Parenting an exceptional child is a challenging business, both for the exceptional child and their parent. As I begin to understand even more about Michael’s brain, I begin to see how he needs help in controlling his impulses, therapeutically and medically. And now the problem lies in finding the best treatment plan that will help him all around. The medication we have tried up to now did not help him like we had hoped. We are doing our best as parents to apply the strategies we have learned to help Michael control himself or learn from his mistakes. We also are learning better how to control ourselves and our reactions or overreactions to behaviors, though it is not always easy. Still, the right medication seems to be the missing key ingredient in helping Michael achieve a balance for his unique brain and for all of us to help him be at his best.
There are the challenging moments when peer pressure, puberty and any silliness is taken to the next step. I see my smart child make inappropriate choices in words and actions when I know he knows better. This is based on some misguided notion that friends expect him to do it, so he does it whether it is acceptable or not. Fortunately we are not talking about super socially deviant behavior, but it is still something that must be curbed so he could learn from it. I don’t want peer pressure taken further when alcohol, sex and drugs will come into the picture, and trust me, with my child in full fledged puberty all of the above are not that far away.
Then there are the moments when he is not only reachable, but wants to relate to me. Those are the precious moments where I want to cry as I think, “I have not lost him. I have not lost the connection. I must honor it and know that my little boy is still there, just maturing as I wanted him to.” Today, I noticed that Michael asked me to put down my phone and talk to him. I was finishing typing up a text quickly and did not know he was ready to interact.
“Mommy, I want to talk to you. Please put your phone down and listen to me.”
I did. Another time he shocked me when he asked me to stay and watch him play at an extracurricular activity.
“No, Mommy. Stay and watch me play tennis. Don’t come back when I am done.”
I had assumed he would have wanted me to leave, as all the older kids in the lessons are dropped off by their parents for an hour and then picked up when it is finished. But he asked if I could stay and said he liked that I was there.
The last medication we tried for attention made it harder for him to control aggression, so we are back to trying another medication. He is hardly having any aggressive outbursts, but I have to say since he came off of the last med, I am noticing more silly things and so-called verbal diarrhea. He also is admitting that he needs help to focus in class as he is having a harder time there again. On a positive note, he is starting to keep better track of things, listening and following his routine. This was even better when on his ADHD meds though.
He also asked me if I was proud of him. I told him that when he listens, focuses and does a great job or tries his best, I am extremely proud of him. When he is silly, deliberately copying negative behavior from friends, I am disappointed as I know he can do better as he is a smart kid. I hope I am not stifling his self-confidence, but want him to know that appropriate behavior is expected of him, and that I know he can deliver it even with challenges.
Dad and I bring up medication as another tool that he can use to help him make the most of his amazing brain and focusing so he can learn and do his best, both academically and socially. We want him healthy and happy most important of all, and the way to be balanced for anyone, is to have a quality of life where we are in control of our thoughts and actions. Then we can give the world our best. Hopefully, this new medication can help him do that.
Exceptional Parents, how has medication helped or hindered your Exceptional Child? It has to be a fine balance with finding the right medication and therapy to help your Exceptional Child. As a parent, you need to keep advocating, working with your child, and believing their team will only want what’s best for them-personal and academic success that will help them achieve what they are meant to achieve. Keep an open mind and keep encouraging your Exceptional Child’s gifts. That will help them in the final stretch. Until next time.