I like me the way I am

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, May 20, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Heavy rain all day here today and we spent the whole day (unusually) inside... activities on offer included "playing prisoners" (involving me tying up J's hands, he tying up mine and then the dog's paws... a game he found delightful and hilarious and to which the dog uncomplainingly submitted), hide-and-seek, silly dancing to music, flying paper planes across the room, being a warrior with a plastic shield and sharp stick (etc). At the end of the day, which we survived mainly intact, with just a couple of outbursts of temper (on my part :)), I said to him, in a very light, conversational, and friendly tone: "J, if there was a medicine that made you calm and quiet all the time, would you like that?" To which he instantly replied: "No - I like me the way I am."
    Which I found interesting... In a way it is true that the problem for J is that the world cannot adapt to him as he is rather than vice versa. And of course we cannot bend the world out of shape to accommodate different youngsters but all the same... this remains at the basis of my ethical problem with medicating J for his hyperactivity (if any doctor agreed to do that) - in a sense, it would be because the world cannot accept him as he is. And because I would (sometimes) like an easier life...
  2. buddy

    buddy New Member

    What a wonderful answer and it says a lot for how he feels about himself in general, which speaks directly to you Malika. I certainly have not found that the medications for the adhd symptoms stop his energetic self at all. It does help him turn it on and off at more appropriate times.

    But I know there are some people that do seem different. It does seem unfair to ever do the medication thing to have others be more comfortable with who he is. I agree, that would not be a good enough reason to medicate. You have talked before about that it does sometimes affect him internally that he struggles, but overall...it seems things (from what you say) are improving from other types of intervention (in the broadest sense of the word).

    If you ever do get to the point of trying medications, it will be for him. I believe that with you because you so carefully think of things. If he really can't learn, or participate, etc. Most kids dont use them in the evening so you'd have your same issues at night anyway....but some need it to cover all waking hours.

    I have found the idea of medications and what we hope they will do versus the reality of how we use them and how they work, can be very different. My life and the world's in general are not super easy even with medications that seem to work alright, LOL.
  3. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I started medicating my kids when I saw they were hurting or because of a safety issue. For example difficult child 1 trying to hurt his siblings or difficult child 2 being scared to the point he physically hurts. I also agree with medications for kids who can't learn without them. I have a nephew whose social skills level is years below his age because he is so hyper he can't learn without medications. They have just put him on medications and it is working wonders. There are also some academic skills I consider essential, like learning to read, if he can learn without the medications great. If he needs the medications its great they are out there.

    medications are not a fix it pill. My nephew that the medications work great on still has problems. The medications are just one piece of his treatment. They don't change who he is.
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    No, I appreciate that, Liahona. The thing is, though, that J's MAIN symptom, really, is his extreme physical hyperactivity. This is non-stop and in one way gives him an amazing energy, like being on high-performance batteries all day long, but in another is simply exhausting for those he is with. Presumably, there exists medication that would make him calm and stop the constant activity (he doesn't sit on the sofa, for example, unless he is playing with his toys, but jumps, bounces, does somersaults, etc). I do sometimes fantasise about what it would be like to have the same basic J but just not constantly restless and rushing... But as you say, Buddy, maybe that is just a fantasy. by the way, I think his answer (alas) may be just as based on his bloody-mindedness - ie whatever potion they wanted to give me to make me different, I will not take it! :)
  5. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    I guess it all comes down to if you think he is learning and can he have friends without medications.
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I choose to think of it MY way....tee hee....maybe I am catching the difficult child bug!
  7. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    husband refuses all medications for this reason. Took me years to get him to even agree to take pain medications for his headaches.
  8. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    For the moment he is learning fine without medications - likes school and does well (but in a tiny school with a dedicated teacher). I am reasonably sure he would have more friends, and more social acceptance, if he were less hyperactive and less impulsive. At the same time, presumably that is true of, for example, people who are very shy, or don't have a sense of humour - and we don't talk about medicating them to remove their social handicaps. Honestly, this isn't some anti-medications stance I'm taking. It's really just that I know ethically I couldn't allow myself to do it just to make MY life easier.
  9. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I totally agree, that is good way to look at it. I know you are open to medications if he needed it, I get it that this is not the issue....it is the whole philosophical idea of it. And just thinking it would be so great if he could just be who he is and that would work out great for him in any setting. Right now, on balance, it seems no medications is a good choice. In future, as you monitor all of these issues (and your ability to parent him is a legitimate one I think, esp. because for our impulsive kids safety can be an issue as well as self esteem which are really affected in many ways by our ability to manage and cope), you can decide if you need a trial on any kind of medication.

    [ I would love to not have to give Q medications. He says he is not going to take them when he gets bigger. That he just chooses to be naughty. I actually wish that it was his choice because then presumably he could choose differently too....but having been with him when he is NOT on medications, having had formal testing during those circumstances, I know differently. I hope he will just accept it as a part of life as he gets older.]
  10. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Both of mine are on medications (me too...). But...
    THEY absolutely refuse to consider going back to "no medications".
    In other words... I'm not medicating them for "me", nor for "school".
    They are on medication because THEY need it to cope with school, and to "have a life".
    And I feel sorry for any psychiatrist that tries to argue that they don't need their medications. THEY have their backs up instantly.

    Unless safety is an issue (as was the case with Liahona's family, I believe), I totally support your wait-and-see approach to medications. When things become a problem for J, he will be in a better position to appreciate the trade-offs that medications present, to help weigh the pros and cons, to tell you if the medication helps or doesn't help or "isn't worth the side-effects"... or "helps so much that it IS worth the side-effects"...
  11. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member

    Have you ever thought about doing an experiment? Instead of thinking and rethinking it all? What would happen if you tried one of the basic ADHD medications for a short time period (once you thought you got the dose right?) What would happen if kids started finding him easier to be around? His temper outbursts subsided? Or it had no impact at all? Forget about getting the "right" diagnosis, maybe, and worry about maybe what might be the right medication if there were one?

    If there is a decent chance that the medications might help (and do little harm at least in the short run while you are considering it) it might be worth thinking about whether you owe it to your child to see if there is anything that might make his life easier if and when it gets to the point that you think his quality of life is really suffering.

    I believe that most if not all the parents on this board were not particularly eager to medicate kids or are doing to make life easier for themselves. Probably most of us got to that point out of desperation to do something to help our children not be outcasts or so unhappy.

    Sorry if this is not a helpful response.
  12. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Sure, pepperidge. I'd be open to such an experiment, if the circumstances warranted it. Actually, it's not even so easy just to decide to try stimulants - first you have to get a psychiatrist to agree to prescribe them (it's obviously not like going to the supermarket and just taking them off the shelf when you want...) I recently saw a paediatrican with J who told me he would NEVER prescribe stimulants for this child because he did not warrant it!!
    Of course parents medicate their children for the best reasons. I wouldn't presume to say otherwise. I am really speaking to my own occasional fantasy about making life easier for ME because the physical hyperactivity is difficult to deal with sometimes and demanding.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I think it is AWESOME that J likes himself in spite of his differences or because of them. I so wish that had been the case with Wiz. One of the MAJOR reasons we first saw a psychiatrist was because Wiz tried to kill himself at age 7 and if I had not put my body between his head and the concrete and brick wall he was trying to smash it against, he would have ended up in the ER at best. This combined the same week with his first attempt to kill J after years of harming her to a lesser extent and being very closely supervised to prevent that harm. I am speaking of supervision to the point they were NEVER left in the same room alone for even 30 seconds - one of them came with us if we were the only one in the room. It was HARD to do with 3 young children, as I am sure you can imagine.

    I truly, deeply, from the bottom of my soul, hope that J's opinion stays the same and that there is not a time when his actions dictate medications must be administered for safety.

    What I think MANY people truly do not understand is that someone wth adhd does NOT respond to stims the way the average person does. My son NEVER becomes speeded up by stimulants. Taking more than rx'd meant that he became overly sedated. More like someone right after surgery than someone on speed. I have been around both in my life and he was scarily like someone on opiates or sedatives rather than someone on stimulants. This was a major factor in our continuing with medication for him. I would urge ANYONE who reacted to stms as being on speed to stop taking them, or to have their child stop taking them. but for someone who truly had adhd, they react in a very different way to the medication.

    I hope and pray that J is ALWAYS happy with who he is. I hope you NEVER live iwth the He(( that is knowing your child wants to die for ANY reason, esp because he does not fit in with society. It took until Wiz was on THREE antidepressants, one for adhd, one for depression and one for insomnia (chronic family problem going back generations on my dad's side of the family) that he was able to come out of the depression caused partly by his asperger's and partly by being high enough functioning to KNOW how different he is and become a functional person who is basically normal.

    If ever J is on medications, I hope you remember to ask him OFTEN if he likes who he is while on them. recently Wiz told me that one of the MAIN reasons he has not experimented with illegal substances or alcohol is because they interfere with his medications and he likes who he is ON medications and does not want to mess that up. He remembers that we ALWAYS asked this, and how his medications changed how he felt about himself. By always he specifically said from the time he first took them through every medication and life change that we asked that question. It let us know when things were going off course and let him feel he could ALWAYS tell us when things needed to be tweaked or changed. I think this is vital for every child on medications for any reason. I didn't do it because anyone told me to, it just seemed like he should like what they did and how they changed how he acted or they should be changed because I could not feel what he felt.

    My wish for EVERY child is that they feel about themselves ALWAYS the way that J feels about himself now - whether they are on medications or not.
  14. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    a fabulous attitude in your son. We did our best to foster the same attitude in our kids. it is a good thing, not a bad thing. Over time he will realise that to some extent, he needs to try to blend in. But he values himself as he is, and this is gold.

  15. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I can little imagine the pain you and Wiz, and your family, went through, Susiestar, and quite accept that he had to be medicated, for his and others' sake.
    In the interests of honesty... I don't really know how "total" a statement J was making when he said he liked himself the way he was - in that instance, in that moment, he was really just replying to my question about his hyperactivity. On other occasions, and reasonably often, he has tearfully or angrily described how often people call him "naughty" or see him as bad... So I don't think his self-esteem is unaffected. He does seem to have a strong sense of himself, though, and always did... something he brought with him. On a few occasions, I have seen people reject him and he doesn't seem to take it personally or get upset. Maybe this is just his age.
    If I could wish anything... to be really honest... it would be to be able to see this child's qualities anew and anew each day, rather than getting lost in the difficulties and challenges of his behaviour sometimes. Because he is so vibrant, loving, energetically happy and outgoing much of the time that it is like being dosed in radiant sunshine. Others mainly don't appreciate that, and see him as just a noisy pest, and I myself keep getting lost in my irritations with him because he is simply not an easy child. Yet he is so very full of life force and really a beautiful child... So I hope he does and can see himself as he is.
  16. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    One of the most beautiful things about a child, esp one J's age and intelligence who is as self-aware as he is, is that they live so totally in the moment. So when they are happy, it goes through to very part of their being and shines sunlight and joy on all around who see it. Of course they have times when they are not so happy, but it is awesome when they are - a time to enjoy and remember. It seems to me from your posts that he has more moments like this one than ones where he is unhappy with who he is. Pretty much all you can ask for, in my opinion.