Summer ending/The Approaching Train Wreck

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by BestICan, Aug 13, 2008.

  1. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    Hi all,

    It's been a pretty good summer around here! I have very little to complain about, but I'm gearing up for the start of the school year in 3 weeks and I'm not doing very well.

    difficult child will be starting a new school (a gifted magnet) and will have a new teacher whom I haven't met, and who is rumored to be a difficult personality and a very strict person. I am starting to think about this too much, worrying about the phone calls to come, and seeing things in difficult child's behavior that won't pass muster in a classroom setting.

    He's doing GREAT this summer, and did OK last year in the classroom with a terrific teacher. But he still is markedly impulsive, tends to blurt things out when he should stay quiet, tends to not stop when he's told to stop. And when he's anxious it gets much worse, and he's pretty awful to his little brother, especially when anxious.

    Guess who's making him anxious! Me! I've begun to nitpick him, based on my own fears about school. "You can't do *that* in a classroom! School starts in 3 weeks." "Is that the way you're going to behave when your new teacher tells you to stop?" And in general I'm just being hard on him. Which makes him more anxious. Which exacerbates his behavior issues. Which makes me harder on him. And so on...

    I need a lesson in detachment. I need help understanding that my difficult child is a fabulous, special person even though he is not well-matched to a typical classroom setting. I need to not feel like *I'm* starting a new school in September. I need to stop myself from getting in everybody's way.

    I don't know if it's this transition, or some other stuff in my life right now, or what, but I'm beginning to think I'm veering into actual depression and may need some medications.

    Does anybody have any advice on chilling out about school, or maybe share your thoughts on a good first-time antidepressant medication (for me)?

    Thanks for listening!
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Jen, I hear you. I'm really stressed out about the start of school, too. Here it starts in less than 2 weeks -- yikes!

    In terms of your own stress level, I'd recommend calling to make an appointment with your internist or GP first thing tomorrow. There are many antidepressants out there. Your doctor is definitely the best person to decide what medication is right for you.

    In terms of your difficult child, since he has a medical diagnosis, does he have an IEP? Can some of the behavior issues you're concerned about be addressed that way? I'd also recommend making an appointment with your difficult child's teacher early in the year. In a very positive way, you can tell her about difficult child's challenges and ask her how you and she can work together to make it a good year for difficult child.

    I don't mean to be discouraging, but sometimes gifted programs aren't the best fit for our difficult children in spite of their cognitive abilities. My own son, who has significant anxiety, was in a gifted math/science/computer science magnet in 6th grade, and we ended up pulling him out because it was too stressful an environment for him.

    I hope you're able to enjoy the last 3 weeks of summer before school begins in earnest. Good luck.
  3. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would definitely try to meet with the teacher before school starts. Let her know what "works" for your difficult child and what sets him off. As a teacher I appreciate when parents let me know special things I may need to know about their children. As a parent we always try to meet with difficult child's teachers before school starts to help the transition go better for everyone.
  4. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    Deep breaths.....

    Try not to worry yet, school hasn't even started. You said he did well over the summer and last year, so there is a possibility he will do well this coming school year - right?

    If you end up not liking his teacher, have his class changed. I can understand you being worried about the kind of teacher he will have. Our children need a nice mix of discipline and empathy. Sometimes that is hard to come by, but you might get lucky. You did last year.

    I know it's easier said than done but try to take one day at a time, otherwise it can get way too overwhelming. Why don't you try to go into the school a couple of days earlier than it starts and get to know the teacher a little. That way you will have an opportunity to express your concerns regarding your son and what his needs are.

    In the meantime, relax and enjoy the rest of the summer.

    Hang in there. :)
  5. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    oops didn't mean to ditto Wiped Outs post, I guess we were typing at the same time. :)
  6. BestICan

    BestICan This community rocks.

    Hi all, and thanks for your kind words.

    Unfortunately, if the teacher doesn't work out, we're out of luck. There's only one class, one teacher, for this magnet for the next TWO years! I guess that's partly why I'm so stressed. Luckily they do some switching around to different classes over the course of the day, but she'll be the primary teacher for two years. If it's really bad, he'll always have a spot at the neighborhood school, which is a very good place (in general) so we have a fall-back plan.

    Smallworld, we tried to get him a 504 due to the seizure disorder but that didn't pan out - the neurologist wouldn't write the necessary paperwork since his seizures are controlled. We then decided to try for a 504 for the ADHD diagnosis, but we got stumped on how to proceed over the summer - don't we need to school to help us create one? Plus I'm not sure who officially needs to give the ADHD diagnosis (his pediatrician and neurologist don't see ADHD behaviors but his therapist does). I'll have to work out all this stuff when the school year starts, and dig through the Special Education boards here to get a better clue.

    Point taken about a gifted school not being the best match, necessarily. I'm hoping there will be other "square pegs" in this school and he'll blend in better. Fingers crossed. It's the parents I'm concerned about - dang, they seemed like an uptight and competitive bunch.

    Sharon and Bran, thanks, I will meet with the teacher during the first few days of school - I always do, to talk about behaviors as well as how to spot a seizure. It really helped last year. There will also be some kind of welcome back party a few days before school starts, so I'll use my spidey senses there to figure out what we're in for.

    I'll try to keep myself on an even keel until I know more. It's time for me to get a checkup anyway, so I'll schedule one and discuss medication options then. Thanks.
  7. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    BIC -- I'm kind of in the same boat with my difficult child 2. We applied to transfer him to the local GATE magnet school because he was having so many social problems and his principal and even the school psychiatric suggested he'd do better with a fresh start and might fit in better with other kids like him (well, they're like him cognitively, anyway ;) ).

    I've also been told that the new teacher is a bit rigid and not the most patient. I can work on her as I've had my share of difficult people in the past. But it will be a new admin staff as well and nobody there knows us like they do at the other school. So I am a little anxious about how things are going to go. (Oh yeah, and I found out that the spot we were assured we had is now actually a spot on the waiting list because kids who have that school as their home school qualified to enter the GATE program in the fall, so we got bumped!)

    I would echo suggestions others have made about contacting the teacher before school starts. I usually type a letter introducing my difficult child so they know exactly where he's coming from and what they can expect. I stress to them that I am an involved parent and look forward to partnering with them to help my son, here's how they can reach me (home, cell, email), etc., etc. I'm very up front and open about difficult child 2's issues and I think that puts people at ease in knowing they can address concerns with me without enciting a confrontation or high emotions (doesn't mean I don't get emotional sometimes, but that comes with the territory).

    I hope your son enjoys the new school and the new kids he'll meet. Good luck with the teacher meeting. Oh, I believe they can accept a therapist's diagnosis as easily as an MD or psychiatrist. You have to work with the school to get the 504 written and put in place. Has he seen a psychiatrist (psychiatrist) ever? A pediatrician isn't necessarily qualified to diagnosis ADHD in my opinion (at least ours doesn't have very much experience and always defers to our psychiatrist), and although most neuro's should be able to, if they only specialize in seizure disorders, then they probably won't be the best person to ask. My son's neuro happens to specialize in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), ADHD and other neurologically-based disorders. But we got our diagnosis from a psychiatrist.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Aw, Best, I'm sorry.

    I just emailed my difficult child's teacher to give her a heads-up, and I want her to keep an eye out in case difficult child needs tutoring.

    Aside from that, she can have him. No detachment problems there! Try to frame it that you'll get a break during the day, and if she's strict, that doesn't necessarily mean she's a w*tch, it just means she's consistent. (Well, it sounds good, at any rate.:) )

    I think it's much better for him to find out by himself that he cannot break her rules, than for you to nitpick in advance. But you already know that ... which is why you posted.
    At any rate, his behavior will surely draw natural consequences, and that is a good thing.

    Here's some iced tea and a lawn chair for the last wk of summer ...
  9. seekinghope

    seekinghope New Member

    Dear Best,
    When my son was going into grade 5 I had the same concerns. His teacher was rumored yo be very tough. There was a lot of work covered in this grade as well as a lot of homework and projects.
    Turns out this was a great grade for him. Yes it was tough, she was demanding. But she was extremely organized, down to allowing the kids to keep a thermos of ice water on their desk; to prevent interruptions.
    She also took a few minute break to either walk around the school, jumping jacks etc. to let the kids blow-off some steam.
    Her husband taught the other fifth grade class and both of them stayed after school from 2:15 dismissal until the 4:30 bus to help with afternoon homework, whereupon the kids that needed to take a bus home could.
    If the kids had practice for whatever they could then return if they had time to get help on whatever subject they needed it in.
    A long day for the kids. My son woke-up at 6:30 we left for school at7:40, school started at 8:50 not home until 4:50 or later if it was a sport night, most nights were.
    But he did so well because he was kept busy. Plus, they knew how to encourage and praise
    My son's class was small, 33 kids then, I think, divided into two classes.
    I am not saying it wasn't hard, the year was; but he did it.
    I also made it a point to check in with her everyday when I picked-up my son. Nothing beats a good teacher-parent-relationship.

    Hope all goes well for your family!