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When your child doesn't turn out to be the child you expected :( When your child doesn't turn out to be the child you expected :(

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  #1  
Unread 10-26-2002, 04:57 PM
When your child doesn't turn out to be the child you expected :(

Some of you may already know that our oldest child, an 11 yo boy, has ADHD and that we've been having lots and lots of problems with him, for a number of years. And, this year, which should be his last year of Grade School (in our school system, HS starts after the 6th grade) has been the worst, by far. Needless to say, it's been a very hard road for my dh and I. And for DS.

One of the things that is the hardest, when you're dealing with a child who's "different" is that it often means the end of our dreams. You see, when parents a expecting, they have this image of what the child will be. Unless a disability is identified during pregnancy, that image almost always involves a healthy, socially functionning child. I almost never involves a child who cannot adapt to society.

In our case, it was doubly hard to adapt because we had high hopes for our child: very early in his childhood, we realized that he was extremely advanced intellectually, which, falsely, led us to believe that he would succeed remarkably in school. We never, ever, imagined that he wouldn't be able to function, at all. What a disappointment it was when we began getting "the calls". Human nature got the better of us, and we accused the school system, the principals, the teachers, the other kids, ourselves, the long lunch hour, for his problems. At one point, I was convinced that he was being "punished" because he was brighter than the others. Always, we figured that, eventually, he'd adapt, or the school would adapt, and that the problems would stop. We almost succeeded: for most of the 4th grade, we didn't any calls at all. However, instead of paving the road for a calm end of Grade School, it paved the way to an even ruder awakening when we realized the problems were only dormant, not gone.

I think that the way we feel about all of this is probably a normal part of any grieving process: denial, anger, sadness... it's all there. However, unlike a normal grieving process, where you eventually come to terms with the situation, since we've had so many, many ups and downs, it seems that the cycle is always starting over.

All I know is that I'm sick and tired of fighting. I'm sick and tired of second guessing myself all the time: are we too soft? are we too harsh? are we right? are we wrong? is it our fault? and the list goes on and on and on and on.

I think the hardest part is when others are talking about their children's achievements in school. And here I am, with a child who's not even attending school (he's been suspended... again) Somedays, I will not even bring up how good my precious DD is doing, just because it means admitting my DS is simply not doing at all.

I also have a hard time accepting that this exceptionally bright child may not turn out to be the doctor or lawyer or scientist I figured he would be, simply because he'll most likely turn into a school drop out. What a waste of talent

Yes, it's hard when you don't have the "normal" child you expected
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  #2  
Unread 10-26-2002, 11:32 PM
When your child doesn't turn out to be the child you expected :(

Oh Dany thank you for this post, I know other ladies will see themselves and their children in your story... one thing I know for sure is that this is not your fault. You are a wonderful woman and I am sure you and DH are fantastic parents. It isn't about you at all, and yet you are the ones who have to suffer most of the distress about it. And also your DD. I know it's hard, but please try not to punish her for her DS's problems... punish is too strong a word, but you know what I mean. She deserves to be celebrated for the beautiful child she is and it's not fair to take that away from her. I'm sure your DS would understand if he could think about her feelings.

Maybe somehow something will happen that will allow your DS to find a niche where he fits in well and can function effectively. Don't give up hope. The important thing is that he know that you and your DH love him even when you don't like what he is doing. This is hard enough for parents of "normal" children, whatever that means, but when a child has a "difference" it can be even harder. You are a very strong woman to be doing this, especially with the pain you have been in too. He might not say it, but I'm sure somehow your DS appreciates that.

We you Dany, and hope things will get easier for you soon.
s,
-Linda
  #3  
Unread 10-27-2002, 02:44 AM
When your child doesn't turn out to be the child you expected :(

Ahhhhhh Dany sweetie....


for you my friend.

It really does have to be hard in dealing with something like this, what an emotional roller coaster you must be on.

As a Program Director for the Boys and Girls clubs I have worked with tons of kids at all age levals, different backrounds, different medical conditions, just all kinds. I know working with children like this is a challange and can only imagine what living with one must be like. I can only try to offer a few suggestions and a shoulder whenever you need one...

For starters...is he on any meds of any kind? They have a brand new one that is time released for ADHA kids and is supposed to be 10x better than anything ritilan put out. I know the thought of haveing kids on meds is not a good one..but you need a break here.

Does your state have any kind of school that is not within the regular school. Here in Fla (and in Ca) there are a couple of schools available for kids that can't work in a normal school enviorment. It's for kids with anger probs and ADHA and kids that just don't do well in a large group. Try calling your school board and see if there are. I know parents who said when they put thier kids in this kind of school the kids did such a turn around that it just amazed them. The kids were happier at school and therefore did better at home. The teachers were better equipped to handle the probs that the kids had and WORKED with the parents which goes a long way in helping as I'm sure you know it would.

Have you tried to find a support group in your area for parents of children like yours? A lot of hospitals have them. You might find resourses that you never knew were out there by talking to other parents in your own area. Sometimes just getting ideas from others goes a long way. ( we know that well don't we.. )

Does your son know any others like him? Is there a group out there HE can join? I had to put my DD in a group in grade school called "The winners circle" this was offered after school and was for kids having probs with emotional issues and gave them an outlet with other kids in her own age group going thru the same thing she was. It really worked wonders and she came away from each session with esteem and confidence. It almost sounds like maybe your son is haveing a bad circle of his own developeing. The more trouble he gets into, the worse he feels inside, the more he acts out, which makes him get into more trouble. Is he in any kind of counsleing at all? Does he play sports of anykind? maybe something that he likes that isn't mainstream like bowling or skating? Baseball and things like that might be to much as it is a larger group.

I'm just throwing ideas sweetie...I understand to well what your going thru as I have had many parents come to me and ask what can I do to help them. When I worked for the club I learned to keep these kids as low key as possible and got them into nature and things that took not to much thinking on thier part. I had to work hard to find something that they liked and could get totally involved in. What are his intrestes? what does he LIKE to do? I can look in some books I still have on our core programs and see if I can come up with anything else for you.

I'll help where I can Dany....and if I can't help...I can sure offer tons of love and

Dawn
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  #4  
Unread 10-27-2002, 04:59 AM
When your child doesn't turn out to be the child you expected :(

Dany
This is the kindest, most loving, but yet, heartbreaking story. I see many things here. This post tells a story of making a marriage work , doing your best at keeping DD in a smooth uplifting path in her childhood, coping with your sons illness and most of all , keeping yourself together so you can pull all of this in a bundle and make it work. I can't offer any help. I have no magic to give you. All I can do is offer a listening ear and a soft shoulder. Thank you for posting this here. I know you are not alone in your struggles and maybe, just maybe you ladies can help each other in some significant way. My are with you and your family as you do your best to fight this illness. Keep us posted on your struggles here, will you? We're here to listen....always. Karlene
  #5  
Unread 10-27-2002, 06:05 AM
When your child doesn't turn out to be the child you expected :(

Thanks you so much for the words of comfort It helps, believe me.

I must admit I'm always amazed when I'm qualified as being "strong" when, most of the time, I feel so helpless. But I guess I am strong... just drained.

(((Dawn)))) I'll try and answer some of your questions:

1) Yes he's medicated and is actually doing well on regular Ritalin. I know about the other meds, including Concerta. However, I'm in Canada and, currently, neither Adderall nor Concerta are available. I don't even know if Wellbutrin is approved for treating ADHD. So I'm very thankful that it's working.

2) I live in the Province of Quebec in the National Capital Region and we are in School District where special needs are integrated in the Regular Classroom. The idea was good: include them in the Regular Classroom, and have aids available for them. However, the way it actually works is that they're in the Regular Classroom, with Special Ed techs intervening when they need help, due to funding cutbacks. There are no special schools because of the region's particular profile: we are too close to the Province of Ontario and that makes a student base that is just too small on both sides.

3) Support groups? There have been several organizations that have been trying to put together support groups, but they simply weren't able to. I know there is a CHADD chapter that meets once a month in Ottawa, but I've never gotten around to attending... not because it's too far... just because.

4) He does know a few other kids who also have problems. There's even one in his class who's profile is very close to his: he's ahead accademically and behind emotionnally, but he's alienated himself to all kids this year, with his extreme behavior.

This year, I'm getting involved in the Special Ed committee at the School Board level and hope to make some headways there. I know the head of the program: she was our school's principal until last year... that might help, because she knows him and knows how hard we've been working.

Thanks for the suggestions, Dawn and keep them coming: even though they may not help me, because of where we are, it might help others who are in the same boat
  #6  
Unread 10-27-2002, 06:09 AM
When your child doesn't turn out to be the child you expected :(

Dany, My oldest child was ADHD. He also suffered (and still does) from a moderate hearing loss. He is nearly deaf in one ear and has a mild hearing loss in the other. He attended Special Education classes at school from Grade 2 until he graduated. I know the heartbreak of seeing your child taunted at school because other children see him as "different". Children with ADHD are at a disadvantage because their handicap is invisible. I'll tell you this though.....despite all the difficulties, he has brought me much joy.

My son graduated from High School. Yes, his classes were different. They didn't prepare him for college, but they did prepare him for life after graduation. He learned how to balance a checkbook, fill out job applications, etc. He works, not at one job but two. He works behind the deli counter in a supermarket and is a manager at a laundromat a few nights a week.

John and his two siblings have learned to get along. They aren't children anymore, and they realized that they love each other. There are times when John and his younger brother argue and it still bothers me. But those times are getting less frequent and life is getting easier.

Never stop telling him (and your daughter) how wonderful he is. Let him know that he's important. Things are difficult now, but children grow up, and it does get easier.

  #7  
Unread 10-27-2002, 06:19 AM
When your child doesn't turn out to be the child you expected :(

((((Catherine))))) Thank you sooooo much for sharing your story. Yes, I know that ADHDers can make as adults. I'm actually a good proof of it: I have it, as does my DH. In both our case, we were never diagnosed: we found out that the profile fit us when we were investigating it for our DS. However, the difference is that both of us fit in the school system. I was just very inattentive. DH also was hyperactive. And both still are inattentive and hyperactive: as you know there is no cure for this condition.

I'm sooooo proud of your son and yourself: he's made it and he's an adult who's functionning in society. And he graduated from HS. Knowing what I know now, I know there must have been days where you doubted this would ever happen BTW, my sister and I still argue, and I'm 46 and she's 36.... I think it's a part of being siblings that never really changes.. just like loving each other and getting along never changes
  #8  
Unread 10-27-2002, 08:38 AM
When your child doesn't turn out to be the child you expected :(

Hi Dany!!! Just want to give you big s
Love
Sandy
Lavh
  #9  
Unread 11-07-2002, 04:30 AM
When your child doesn't turn out to be the child you expected :(

Hi Dany. My story is not like yours, yet in some ways it is.
My daughter is normal, yet during the last year of grade school and during junior high and high school we went thru nightmares with her. They did in fact test her for ADD. She didn't have it.
It was so frustrating because we knew she was smart. She just didn't like school. Emotionally I know now she was a year or two behind and this made it difficult for her.
She smoked pot at 13 which increased the problems. At 15 she and three friends stole my son's car and drove to New York City from New Hampshire. None of them had a license. The one girl who had had two lessons with her mother drove. They were not stopped. They came home three days later. They had slept in the car. In her junior year they made her repeat. In her senior year she dropped out in April.
We were devestated. What had we done? Why? It was so frustrating to see all that potential wasted.
I signed her into a drug rehab program that was an after school program and that helped for a short period, but things got worse.
She hadn't turned out to be the child I wanted. She was also very overweight and did not look after herself. She was embarassing.
She stole my most expensive jewellery and sold it to buy pot.
I felt violated. She couldn't be my daughter.
Finally I couldn't take it any more. We fought and she moved out.
Now for the good part. After a summer spent bumming around, living with friends etc. working full time though for a friend of mine who was good enough to help, she realized she had to go back to school. She moved in with her father (we are divorced) because I could not bring myself to be disappointed again. I told her so. I told her I felt she had a safe place to stay with her father and she was going to have to earn her way back in my life.
It was so hard to do and say. I wanted things to be like they were when she was little. I wanted her home, but as the daughter I dreamed of.
She did graduate. Barely. She was only doing what she had to but still it was a wonderful day and a sigh of relief from me.
The summer of graduation she worked at the full time job with my friend.
Then she got a job at the local elementary school as a special needs aide with a pre-school program they had.
Suddenly, she changed. She saw how hard these children had to try and how sad they were, but how funny and sweet too.
She loved them. She became the girl I used to know. The teacher loved her and her confidence grew. It became her life. She was afraid to go out drinking or smoking pot because if she were caught she would lose her job. That couldn't happen.
This last September she enrolled at the State tech college full time in early childhood education. She is doing well. She wants to go to a 4 yr school once she has good grades to show (her hs grades are too low so she needs this) and she hopes to eventually get her masters and teach special needs or perhaps speech therapy for young children.
Of course there is still a long way to go, but she has become a daughter I am proud of again.
My daughter feels that she enjoys the special needs children more than "normal" children. She is very special to be able to feel this way. I am also thankful to the children who showed her a goal in life.
Pam
  #10  
Unread 11-07-2002, 06:08 AM
When your child doesn't turn out to be the child you expected :(

ARRGH!! I just wrote a long (too long!) reply, and lost it as soon as I hit "post" !

I just wanted to tell you that I admire your strength, Dany! I've drawn much courage from reading your posts over the last year, and this one especially touched my

I don't have time to re-write everything, but I wanted you to know you have many shoulders here who are going through this too. You know we'll all be here for you!

I have a son and a step-son, both 9. SS has been diagnosed and put on meds after just one visit to the family physician! He is on Adderall, which has caused him to become borderline anorexic. My DS has not been diagnosed by a doc, but I did go through the process. I was required to have at least 6 evaluations in writing by teachers, former teachers, counselors, etc., before the child psychologist would make an appt! He said that he was not ADHD. I suppose mine just needs more spankings,

Anyway, sending love and s! Keep hanging in there, even though it's hard. We're here for you!

Stacey
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