This month hopefully brings new starts and new beginnings. My son just barely started taking medicine to treat his ADHD/ODD symptoms. This is a big thing for me because I was completely against putting my son on any strong pharmaceutical drugs. I was afraid of the side effects that it could create. He lasted two years without a psychiatrist. He started therapy with a psychologist and it helped him a lot. His anger wasn't as bad and his impulses lessened. After graduating from kindergarten at a private school, I decided to have him repeat kindergarten at a new school, a public school. I felt bad because I was holding him back but I am so glad of my decision because he was struggling with his work and now he is so successful. Being born in December might be a reason for his learning abilities but I never blamed anyone for it. Raising a child with ADHD is difficult enough, but raising a child with ODD is so stressful. Many people have heard of ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, but not many people have heard of ODD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder. It's much more different than a disobedient child. Sometimes, it can be from an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. I struggled with my son for two years now, and I started him on holistic medicine that was made by a holistic doctor. It helped a little bit, but I felt like I was just trying to let my son work out his frustrations with his psychologist. After trying out the holistic approach for eight months, I finally chose the pharmaceutical route. The psychiatrist was very emotionless, which kind of scared me, but at least he was not reacting to my son's erratic behavior. When I say erratic, I mean that he was throwing a ball around, moving chairs and couldn't keep still. It was very embarrassing but at least the doctor could see what I was dealing with. It broke my heart when I realized that all the behaviors that I checked off on the list was all but a few that dealt with stealing and running away. I finally accepted that my son's ODD was probably genetic from his paternal side and I had to face it now before it got any worse. I think that was also the point when I realized that my son needed something to help him function better so that he would be able to learn better and lead a more peaceful life. After picking up the medicine, I prayed that it would work and wouldn't hurt him.
It's been six days since he's taken the medicine, and I have not had one bad remark about him since then. I was so used to getting a phone call from the office or the teacher pulling me aside after class that it was a shock and a relief to hear that his behavior had improved much better. My biggest fear was that my active and sweet little boy would become lethargic like a zombie, but it was better because his sweet side shined and he was able to focus better in class. I look to this as an answer to my prayers because was crying every night before I went to bed. Not many people understand the difficulty of raising a child with behavior issues. It's not because I'm a bad parent, it's because he had something that he could not control on his own. Some people think very negatively about ODD, but now that I have a child with this disorder, I think otherwise because it is actually a disability. I hope that some people think twice about a child if he or she is misbehaving. If the parent is struggling and looks exhausted, it might not just be a child acting badly, it might be more than that. The child might not have control of his or her actions. Children with autism are sometimes looked at badly but it's not their fault that they can't help what they can or can't control. The parents of children with disabilities should be applauded because they have the hardest job.
Another difficult job is being a single parent. Sure, I have my boyfriend helping me but since he's working on a different island, I feel like a single parent all over again. I'm so lucky to have found someone to love me and also love my son like his own because I made it clear that I come with baggage. He has been in my son's life since my son was a year old. Last month, my boyfriend had to work on a different island and my son took it very hard, acting out badly in school and at home. I really felt like a single parent then because I did it all on my own while taking two summer school courses.
You see, I had to act as a single mom of a child with ADHD and ODD last month and it was not the easiest task in the world. Being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Being a mom is a 24/7 job. Being a parent of a child with disabilities takes over your life. Being a single parent takes dedication and hard work. Being a college mom means learning how to balance your priorities and putting your child before anything and everything.
It took many meltdowns and crying to my friends to make me realize that I am not a failure. They remind me that I am a good parent for trying to take care of my son now rather than later. They tell me that I have done the right thing for seeking help in any way possible. They tell me that I am unselfish and loving for quitting my job to take care of my son and to finish school to give him a better life.
I have finally realized that I AM a good parent.