Sunday, 27 May 2012

Beware of Deceptive Diagnosis

Usually this is not a topic for singles - young or mature. But reality is that many mature singles either have children (natural, adopted or acquired) or are looking to sign up for parenting. As such, it is essential to point them to how the world may try to label the special gift(s) they have elected to nurture.

It is sad that helping and medicating is now decided along money lines. I found out sometime ago that because labeling children with ADHD, ADD etc. earns the school or clinic more money, psychologists would rather label than counsel. That a psychiatrist will choose to medicate instead of help a patient through therapy because medication brings in more Naira or Dollars is sad! My husband and I went to see a surgeon recently and the reception was clogged. The surgeon came out briefly to crack a joke about people having to wait longer because the schedulers overbooked. I was shocked that patients went in and out within 10-15 minutes. When it was our turn, he took a brief look at the procedure done previously and decided it would not work well. I was shocked! How could anyone, regardless of the years of experience, just take a look and make a decision based on gut feeling? He was done in less than 10 minutes and asked us to see a nurse who made him sign a document in a hurry. It took me going online to review a similar form to find out and explain to my husband what he signed. Needless to say he had no idea. But this does not only happen with those in the medical field, pastors do it to. 

I once witnessed a minister who spent less than 5 minutes to "counsel" and make "prophetic proclamations"; needless to say the vulnerable souls within the short time made donation and took whatever they were told to heart even though they left burdened since they had no opportunity to really share. To really help someone, we need to KNOW them and BUILD a relationship. That Jesus cultivated relationships is key and should be emulated by every Counselor especially Biblical Counselors. Unfortunately most counselees only value service they pay for and would cast aspersion on paying a Biblical Counselor; I have counseled my husband, siblings, friends on some issues but until a source they paid said the same thing, they did not take it is as life saving. How do we cross this bridge especially if setting up a center?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is usually first diagnosed in children and adolescents. It is characterised by inappropriate degrees of inattention, impulsivity and/or hyperactivity. Children with ADHD may be may be impulsive, forgetful, restless to the point of disruption, prone to fail, unable to follow through on tasks, unpredictable and moody. These characteristics appear in early childhood and are relatively chronic in nature. It is believed that this disorder is not due to other physical, mental or emotional causes. From time to time, all children will be inattentive, impulsive and/or exhibit high activity levels but this behavior is much greater in children with ADHD. 

When ADHD is left unidentified or untreated a child is said to be at great risk for impaired learning ability, decreased self-esteem, social problems, family difficulties and potential. Unfortunately, it is estimated that ADHD affects 3-5% of the school-age population, which means as many as 3.5 million children. That is the world’s perspective. However, I garnered from research that the ADHD diagnosis can be traced to the inability of parents to accept God’s calling in the area of parenting. If all parents see parenthood as God’s gift to enable us share in the joy of creation, we would embrace our role and save the world of deceptive diagnosis. Parenting was never meant as a burden; it is in fulfillment of God’s command of fruitfulness (Genesis 1:28) and goes to prove God’s loving kindness to mankind. The gift of children gave us the hope of continuity and it was through this continuity offered through God’s seeds that we received a child who brought the gift of redemption. 

All Christians and indeed all parents need to accept the fact that all children, believers, non-believers, are seeds of God’s blessings (Genesis 17:20). God gives and takes life, regardless of how these lives turn out here on earth; they were fashioned by him (Jeremiah 1:5). God created and can use any and every child. Just as Adam the first son was given the assignment to till the ground. God gave parents the duty to nurture their children in the way of the Lord; Proverbs 22:6 says, Train up a child in the way that he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. We are to do our part and our part will impact the child even when he is old. So parenting is a lifelong role and any child – biological, adopted, in our sphere of influence etc, can be sent to us at any point in our lives. Parenting only becomes a burden when we decide to go it our way instead of God’s way. The peace of Eden became troubled when Adam and Eve decided to listen and act based on the serpents leading instead of God’s instruction which was simple. 

Once humans were given “worldly” options, they tossed the simple instruction that came with a nourishing garden in exchange for the devil’s option which left them homeless and troubled. Parents should note that they have God’s help; it is available, we only need to ask and draw from his fountain. Parents are not to abdicate their roles to teachers, media, societal norm etc. It is interesting to read the perspective about “quality time”; the job of parenting is never to be so compartmentalized, parenting is full time and we are to bind God’s commands in our heart and make it our watchword ((Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Biblical truth and positive modeling remains the only highway to ensure a child does not become diagnosed with ADHD and live on medication or enslaved to ungodly passion and desires.

As parents and mentors, we need to accept God and bring children to God; whether they grew up in or out of church they need a touch from God and God is willing and able to make it happen through us. I have always counseled children without quite leading them to the Savior first because I felt it is manipulative to ask a troubled child to accept Jesus before helping to solve the problem in their lives. Usually I pray with them, counsel them and then lead them to Jesus. But often, once they find a way round the issue; it could take a while before they accept Jesus. Now I know that since only God can make a lasting impact in a child’s life through Jesus then I should always do this first.  I learned to always bring children to a place where they see the need for God and I can do this by sharing examples of how God has been there for me.  

I teach about salvation using movies, games, story books and can continue to reinforce the message of God’s saving grace, compassion and faithfulness by evangelizing and doing stuff around them that can lead them to Jesus. Once I have done my part appropriately and adequately, I wouldn’t try to save them; I can nurture, I can care but God saves. Ephesians 6:4 was apt in the message to parents, especially fathers who are usually absent today: And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.