The lack of structure of “spring break” can be oppressive. Children who are severely emotionally disturbed need structure. Children with neurological deficits need structure. Coop them all up together in a small house with little to do and the fireworks go flying!
I was able to secure a sitter for the younger boys and decided to treat myself and go paint with friends. (I used to be an artist before all this mess ground career to a near halt.) I
got a ride from a good friend, she is a young mom of a six and four-year-old. She brought the kids with her, and we descended on the studio of a fellow artist and friend with enthusiasm and vigor. We painted for a good five hours. My friend’s children interrupted her two or three times after about three and a half hours of playing nicely together. Their interruptions were so tame in comparison to cacophony my own children create. On the ride home (about 30 min.) her angelic children chatted quietly in the back seat with us and each other. I was amazed! No crying, fighting, tantrums! No blood, no foul, they didn’t even make a mess!! I’ve known these kiddos for several years, they are the epitome of normalcy and the functional family. They are happy and well adjusted. They get tired, sometimes fight and cry and pout, but on such a mild undisruptive level, that I hardly pick them up on my radar. They seem right on target developmentally.
The experience really made me think, why are my kids so different?? I have two that are in the autism spectrum, three in the ADD spectrum, all with sensory and develop motor coordination deficits (that means they are loud and often clumsy), three are aggressive, all are impulsive, throw in a little dyslexia and learning disabilities, equals none of my four beloved boys are very successful socially, or particularly easy to raise. Why is it that four out of four came out with neurological deficits? Statistically, that is unlikely. While I thought I understood the negative effects of the three younger’s long-term, severe abuse, I couldn’t understand why all of them have organic disabilities. I believe there is a familial genetic component, but all of them? One, two, or maybe even three out of four is much more likely than 100%?? The fourth paragraph of this article hit me in the face, “The damage impacts the child’s social skills, impulsivity, and aggression.” I can’t think of any other words better describe the boys’ behavioral problems.
The effects of trauma and stress are so real, they caused permanent brain damage! It’s sad and scary, but it’s also so validating. There is good reason my boys are different. Now if we could just figure out how to healthily cope and provide appropriate accommodations and supports for their often invisible disabilities. Would it be easier if they were missing limbs?