A genetic link to ADHD does not prove that bad parenting can’t cause behaviors in children that fit the criteria for ADHD. I have witnessed this firsthand. When children are subjected to a harsh, stressful or otherwise unstable environment, it would only be natural – and expected — of them to develop peculiar behaviors as a result.
Many of these behaviors are the very behaviors on ADHD checklists. Nevertheless, Cardiff University researchers claim that ADHD is a “brain problem.” The investigation analyzed stretches of DNA from 366 children. Study results were reported in The Lancet.
These children were diagnosed with ADHD prior to the study; their genetic samples were compared to 1,047 people who did not have ADHD. The study authors found that 15 percent of the ADHD kids had large, rare variations in their deoxyribonucleic acid, in comparison to just 7 percent in the non-ADHD group. Leader of the study, Anita Thapar, states: “We found that, compared with the control group, the children with ADHD have a much higher rate of chunks of DNA that are either duplicated or missing.”
But does this automatically rule out bad parenting as a cause of the classic symptoms of ADHD? Does a variation in genetic material that’s associated with ADHD mean that a child will necessarily develop this collection of symptoms? There is a lot of truth to that famous saying: Genetics loads the gun, but environment pulls the trigger.
So maybe this DNA variation is there, albeit in only 15 percent of the ADHD kids (what about the remaining 85 percent?). But could bad parenting be what pulls the trigger? My nephew has been on ADHD “medication” for several years for behaviors that his parents absolutely fail to correct! I have witnessed this numerous times!
This child has been diagnosed with ADHD by a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists are extensively trained in drug applications for psychiatric conditions. Hence, they will sometimes eagerly prescribe drugs without burrowing deeper to see if family dynamics could be a key player in the child’s problem.
If this boy had been taken to a child psychologist (who is not trained in drugs, and therefore not authorized to prescribe any medications), the solution would have focused on altering the parenting techniques!
When kids interrupt repeatedly with a loud voice, and can’t sit still, and the parents don’t correct this, how dare we attribute this behavior to a DNA variation?
Interestingly, my admonitions to my nephew to stop fidgeting at the table while playing Scrabble with several family members, and to keep his hands off the Scrabble board while it’s other players’ turns, had no problem overriding his “brain problem!” I only had to tell him ONCE to sit still and keep his hands off the board! My, I never knew my voice could override DNA!
Professor Thapar also states: “We have looked at lots of potential risk factors in the environment – such as parenting or what happens before birth – but there isn’t the evidence to say they’re linked to ADHD.”
The inability for a child to concentrate has been linked to many environmental factors, such as trouble at home, which can be in the form of frequent fighting between his parents; emotional abuse from a parent; a sickness in the family; or bullying at school.
My sister has three kids, all on ADHD drugs. My previous articles mention I have only brothers. I omitted mentioning her because she had been estranged from the family for many years. She’s kind of back in the picture, enough for me to have learned just what kind of parent she really is.
She’s a doctor and easily prescribes ADHD drugs for her kids, ages 9, 13 and 15. However, they have been subjected to lifelong excessive criticism from her; she is a tyrant. She doesn’t believe in corporal punishment, but thinks nothing of incessantly driving holes through her two daughters with demeaning, denigrating comments about themselves. I might add that these nervous, edgy girls (the boy isn’t as harangued as much) are good students, don’t drink/smoke or do drugs, and don’t cause trouble at school.
Add to this disaster the fact that these kids’ parents have been at war for 10 years and are now fighting each other out in the divorce court. Is it any wonder that these kids have ADHD symptoms?
Maybe they’d be in that 15 percent, but common sense dictates that their tension-filled home life (imagine that by the time you go to bed every night, you’ve heard dozens of belittling comments all day long from your own mother about what was wrong with you) is more to blame for ADHD (and OCD for that matter) than DNA variations.