Thursday, September 11, 2008

Judge not,ok?

As you can tell by my last post, I have a huge amount of pressure on me right now. I know that is normal for a wife and mother but sometimes it gets to be too much. There are times when I honestly understand why some people just give up. The past couple weeks have been rough on our family in just about everyway. But the thing that is consuming me the most is how people pass judgement when they don't even know the person.

Megan is ADHD. She has actually calmed down alot though so I usually just say ADD now.She was officially diagnosed in kindergarten but we have been working with a therapist since she was 3. Her tantrums were so bad that I literally did not know what to do except give in. The tantrums would last for hours and there was no peace to be found anywhere. And it would be over little things like having to go to bed or the wrong color shirt.

You know when you feel frazzled and agitated and lost and just can't seem to focus or get motivated or concentrate? That is how an ADD/ADHD brain functions all the time. Our therapist explaines it to me this way. Megan is chemically imbalanced.Her brain is constantly short circuiting. Even though she is 11, her brain may only function like she is 5 which is why some situaitons cause more stress than others. Like school, and some social situations. She can't help it. And at the same time, if she does happen to focus on something she needs to be able to finish it or it throws her into a tailspin of confusion, agitation,and frustration.Her brain chemicals are just a bit wonky(got that word from cally).

We worked with the most amazing 2 child therapists I have ever met for about 4 years. I learned how to manage her behavior without medicating her. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I had 2 other kids to look after and at the time I was a working single mother. I had no family living near me to help me with the kids. No child care for when the kids were sick so between Megans weekly appointments and sick kids I missed a lot of work, yet was still able to provide for my kids.I look back and see how the Lord really carried me through those years. I was blessed hugely.My boys are so good. They love their sister and have always been so accepting of her little quirks. They will do things for her to make her life easier which most kids would not willingly do. They don't pick fights with her and help her any way they can.

Megan has come a long way. she used to have these uncontrollable tantrums. it was not due to unfit parenting like some still think. She still has the occasional outburst and most people that are with her regularly know how to handle her. But I seem to be the only one who can really get through. It is extremely hard, but I love her so it is worth it to me.

She struggles in school and was held back in 3rd grade which was embarrassing for her. But she soon realized that another girl from church is also in her grade because of the birthday cutoff. So, it wasn't so bad to be a year behind after that and she managed to pass her grade and even got a math award in 4th grade last year. Huge milestone for her. We were very proud.

she is extremely artistic. She can take playdough and make these teeny tiny animals out if it the size of my fninger tip. They are so cute and very detailed. She can draw things from memory that look what they are meant to look like. She can knit and sew and she can cook. She loves to clean toilets. She loves cats and is kind to all animals and very nurturing towards them. She has trouble with social skills but has some close friends who love her no matter what. Her teachers at school tell me she is the sweetest girl they have ever met. This is huge because school used to be where most of the trouble was.

She is chemically imbalanced and I know everyone has different views on medication kids with ADD and ADHD. I have tried all sorts of meds and diets and therapy. I don't like meds. For Megan the side effects were not worth it.Therapy works best for us. During our time in therapy I was given several tools to dealing with Megan that I put to use on a daily basis. I don't get to socialize like I used to and I only occasionally leave her with a babysitter. But it works for us and she makes more progress each year.

I have seen kids who are bad because it really is the parents who spoil and give in and act like their kids are angels when everyone else around them can see they are not. These are the parents who judge me and my parenting and my child. I get so tired of it. i used to expain to everyone I met about Megan and her special needs. But after so many years I realized that people are going to gossip and judge and be rude anyways so I stopped explaining myself to people. Because it really doesn't matter. I do my best, megan is progressing and can almost get through most days without incident. I follow through with consequences each and every time which is hard work but necessary for these types of kids so they can learn limits and boundaries. I give her step by step guidance. For instance I can't just say to her "go get ready for school" like I can the boys. I have to give her step by step instructions. It takes more time but it helps her focus and not get frustrated. Her teachers have learned to do the same. She gets special help each day at school for an hour, where she works on her reading and work she is having trouble with that day. her school has been wonderful working with her so far.I used to have to tell her ahead of time other things like what the schedule was for the day if there was no school, who was coming over,what was going to be for dinner, when tv time was over etc. These kinds of kids can't handle being caught off guard so the more warnings for transitions the better.I don't have to do that anymore which is another huge milestone for us. She now knows that transitions are necessary and are going to happen and that she will be able to go back to her previous activity later. She accepts rules even though she may gripe about them, but seriously,what kid doesn't.

When she is older I will let her decide if she wants to try meds. Who knows, she may decide to when she becomes an adult and that is fine because she has also come to know the best tools to help herself as well. She knows what ADHD/ADD is and she knows when she needs a breather to just chill and regain some focus. It is important to not keep these kids in the dark about their "condition". It shouldn't be an embarrassement or anything to be ashamed of.It's just one of those things we need to overcome in life.These kids need to know that it doesn't mean they are bad. They will be so much more confident with themselves if parents are upfront with them and teach them the tools they need to deal with life and people.

Megan is an amazing child and anyone who does not take the time to know her is missing out. She is a handful but she really does not have bad inentions.

My purpose of this post is for people who know me to gain some insight into why Megan is the way she is. And I have reached my tolerance limit as far as the gossip is concerned. So there you have it. That's Megan. We love her.


Karen said...

I think you are amazing for all you do and have on your shoulders! You are one smart woman, and I stand with you on the gossip issue. You are wonderful!!! Keep it up!

Ailyn said...

I think it's wonderful that you do it without meds. I'm not anti-doctors or anti-medicine but I do think that with extra time, extra effort, and alot of extra patience you can do the job without. GOOD for you.

April said...

I can tell you love her. I am sorry for everyone else. Sometimes dealing with everyone else stuff is harder than dealing with our own issues. Keep strong!

Cookie said...

No one ever said being a parent was easy. You are a strong person, be true to yourself and do your best to ignore the negative people that creep up! and don't underestimate the power of chocolate. sometimes chocolate helps get through a bad day.

Scribbit said...

Sounds like she's blessed to have such a great mom who is willing to take that time to "get" her. I have a brother who was ADHD and after all the work mom went through to get him through school (he's graduating from graduate school this spring) he's pretty loyal to my mom. Thinks she can do no wrong :)