I Am The Mother of THAT Child

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I recently read an article that a teacher who works at my kids’ school shared on Facebook. Her caption to the article link was something like, “We care about each one.” While lengthy, it is a definite must that you read it completely before continuing with this post so that you will fully understand my plight.

http://missnightmutters.com/2014/11/dear-parent-about-that-kid.html

Now… My daughter was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 6. She also has some severe emotional issues and suffers from anxiety. I have sought every method of help for her that I know is available to me. She has been put on medication, she has had counseling, she has been taught some coping techniques by her therapist, and she has had one, maybe two teachers who have been able to work with her in a caring, compassionate, yet firm way, so that she understood that they were on her side. My initial thought after reading this article was to post a comment expressing how I felt about the lack of patience and guidance and understanding many of the teachers and administrators seem to have when it comes to my child. But as I began typing my thoughts I felt like it was the wrong forum for all that I had to say. I cut the text and pasted it into my text message box until I decided what I was going to do with it.  These were pretty much my thoughts at that time:

I am a parent of THAT child and I only wish some of those teachers cared as much… “I will, no matter what happens, continue to look for, and to find, the good, amazing, special, and wonderful things about your child…” [sucks teeth and rolls eyes] Talk is cheap! She’s far from perfect, I’ll be the first to attest to that; but there are a lot of good things that could be said for, to, and about her, but I wonder why 99% of the time we only ever hear the bad… Many of them care with conditions and limitations. They really don’t want to be bothered with THAT child because it’s too much of an inconvenience. It’s not conducive to their ideal working environment or teacher/student relationship. Never mind the “crisis plan,” just get her out of MY classroom… as if she’s not worthy of being taught, regardless of her emotional instability. Never mind the other kids taunting or picking on her behind the teacher’s back, she has caused another uproar in the class, who cares what her reasons are, just write her up and get her out of here! Never mind the verbal praise on a day she doesn’t have an outburst, let’s just harp on everything wrong and be sure to tell her mom about all the negative situations and sum it up with, “But she’s a very smart girl.” What a load of bull!! I’m so over the fake and phoney and well overdue for some genuine care and concern for my child…

I feel as though I am the only person advocating for her. I’m not the type of parent who upholds her child when she’s wrong. I don’t make excuses for her behavior. I discipline her, both physical and non-physical. I talk with her, try to reason with her,  and I make sure I explain to her the consequences of her actions. She fully understands right from wrong, good from bad, the acceptable as well the unacceptable, and appropriate from inappropriate. She also has sense enough to know when someone is mistreating her, being unfair, or doing something to her just because, or just to agitate her. She’s not always in control of her emotional state of mind. She cries, screams, throws fits, sometimes throws things, becomes belligerent and oftentimes defiant. All of these things I am aware of. Each school year the new teachers (if not already familiar with her behaviors) are made aware of all of her “issues.” They’ve labeled her as a misfit and a disruption to the learning environment. The other kids all know what to do to set her off and to then seem like innocent bystanders as if they did nothing wrong. But in the teacher’s eyes, she is just causing a disruption. When she is then scolded and hears the snickers of the other children, she reaches her boiling point. But it really seems to me that none of that matters to the teachers. I know she will sit in class and refuse to do work sometimes. But I also know that sometimes she needs help and doesn’t understand; and maybe she needs a little more help – one-on-one… But how can a child ask for help from a teacher she feels doesn’t care if she understands it or not? And I know that’s how she feels a lot of the time.

My child is not without blame in these situations and occurrences. But she again, is just a child and she needs nurturing, time, care, attention, and to know that the people who are supposed to care about her and her learning ability and her well-being, actually do care.

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Familiar Quote

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The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become. ~Charles DuBois~

I believe my first time hearing this quote was at the end of a Criminal Minds episode by Agent Hotchner. I thought it was catchy and I thought it made sense. I wrote a note about what I thought it meant on my facebook page a few weeks back, but I wanted to take a different approach to it. I talked about how I sacrificed my childhood to be a teenage mother. But that was a long time ago and I’ve come a long way since then. For the purpose of this post, I want to talk about my future as opposed to my past.

So who am I, really? Today, at 29 years old, I am a mother, a sister, a niece, a daughter, a granddaughter, an aunt, a godmother, a coworker, an employee and a friend. I feel that I am loyal to those close to me. I make people laugh, I’m a listener and confidant. I will soon be a student again working toward completing my Associate’s Degree in Business Administration. People have made sacrifices for me my entire life. My grandmother in particular. She sacrificed what she was and what she could become for me and my twin brother.

The Many Faces of Me

My ultimate goal is to be successful in life and to be the type of parent my children can be proud of. I think I’m doing a pretty good job so far if I must say so myself. I don’t want to give up on school because it is most important to me since I have come so far already. The few minor setbacks are just that, setbacks. They aren’t going to stop me from pushing forward and earning my degree. Once I get my Associates Degree, I plan to continue and work on my 4-year Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resources Management.

So what are you striving for in your life right now, at this moment? And will you push through until you get where you want to be?

Reinforcements

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In the schools today they wanna ‘preach’ so much on positive reinforcements and constructive criticism. Well a lot of it is BULL if you ask me. They say for us as parents to make sure we reward and praise our children when they are doing well, or doing good things. Why is it though that when bad or negative things are going on at school that’s all we the parents hear about? I’ll give an example. My son was in a particular after school program and day camp program for years. He was diagnosed with ADHD when he was about 5 so he’s been on medication practically ever since. When he didn’t take it however, he was a hand full! (And then some) Everyday that I’d go pick him up, if there had been a problem, I’d hear about it. If he caused a scene on a field trip, I heard about it. If he hit another child, I heard about it. If he kicked the tables and threw things across the room, I heard about all of that too! I even had other workers tell me that one particular individual didn’t like my son and had voiced his opinion as to such. This individual even told my son (I found out much later) one day after he had not been there the day before that they ‘enjoyed him not being there’. What self respecting adult who is supposed to be a type of mentor for kids says that to a CHILD?! Very rarely did I hear “He had a great day today.” or “We didn’t have to get on him at all, he was good.” Never anything positive. Do you know what that does to a parent after so much negativity about their child? Its devastating and emotionally draining. I got to the point where I didn’t even care about what they were telling me he was doing that bad or wrong. Cause like I told the lady one day when I went to pick him up and she looked at me and said “Today hasn’t been a good day” (she had this look of disgust on her face), I said no day ever seems to be. She caught on then and said “Well now that’s not true! He has some really good days.” I just gave her this look like “REALLY??!!!! WHEN!!??!!!??!” Because I NEVER hear about those days.

Now on to the issue I began this post about. My daughter has also been recently diagnosed with ADHD. She has a much more difficult time than my son did with emotional problems. I have both hands full with her most days at home. Some days are good… Like yesterday. 🙂 But then she gets me to the point where I just feel like running away some days and never looking back. I know some reading this would say, “No, it can’t be that bad!”, but really, it is. I love my child and I would go to the ends of the Earth for her if I had to. But its a struggle to deal with her extreme emotionality. Well at school so far this year I think she has been in the office between four and five times. One time she was sent home early because of her behavior. (School has only been in 28 days.) I’ve explained her situation to her teacher who is new at the school, which I feel she had already gotten some negative information about her before school even began. She was hesitant at open house; gave me this “are we going to be okay this year?” look… Right here I wanna say that when you prejudge a child and dismiss them as a lost cause before you ever give them a chance, they will never be successful. I feel that the administrators who know my daughter from previous years want to give her a chance and they try to help her work through her frustrations most times. Although today particularly it just seemed like they were unconcerned about the fact that she spent the entire morning in the office instead of in the classroom. True enough, she acted out in a very disruptive manner. This was because she was unable to do something she thought she would be able to do which caused her ‘melt down’. Yeah, she does the whole crying thing and acting out at home, so its not like she’s just doing it at school. But I have learned to deal with it in a way that works best for the both of us I think.

I don’t feel the school should reward bad behavior. But I also believe in progressive discipline. If a child is sent home for misbehavior; that to me is a disciplinary action. Why take away an incentive two weeks after the ‘bad’ behavior occurred? Its giving a reward for good behavior, but not allowing the reward to be utilized when the time comes which is backwards! It doesn’t make sense. That’s like me saying to her or any of my other children that since you were misbehaving in Wal-Mart last week, when we go to Chuck E. Cheese next week, you aren’t going to be able to get any tokens and play games. Its like dangling a steak in the face of a lion but snatching it back! Isn’t the lion going to be angry, won’t he react negatively?! I feel the situation today is same thing! Schools wanna promote positive reinforcements for good behavior and making better choices, but when they ‘punish’ the kids so to speak well after the misbehavior has already been dealt with and there were no other instances of bad behavior since, its just wrong! It discourages children from doing the right thing in the future. Although they should not have to be bribed, or expect to receive something in return for doing what is right, they grow to expect good rewards for good behaviors and good choices. Don’t we all? Even as adults; in our jobs, if we do something good worth recognition, we expect to be recognized. We expect a pat on the back saying ‘job well done’. We as adults expect this so as children do what is right and try their best to be good little boys and girls, they should be praised and rewarded when it is necessary.