Thank you to everyone who provided me with support yesterday. I really needed it. I was an emotional wreck for most of the day while also burning a fever with this #$%& sinus infection. I am so glad I was able to get in to see my therapist that afternoon. I don’t know how I would have survived dealing with my son after school if not for my T.
My T has several years of experience working as a psychologist with children in residential treatment. For those of you who don’t know what that is, residential treatment is like a boarding school for children who are so out of control that their families cannot handle them. My T has seen it all, so he understands how my son’s mind works much better than I do.
My T validated that my son is the problem here, not me. There is nothing wrong with my parenting, and 90% of the children out there would flourish being parented by me. I am parenting a child with special needs, which is hard for anyone. This issue is about my son’s issues, not mine. That validation was step one in dismantling my knee-jerk reaction to all of my triggers.
My T said that many ADHD children have trouble processing their emotions, and I have a kid who has both ADHD and a bunch of other special needs, including a processing disorder, which, by definition, makes it difficult for my son to process anything. On top of that, my child was adopted, which is a lot to process for a tween, and his birthmother passed away, which is enormously painful for a child to grieve. On top of this, my son has dyslexia (among other learning disabilities), so he struggles every day to try to read when most children who are younger than he is are able to read effortlessly.
My T says that my son simply has no idea how to process all of the stuff that he has to deal with, and I, as a layperson, am not expected to be able to guide him through all of this. My T referred my son to a child psychologist so he can learn how to process his emotions, particularly his anger. My T says that my son messed with my toothbrush because he truly does not know what to do with his emotions, especially his anger. A child psychologist can teach him these skills.
My T also assured me that my son is doing as well as he is because of my efforts. If my son had not been placed for adoption, he would have lost his mother in kindergarten and been raised by a father who did not want him. His birth family would not have been able to afford all of the special education we have provided, and my son would be failing out of school and much more out of control. My T suspects that my son likely would have wound up in residential treatment if not for his adoption. My efforts are not fruitless – it is because of all I have invested in this kid that he is doing as well as he is.
All of this outside perspective really helped. I will call today to set up an appointment with the child psychologist. I will also give myself respite today – I am having my son go to the afterschool program (which he does not usually do on Fridays) so I can take care of myself emotionally. I am also taking the day off from work so I can have lunch with some girlfriends and try to relax (well, as best I can with a fever and sinus infection).
Photo credit: Hekatekris
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