Thursday, July 11, 2019

Brave new world

Thanks to Steve for pointing out "The drugging of the American boy". Some off the cuff comments for now:

1. If it was about the drugging of the American girl, there'd likely be a huge public outcry. Like with the MeToo movement. How can we change the culture so it helps our girls succeed in life? That sort of thing.

However, because it's boys, I guess most people don't really care. Instead, let's just give the boys some drugs, that'll fix them up! /s

2. Medicating boys doesn't really address the fundamental problems. Problems like how public schools treat boys who can't sit still and want to run around as if that's a medical disease rather than what's normal.

Related, overdiagnosing and overmedicating boys who don't really have ADHD or similar problems depreciates boys who truly do have ADHD or similar problems (e.g. Tourette syndrome).

3. Many public schools seem to expect boys to behave like girls. Sit down, be quiet, gather in a semi-circle or circle, always look like you're paying attention, always make eye contact with the teacher when the teacher is speaking, only speak when you're spoken to, place your hands on the table where they can be seen, and so on. If you don't do these things, then you're not a good student! This could be the makings for a boy's failures in school.

4. Of course, that's not to say students don't need to be disciplined in order to learn. However, boys and girls learn differently. It'd be better to target solutions based on distinct biological and psychological differences between boys and girls. Not merely assume boys are less well-mannered or wilder versions of girls. As is always the case, the influence of LGBTQs in society and culture doesn't help but in fact harms normal people including normal kids.

5. To be fair, there are many Western parents don't discipline their kids. In fact, many simply can't see their kids ever doing anything that merits discipline. (I wonder if that's not at least partly related to lower birth rates, among other serious issues.)

By contrast, that's a different attitude to (say) how Asian parents treat their children. Asian parenting has its own significant problems, but a lack of discipline isn't usually one of them. Rather, the problem is usually too much discipline!

6. Also, in fairness, there are many doctors who ought to push back and simply say "no" to parents who want medications for their kids. It's like how some or many doctors overprescribe antibiotics because it's easier to give a patient something than tell the patient they don't need anything.

The problem is patients might feel like they came away with nothing if they didn't get something from the doctor, even though "no", "there's nothing medically wrong with you", "there's nothing I can do for you", and the like are perfectly legitimate answers.

Some of these patients will even sue their physicians. They don't even need to win the law suit to cause problems for a physician. And the threat of law suits is a strong driver for physicians to practice defensive medicine (which, incidentally, is one major reason our health care system is so expensive, as opposed to some of the reasons one typically hears from progressives arguing for universal and socialized health care).

7. It seems to me an obvious way to help ameliorate these issues is to increase physical activities in school. However, according to a Harvard School of Public Health poll: "Almost seven in 10 parents say their child’s school does not provide daily physical education even though experts recommend 150 to 225 minutes per school week".

At the same time, it might do well for parents to let their boys play outside more often than staying indoors. I guess that's part of the problem of helicopter parenting. Many parents fear letting their kids play outside in case they might get hurt or worse.

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