I’m going to start my story with the ending because it is a happy ending. My son, who was born in 1992, is now a grown man. A man who is self-sufficient and lives on his own with a nice home and a great job. He is funny, interesting, smart, and motivated. He enjoys spending time with his Dad and me, and we enjoy being with him.
Why do I start at the end? Because any parent who has a difficult, sensitive, oppositional, or challenging child, needs to see a happy ending. You need to know that the child that you worry so much about today can have a bright and successful future.
My son was hard from the moment he was born. He cried for hours and we could not seem to calm or reassure him. We tried endless cycles of feed, change, play, and comfort. Cycles that never resulted in a happy or satisfied baby.
The crying eventually subsided but the challenges had just begun. The first daycare we chose, decided that he was too much to handle and asked us to find another child care provider. The problems with institutions had begun and would continue throughout his school years.
There was no doctor, therapist, program, or specialist that we didn’t seek out to help us “fix” him and fix us. The time and money we invested were overwhelming and the disappointment made us weary and discouraged.
A group of friends that all had babies together, knew we were struggling more than they were but none knew how to help us. From suggestions to change his diet to recommending professionals, they tried to help but watched helplessly as we fought on.
Navigating the school system opened up a whole new world of complications and difficult choices for our family. We chose to work with the teachers who tried to help him and developed a cooperative relationship versus seeing the teachers as adversaries.
That is a decision we never regretted. I saw parents who chose to fight and decided we would build a common goal to help our son and not fight the people who could help us.
The teen years can be difficult for all parents as kids push back and rebel. If your child is hard, it only gets harder during the teen years. The emotional toll intensifies as you realize that the mistakes of adolescence, can follow a child for a lifetime. Somehow we survived and so did he.
The worry, exhaustion, fear, and loneliness of raising a challenging child, has motivated me to share my experiences and my hope. You can end up with a happy, productive adult and enjoy an interesting, creative person on the other side.