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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Power Struggle (for lack of better title)

Forgive me in advance if this comes out all rambling like. IT's raw emotion I'm feeling just right now.

As some of you may or may not be aware my son, Sean age 9, has been diagnosed as Bipolar Mixed/ADHD/ODD. What does that mean? Bipolar is a mood disorder I am still trying to understand and get the terminology straight. ADHD is Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder, this one I get. ODD is Obsessive Defiance Disorder, this one still has me going WTH some days.

As parents my husband and I have been struggling and learning right along with our son. I mean, we grew up, or at least I did, in an age where things like this were mostly unheard of. Kids who acted the way my son does were termed bad kids or problem kids and pretty much ignored. Yes, I said ignored. In school I remember kids like Sean. We laughed at them, after all they were the class clowns. Or we stayed as far away from them as possible because they weren't normal and scared the crap out of us so called normal kids. Now I find myself wondering how they are now. Did someone help them?

This Dx with Sean is something my husband and I agree on. We've seen what it's like when not being addressed and that was scary enough for us. We knew, prompted by me, that something had to be done. Help had to be gotten. We couldn't continue down the road of ignorance and let it run its course. His family kept saying it's a pop diagnosis. Everyone is bipolar these days. They tried to say Rob was ADD...And on and on it went. Forget about what went down when the ODD was added. The in laws just see this as a boy being a boy. Really? Even living with them now they still think some of it is just a boy being a boy. I know it's not. I believe it is way more.

Of course, we've had some really nightmarish days. We've also had taste of calm and normal and then BAM! Something reminds us of the reality of Sean. What I mean is, that we sometimes forget that he has these issues and sometimes he just does things that don't make sense to us. Do they make sense to him? I think not, for the most part. When we discuss with him about what he has done or said that is inappropriate we almost always get, "I just had to get it out of my system." Well, what the heck does that mean and how do I guide him into better outlet? Okay, so I do understand the need to get it out of you system to an extent.

I find myself struggling with the need to and knowledge that I cannot parent Sean like I was parented and cannot be bullied into the opinion he needs more spankings. For him, I believe they just make his behavior worse. Time outs, well as long as you don't mind a little destrution it may get his attention. Ground him/Take things away he does like/love, about 50/50 shot of getting his attention. My default is time alone for him to calm, vent, and maybe even think on his actions. Then sit with him and talk about it. WHOA! I know right! Who does this? That's radical to some, especially old school type parents. Even with this course of actions I do not always know how much he processes but I hope he understands and learns from it and someday remembers it and realizes we never wrote him off and did our best to understand and guide him. That's what parents are supposed to do, right?

I find it hard to be hands on sometimes as I grew up for years with a Single Father who worked hard. I don't remember him sitting down and playing with me. I remember watching TV with him. I remember getting my butt busted when I stepped out of line. I remember from my kids perspective him struggling with alcohol and seeming depressed sometimes. Could he have same issues as Sean? Probably. But it's unofficial as he's never really been treated that I know of. I also struggle with not letting dad's 3rd wife influence how I treat my kids. She was the major influence on me at at very crucial time in life. But that's a whole other story.

Since our move to new school district and living with the in laws some things with Sean have gotten a lot better. The in laws would like to believe it's the change of house. Our old house being not that great, old, shabby, and well just plain not good enough. I like to believe it's a combo of things. Mostly the new school where he gets fair amount of one on one and doing school work at his level. Also, the school has what they call Success. It's not just for kids like Sean but it helps them tremendously. It's kind of an intervention. A step before principal an call home. Lately, with the help of Success Team at school, us as parents, and his other therapies his made real progress. Violent outbursts have lessened. He's more ready and willing to use techniques taught to him. Unfortunately more recently he seems to be saying/doing outrageous things. Yesterday at school in the boys bathroom with other students present he shouted, "I'm a big penis!" Okay, so it's kind of funny but wrong, right? So, is this the part where he's just a boy being a boy? How do I address this? I mean, I'm so happy it wasn't something more inappropriate of God forbid a violent out burst. I don't even know where he heard such a thing. At home he rarely does these sorts of things. If he acts out here it's probably gonna involve lots of screaming and maybe throwing or hitting of himself or other things. Here at home his violent outburst are usually caused by us reminding him to watch how he says thing not just what he says. Like his tone of voice and such.

I'm nearly convinced that his behavior of late is just attention seeking. I think he believes it's always got to be about him. People paying attention to him in whatever form he can get. Hard to do when there's who know how many kids in his school and 8 of us here in this house, 2 of which are his little sisters and deserve attention too. How do I get him to understand positive attention versus negative attention?

With this almost daily power struggle I think it's no wonder I struggle with anxiety. I seem to alway be waiting for the other shoe to drop and stressing over did I handle that right or what will he do next? I'm pretty sure that to an extent it just goes with the parenting territory.

So, that's my thoughts for today. I feel so much better getting them out. I have so few I can truly talk to about all of this that goes on in my head. Thanks for taking the time to read it. I'm pretty sure it maybe wasn't well thought out or whatever but it's raw and it's real.

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