We live in a society that expects instant results. Whether it is nutrition, pain, skills, relationships, or any other problem or need, we want instant results. Instant meals and fast food restaurants are big business. Through the miracles of modern science, we can talk to people around the world at any time, and be anywhere in the world physically within a few hours.
The news organizations that bring you the breaking news first are usually the most successful. While retail businesses succeed or fail largely on their ability to serve their customers as soon as there is a question or problem. Web sites that are slow to download lose out to those who display their contents in a few seconds.
Every bookstore has shelves groaning with all the latest self-help books. Common are titles such as; “A new you in 30 days,” or “Seven steps to success,” or “Gain a college vocabulary in 5 minutes a day.” Dating services are springing up with promises to help you meet the person of your dreams, while saving you the time-consuming process of meeting prospects through old-fashioned socializing.
Medicine is perhaps the most obvious manifestation of the expectation of instant results. You can get instant relief from headaches, heartburn, colds, and a host of other ailments by simply taking a pill, capsule or some liquid preparation. For more serious problems like depression, anxiety and others, a doctor will first select a diagnosis, and then prescribe mood-altering drugs to give you relief, usually promised within days if not sooner. As a society, we might confuse relief and cure, but even if the underlying condition is not cured or even treated, the temporary and almost instant relief provides what we demand.
I also see this expectation for instant results in my practice, which is helping parents who have children making poor decisions. The number of children diagnosed with serious disorders needing treatment is constantly increasing, along with a rapid rise in prescriptions for powerful mind-altering drugs as treatment. Parents calling my office for help are often are looking for some place to “fix” their child, and frequently believe that a couple weeks, or maybe a couple months is sufficient. Insurance companies seem to be demanding instant treatment, or as close to it as can be justified, refusing to cover longer treatment if a shorter term can be justified in any way.
Compared to how our parents and grandparents lived, it is true we have many shortcuts they did not even dream of. However, when it comes to human behavior, human maturity and human relationships, there are no shortcuts!!! Getting a child’s attitudes and behaviors back to something that is age appropriate takes as long as it takes. In general, whether or not there is a serious psychiatric condition, the problem has probably been years in the making, by the time a parent decides to take the step of residential intervention. It takes time to make up for lost time. Maturity and healing cannot be accomplished quickly. The healing trust that comes from a good relationship with a mentor or therapist, which seems to be the heart of all interventions, takes time to develop, and cannot be rushed. It is only after a child has learned to trust again that the needed emotional growth occurs, which only happens with time, and when the child is in a caring, quality environment that helps him/her learn self-knowledge and self-discipline.
Even when a child has a serious diagnosis needing powerful medications, the medications at best only remove obstacles, by chemically re-balancing the child. He/She still needs time for personal attention, mentoring and therapy to go through normal emotional growth. Even when powerful medications are needed, there are still no shortcuts!!!
February 16, 2010
Great article. And, in today's fast-paced culture, the demand for immediate gratification is at an all time high. And, what all too many people miss is the fact that this immediate gratification mentality which we are being programmed to have, is what is leading to many of the problems that our struggling teens and society at large are experiencing.
Advertising is a big business and repetition is a great teacher. Unfortunately, most advertising is aimed at telling you that you are not good enough, smart enough, sexy enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, fat enough, etc. In short, most advertising is aimed at your sense of self and attacks your self concept and tells you that you have some problems that can be "fixed" if you buy this or that product. And, advertisement is repetitious and in listening to and watching these ads over and over, people are programmed with irrational and dysfunctional beliefs about themselves and about the world at large.
And, unfortunately, the majority of TV shows and movies are also sending the same messages as the advertisers, and children, all too often are exposed to far too much Programming On TV, At the Movies, and the radio stations which they tune in to.
Finding a good placement for your struggling teen is a great first start in the De-Programming of your child. And, as is noted in this essay, it requires establishing trust and respect between the teen and his or her counselors, teachers and peers. This can best be done in emotional growth-experiential education programs that are advertised and introduced in the Woodbury Report. The services that Lon Woodbury and other educational consultants provide is invaluable.
Expecting the public education system and or their advocates to help repair the problems you child is experiencing, is akin to calling the arsonist to help you put out a fire. Many of the problems that your struggling teen is experiencing has been exacerbated by the public schools they have attended.