French Kids Don’t Get ADHD? Really?

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

He may not look sexy but because he's French he is sexy. Mait Oui!
He may not look sexy, but because he’s French he is sexy. Mait Oui!

As if we didn’t already gnash our teeth over the fact that French women don’t get fat even though they eat cheese and French children aren’t picky eaters and French men are just really good at bringing the sexy even when they look like Gérard Depardieu. Now we have to contend with the fact that French children don’t get ADHD.

Even though this article was written last year on, it just appeared in my Facebook newsfeed last night so I read it. The first line had me intrigued: ” In the United States, at least 9% of school-aged children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and are taking pharmaceutical medications. In France, the percentage of kids diagnosed and medicated for ADHD is less than .5%. “

How can that be, I wondered? In a nutshell, it’s because Americans define ADHD as a chemical imbalance where the French see the disorder as a result of environmental factors. Please read the article for yourself and assess the author’s argument. Personally, I think it is a slippery slope and kind of careless to suggest that French parenting — aka superior parenting — is the reason French kids don’t have ADHD. Because that argument then implies that American parenting is so bad that we have spawned a generation of kids with severe mental disorders.

That being said, as a true meltingpot mama, I’m always open to learning how other cultures raise their children, especially if they seem to succeed in ways that we Americans consistently fail. Of course, nobody is perfect. And no single culture has a lock on perfect parenting and this seemingly constant holding up of the French as ‘perfect’ can be annoying. And please don’t get it twisted. I’m not hating on the French. Naturellement pas!  I’m just annoyed with the silly Americans who think emulating the French will solve all of our problems — from belly fat to annoying kids. Come on, people.

Okay. I am done. If you have anything to add, you know I’m listening.

Make it a great Monday.


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6 Thoughts to “French Kids Don’t Get ADHD? Really?”

  1. Soy yo

    I also read that French babies almost all sleep through the night by 4 months of age.

    Just this past Saturday I ran into afrench couple I know with their two kids who are 8 months and two years old. Since I have two close in age as well but younger, I asked if it is still difficult and they said particularly at night with the sleep habits so I metat least one family that doesn’t fit that mold.

    1. Ms. Meltingpot

      Ha! Thanks for the dose of reality.

  2. Wendy

    I saw this story and wondered if you’d seen it. A white father was suspected of kidnapping his biracial children by a fellow Wal-Mart customer because “they didn’t fit”.

    1. Ms. Meltingpot

      Yes, I did. As you can see, I wrote about it today.

  3. Wendy

    Did you read the backlash against that article?

    May I recommend this blog article ADHD has an imagine problem.

    While I don’t don’t there is an excessive push by big pharma amongst others to regulate what is normal into a tiny thin line when you meet someone with ADHD, real bona fide ADHD you know something ain’t right with that kid. I speak because I have a daughter with ADHD. What caused her ADHD, who knows? She was adopted, she was hospitalized for three weeks after placed into Colombian child protective services, she had three caregivers in 18 months, her prenatal care was nonexistent, etc…

    The point is ADHD doesn’t just mean that I cannot control my kid or that she’s defiant. Her neurological disorder impacts her coordination, fine motor schools, speech, learning and yes behavior. If it were just a question of behavior, I think most people could handle it. ADHD can be confused for an autism spectrum disorder because social skills and affect suffers.

    I wish it were a question of parenting. I could change that!

    1. Ms. Meltingpot

      I did read the backlash. But I’m sure not everyone will. And that’s the problem with lazy journalism. So, we carry on.

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