Bloggy Moms

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How My Childhood Did Not Prepare Me for Parenting My Child with Challenging Behaviors

I admit it. I was somewhat prepared, but not by my childhood. It was the childhood of my older brother. He gave my mom a run for her money. Everything she stood for, he did the exact opposite. I watched him give my mom a lot of gray hair and wrinkles. I often worried if my mom, who wasn't entirely stable, would end up back in a psych hospital after all of the antics he pulled.
I was two and a half years behind him. I vowed not to repeat his mistakes. Instead I was the exact opposite. When my mom said, "Jump!", I answered with, "How high?" I'm what some would refer to as a goody two shoes. I did not drink, smoke or do drugs. During my teen years, when I wasn't at youth group or working on school work, I was my mom's constant companion. I'm the one who stayed home and watched TV while both brothers were out doing God knows what.
Imagine my surprise when God decided to give me a very high spirited child. When I say, "Jump!", she questions, "Why?" Thankfully, she's still too young to participate in many of the same activities that my brother did. I hope and pray she does not. Still I brace and prepare for the what ifs. I would be naive to think that my daughter is going to skip that phase entirely.
I've seen her question my authority due to her Oppositional Defiant Disorder since she uttered her first words at the tender age of one. Over the years I've seen this behavior wax and wane depending on her stability. Currently, my husband and I are seeing an upswing in defiant behavior. At age 2, 4,  and 6; we could pretty much pick her up when she displayed this behavior. As she gets older, that's impossible to do.
I often think to myself, "How the heck am I going to survive puberty and adolescence with this child?" I try to remind myself of a few things:

  1. Breathe- Just like when she was little and I found myself having to take mommy time-outs, I need to do this when I feel like I am losing control.
  2. Ask the Experts-For us that is those who have gone before us. Those who have successfully launched their children into adulthood. I can also consult parents of special needs children to see what works for them or just to commiserate with them. Another group whose brains I can pick are professionals. We are blessed to have a team working with us. They often think of things that I have not.
  3. Find More Experts if Needed-During the tumultuous years of ages 7-9, I saw a therapist on my own on and off. I think it's time to consider that again.
  4. Pray, Pray and pray some more- I've seen firsthand the power of prayer. It often gives me a Person to vent to when I have no where else to turn.
  5. Take AA's motto to heart- One day at a time. Some days it is one hour or even one minute at a time. If I live in the moment and not worry so much about the future, I will have less anxiety.
Of course, I'm not perfect. I don't have all of the answers. I'm sure I'll make plenty of mistakes. I'm hopeful though, that with the above 5 techniques in place I will survive my daughter's tween/teen years in spite of not being a rebellious tween/teen myself.

Please comment below if you have any additional tips that will help me.

Credit to Johnny Diaz-"Breathe"

You can also follow our journey on Facebook at: Raising a Drama Queen: Adventures with Autism and Bipolar Disorder.

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