I just read this article. I guess it’s gone viral. Unfortunately, I can relate to the author’s description of her son. I’ve experienced mood shifts in my son much like the ones she describes. We call them “Katie Kaboom” moments.
I won’t lie. I’m horrified by the similarities between my child’s occasional behaviors and those exhibited by others who have grown to commit heinous crimes. It’s chilling and it brings me to my knees.
It sounds like the mother in this article cares highly for her son. She is clearly doing everything the experts tell her to do. She is obeying the system, following the “rules” and jumping through every toxic hoop they throw in front of her. She trusts in the knowledge and authority of others. Many parents do.
I do not.
I have grown to understand that parenting my son is a task that I was uniquely chosen for. It’s a role I’m perfectly equipped for (even when my mind is spinning and I don’t know feel all that confident). The reality is that no one knows him like I do. No one, (regardless of the size of their psychiatric library or extensive degrees) understands his heart like I do.
Why do we parents doubt ourselves?
Let me be clear. I’m not a better parent than the one who wrote the article. I started out just like her, following the flow and heeding all the advice “professionals” could give. I came to a conclusion:
Unfortunately, this system does not work to build healthy children. It builds criminals. It takes a negative approach devoid of hope and lacking in love.
Love? What does love have to do with it? Everything.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 International Standard Version says:
4Love is always patient;
love is always kind;
love is never envious
or arrogant with pride.
Nor is she conceited,
5and she is never rude;
she never thinks just of herself
or ever gets annoyed.
She never is resentful;
6is never glad with sin;
she’s always glad to side with truth,
and pleased that truth will win.b
7She bears up under everything;
believes the best in all;
there is no limit to her hope,
and never will she fall.
Did you catch that?
Love believes the best in all. When you surrender to the system and “give in”, you stop believing that your child could change. You stop hoping and, though your mind is reeling and your heart is breaking with love, you actually stop demonstrating your love merely by your doubt.
The only difference between this mom and myself is that I now refuse to follow the system, to surrender my expectations for my child’s future and follow every bit of advice I’m given. He has a future and I will fight for it to the death.
There are dynamic individuals with gifting and talents to reach children like ours. Unfortunately, they aren’t readily available. We have to search for them, do the hard work and never settle for less. You have to advocate for your child until you are surrounded with the right professionals who won’t give up or back down but will truly make a difference.
I will surround my son with professionals who speak life into him. They won’t say things like “the only thing I could do was to get ____ charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”
Not gonna fly. I will be heard because my love is loud. His needs will get attention because I won’t back down.
I had a psychiatrist tell me to make plans for my son’s future, that I should seek long term care for him and apply for social security because he would probably live with me through adulthood. I dropped that doctor like a hot cake.
See, it gets daunting believing the best when you are surrounded with doubters. It’s exactly the same for my child. I chose to surround him with hope that he may feel it and act accordingly.
What many of these children lack is a parent who sees through the “experts” and advocates for the good of their child (even if that isn’t the solution presented). They need a parent brave enough to go against the flow and fight for what matters.
I chose not to see things merely as they are, but how they will be. (Romans 4:17)
The mother in the article says we need a conversation about mental health. We do. We also need awareness. Moms like us need support and understanding from those around us. Our children need the opportunity to achieve despite their challenges. Not every child with these serious issues will become a violent criminal or a mass murderer. We can’t surrender them to that horrible future, but must guard their hearts diligently. They need to be labeled with our love and positive expectations, not compromised by societal misconceptions. Fear cannot rule parents of children like these. Fear will not rule me.