Friday, June 29, 2012

The square peg and round hole

I am plagued by a question that a friend asked me last evening. I'm paraphrasing "What if anything seems to help your child when the ADHD/bipolar starts REALLY affecting everyone around?" The question was much more pleading and delicately posed. I could not answer at that moment. Probably because my answer requires too many subtleties and nuances for brief conversation. Mostly, I was dumbstruck.

I have a compassionate affection for his son, he reminds me of my older sister as a child. Having lost sleep last night over this I must attempt to congeal my feelings into a comprehensive and expressible thought. By the way, I know that I risk appearing judgmental--please don't take it that way. My motivations are love and compassion.

In comparing my child to his I feel as though I have been given certain liberties. My child is fine, your child is fine. He is simply a square peg and society is a round hole. There are two clear paths to take. Shave the square peg and attempt to fit him into the round hole. Or, wallow the hole out so that the square peg might fit.

Recent society overwhelmingly says whittle down the edges with drugs and conveniently that child fits. But what about those missing parts? What about the gaps? The missing parts are what makes your child unique. The gaps are to forever be filled with dependency on drugs--a behavior he is learning right now. To fit in I must take my medicine.

The most difficult path is the latter. It is difficult for everyone involved--especially you. Society seems unyielding and unrelenting in it's expectations. You must alter society and his surroundings for him. I know it sounds crazy but imagine what you are teaching him. As he grows up he will realize that he can mold the world around him. Soon he will know how to mold his world by second nature. Think of the truly great and successful people. They are the ones that mold the world around them.

Admittedly the square peg must be facing the proper direction but it indeed has a place to fit. That is your reprieve as a parent. There will be those moments where the stars align and everything just works. Your son is clever can realize this. He will alter his behavior to fit into an attractively shaped hole. It is the near impossible path since it is likely not in your nature to alter society, to change the rules, to stand out. Love will win-out.

I might fail at this tomorrow or in ten years. But, having had a sister on ritalin her entire childhood gives me an unusual perspective. For me this is what feels right. I (with my wife's help) can and will make a square hole for my child to fit. Else, I will fail but at least I have followed my heart to what I believe is right.
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