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Amanda’s Version of “What Would You Do?”

Do you ever just think back on things that have happened in your life and wish you would have reacted differently? I do. Often. I have to remind myself that I am who I am and most likely, the outcome would not have changed if I had reacted differently. At least I don’t think so.

Well, there have been quite a few of those instances that have taken place with my children. You see, when you have children with ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder), anxiety and nervous ticks the symptoms may not be easy to distinguish. Honestly, as Tristan’s parents, it was sometimes hard for us to decide which route we would like to take when disciplining. It was definitely a lot of trial and error. We were always trying different methods. Sometimes we were on point and very consistent and other times it wasn’t working and maybe we gave up too quickly. It’s hard to say. We are only human. But, we were ALWAYS trying something.

I will never forget one Christmas season not that long ago. Tristan and pretty much all of us had been facing some type of horrible plague that year. We were contemplating not doing the holidays with the family that year but sometimes we felt like facing it head-on with pure exhaustion was less painful than the amount of guilt we would receive from not attending the holidays. So we did it.

I should have gone with that gut feeling and stayed home. As I grow older I am trusting more and more that my gut just flipping knows. I no longer hate my guts, I love them.

Anyways…so we probably shouldn’t have attempted the holidays with a bunch of family but we were stuck in that spot where we knew we would let others down and we didn’t want our kids to miss out on the fun. We have grown so much and these days Shannon and I would just say, “Oh well, it is what it is” and not attempt to even try but we were different then.

So here we are at a place where we are surrounded by people that we feel love our children and are looking out for their best interests. However, sometimes people don’t know how to handle them, or at least Tristan, at that current point in time. Tristan was a mess and he was overstimulated. I want to say he was probably around 4 years old or so. The poor kid had gone to one big family function and then we brought him to a smaller more intimate one to open gifts. He had had enough.

Some people don’t get that. There are people out there that seem to think that kids should be on their best behavior, even when they themselves cannot always accomplish that feat.

Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

Imagine being a little human and having extreme feelings of anxiety. You are not even sure what they are or how to deal with them. They frustrate you. They make you feel like you need to throw something, get physical, scream and yell or something to that extent. Would you just sit still and smile and do what you were told, even when you have only been on this earth a short 4 years? I know adults that still don’t know how to behave in this manner and yet we expect it from a young child. Truly, I just don’t get it.

So, pretty much what had happened was we were in this supposed safe place where you would hope that all would be accepted and not judged. My husband was going outside to put the gifts in the car and this certain person says to me

“He just has this look in his eyes. You better get the help that he needs now because otherwise, he is going to be like the next Sandy Hook shooter.”


I know.

Well, let’s just say that I froze and didn’t know what to say. These days I would have come up with a much more clever response and told him that it was not his place to say something so crude and also how dare he say that about my FOUR YEAR OLD son. Seriously! I would not say something like that to my worst enemy and I cannot imagine saying it to someone in my family. My only response was to defend all that we have been doing to help my son. We were looking into counseling, but unfortunately it is much harder then you can imagine getting insurance to cover mental health for young children. I also talked about the ways we handle his behavior and the open conversations we have with his teachers. Ecetera, Ecetera.

That car ride home was horrible. I cried the whole damn way home. The whole way. Merry effing Christmas.

First, I couldn’t believe it was said to me when my husband was not in the room to support me. Secondly, I was hurt that the three other people that had heard these words come out of his mouth did not stop him, say anything to compensate or even apologize to me that it was said. This in turn, made me feel that they must all be feeling the same thing about my son. I cried that someone would even accuse my son of that. I cried that someone views him that way, I cried that there was even a possibility that could happen. So many thoughts ran through my anxious mind.

How dare he! How dare he say that out loud. Hell, he can think it, that is not my business but I hope that after he thought about it there was a part of him that felt remorse for the diarrhea spewing from his mouth.

I will be honest, I have never confronted him about this occasion, but it has been something that has lived in my mind since it happened. More than anything this was a reminder that we want to believe that those we love are on our side, but in a way, it is just us against them. Not in a bad way. Just to remind myself that I cannot let other peoples’ words harm us and if needed I need to speak up, no matter who it is. Since then, there have been occasions that I have spoken my mind, but this was my first lesson learned. I have always been a weakling when it comes to confrontation.

I am actually no longer bothered by the person that said these words and I do not hold these words against them, I just feel like this moment in time was a turning point for us as a family (or at least for me). At the same time, it may also be another contributor to why I feel I need to explain all that we are doing to try and help our children, especially when they act out.

These are the types of occasions and there have been more than a few, that have helped me to become a stronger advocate for my children. Hell, maybe I should tell them “Thank you.”

Thank you for making me stronger.

Thank you for helping me to speak out so that maybe someone else will know to keep their mouth shut and instead offer assistance and support to someone they love.

Thank you for making me realize how important it is that I continue to advocate and work hard to help my babies through this tough thing we call life.

Tristan and I

P.S. He has learned many coping mechanisms and is a smart, sweet, well adjusted little guy. Never give up hope, they go through so many changes as they grow.

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