Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.
I was in an American East coast airport watching a little kid of around 3 or 4 years old running around the gate, yelling loudly, and generally playing and fooling around for fun. Lots of travelers rolled their eyes. The mom, probably in her 20's, was annoyed and kept yelling at him to stop and sit down. He didn't and she chased, grabbed, positioned him, then lost control again, chased, grabbed, pinched, positioned him, etc.. He was having a ball!
In the plane, he squirmed, undid his seat belt, tried to leave his seat, yelled loudly and the mom, again, grabbed, pinched, and positioned him. She kept saying "sit still!" Never once did she give him a book or magazine to look at, game to play, paper and pen or crayon to draw, or even something from her purse to analyze. She yelled but she never talked to him calmly. She acted distraught but never modeled how to focus attention on something positive.
This little boy is on his way to being misdiagnosed as ADHD when he goes to school. Maybe it's already been mentioned in preschool or day care. However, mom is training him with her bad parenting skills to act out when bored and play a game of chase, squirm, and yell. I was so tempted to go over to her and say, "hi, here' a little tablet (the paper kind) and a pen; let's teach your cute little guy to draw shapes and letters," "here's a magazine; let's make up silly stories about the pictures." Of course, I would have been accused of not minding my own business, airport gate stalking, arrogance or worse. And, who knows what mom is going through in her life. Maybe the kid's a good distraction now (at his expense). On the plane, eventually, they both looked exhaused and slept in a huddle, mother and son. Finally, there was peace.
Is this kind of passive, helpless, ignorant (as in lack of knowledge) parenting behind many of the supposed victims of the American ADHD false epidemic? How did we become so lazy? Take your children and play, work, talk and teach them, please, for all of our sakes.