This past week has been a week of changes for our family. Changes that have taken a lot of thought, prayer and faith, lot's of faith!!
Our son who is 16 was diagnosed with ADHD in the 8th grade. It has been a challenging time for all of us. I had suspected something since 3rd grade but was always told by the teachers that he just needed to sit and behave. I was told time and time again that he was the class clown. My husband and I just thought that the teachers were right, he was a clown and he was "all boy". He is the baby of our family. With 2 older sisters who thought everything he did as a little boy was funny. And I have to admit that he is a comedian, it runs in the family, my husbands and mine.
But something changed 5 years ago. What our family endured with our oldest daughter, had a bigger affect on our son than we knew. In 8th grade he started to become very angry. In fact violent at times. Especially towards his dad. It was at this time we contacted a psychologist and at the first visit she suggested that we have him tested for ADHD. It was as if a light finally went on and someone was seeing what we had suspected. It was a relief or so I thought. He was tested and put on medication. Medication we thought that would help and solve part of the problems he was having. Medication only made things worse. Trying to get on the right medication and the right dose has been a nightmare. It has made him feel different, in fact sometimes he hasn't felt good while taking it. This past summer he decided to not take it and we felt that he was old enough to make that decision. And it seemed that he really only needed it for school to help him focus. When school started this year he again started taking the medicine. For the first few weeks he did well, his grades were good, but then everything started to go downhill. He's a smart kid so we just didn't understand why is was so difficult for him. Highschool is tough, but a student who has ADHD and anger problems it can be a nightmare. We realized that he was suffering from depression. I started doing some research on his medication and realized that depression is one of the side effects from it. We had him stop taking it and are now seeking out alternative and natural treatments. Fish oil is one of them. People who suffer from ADD/ADHD have significant lower levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil or flaxseed oil is given to them and it has shown positive results. We are also making sure that his diet provides him with the right foods. We are hopeful that this will help. I have read many comments from parents who have tried this and are saying that they have seen great results.
This year he also became a target for some of the teachers because of his behavior problems. He started getting into trouble and sometimes he actually didn't do anything, they just assumed it was him when something went wrong or they would pick out small little things that he would get in trouble for, that other students were not called out on and he would become angry. Now I'm not saying that he is an angel, he instigated a few things with the teachers. But since he started Kindergarten I have been one of those parents that is in constant communication with teachers and administrators. I have fought hard for my son to get the best education. Last year my husband and I tried to get him to be allowed to have a few extra minutes to take exams or a little more time for homework. Unfortunately each time we spoke to a teacher we were told no. Even after explaining the situation to them and everything that we had been through it was like talking to a brick wall. So we went to the administrators and asked for him to be filed under a plan that would allow him the extra time and help. We were told that it was a lot of paper work for them and they didn't feel it was needed. At conferences I was always asked, "Is there something going on in your home?", or "can you tell me what I can do to make sure he does his work?". "Are you kidding me? I have told you but you don't listen." That's what I wanted to say, but then I would repeat everything I had already told them and they would shake their heads and have this look as if they understood me, but with their eyes a little too glassy. I was always made to feel that it was my fault. I wasn't a good enough parent.
Well this past week after an incident at school and my son telling me that two of his teachers singled him out in class and told him he was worthless and would never amount to anything, we made the decision to pull him out of the school and homeschool him. He is a junior, so it was a tough decision to make. We talked with him and gave him a few options of what we could do and after a lot of thought and prayer he decided to be homeschooled. When his dad and I agreed and I had spoken to the person who is the director for the homeschooling in our city and I told him it was okay, he started jumping up and down and had a smile on his face that went from ear to ear. I hadn't seen him smile like that in a long time. He said he finally felt as if a weight had been lifted off of him. He can't believe how wonderful it is to have that pressure gone.
He has a hard road ahead of him, but one that he is happy to be on. This will help him to achieve the self-discipline and responsibility that he needs in his life. It will also give him a chance to feel proud of himself, one thing that has been lacking in his life, even though his dad and I constantly tell him how much we love him and how much we want him to have a good life.
We also visited a Marine recruiter this past week. He has always talked about going into the military and he wants to be a Marine. The Marines do not allow anyone to join who is on ADHD medication, so that was another reason to try alternative treatments. The recruiter asked me what I thought about him joining and I said that it scared me. As a parent you are always trying to protect your child from the dangers of the world and here he wants to put himself right smack dab in the middle of the most dangers parts of the world. I also said that if he becomes a Marine, I would be the proudest Marine mom there ever was. I told him that I had a lot of faith. Faith that he would be taken care of and protected. Faith that either he would come home to us or home to his Father, either way I know he would be okay.
Changes. Big and small. That's life. The journey will be rocky at times, but with God beside us, it will be worth it. The smile on my son's face is proof enough.