My favorite days are the days that are filled with smiles, giggles, cuddles and “I love yous.” I love the days that are sunny and warm and we all go out berry picking or to the park. These are the days that I hope will last in my memory when I get older and as my son grows up. But today was not one of those days.
Today was actually more than one day, it was the weekend, the month, maybe the year? Not everyday was today, but today was certainly a day. Right now we don’t know what my son’s problem is, but right now he has the diagnosis of having a regulation disorder of sensory processing. For him this exhibits itself in the form of big feelings, big moods, and big movements. In other words, we end up with a lot of screaming, crying, tantrum-ing, melting down, hitting, biting and throwing. I wrote before that being a parent of a child with special needs is not something that I know how to do, it is something that I am continuously working on.
But right now I feel helpless.
We are in the middle of an evaluation with the school district for services (which I don’t think he will qualify for) and he is on the wait list for occupational therapy. I have adopted many different strategies that I have found on the web – like a visual schedule, a token system, and a calm box. So far they work to varying degrees, but they don’t stop the outbursts and the aggression.
Our attempts at discipline have been limited too. Time outs don’t work and end up causing hours of tantrums. The general consensus is that punishments and rewards don’t work when the behaviors are caused by sensory issues; but I am not even sure what these outbursts are caused by. So for now, we are treating his diagnosis (like my parenting) a work in progress.
His behaviors not only make our daily lives difficult but it makes it difficult to go out sometimes.
I live in constant fear of him hurting other kids and the wrath of other parents. Unfortunately, if he acts inappropriately, there is neither the time nor the patience (from other parents) for me to explain what I need to explain or even to try and fix things. These kinds of things end up causing a lot of stress of our household, which again makes my son’s behavior worse. The more angry people become the more he acts out (of course).
So today was one of those days of managing behaviors, of feeling pushed beyond what I can do, of being bitten, of trying be a good parent when I don’t feel like one. I constantly remind myself that my son is a little four-year-old boy with social-emotional problems that are too big for him to handle on his own. He is a little person with joys, sorrows, frustrations, and loves. Most, of all he is a genuinely sweet little boy, who always gives kisses and hugs when you say good bye, who loves blackberries, and who can run several miles without trying.
I don’t have any answers right now; this is just where I am right now.