Roger Cowdrey - International Business Consultant. Writer & Motivational Speaker
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Let the children play!!

Just as I was thinking of packing for my holiday from both work and blogging, a newspaper article appeared that made me think that I needed to get my thoughts down in case the delights of the holiday caused me to forget.

I have spoken before about the need for creativity in today's global and fast moving world. I have also talked before about the sorts of things that we need to be doing if, as parents, we are going to encourage that creativity in our own children.

In the past it has also been easy to blame governments, schools, the media, the European Union or any other flavour of the month. However, from the first of the two articles that caught my eye, it is obvious that the main villains of the piece are parents.

There have been countless studies across the world that demonstrate the value of risky and sometimes dirty play such as tree climbing or playing in mud as assisting creativity. Much of it comes from facing new challenges and not being given something with a clearly defined single solution.

And yet a recent study in the UK has shown that thirds of mothers prefer to keep their children inside with 82% sitting the children in front of the TV. Even activities like organised youth organisations like Cub Scouts and Brownies are deemed out of bounds. Whilst 57% of parents belonged to such groups, only 16% of today's young people are allowed to sign up.

28% of parents would not let their child climb a tree, 43% would not let them go on a cycle ride with friends and 37% would not let their children camp in the garden! Over 80% of the parents use British weather or laziness as an excuse.

Even more worrying is the fact that when the children were questioned, two thirds wanted to play in the garden, more than a third wanted to play sport, 10% love to climb trees and 6% love camping outdoors.

Then just as I thought it could not get any worse I saw the second article. I have often spoken about the damning effects of the creation of ADHD as a catchall thought up in the 90s for children who were often creative and also often bored by traditional teaching methods.

Unfortunately, every newly created condition (even if it is not a clinical one) needs a newly created solution and Ritalin was that solution for ADHD. Anyone diagnosed by a doctor with ADHD is usually drugged into submission by Ritalin.

I used to talk about the 6.7 million children drugged on Ritalin in the large expanses of the USA. But even more shocking is the fact that the UK issued over one million prescriptions for Ritalin last year. This equates to about 4 prescriptions for every classroom in the UK.

So come on parents. Let your children play properly and get their creative fix in the garden and stop drugging them  for a quiet life for you and the teachers.

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