Most of us knew growing up that if we misbehaved or disobeyed our parents, we’d be given “the look” and punished for our actions. Acting out at school would warrant a trip to the principal’s office and a note or a phone call to mom or dad. Yet, times have changed and what once was considered “naughty” may now be labeled as a medical condition.
Over time, it has been easy to watch the subtle degeneration of the concept of disciplining a child for misbehavior. It appears to be more common for parents to strive simply to be their children’s friend rather than a guiding force and disciplinarian, even if the situation warrants the latter. In school, teachers now seem to be the ones who are rebuked if they attempt to discipline a child’s naughty actions. The restraint of rules and punishment for breaking those rules slowly has disappeared from the lives of children. If we tell them “no,” then we are in danger of damaging their self-esteem and stunting their creativity. As a result, western society has succeeded in fostering an unhealthy–and unbiblical–sense of pride and entitlement among our young ones.
It appears as though this now has been taken one step further. No longer are adults simply ignoring a child’s misbehavior, but doctors in Australia actually are diagnosing anti-authoritarian behavior as a medical condition. The Courier-Mail reports:
Naughty kids are turning up to school with notes from doctors who have given their unruly behaviour a medical name – oppositional defiant disorder (ODD).
And children who lash out at teachers or students have also been diagnosed with a condition termed intermittent explosive disorder (IED).
Psychologists are diagnosing ODD – characterised by persistent anti-authoritarian behaviour – at a greater rate than autism.Child psychologist Lisa Good said the condition was real and created a lot of stress for parents, who couldn’t understand why their child was mucking up.
Teachers don’t know how to handle the aggressive students and governments do not recognise ODD for special classroom funding.
Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates said schools were having a hard time dealing with the rise in behaviour disorders.
“It has become an extremely significant problem, that’s having severe effects on our schools now,” Mr Bates said.
“The sorts of things people think are just naughty kids now have a medical diagnosis.
With these conditions only now being discovered and labeled, could it be that there is actually another three-letter word for these diagnoses? It is easy to agree with Ken Ham when he writes in response to this report,
Certainly, there are those young people who do have real medical issues. But it seems to me that in many instances what are now being defined as supposed medical conditions (such as ODD and IED) may actually be SIN.
And the more our cultures abandon God’s Word, the more these problems will increase.
Indeed, what once was labeled as “naughty” or “misbehavior” described far better than these new terms what was the true problem: sin. When a child, or an adult for that matter, disobeys and acts out, we must call it what it is and not attempt to excuse it. Sin is sin whether the person committing it is five years old or fifty. If we give a child a doctor’s note to excuse misbehaving in geometry class today, what will he be looking to excuse tomorrow when he finds himself grown and trapped in ignoble activity?
God’s Word clearly teaches that all men are fallen and dead in sin without Christ (Rom. 3:9–12, 23; 1 John 1:8, 10; Mark 10:18). As Ken Ham noted above, as cultures continue to toss God’s Word aside, problems such as this will only increase. As man is left to his fallenness, and as he seeks excuses for his sin rather than the only true remedy, Jesus Christ, this fleeting world will grow darker.
How, then, should the Christian respond? While it no doubt would be wonderful to see entire nations embrace the standards of Scripture, it is clear that such a thing will not happen. The Christian then needs to lean ever more on God in times of growing darkness. Most importantly, let this be a call to every Christian to not shy away from proclaiming the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. While entire nations may not turn to Him, individuals will come to Him in faith as He draws them. Let His light shine through the darkness through the bold proclamation of His saving Gospel.