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[Susan notes: Here's a list of things that adults do to harm children that should make everyone wince in recognition.]

Submitted to Time Magazine but not published
11/26/2003

To the editor

Instead of our "Medicating Young Minds" (Time Mag.

Oct. 26) how about our taking a long, hard look at the usually WELL-MEANING but biologically-inappropriate, stressful, and/or counterproductive ways we handle children beginning with hospital nurseries, bottles,

fast-foods, separate bedrooms, excess clothing, cribs, playpens, walkers, strollers, day-care centers, baby-sitters, forced separations, divorce, absent and/or abusive parents, violent images, game-boys, play-stations, uncontrolled TV sets and computers, porno-graphic channels, smoke, drink, drugs, toy guns, real guns, preschool, kindergarten, regular school, boring

colleges, stress-filled graduate schools, anxious parents pushing soccer, ballet, and/or karate etc.

all of which are, all too often, dished out 'for your own good' combined with the fallible words of so-called experts plus heavy doses of poor timing, unrealistic expectations, ignoring, restricting, and threatening plus obedience-obsessed, coercive teaching -- both at home and in school -- as well as many bits of delusional thinking while ordering, lecturing, measuring, judging, comparing, humiliating, criticizing, accusing, and punishing, combined with homework, quizzing, testing, report cards, labelling, credentializing, and putting 'em on-the-spot to answer a question when we already have the answer in our head, something we'd never dare do to each other in the real world, a place where obscure genetic explanations for behavior plus terror, racism, environmental decay, out-of-control corporations, unemployment, discrimination, poverty, inept governments, maldistributed wealth, health-care non-systems, authoritative/authoritarian coercion, over-

population and killing in the name of God are

all-too-frequent even though most people

behave decently most of their lives and where many good things happen which, because it's the norm, never get discussed by the media which has been appropriately set up to report the changing, the interesting, the unusual, and the deviant although fears like walking catfish, killer bees, flesh-eating bacteria, road-rage, and incoming asteroids seem to be vastly exaggerated, possibly to sell papers.

And then we wonder why 80 percent of us seem to have "psychiatric" issues, not to mention George Bernard Shaw who once mentioned that "The only time my education was interrupted was when I was in school."

But it's also been said that the perfect

parent is the one who does the right thing

51 percent of the time -- just as long as

we don't keep making the same mistakes

over and over and over again.



Robert E. Kay, MD, Adult and Child Psychiatrist


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