In nature we have all observed differences in animal behavior between the male and female of a species. One example is the stallion – a male horse – exhibiting highly spirited and active behavior, while the mare, a female horse, exhibits a more gentle and calm disposition. In cattle the male bull is spirited and aggressive, while the female cow is quieter and slower . We would never think to criticize the behavior of stallions or bulls, when we see them in nature.
Yet when it comes to the human species, we do just that. Boys – commonly observed to be more active than girls – have been severely criticized by both modern psychiatry and teachers. They are not just “bad”and disorderly, but rather “disordered” — in other words “diseased”. Unsuspecting three and four-year-old boys entering preschool or kindergarten, are suddenly viewed as much too active for the sit-still-at-your-desk environment. They squirm, fidget, dislike being confined, and just can’t pay attention. Such normal behavior is soon labelled an “Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder”, with a recommendation to medicate it out of existence (along with any trouble it caused the teacher!)
Two child psychologists, Drs. Kindlon and Thompson, point out the grave error being made in our society:
“In our experience it is evidence that most of what is being called ADD today would not have been called ADD fifteen or twenty years ago and that much of it falls within the range of normal boy behavior.”
They describe the general dilemma of boys in school:
“From kindergarten through sixth grade, a boy spends more than a thousand hours a year in school, and his experiences and the attitudes of the teachers and other adults he encounters there are profoundly shaping. The average boy faces a special struggle to meet the developmental and academic expectations of an elementary school curriculum that emphasizes reading, writing, and verbal ability — cognitive skills that normally develop more slowly in boys than girls.”
Instead of attempting to change human nature, perhaps we should correct the schools and some of the teaching attitudes and curricula, rather than give rash pronouncements of “disorders” and prescriptions to our young.
Drs. Kindlon and Thompson advise us:
“When normal boy activity levels and developmental patterns are accommodated in the design of schools, curricula, classrooms, and instructional styles, an entire stratum of ‘boy problems’ drops from sight…Boys can achieve a high standard of self-control and discipline in an environment that allows them significant freedom to be physically active.”
Perhaps for the sake of Mankind’s evolutionary future, we will question the current dangerous trend and listen to these words of wisdom.