I have 2 children. Both are silly, sweet, smart, mature kids - but my son has always been a handful.
My son was the kid who taught me why the child harness was invented, after he twisted away from me and darted out into traffic - twice. After he jumped out of his stroller and disappeared while I was standing next to him buying a shirt at Sears. After he ran ahead of us, rounded a corner, and was gone before we could catch up - only to be spotted a few frantic minutes later being led down the escalator by a stranger who was "taking him to security".
Impulse control is not his strong suit.
But lately, as he has gotten older, there has been a certain expectation of age-appropriate behavior that he is not reaching. At least, not according to some people.
But how do I know? How do I know whether my child - a child who, like every child is unlike anyone else - is struggling more than any other pre-teen in the early throes of adolescence? According to the other mothers I speak to, kids this age are some combination of defiant, impulsive, angry, emotional, confused, combative, aggressive, withdrawn, sad, scared and lonely. They struggle to follow directions, to pay attention, to stay awake, to remember their manners, to complete tasks. All of them. Each child is different, but they are the same in that they all appear to be struggling as their bodies and minds are both racing.
Is there some universal sign, some checklist to figure out if my kid needs medication? How will I know? And what if the medication crushes his spirit, instead of just calming his mind?
Buying a harness when he was 18 months old was hard for me to do, but it ended up being a last resort that I felt I needed to explore. I was embarrassed and uncomfortable - but I was also desperate to keep him safe. And so I reluctantly put it in my shopping cart, among the organic produce and free range eggs. Irony.
I knew the harness wouldn't change him - but it might help him to learn boundaries. Strapping it on a 12 year old won't work, unfortunately - and the boundaries are far less obvious than mere physical safety. But strangely enough, his physical safety and behavior in public is what prompted me to make a doctor's appointment for my son, to have him assessed. A few days ago, he ran into the drugstore to return a DVD. When he came out, he almost darted into traffic - but then he stopped just short of the crosswalk, remembering to look first. And when the oncoming car stopped and waved him across, he waved back, and dashed across the street.
Without looking the other way.
He stopped - thank goodness - in the middle of the road, and waited for the other car (who was not planning on stopping for my child even though they were approaching a stop sign and going over a speed bump).
But he came very, very close to being hit.
I sat in the car, screaming "NO! as I watched the car approach, and then pass him by. As he crossed the rest of the street and climbed in my car he was already apologizing. "I looked ONE way, mom." he said sheepishly.
But in life, you have to look both ways.
So while I still hope that this is just another phase, that his behavior is normal and par for the pre-teen course, I am going to look both ways as well. I am going to talk to the doctor, and ask them for their professional opinion. Whether I take their advice or not remains to be seen.
This is another post for Yeah, Write's 500 words or less series. Working within that limitation is a good exercise - you should submit your own writing! It's open to writers who blog, and bloggers who write. Tell them Daffodil sent you xo
7 hours ago