Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Kid Trouble

So I'm sitting on my friend's back porch having a glass of wine and my phone rings, it's my 12 year old son's school and they want me to come pick him up; he's essentially been suspended. Since this is a super ultra hippy vegetarian experiential boarding school on top of a mountain, they don't put it like that. They say, he needs some time to examine his motivations, and his commitment to the community and the community's ideals.

The problem is the same old problem: He's great on his own or one on one, he's great at home, he's great in a lot of ways, but in a classroom situation he's totally impossible. He isn't working, he won't focus, he's disruptive, he's disrespectful, and he's the ringleader of a gang of boys who are all trying to behave just like him.So I don't know what to do. I've never really known what to do. I picked him up and I yelled and cried, and talked and cried, and told him that he was getting his hair cut off - it's longer than mine, it's past his shoulders, so then he cried, then we both cried. Then he swore up and down that he would be better, and I said I wanted to believe that, and on & on & on. Tomorrow after the haircut I am going to try to get him in for an emergency psychiatric evaluation and I think maybe it's time to try drugs.

I have based a lot of my life as an educator & a parent on not believing in ADD/ADHD and in vehemently opposing the drugging of children. I think that there have never been longitudinal studies done of how years of ADD drugs can affect kids' livers & kidneys, I have heard of several deaths of kids on Ritalin following minor head injuries, like it makes the brain more vulnerable to bleeding, I am opposed, totally opposed. I think I'm about to put my own child, my darling, my precious, the most imporant person in the entire world to me - on these things that I oppose with all my heart and soul. Because I just don't think I know what else to do. The teachers said, YES! And looked relieved, that I had suggested it, and not them.

I have always believed that TV causes ADD - take away the TV, you take away the problem. And now that my son is in a completely TV free environment, vegetarian, no sugar - all that good hippie shit I believe in (well, the less cynical part of me believes in, anyway) and it isn't working. In fact, it's getting worse. And it's been getting worse every year since he was five.

This kid is so bright, so lovely, so charismatic and wonderful and special - and yet he has this dark streak, like his dad - and he sometimes seems to create failure for himself, to set himself up to fail, and he will just shut down and refuse to do anything at all - and it breaks my heart, and I'm so so damn afraid for him. I don't know what will become of him.

This school was supposed to be the thing that saved him, I'm mortgaging my soul and one hell of a lot of my mother's money for this, traditional schools weren't working, he was within a hairsbreadth of getting kicked out of the local middle school for this kind of behaviour - and this place seemed like a miracle. LIke the kind of education you always wished you had - the kind that every child should have - and it would make everything okay.

Fuck. Yet again, there are no fucking miracles, and the gods never relent.

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