pediatrician, then the psychologist and now see a specialist. It was also a long, hard road to decide to try medications... not have I ever met a parent that went directly to meds looking for an easy solution.

    It is sometimes hard to distinguish between ADD behaviors and normal child things that they may do... and it is harder to decide with my son as boys are louder, busier, wigglier and less mature than girls (in my experiences, anyways).

    I agree that the classroom, and the proper environment can bring out their strength rather that the weaknesses that ADD/ADHD may bring. In fact, I'm really hoping that this years teacher is a great fit for my kids. We've experiences both bad and great teacher and the impact that had on the kids and their success in school.

    Thanks for a thought provoking article.

  3. Try this article from Time:,8599,2005654,00.html