As a parent, you have a tremendous amount of influence in your child’s life – for a long time you are the only influence. As the years go by, the kids get older and they start to find their own way. As a parent, the choices you make for your children not only influence them but sometimes take them down a road that might ultimately effect their lives long term. For instance, my mom signed me up for ballet as do many mothers of girls. She had no idea that I would dance for many years after that, she thought she was just broadening my horizons.
Anyway, Friday I took Drew for his physical. We went through the normal things – his growth, his cognitive abilities, an overall inspection, etc. For a few days before hand I contemplated my discussion with the doctor. The doctor can examine certain behaviors before her very own eyes. She can review vitals and get an impression there. She can even take blood work that can lead to some definitive answers. When it comes to behavior, mental health and certain abilities, a lot of that feedback has to come from the parent.
I read a book for work called “How Doctors Think” by Jerome Groopman. One of the thing that he discusses is the fact that a doctor needs to weed through the information they get. The doctor needs to understand the source, evaluate the patient and come to a conclusion. The pressure I felt over the fact that the doctor could come to some conclusion solely on my feedback was intense. Of course I’m confident enough in our pediatrician to know that she has the ability to do the same thing that Groopman discusses but I was still concerned on the impression I would provide.
I can go on and on about my feelings, concerns and issues with Drew but the bottom line is that I’m no day in the park either. Some of my challenges with Drew could have to do with how I handle the challenges (i.e. get anxious, overreact, and over analyze the whole exchange). That being said, school has definitely also struggled with him which leads me to believe that some of these challenges are universal to whomever he encounters and doesn’t strictly have to do with me.
Drew is, without a doubt in my mind despite all my complaints, still in the range of a normal four year old. I say this while trying to avoid any “stick your head in the sand,” “not my kid” kinda mentality. I also don’t want to be over-vigilant and force an unnecessary perception or diagnosis because I’m trying to be proactive in managing the challenges we have had thus far so that they don’t perpetuate themselves.
Well the good news/bad news is that all her suggestions – time outs, positive reinforcements, dips in blood sugar, etc – were all things that I work very hard on doing. The even worse news is that it still doesn’t explain why he can sit through three to four hours of a (DULL) baseball game yet not five seconds of just about anything else. Or why he becomes so very defiant at times.
This is where my influence is going to have to take him down a good road now. The school social worker suggested that I get him involved in karate which is our plan for the fall. I have been getting tons of feedback how this is a great idea and I feel very excited by the potential. Also, it was suggested that I continue to encourage his passion with sports and I have plans to sign him up for two more sport classes in the fall.
I work so hard for my influence on Drew, the choices I make for him, to be positive ones that help him to grow into a strong, successful, productive member of society. Wish me luck with that!