Hi Fellow Mothering Parents --
My DS is 10, and has been challenging from Day 1 (wouldn't breastfeed, but that's a very old story). Finally tonight after our Family Meeting, my dh and I looked at each other and realized that perhaps all of our parenting frustrations with our oldest child are not our fault after all. This child has taught me humility more than any other thing in my life. First, I looked down my nose at anyone feeding formula to babies, then (after struggling with 5 different lactation consultants and being unable to get any milk by pumping) I had to feed him formula (now I'd do goat milk, but that's another story too). Now, after believing that ADD dx is just a way to get kids to conform and control them (I'm a former teacher), I think perhaps there is something more to such a dx. Let me tell you what I'm talking about with my 10 year old ds:
- any request by me or his dad is met with a knee-jerk response of "no" or "no-way". His constant contrariness is a constant frustration.
- there is NO self regulation -- he immediately acts on every feeling, even if it is completely socially inappropriate.
- he does have empathy, and he does make connections with others (I thought perhaps aspergers, but now I don't think so)
- he can focus deeply on reading (his favorite pasttime), and he gets so absorbed as to block out the world (until I started looking at ADD symptoms, I figured this meant there was no way he could have an attention deficit disorder)
- he has one good friend but no other friends he wants to invite over
- his behavior at many times seems completely out of sync with the rest of the world and bizarre
- he won't try anything new (took him to Worlds of Fun and spent three hours trying to get him to go on ANY ride; he won't try sports of any kind; even if he agrees to try something new, he needs CONSTANT support and encouragement to engage in the new activity)
- his 1st-3rd grade teacher always said if the class were going to be going outside, she'd tell ds to start getting ready five minutes before the rest of the class, because it would take him that much extra time (because he gets distracted when doing things like putting his shoes on)
- we used to secretly call him "Destracto Boy" because he was SO easily distracted that small tasks took forever or never got done.
- as a baby, we'd go to Mom's Club meetings with the other moms and their babies. The other moms all were able to sit down and talk while their babies were content. Not me & ds -- we were up & moving. He had to be bounced constantly -- he wasn't happy unless I had him on my hip, moving around.
DS is not vaccinated. I was a Mothering mom all the way. He has gone to a private Montessori school since he was 3. I KNOW that if he'd been in public school, he would have been diagnosed. But do I want him to be "diagnosed"? Not really. I'm against medication unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. I am VERY willing to change diet, but we already eat quite healthily -- organic whole foods primarily. The occasional processed food from the health store, but I definitely watch out for food colorings & preservatives which we avoid like the plague. He does eat school lunches, though, and I don't have control over those. He loves SUGAR (my downfall too). I limit sugar to dessert after dinner, though. Again, what he gets at school has not been something I've monitored. I do know the importance of omega 3s, but honestly haven't been consistent with supplementation. That will change as of tomorrow. Now that we are looking at this and thinking -- "Whoa, maybe it's not our parenting -- maybe this kid just really can't control himself." Tonight at family meeting was a disaster. He was disruptive in so many ways. I really don't think he meant to.
So, now what? What do I do? Do I seek out a diagnosis, or do I treat as-if that's what we're dealing with and see what happens? What resources are there? What do I do?
I appreciate any help and guidance from the Mothering Community.