So this is a happy ending to a VERY tough week. This week started off difficult with Michael being super anxious and angry. I had a hard time reigning myself in and Dad too had his challenges. Suffice it to say, by Wednesday night, I was done. Drained, and though I was looking forward to my spa getaway with a girlfriend near the end of the long weekend, I was also worried. How would he do with Dad alone? How would I enjoy myself worried about them? I’d emailed his psychiatrist and educator telling them I wanted to stop the current ADHD medication he was taking. I was worried it was affecting his self-regulation and I was so stressed watching for the side effects. His psychiatrist had agreed to me trying it, but then I remembered something. I’ve been so nervous so long about medication. Michael has tried so many that didn’t work, and made his symptoms worse. His Educator had gently warned me, that I may be worrying so much that I am parenting differently, with less calm and focus, and that this may be tipping the balance. After going to bed early on Wednesday evening, I woke up Thursday morning determined to see if maybe she was right. What if I was inadvertently accelerating his anxiety in some way due to my stress level? I made myself a promise. If after the end of the long weekend on Monday night things had not gotten better, I would stop the medication. I spoke to Dad. He agreed and said he would make a conscious effort too to see if he could be calmer and keep himself in check. Well, the wonderful thing was that from Thursday to Monday evening, things did get better! Michael’s anxiety and anger started to decrease, AND he expressed more remorse for his negative actions as well as started using the new tools we had been working on prior to self-regulate. It was not a perfect weekend, but overall went so smoothly, that I did not worry going away on my overnight spa trip with a friend. I came home to a content husband and son.
What do I think may have helped turn things around? Well, first and foremost, I truly believe that Michael picked up on mine and Dad’s positive calm manner and the direct way we began speaking to him about what we expect in terms of behavior. Secondly, we worked with him on finding an anger management strategy that can work for him to use as an intermediary when he gets angry. He has started using it almost immediately, and it has helped him calm down. Third of all, we have looked honestly at routines in the day and evening that work and do not. We have changed those that do not work and stuck to those that do. The thing is though, we have asked for Michael’s input so he feels some control over these changes. This has helped tremendously. Finally, when one or both of us parents has made an error such as discussing something stressful in front of him, losing our temper, or not being clear, we have admitted it, first to ourselves, then to the other parent, then to Michael. This is so important for learning purpose for all of us, and for Michael to know that adults make mistake too.
Exceptional Parents, how do you make parenting decisions about medication and therapy when it comes to your child? Do you make a list? Do you think of the pros and cons? Do you consult others? I’m sure to some degrees, we all do the above. However, in the end, I truly think that all of us use the most important decision making factor in making a choice, we listen to our parenting gut and what it says about our child and ourselves. If we make decisions form this standpoint, I believe we will not be led astray. Until next time.
Are you looking for support for challenging behaviors in your children? Do you feel alone and stuck as an exceptional parent? I know what you are going through. For further information on my programs, or to reach out to talk and connect, see my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help you to live life happy, whole and in balance with yourself and your family.