EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

February 16, 2014

The land of the free and the home of diagnosis

Family Matters
Dr. Larry Larsen

---- — Dear Doctor,

I send your columns to my children who have youngsters of their own. Over the years you have helped me and I hope your comments will be of use to them.

Am I wrong, just an old grandma, or are we allowing children to do whatever they want.


Dear Grandma,

You are not wrong. In fact, you are on the money.

Just this week I read about a new book in Sweden. The book is causing a stir. Written by a Swedish psychiatrist with six kids of his own, the book is titled, “How Children Took Power.” The gent is named Dr. Eberhard and he complains that society in Sweden has gone too far. He notes that discipline is out of the hands of parents. Children are making the decisions such as what to have for dinner. Child welfare laws are great, but they may have encouraged a generation of brats.

We in America are more sophisticated. We “diagnose” children. An angry, entitled youngster is “oppositional defiant.” A child with a learning style that doesn’t quite fit the curriculum is called “learning disabled.” The kid who has trouble staying on ordinary tasks is termed “attention deficit disordered.” To remedy all things academic we have “special education.” Now I think all education should be special and, with enough well trained classroom staff, we could fire most of the “specialists” and address all kinds of needs.

While we are at it, maybe we could come up with some new diagnoses. My favorite would be “chronic undifferentiated little twit.” Believe me I am all for giving kids the best, but what we have falls far short of the mark. Instead of restoring sanity to wanton entitlement surely we can come up with another pill.



Dr. Larry Larsen is an Andover psychologist. If you would like to ask a question, or respond to one, you can email Dr. Larry Larsen at lrryllrsn@CS.com.