Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Difference Between My Kids and Yours

Today my Sadie came in crying because her best friends were ignoring her which I quickly realized may or may not have been true. That's not the issue though. What's important is realizing what she experienced. One mom might see this as her being whiny. Another mom might be sympathetic. This mom right here, has a tendency to be the "you're being whiny" mom. Being sympathetic to my own kids has been a really hard concept for me lately primarily because I'm doing it on my own right now. This has been a very good experience though, because I've also become way more aware and therefore empathetic to the vast range of parent/child relationships I'm surrounded by in my life. 

Jackson, my oldest, often gets really frustrated and he will cry or get so mad/sad that he goes to his room. I've heard the words that come from other parents who either think he's overreacting or he's too old to "act that way". 

Sadie struggles with anxiety. Today at church she did not want to go to the front to be spotlighted without me coming with her. 7 kids went up before her without a hitch. She doesn't like talking to strangers but is more than comfortable talking to people she knows. She needs to know dates and times and how's for mostly everything. I see the looks that come from other moms and dads when she is crying over these things. 
I was actually trying to take this picture without them looking but Sadie had just been called up (again) and was starting to cry (again). Jackson had put his arm around her the first time she didn't want to go and offered to go with her. 
The reason I bring these things up is because your kids haven't had the same experiences as mine have and vice versa. It's easy for you to point out that my kids cry a lot because yours use different coping skills and it's something you're simply not used to. It's easy for you to say that you think my son might have ADD because he doesn't like sitting still for 4 hours. That's okay. 

I struggle with my reaction though. I'm not sure what to say. Because I don't see these things as being negative. What do/would you say? 

Yesterday we sat around with some educated friends of ours, one of whom is a psychologist. He was talking about how we have widely broadened our verdicts of mental health issues so that everything that might be perceived as normal 10 years ago is now quickly defined as being on the Autism spectrum or having ADHD, among other things. In reality these ever-expanding diagnoses need to be reserved for those who really suffer from these often-crippling issues. I also feel like the diagnosis needs to be given by the most knowledgeable people: the kids' own parents and their trusted health professionals.

I'm not naive to think that Sadie's anxiety is normal, because I actually think it isn't. However, I am not a doctor, but I am her mom and I know her better than anyone else. I know that when she was 2, her Dad left for a little while and when he came back, she really struggled. And since that time, she has continued to struggle with people leaving hence her desire to the whereabouts of the people she loves at all times. I can see from the outside where it seems excessive that she hates being separated from us, but I get it for now. We process in the ways we are capable of until we are able to see professionals for more tools. 

In the meantime, I think we all need to save our stares and our speeches for our blogs or journals and not give them to each other. We are all doing the best we can. Have you ever been confronted with this parenting conundrum or is it just me? lol.

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