Parenting in the Gray Areas

Parenting is hard.

Let me say it again.  Parenting is HARD.  I always read these cute memes and things that say something along the lines of “God made the first child easy-going so parents would have more kids and then the second child is a no-limits wild child.”  That is not the case for me, Friends.  My first one came six weeks early and has never slowed down.

Our oldest has climbed six foot privacy fences, fallen from our deck railing by trying to balance walk across it and of the six baby teeth he’s lost?  Three of them were pulled by the dentist because he knocked them loose doing some antic.  He moves constantly, everything is a weapon and even if he’s reading, he needs to be doing something with his hands or feet.  You get the picture.

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As my oldest gets older, he does all the firsts for me.  First steps.  First kid in a booster versus a five-point harness carseat.  First kid to go off to school.  First kid to read me a book.  First kid to loose baby teeth.  And as we’re venturing into this unknown territory of “big kid-ness,” I thought it’d get easier…but it doesn’t.  The challenges just change; and because we’re being honest here, the challenges get harder.  (Don’t worry though- you’re no longer sleep deprived so you have more energy to handle the harder challenges.  Haha!)  Instead of the big issues being the temper tantrum over the blue bowl because he wanted a green one or why he isn’t sleeping through the night, it becomes things like when do you have “the talk” with your child in a world where kids are becoming sexually active younger and younger?  Or when do you allow your child to run to the public restroom by himself when you’re in Target?  Or when do you let him start using a steak knife to cut his own meat? (Because y’all, my wild child with a steak knife gives me anxiety just thinking about it!)  He’s entered this stage of development of seeing the world in black and white.  Everything is either right or wrong.  There is no gray area, and it can be so trying at times to explain the world isn’t black and white but full of color.

We’re at one of those hard places right now.  We’re in one of those gray areas.  Our oldest has been struggling to focus at school.  He’s always had active tendencies.  This isn’t new to us.  His phenomenal teacher has been extraordinary in helping him find different ways to try and help him stay on task.  He’s allowed to stand while he does his work.  He’s allowed to fidget and move and be a boy.  But while we have loads of tools in our toolbox for sensory processing disorder, nothing seems to be working any more.  If you know me at all, you know I’m a natural, holistic, fix-the-underlying-problem type of person.  We have done diet changes, supplements, occupational and behavioral therapy.  But what if the underlying problem is something medication is needed for?  And here is where we currently find ourselves.  Because while I believe ADHD is wildly over-diagnosed in our country and boys need to be allowed to be boys in all their wild glory, I also know ADHD is a very real psychological disorder.  I don’t want to be the parent who refuses to believe my child just might have that chemical imbalance that makes it hard to focus.  I don’t want to do a disservice to him but making my preferred last resort his too.  I don’t want him to become so frustrated with school that he develops anxiety or hates school or becomes depressed.

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When our babies are struggling, it becomes all consuming.  You research all the things.  You talk to all the people- the teacher, the aides, the doctor, the naturopath, friends who’ve been there.  You feel so helpless when your child is crying because he can’t focus on his math he’s been trying to complete for the last 45 minutes and begins telling you how “bad he is at everything.”  You feel like you’re failing (honesty here, remember?).  And so we pray over our Babies without ceasing.  We ask for guidance and wisdom, and we hope in the long run, we made the right choices.  We set aside worries about judgments and what others will say or think.  We brush aside opinions not asked for and do what’s best for your child.  Because isn’t that what we’re all trying to do in the end?

I don’t know if he has ADHD.  I don’t know if we’re doing the right thing.  I don’t know if we’ve been doing the right thing.  I do know we’re doing the best we can.  I do know we are exploring and will continue to explore all possible ways to help him.  I do know no one will advocate for him as much as his father and I will.  I do know that in all the gray areas of life, we’ll do whatever we can to make his world as colorful as possible.

2 thoughts on “Parenting in the Gray Areas

  1. Melissa, I have someone very close to me having the same issues. Their child has been diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. They too did everything possible, sensory box at school, weighed blanket, etc. if their child got off the schedule just even a small amount, the downward spiral would start. They recently decided to try medication and have noticed a big change. A happier, more confident child with fewer blow ups. So you are not alone. And don’t beat yourself up, there’s no manual on how to navigate this difficult situation. You are doing a great job!

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  2. Kudos to you and Greg- Wyatt had great role models. With a God’s guidance the answer will come and as we wait, quietly wait, we thank God for Wyatt’s kind hearted soul. Love you guys immensely. Anything that I may be able help with, please ask. Hugs, love auntie

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