Why do people fear that which they don't understand?

@trish32 (1471)
United States
December 11, 2006 8:55am CST
I've noticed that in many cases people fear things they don't understand and cope with it by making blanket statements or being downright mean. For instance (I know this is going to "ruffle some feathers" but...) the recent discussions on ADD/ADHD. It amazes me to see the number of people who will say it doesn't exist, blame the children's problems on poor parenting, lazy teachers and money-hungry doctors, and yet many of these people have never had direct experience with an ADD/ADHD child (or one who's wrongly diagnosed, as they would put it). Now I totally agree that there are some kids who are wrongly diagnosed, but what is it with people who have to say such hateful things as, "You should learn how to discipline your kid instead of medicating them." This goes for other posts as well, but this is the one I've read most recently that just really set me off. I guess for some ignorance is bliss!
1 person likes this
28 responses
• United States
11 Dec 06
I've responded to several discussions relating to people thinking ADD/ADHD is an invented illness. I've made my points and thats all I can do. My son is ADHD and discipline has NEVER been a problem! He's VERY well-behaved. Let them come walk a mile in my shoes when my son isn't on medicine. Let them try to calm his tears from not being able to keep up, the tears that fall when he comes home from school because the other children make fun of him. Then let them see the complete transformation when he's on the medicine. Grades going up within a couple weeks, friends calling him on the phone. Teachers so impressed that they recommend him now to go into accelerated reading classes. I think people should do some more research on the subject before calling children ill-behaved and lacking discipline.
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
11 Dec 06
I completely agree with you. My daughter had ADD, and for years we struggled through her homework, reading and other activities. Even playing a game or watching a movie was difficult for her to stay focused on. Her homework became a tear-filled, frustrating event every evening. I finally went in for a conference with her teacher and asked her for her accounts of how Candice was during the day at school, not mentioning ADD. Her description of Candice during the day was the same as I saw at home. I went to the doctor and discussed it with him, he tested her and then diagnosed her with ADD. Bad behavior has never issue with her. She's sweet, well behaved, caring and compassionate. She's won the Citizenship award every year she's been in school, along with Student of the Month several years. I just despise how people are so quick to judge without educating themselves, whether it's ADD/ADHD or any other issue or topic they're not educated on.
@gknott (936)
• United States
11 Dec 06
Have you ever heard that children can be diagnosed as ADHD as a child that are really Biplar, but it is hard to detect in children?
@gknott (936)
• United States
11 Dec 06
Have you ever heard that children can be diagnosed as ADHD as a child that are really Biplar, but it is hard to detect in children?
@pumpkinjam (5774)
• United Kingdom
12 Dec 06
I think the fact that they don't understand is the cause of the fear. People don't like to think that there might actually be a reason for something. Now, using your example, there are a lot of children who are badly behaved because they have had bad parenting, or complete lack thereof, and use ADD/ADHD as an excuse. However, although I haven't had a lot of direct experience, I have a friend whose son reallt does have ADHD. He behaves badly because of that. His mum has always done her best for him. He also has an older brother who is perfectly well behaved so that goes to prove that ADHD is not just an excuse in this case. People do deny it exists because they want something or someone to blame and if they can't see a physical reason for something, they don't believe it. I mean, if a child was in a wheelchair, you could SEE he was disabled and accept it but if you say something like, my child is dyslexic, people won't understand because they can't see any physical indication. I think the worst thing, which doesn't help genuine cases, is that people do use things as an excuse. AS I say, there are people who say their children have ADHD when really they just haven't been brought up properly, or that their child is dyslexic when the truth is that the child just isn't very clever. If people didn't do that, there might be more chance of people beginning to accept genuine cases.
@ESKARENA1 (18299)
12 Dec 06
i agree but also if people were also more willing to trust then so much anger would leave them. I feel people who refuse to believe what they can not see are distrustful people anyway. People who distrust are often trying to hide anger negativity and jealousy in themselves (by the way i am dyslexic and have struggled against this attitude all my life)
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
You make a valid point. However, if people are so unwilling to believe in things they cannot see, merely because they cannot see it, that, too, is a problem. In my opinion it's a narrow-minded school of thought to be so dismissive of that which we can't see. I have a son with a heart condition, and it would pain me to know that people would dismiss his heart condition as a valid reason for me still carrying him up flights of stairs at nearly 4 years old because his heart won't allow him to make the trip up the stairs. Would they simply believe that he's lazy and I spoil him? I'm not trying to be argumentative, just stating an example of how narrow-minded such an opinion could be.
• United States
11 Dec 06
Parent be contacted if their child gets a detention
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
11 Dec 06
I'm not sure I understand what your response has to do with the topic.
• United States
12 Dec 06
huh i dont get it
@soulist (2987)
• United States
12 Jan 07
I don't understand why people fear the unknown, or try to make comments about things they don't understand. I think sometimes they try to make it seem like they know something or put blame on something that's more visual than chemical imbalance in the brain.
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
13 Jan 07
Yes, I agree that could be part of it. I just wish people would be more open minded and willing to look beyond the "obvious".
• Romania
12 Dec 06
the answer is the world dark past.
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
What do you think needs to be done to change this? Do you think that if more people were to take the time to become more informed this would still be the case?
• India
12 Dec 06
yes, some people say ghastly things without realising the true cause.
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
Indeed, they do. Do you think that would be the case if more people were willing to take the time to do a little research and educate themselves on the possibilities?
@Ravenladyj (22937)
• United States
12 Dec 06
Ppl are cruel and arrogant...there's no ifs, ands or butts about it...I actually know a couple that believes depression is made up and unfortunately the kids are suffering because of that attitude....I havent read the ADD/ADHD thread (though I will have to I think) but I dont think the negative comments are about fearing what they dont understand, I think its pure uneducated babble mixed with narrowminded high and mightiness...As for it being made up...well my niece and her sister were both diagnosed some yrs back - one with Tourettes and ADD and the other with ADHD and though I have always disagreed with the way their mom did/does things I dont think parenting has anything to do with it at all....
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
Do you think part of the negative behavior of such people is their own "fear" that they, too, could be less "normal" than they believe they are or want to be if they acknowledge that such conditions exist?
@ravibabli (1558)
• India
12 Dec 06
I agree with you.
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
Do you have any suggestions in how we might go about improving people's views on human differences?
@ESKARENA1 (18299)
12 Dec 06
As individuals we crave uniformity and normality, it is a basic suvival instinct. If we see someone doing something differently to ourselves we automatically go on the defensive, if they are doing something differently then we ourselves may be wrong and that is something people find hard to tollerate. As far as ADHD goes, i also saw that discussion and avoided it like the plague. The behaivour of a child with this terrible condition may mimic the behaivour of a child that has not been adequatly parented. To some (generally older)people this is all they can see because thats how it was labeled when they were young. These people find attitudanal change extremely difficult to handle and should be pittied rather than condemned. I am convinced their minds were closed to protect a vulnerable and delicate intelect and it is the ones that label behaviour in negative terms that have the real problems, many of them have simply outlived their capacity for innivative thought, one of the many problems of an aging society im afraid. By the way i think you can be old at any age
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
I agree that many people of older generations simply lack the exposure to the more recent schools of thought on many topics, which is partially due to their age. The thing that concerns me the most is the younger people that are capable of learning and educating themselves on these differences, yet do not, and continue on with the voluntary ignorance that causes so much tension and social dischord. I agree that a person can be "old" at any age!
• China
12 Dec 06
um,i am caution if i do not familiar with a new place. could not be fear i think. most people are just caution..
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
I agree that many people are cautious of things they do not understand. And that is a good thing. I truly believe that is the cast for the majority of people.
@Dest1001 (13)
• Singapore
12 Dec 06
People fear what they dont understand is because they don't know what they fear about. The things people fear about are usually things that the people cant comprehend themselves. Giving excuses or blaming others for what you have done means you do not have any self-responsibility. We should admit to all our mistakes and so on. Ignorance is a bad part of a person's character so we should all change this when we can. When we find out more about what we fear, we will fear it lesser becuase we understand what is happening and more details about a particular fear.
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
You make an excellent point. I couldn't have said it better myself. While I certainly believe there are things we should fear, other human beings and/or their conditions, differences, etc. should not be high on our list of fears.
• India
12 Dec 06
hi dear frnds...its a human tendency to hate things or fear with those things to which they r not satisfied...we just hav to motivate them for this...
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
I guess that's what I'm hoping to accomplish with this discussions, at least to some small degree. I think that much of what's wrong in the world today is exactly this type of problem, people passing judgement without having educated themselves or leaving themselves open to new ideas or new information.
@LovingIt (5398)
• United States
12 Dec 06
I hesitate to even post on this topic, but let's just say that I agree with you and not just on the ADD/ADHD topic, but posting hateful theads on topics one doesn't understand to start with.
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
I understand your hesitation. I'm not trying to cause any hate or discontent by posting this, but rather trying to understand why people feel compelled to avoid all the information there is available on a wide array of "controversial" issues and voice their opinions in such harsh, sometimes hurtful and insulting manners. I guess what it all comes down to is that society in general seems to prefer to remain in the dark. With the internet available to so many people, and here on myLot we know we're all connected to the internet, it amazes me that so many people prefer to use it for everything but educating themselves.
@rakinitin (686)
• Canada
12 Dec 06
We fear things we don't understand because we are creatures of habit. I'm not sure it's fair of you to judge others by their response to a discussion because you don't agree with what they said. People have the right to feel the way they do and maybe for reasons you would never even be aware of. Are you aware that you just handled something you found offensive by retaliating with something offensive.
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
I have experiences with people who have admittedly never had direct dealings with ADD/ADHD (just one of several examples) and also admittedly had not educated themselves on the disorder, which are the situations I'm speaking of in this discussion. It's not everyone who disagrees with my views and beliefs on ADD/ADHD that I have a problem with. It's the people who say, "You must not be disciplining your child...." yet admittedly they have no children and have never educated themselves on the realities of ADD/ADHD. How is my question offensive? I'm the kind of person who deals with my "fear" of something by learning as much as I can about it, rather than casting judgement from an ignorant perspective. Using the word ignorant as it's defined in the dictionary, not as a sarcastic reference to anyone, mind you.
• India
12 Dec 06
Don't no.
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
Are you the type of person to educate yourself on something you're not familiar with prior to voicing an opinion or making a judgement? I'm curious to hear what process people go through before stating their position on issues.
• United States
12 Dec 06
Stigma's and close mindedness is a symptom of society as a whole. Unfortunately it affects one to many people. Growing up prior to Add/Ahdd/bipolar discovery, it was rough on not only myself but my parents. My parents knew there was something wrong, but the doctor always told her "she is as healthy as a horse". So many a year went by without treatment. Then the treatments started for manic depression. It helped but not to the point of making me feel normal. It was not until I was 21, and so many tests that I thought my head would swim that we finally found out that my problem was bipolar. My parents were relieved as was I, because we finally had an answer. BUT, there came a whole slew of other issues. Not medications or doctors who would properly treat me, but from "friends" and family members who decided I was some sort of evil being or some such. Makes no sense to me, but they let fear lead their hearts and minds and refused to accept knowledge freely given. I feel it is easier for folks to use fear as a weapon to ostricize (sp) instead of doing a tad bit of homework. Fear makes humans stay away, they feel it is safer. And in such they don't have to admit a problem nor do they have to deal with it. In the end it hurts more people than it helps. But as with many things with some, the easy way is what it is, and there is no other.
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
It's just amazing to me that rather than educating themselves people choose to remain ignorant and judgemental. It would be just as easy to spend their energy and time on educating themselves. I'm glad that you finally got answers and help. It's so difficult to not have the answers, but sometimes equally difficult to deal with the after effects of the answers, i.e. the ignorant and judgemental people. Hopefully you have people in your life who are willing to listen to reason, gain knowledge and support you. Good luck to you!
1 person likes this
• United States
12 Dec 06
I have ADD i dont take meds i behave yes i stare off once and awihle but hey who dosnt. I think everyone has ADD if you ask me who dosnt stare off and pays attention to everything.
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
12 Dec 06
To a certain degree I believe we all have tendencies to be inattentive, preoccupied, etc. My daughter no longer takes her meds and occasionally has "spells" where she has trouble with zoning out or fidgeting, etc. One of my chief complaints with the people who profess that ADD/ADHD is "made up" or is due to poor parenting is that fact that many, many adults also have it, so what's their explanation for ADD/ADHD in adults, you know?
11 Dec 06
It dates back to our primal instincts, we fear that which we do not understand as this lack of understanding manifiest uncertity
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
11 Dec 06
I understand the basic instinct to fear the unknown, however in this day and age don't you think that we should all be a little more open to educating ourselves before we pass judgement on an issue, or discredit it?
@claudia413 (4284)
• United States
11 Dec 06
I agree with you wholeheartedly. The people that claim certain diseases don't exist should have to try to deal with them; then they might change their mind. My nephew is ADHD and medications allowed him to be able to concentrate and do his school work. He just graduated high school this year. I try to ignore ignorant people as much as I can.
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
11 Dec 06
I guess that's what frustrates me the most, that people will discount or pass judgement without having educated themselves or tried to gain experience first. And not just with ADD/ADHD, but many other issues, too. Congratulations to your nephew and your family for being supportive!
@suedarr (2382)
• Canada
11 Dec 06
I wonder how many people who believe this condition is made up have formally studied medicine, worked within the medical profession, or parented a child with ADHD etc? It is a very strong statement, and I do believe there should be some expertise involved when stating something does/or does not exist. Sometimes I think people are just mean, for the sake of being mean. I'm not certain if it is fear that drives them or more of an annonymous outlet for which to vent about popular issues educated within in them or not?
@trish32 (1471)
• United States
11 Dec 06
I'm not sure, either. I have an aunt who believes that all mental conditions are BS. She even went so far as to accuse me of having my daughter medicated to make it easier for me to take care of my newborn son! It wasn't until her own daughter's child was diagnosed with autism that she even began to acknowledge that such things could be real.