Sunday, December 14, 2008

Conflicted

I've decided to follow Alice's advice and just refer to my girls by their first initial here in the blog. It will make it easier on me and still keep them safe. So my oldest will hereafter be referred to as S, and the little one is R.

**Disclaimer** The following post will probably contain a certain amount of complaining, horn-tooting, and pity party-ing. Run on sentences and TMI possible...

I'm sure I have alluded several times in posts as to the struggles that we sometimes have with S, age 6. I am at a point where I need to vent a little, so I'll use the blog as an outlet. Let me start by saying that my daughter is one of my 3 favorite people on earth and a beautiful child, inside and out. She is smart, funny, and adventurous. Academically, she is at the top of her class. Her math and spelling averages are both over 100 and she reads on a high-3rd grade level (in first grade!). To say I'm proud is an understatement! She is amazing at gymnastics, particularly on balance beam which takes so much concentration. She sings, dances, cheers, and was the star of her school play last month. She is amazingly kind and caring, a natural helper, and is a friend to all. She is a wonderful child and I can't wait to see what she will become as she grows up.

While she is all of these wonderful things, she also has a very hard time focusing at home and at school. I find myself fussing, yelling, at her every day to follow directions, listen, hurry up, do what I said, etc... At school, she needs constant redirection to get things done. She is always trying to help the children around her, instead of doing her own work. Several times she has had to stay in from playtime to get her work done because she is too distracted during work time. Paying attention, focusing, and concentrating are very hard for her. She is also extremely impulsive, VERY energetic, and just plain wiggly. In teacher terms, she is not a behavior problem, but very high maintenance. According to the pediatrician, she shows many symptoms and tendencies toward ADHD, but he thinks she is too young for a diagnosis or medication. As a teacher, I totally agree and wouldn't hesitate to say that she is totally ADHD.

Here is my frustration: At work, I have it all together. I'm really good at what I do. I've been teacher of the year for my school, finalist teacher of the year for my school system, nominated for national teacher awards twice, curriculum lead teacher at my school (where I had to teach other teachers and did not enjoy it), principal's advisory council, school improvement team, etc.... You get the idea. I have always hated the planning part, but the discipline and classroom management part has always come so easily. I can walk into a room full of 1st graders and have them eating out of my hand. 5th graders love me. My 2nd and 3rd graders cheer when I come to get them. I know I am in the right profession, although I wish it did pay more. At school, I am wonder woman.

At home, not so much. If I am such a great teacher, why can I not control my own child? I have tried every trick in the book with S. Nothing works. I know it is not her fault that she can't focus, but I am on edge every day from the minute we walk in the door until the kids are in bed and I'm just tired of it. I want my children to remember happy mommy, not fussy mommy, and I'm always fussy mommy. Being a teacher makes me even more uptight about my girls' behavior b/c I see kids at school that I do NOT want them to become. I said to B the other day that I think either S needs to be put on medicine or I do. Seriously. I've seen so many children benefit from medication for ADHD, and I would like to try it with S, but he is very sceptical. He's afraid of the long term effects on her body, which does worry me too. I've also heard of children like S benefitting from alternative methods to medication, such as massage therapy and diet changes. I'm totally willing to try whatever it takes and what hyper kid wouldn't calm down from massages?

I guess we are at a point where we've got to make some decisions. Right now is such a crazy time of year and no child can behave in December, so I think we'd be better off waiting until after the holidays when things settle down a little. The bottom line for me is that I want my children to be happy. I do not want S to feel like she is in trouble every day, for her to feel like we are always dumping on her (which we do), for her to think that we don't love her as much as her non-ADHD sister, or for her to just feel somehow not good enough. I want her to know how awesome she is and I want to be able to enjoy her personality every day. I want to feel as good about my parenting skills as I do about my teaching skills, because being a parent is a much more important job in my opinion.

5 comments:

Alice said...

I am the last person to give advice on child raising. I am sure that everyone out there has had to deal with some sort of struggle that makes us parents think that 1-we suck 2-we need meds But, I bet if you were to ask you mom what her challenges were, she may tell you some of the same things you are saying with S. I have always thought you do an amazing job with your kids. They are so polite and helpful and nice to all of your friends. I hope that R turns out like that too....

Anonymous said...

My stepson has been diagnosed with ADHD and is in kindergarten. Before being diagnosed and put on medication, he was having a very hard time, focusing at daycare and home, horrible temper if he didn't get his way, etc. to the point where he was almost asked to leave his daycare. He now wears a patch of ritaylin (sp?) and it has made all the difference in the world. Our hopes are that he will not always have to wear it, but right now he needs the help to focus, to learn, etc. The doctors tried several differnt medications before finding the one that worked best for him and for a few months it was pretty tough, but now several months later he is like a different kid. I remember when he was being tested he was asked to sit at a computer and not touch the keys until the screen prompted him to and he couldn't do it. It was like he had ants in his pants, just couldn't sit still. Mornings are still rough because it takes about 30 minutes for his medicine to kick in but by the time he reaches school he has settled down.

Stacie

BennyD said...

Your description of 'S' sounds exactly like my 5-yr old boy 'E'. Lack of focus, and very wiggly. Very smart - but finds himself in timeout a lot.

Behavioral therapist says ADHD - but I am not ready to jump right in with the meds. Not to say I won't down the road, but for now - want to get through the first year of kindergarten.

Best of luck...sounds like we are going thru he same thing...

ProfSeeman said...

You make some good points above.
However, I also think that this can be helpful to you:
The book and Training Video: PREVENTING Classroom Discipline Problems

If you can get this book and video: [they are in many libraries, so you don't have to buy them] email me and I can refer you to the sections of the book and video [that demonstrates the effective vs. the ineffective teacher] that can help you.



If your library does not have them, you can get them at:

http://www.panix.com/~pro-ed/

that are also used at this online course:
www.ClassroomManagementOnline.com



See: Reviews at: http://classroommanagementonline.com/comteach.html



If you cannot get the book or video, email me anyway, and I will try to help.


Best regards,

Howard

Howard Seeman, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus,
City Univ. of New York



Prof. Seeman
Hokaja@aol.com

Reynie said...

Seeing how i have no children, I am not the one to give advice on the subject. I can offer up some encouraging words though. You are obviously good with kids so I'm sure you are handling it well. I'm sure you are doing what you think is best for your child based on what you know. Keep your head up and hug her often.