Monday, June 16, 2008

Parenting is a study in the feeling of inadequacy.

At least that's what has been my experience.

My son has ADHD. Now some of you will read that and think you understand what that means. Preconceived notions of the condition, or if you even believe it's a condition, will then surface and you have already "gifted" my child with certain behavioral characteristics.

Some of these assumptions will be correct, others will not.

Now take all of those preconceived notions and throw them at your child, or a child you love.

Takes a different spin doesn't it? You're probably saying to yourself, "well MY child doesn't do this, or do that"

Here's a news flash, most of the time, neither does mine. But unfortunately he walks into your world already labeled. I have to fight for equal treatment of him every day, and it's exhausting. I have to watch him make friends, then watch as he loses them due to outbursts of emotion he can't control. Or watch as impulsive actions push them further away...and there is nothing I can do to fix it. Add in emotional baggage we both have over family tragedy and a world that went out of control...I barely handle it as an adult, put that kind of pressure on a child and a child that already has difficulty handling day to day stress...
People do not understand, unless they have been there. It just is not in your ability to grasp and most people do not care to try.
I do a lot of damage control. Talk through what went wrong, what he can do better next time..but it doesn't change what is.. I have cried more tears as a parent then I ever did as a highly emotional teenager. Rather puts things in perspective.

I had a eye opening conversation with someone I really felt knew me and my son, about ADHD this weekend. While I expressed my frustration over having to fight for everything with my son just to have him treated equally and yet still have accommodations for his disability, she expressed her frustration in feeling her child gets slighted because children like my son need extra attention.

Here's the difference in what she says, and what reality is.

Her child does deserve to have the same equal treatment and reminding of every child. My child medically is qualified to have certain accommodations to help with his disability. The school over packs classrooms making it hard for teachers to give the needed attention to anyone, and they do not always supply the needed help for children such as my son to get the extra help he needs. That's just a fact.

But here is where we differ. She believe children, regardless of level of disability, should be taken to a special school so that her child is not slighted.

So in order for her world to be correct and nice, let's just shuffle everyone that causes an issue out the door rather then help them have the tools to function in a normal school room.

She blames the child rather then the system. I find that rather narrow minded. There is funding for children with certain medical disabilities, I can not dictate how the school chooses to spend that funding. I have no voice in that decision. All I can do is stand up and make sure my child gets taken care of.

She finds it easier to blame the break down in the system on children that require more attention rather then standing up for her own child and fighting, just like me.

If Kendell had no problems in life, I'd still be fighting over any injustices I perceive. I don't find blaming other factors a ready excuse. I don't always win the fight, often times it's a effort in futility. BUT, I fight.

That is the key...I fight. I don't blame, I don't make excuses as to why I didn't do anything. I do what I can, and I move on. Simple, and yet complicated.

My son is beautiful in every way, but he doesn't use a wheelchair, or have slurred speech. There is nothing physically indicative of a disability, so no one remembers that he has a genuine medical issue he has to conquer every day.

I'm so tired of people who look at a child that is a challenge and type cast them. You have no idea what is under their skin, what makes them tick. You have no idea what challenges they faced today and every day and you can't judge a child on the same level you do an adult.

They are children, they will grow, change, learn, and most of all, their experiences shape them. The next time you come across a child that challenges you, remember what's there that you can't see. Remember that what you do and say impacts them for the rest of their lives, in large and small ways.

Remember that someone is judging your child somewhere.

So today I deal with the same issues I do every day, only today I have to come to terms with something ugly about someone I care about.

Sometimes friendship is a study in inadequacy as well, and today I do not feel up to the task.

Blogger Flyinfox_SATX had this to say:

So I am back reading your stuff...sorry I have been away awhile. I have been quite busy.

I understand your frustration. I have just inherited three step sons. I love them dearly. Two of them are in the spectrum. One (who I call IQ) is a full blown Autistic. Stems quite often, has lost any capabilities to speak. The second (I call Jet) has the spectrum of Ausbergers Syndrome. (Undiagnosed but it is obvious to my wife and I)

We use these terms to describe their behavior to others who do not know them. We ourselves put these descriptions away the minute they come home from school or whatever activity they are involved in. We focus on their strengths and do not give in on their weaknesses and the labels cast upon them.

Sure, we have special programs for them and special medications but instead of making them different from the rest of the world...we treat them as normal and the rest of the world is off kilter. To them...it makes all the difference.

Its hard because you have to deal with the rest of the world, but I find that when you focus on your son, the rest of the world somehow goes away for a while...and all the negative doesn't really matter.

I guess what I am trying to say is, that when you look at your son...look at your son and not your son with ADHD. It makes all the difference to us when we look at our children that way.


11:39 AM, June 30, 2008 

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