A quick digression
Miscellaneous… OK, at least it’s short

Red-flagged – part two

The first part is here, if you need to catch up. I have been reading through a number of articles on child behavioral issues – ADHD, sensory processing disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, etc. I’ve been trying to keep my anxiety levels down… it’s just not healthy to get too stressed, especially over something that will ultimately be a long process of changes and assessments (at least, that’s what I tell myself when the anxiety starts to peak). On top of that we are still trying to get pregnant and I’ve got this whole thyroid thing that flares when I’m stressed and makes it harder to stay pregnant, yadda yadda yadda, SO… I’m trying to stay relaxed. (Oy. Don’t know if I’m succeeding.) However, I actually feel a little better after reading through some of the articles. There are a few things I can rule out, right off the bat. And a few I can consider possibilities, and one or two of those might be borderline at that. If he is anything other than a very spirited, strong-willed kid with slower developing social skills. I just want to be informed for Chance’s upcoming pediatrician visit. 

Our biggest concern at the present is Chance’s aggression. We just can’t have him beating up kids, whether he means to or not. I’m not really all that concerned with his energy level or “lack of focus”. He IS three, and sometimes you just need to learn coping skills as you grow (and that’s for kids both with and without ADHD).    

My other big concern, of course, is the whole act of labeling. No one wants to see their kid labeled.

My frustration with these kinds of labels is that sometimes they draw new distinct lines within the range of “normalcy”, lines that weren’t there before. I think there is a big difference between someone who has a neurological or behavioral disorder that is affecting their quality of life – i.e. trouble in school, making friends, etc. – and someone who might just have strong personality traits, such as be a sensory seeker as part of a personality type.  (You know, like I’m sure many athletes are.)  Whereas the realm of normalcy used to be a broad band of personality types (with the edges of “normal” a little fuzzy), today it seems much narrower, the extremes (and not so extreme) getting nudged out and labeled. The tolerance for different types of people seems to be shrinking. I’ve seen the labels get used as a smoke screen for pre-judgment. Or used as an excuse to not put any effort into a child (“that ADHD kid is a lost cause”).  Or, worse, used as a reason to be more critical of those kids; pushing harder to “make them fit”. 

This isn’t about conforming or non-conforming. Some conforming is OK. Societal norms keep a lot of bad behavior in check. You know, not flinging shit at people, keeping your penis in your pants. I’m fairly certain we would have even more violence and crime than we already do if most of our society didn’t conform to the law. (And this is spoken by someone generally considered as pretty non-conformist.)

It’s about not squashing a child’s spirit! It’s about letting people be who they are, without facing censure. It’s about finding the best possible environments to let kids grow and thrive while still being themselves. 

Because I study literature I sometimes get nostalgic for those eras where often the great creative minds were drunks, or “angry”, or spacey, or paranoid nutjobs… and people just kind of rolled with it. Personality quirks were just… quirks, and your overall accomplishments counted for more than whether you “fit in”. Whereas I am so pleased by the great leaps we’ve made in medicine, I am sad that it seems to be classifying us into test tube people.

OK, warning, mini rant coming.  I personally don’t have hangups with ADHD or any other disorders – I did grow up with some experience of it, after all* – and whatever my son needs, my son needs. But I get awfully sick of other people’s issues. And their smug opinions about parenting. I frankly don’t give a rat’s ass what anyone thinks about my parenting, but don’t judge my three-year-old son. Don’t label him without knowing him. Don’t lecture at him when he’s running around just having fun. I don’t care whether you think he’s moving at an inappropriate speed or not. If he’s not running into anyone or hurting anyone, worry about your own kid and leave mine the fuck alone. (Can you tell I’ve had this happen?) 

I’m almost certain I will have more mini rants as this process goes on. Please bear with me. 

And everyone who has offered advice, support, nice comments... THANK YOU so much!  It means a lot.     - the weirdgirl


*I have two brothers who were diagnosed ADHD while young and my oldest brother is mentally disabled as well, though it is fairly minimal. Since I was the kid with “experience” I also got every special needs babysitting or tutoring job. For the record, some of those “out of control” kids that the other babysitters complained about really weren’t that bad. Thus, my cynicism of labels was born.  


Comments

Riley

I have a zillion remarks on this post. Or I could just say, "WORD!"

Chag

Other parents suck. I hope you said something.

Hannah

Sing it, sister. Chance is so lucky to have you as a mommy. Kick some arse.

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