My Wild Child

by | Jun 8, 1998 | Parenting, Prayer

I think most everyone has an idea in their head about what life will be like when they have children. I was told at the age of 22 that my chances of getting pregnant were very slim. I practiced my “maternal instincts” on nieces, nephews, and children of friends.

At the age of 34, much to my delight and surprise, I became pregnant. As the pregnancy progressed I imagined fun-filled days in the park, the excitement of Christmas mornings, baking cookies for school parties, and taking my child to Sunday school to instil faith in and a love for the Lord.

One aggravating thing after another went wrong during my pregnancy. I got a pinched nerve in my back, my blood sugar level got too high, I suffered a kidney stone attack in the eighth month and then developed toxaemia. The doctor couldn’t get my blood pressure down to a safe level so decided to induce my labour; thus, my son was born three weeks earlier than planned.

I knew there was something “different” about him from the very start. We were kept in the hospital over night and the baby shared my room. I was on an “adrenaline high” and was wide awake for most of the night. I would get the baby out of his bed and try to cuddle with him; I got no response from him at all. He seemed more content to be in his own bed than snuggled up with me. I attributed this to the fact that he was three weeks early and just needed time to adjust.

We came home from the hospital and things seemed just fine. That same night, as soon as I went to bed, the baby started crying. And it seems like he didn’t stop for five months. Between working full time and being kept awake by a crying baby, I got very little rest. I became worn out, depressed, and filled with feelings of guilt. I kept thinking that I must be doing something wrong as a parent or I would have a happier baby.

During the sixth month or so he finally stopped crying all the time. But I still couldn’t get him to bond with me. I continued to be filled with guilt. What could I do to get this child to accept me?

The next four years went by and there are several happy memories found in them. But the rest of the time was just a constant battle. My son seemed more than willing, eager in fact, to butt heads with me on EVERY issue. I had never had to deal with such a child and didn’t know anyone personally who had.

Finally, at his kindergarten registration and evaluation in the spring, the school secretary suggested I have him put on Ritalin before school started that fall. I took him to the family doctor who didn’t want to medicate him without the opinion of a child psychiatrist, so off we went for an evaluation. After filling out several forms and getting the papers “graded,” it was determined that my son is ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). As bad as this sounds, I left the doctor’s office feeling like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. It wasn’t ME! I really wasn’t a BAD mom! I thought, “Now we know what is wrong so we can FIX it!” Oh what joy! I soon discovered, much to my dismay, that these problems aren’t that easily solved. The Ritalin helps to keep him in his seat and to focus a little easier. Now they are considering having him tested for a learning disability as well.

I now realize that I need to find new ideals on what our family life will be like. Those fun-filled days in the park end with tantrums when it’s time to leave. Those exciting Christmas mornings are a let down because he really wanted THAT instead of this. He acts up when I participate in classroom activities. He is quite often anti-social and is such a distraction, that I gave up taking him to Sunday school.

I have quit associating with a few of my friends because not only did I get NO moral support from them, I got nothing but criticism on my abilities as a parent. They are of the mistaken belief that all I have to do is “crack down” or “get a grip on” my son NOW or he will only get worse as he gets older. I have been told (by them) that Ritalin is just a placebo drug, there is no such things as these disorders and all he needs is a good “@#* busting.”

They have no idea of the prayers I’ve prayed or the tears I’ve cried over my son’s condition. They have no idea how many trips to child psychiatrists and counsellors we have made. They have no idea of how it feels to have your dreams shattered when you can’t even take your child to a movie or a restaurant because you never know what may trigger a “meltdown.”

If you have never experienced problems such as these with your own child, please remember to thank God daily. If you know someone who is dealing with a child such as this, please pray for them and offer some sort of support. Don’t judge until you have walked a mile in their shoes.

I thank God that as a family, we DO have some fun times and togetherness. Underneath all the pent up anger rolling around in my five and a half year old, he CAN produce a giggle now and then. I thank God when my son comes up to me unexpectedly to give me a hug and a kiss and says, “You’re the best mommy in the whole reeled.” I know that somewhere out there are parents who do not even get THAT much from their “problem child.” My heart goes out to these families and I always remember them in prayer.

Terri Davis


My Wild Child