Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I miss the good old days...

Remember when the 6 year old who didn't talk was just shy? When the kid lost in his own world was just a late bloomer? When a freakin' 4 year old didn't "need" testing and TUTORING to get into KINDERGARTEN? Back in the good old days, kids were on a spectrum, and I am not talking about the autism spectrum, and were allowed be be outgoing or introverted. They were allowed to be more or less athletic, book smart, etc. These days, even when the parents don't want a diagnosis slapped on their kid, their friends jump to do it for them. Badly. I am so glad that as I was growing up with no friends I was labeled "more mature" rather than "antisocial."

The labels that kids used to get had a couple of kinder and gentler components. First, the labels weren't diagnosable, treatable, this-means-the-kid-is-screwed-for-life kinds of labels. Second, the labels implied that the child would change if and when they were ready to do so. Unlike most of today's diagnoses, which follow you on paper forever, being the 'wild one' didn't mean that you wouldn't be able to get a job some day. And don't even get me started on the drugs that kids are on these days....

I will say that I do think a SMALL percentage of the child population actually needs diagnosis, treatment, etc. But the majority need to be left alone to grow in their own time, at their own pace. With love and encouragement and excitement for the new things they do. Not because you can check it off a list, but because of the joy of discovery that children only have for this most delicate time of life. Childhood: cherish it rather than judging it.

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