Friday, December 22, 2006

Hand-On Parenting Gets a Rave

This morning's story in the New York Times titled "Parenting as Therapy for Child's Mental Disorders" is yet another acknowledgment by both the media and the medical community that sometimes parents can make all the difference for their children.

The article references how kids with ADD and other types of mental health issues often respond well to parents' efforts to modify their interactions with the world through changing their behavior. Writer Benedict Carey quotes one parent as saying, “If you are willing to take on the responsibility of extra parenting, you can make a big difference.”

This will sound familiar to anyone who's used the Maudsley approach to refeeding an anorexic. Kids with ADD often are prescribed Ritalin or other stimulants to "fix" their behavior; there's no such magic pill for anorexia. Maybe it's a good thing.

Just one more reason for parents to follow their instincts when it comes to what their children need.

2 comments:

marcella said...

While I REALLY applaud your success in using the Maudsley method and your efforts to publicise it statements like “If you are willing to take on the responsibility of extra parenting, you can make a big difference” leave me uneasy.

I was WILLING to take on the responsibility of trying to refeed my daughter and modify her behaviour - I just wasn't ABLE to do it. I do see a chance in our (UK) health services at least of this kind of approach leading to more blame and criticism for those parents who aren't able to successfully parent difficult children.

Harriet Brown said...

hi marcella,

you are just the kind of parent i was talking about. you WERE willing to take it on, so to speak, and you did. unfortunately we don't always get the happy endings we deserve.

i still think that even though you weren't able to refeed your daughter at home, you still gave her an important message in your efforts: that you cared enough to get in there and do your best. we parents aren't miracle workers and we're not trained professionals; parenting alone can't fix everything. but i would love to encourage parents to at least be willing to get in there and try. and i applaud you for doing just that.