03 April 2012

Why I think hyperactivity is on the rise

To start: I know that some kids are genuine (metabolic/neurologic/etc) energizer bunnies.

I just think the rise of "ADHD" and "ADD" kids is the result of a country where obesity and laziness are practically encouraged, while sports and afterschool programs suffer budget cuts, and from the stupidity of a Win-oriented society.

Parents are unwilling/unable to make time in their "busy" schedules to let their kids run free/learn some teamwork 2 times a week, and every saturday morning, for an hour.  Kids are cooped up indoors, sitting around playing video games (or pretending to do homework) for hours each night, with no positive energy release!  Of course they are going to appear hyperactive as a monkey on speed!!!
I am ADHD....yeah, goes with my Aspergers.
I played soccer, ran track, and swam competitively during my childhood.
I wasn't the best at track, or swimming, but it was okay, because the focus was fun, not winning!
During the summer, I woke up at 8am every morning and went to swim practice, and had swim meets twice a week.  And when my parents couldn't drive me, we had the other parents in the carpool to do it! (I lived several miles from my community pool....let alone another community's pool).
Me and my BFF, Rocket, and my sister would ride our bikes to swim practice every day, do an hour and a half of that, and then either dick around for an hour and a half (during morning adult swim) and spend the rest of the day at the pool......or we'd get home (to my house) and help in the garden, or go off playing in the woods.

My ADHD was a lot more manageable back then.
During the school year (I was away at school after 9) I'd play soccer on the school team, and run cross country/track.  We still had recess, after which we would return to class winded, and energy controlled.
I was outside at least an hour a day, sometimes 4-5 hours, and we were always running around and expending energy.

Kids are balls of energy, you don't harness that, and YES, you will be screwed!

I used to coach and referee youth soccer (6 and 7yos).  My final season, 7 out of the 10 kids on my team were diagnosed "ADHD".
Only one of them truly (IMHO) had ADHD.  I kept practices fun and kept them moving, and they were engaged.  The one kid, I could have him chase the ball the entire hour, and he'd still be all over the place, babbling on, picking flowers, bringing up random info, etc.  Several parents even admitted they had noticed a HUGE change in their kid's hyperactivity with 2 1-hour practices a week, and a 1-hour game on Saturday mornings.  They said that their kids were a lot more manageable on weekends that started out with a soccer game.
And best of all: even though we lost all but one game that season (no one officially kept score), everyone had fun, and grew from the experience.  They learned some patience, teamwork, social skills (even the set of twins that had been glued at the hip to start would socialize without each other), and the importance of good sportsmanship.
I kicked one of the dads off the sideline once, because he yelled at his 6yo to "get up, and suck it up" after he'd been pegged in the stomach by the ball (team didn't have subs, and game had 30sec left).  I let them enjoy being kids, and I enjoyed the lack of profanity and hostility (present in the older age groups)


  1. But here's the kicker. When my oldest was younger baseball soccer any of that was maybe $30 $50 at most a season. Today you are looking at $200 min per kid for shorter seasons. On top of that most of the leagues at least around us are highly competitive even at the younger ages there are try outs and etc. not saying you can't let your kids run around outside but organized sports are out of reach for a lot of people now. And don't even get me started on the price of pool memberships. :)

  2. Well said, Sir! And Kitty Kay is right. Kinda crappy, if you ask me. I suppose parents should get off their asses and go do weekend hikes with their kids every Saturday morning and take a couple walks around the neighborhood during the week. Be involved. Get up and do stuff.

    1. It doesn't even have to be the same parents! Play dates/groups still apply at older ages! Teenager's school hosts pickup games for soccer and several other sports, and they allow middle schoolers and older people play, too. Organizing a Meetups group works, and gets a far outreach for someone willing and able to host such events

  3. Isn't the therapeutic power of exercise and fresh air amazing?! When my husband is being grumpy and/or overwhelmed a couple mile walk fixes him right up. Moderate weight lifting has been great for my fibromyalgia (I say it gets my muscles to do something productive, instead of holding unproductive and painful positions).

    1. Yes! My wife stayed active during her pregnancy, and ran a half marathon when the twins were 2.5mo old. And after she injured her knee, she found other ways to stay active (steady walks, once she was out of the brace) with aquatics and swimming.
      There are literally things for every*body* out there.


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