The Concerned Parents’ Project – March 3rd

If your child has always been shy, why is it suddenly surprising that he or she is still shy now? If your child has always been bursting with energy and bouncing off the walls, why is it suddenly surprising that he or she is still full of energy and still bouncing off the walls?

If your child has always been the quiet, brooding one, why is it suddenly surprising that he or she is still quiet and brooding?

These may be features of your child’s natural endowment or original personality. Or these may be features of his or her formed personality acquired so early on that they have pretty much always been there now. Either way, there is no reason to treat your child’s unique ways of being as suddenly surprising.

His or her ways of being may create difficulties, for him or for her or for others, and those difficulties certainly must be addressed. But that isn’t to say that your child suddenly “came down” with shyness, restlessness or brooding tendencies or that those qualities or behaviors are somehow markers of a “mental disorder.” Psychology, for all its millions of journal articles, has never studied original personality and has almost nothing to say about how we come into the world already somebody. Yet that is our baseline, our uniqueness, and our reality. Wasn’t your child perplexedly and exactly himself or herself from birth? Remember that.

Read the Concerned Parents’ Project Introductory Post.

Read Question 2

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Read more on this topic

Parenting in a “Mental Disorder” World

Interview: The Silenced Child

Visit Parent Resources for additional in-depth articles.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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