Parenting Advice for ADHD Kids
When I think of troubled kids — drop-outs, drugs, and delinquency — who’ve made good, I invariably think of certain celebrity chefs who also happen to write beautifully. Tony Bourdain of the TV shows No Reservations and The Layover. His first book No Reservations was supposed to be his fifteen minutes of fame. Fifteen minutes isn’t enough though because he’s that perfect balance of funny, snarky and soft-hearted.
Gabrielle Hamilton, chef owner of Prune, also comes to mind. Her poignant memoir, Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef, chronicles her improbable climb from waitress and drug dealer to chef and author.
My latest discovery via my husband is bad boy Eddie Huang of Bao House. His memoir is a laugh-out-loud kind of book but you might have to be Asian to revel in the uncomfortable and meant-t0-be-secret Tiger Parenting antics that we’ve all endured.
L. Todd Rose’s book, Square Pegs, is a book — part memoir, and part parenting book — that the chefs’ parents might have benefited from. Rose challenges us to rethink education constructs. Square pegs, he argues, are also innovators and visionaries. They are exactly what the U.S. economy needs to compete in the new global economy.
As a professional educator, L. Todd’s Square Pegs, brings insight into our U.S. education system with its roots in a “factory” model that discourages divergent thinking. With ADD and ADHD children now numbering more than 5.2 million in the United States alone and 12.% of boys between the ages of 3-17* diagnosed with ADHD, new insights into an education process that works are definitely needed!
Even more so, this is L. Todd Rose’s personal story of failing in our American public school system. Undiagnosed with ADHD until middle school, L. Todd resisted medication, rebelling until he hit rock bottom: a high school drop out, married to his pregnant high school sweetheart making minimum wage. The underlying root cause — the very way he thinks and learns — ultimately propels him to success. From high school delinquent and dropout to Harvard faculty, his story illustrates the power of “context”, mentors, and harnessing the gifts that ADHD brings.
In contrast to Square Pegs’ perspective on education, Sir. Ken Robinson argues, in his animated TEDTalk (yes, not animated as in exciting, but with actual drawings that move), that our education paradigm is vastly outdated for this new economy. While he seems to agree with L. Todd Rose on some points, his take on ADHD might be seen as shockingly controversial.
The loss of the arts is precisely where education ought to be focusing on, he argues, and he goes on to hypothesize that ADHD is a fictitious epidemic resulting from the emphasis on standardized tests. He notes data that shows the prevalence of ADHD is a U.S. geographic phenomenon, increasing in numbers the further east you go.
No matter what your take on ADHD or the state of the U.S. Public Education system, Rose and Robinson both encourage us to shake things up. Look at our world differently. Maybe there hope that we can all be Square Peg-like in this round world of ours!
What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Their views on ADHD are especially out-of-the-box.
Here’s an infographic for more background on ADHD and ADD.
I am part of a blog tour for Square Pegs and received a copy for review. My opinions are my own including my belief that no one wants to be labeled a round peg either. Like we all want to cop to being boring, rule followers? Maybe it’s labels that are the enemy.
p.s. My brother-in-law sent me this:
Saw your recent blog post on ADHD. Thought this article on confusing highly gifted with ADHD might interest. So many bright kids are bored in the factory model of education…
Also of interest, research indicating that female teachers expect more female, i.e pleaser, compliant, quiet classroom behavior than male teachers. Dearth of male teachers in primary Ed exacerbates this bias.