Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Breaking Point

I realized that we reached our breaking point last night when Hubby and I sat at the kitchen table arguing about our problems with David yet again. We constantly debate whether or not his behavior is normal. He doesn’t sleep through the night. He fidgets constantly in his sleep. He screams himself to sleep at night. He is so active that he never stops moving all day long. He can’t sit still in a shopping cart or high chair. Going to church is a weekly nightmare with him.

We’re frustrated because it’s so hard to explain to people what we are dealing with. Folks are often likely to tell us that “he’s just being a normal toddler.” It’s exasperating to hear that he is just a normal toddler because we are constantly arguing about his behavior and frustrated to the point of tears.

I was starting to think that we were horrible parents until my Dad came for a visit from Florida. I recently had a phone conversation with him about our use of a harness when we take Little King David out in public. He refuses to sit in a shopping cart or stroller, so we use the harness to give him a little more freedom and opportunity to release some of his energy. My Dad was appalled that I would leash my child and we had a very heated debate about it. After spending only one day with my darling son, my Dad apologized and told me that he understands now that my beautiful baby is very active and can’t possibly sit still. He suggested that David might even be hyperactive.

Although it was disturbing to hear that David might actually have a medical problem, it was also a relief to hear from someone that has years of experience with young kids that what we are dealing with is a little intense. Maybe we’re not just weak and inexperienced parents after all.

At this point, we have concluded that we have a parenting and discipline problem, a behavior problem, a medical problem, or all of the above.

I’ve made an appointment to talk with his pediatrician. We’re video-taping his behavior, both good and bad, so she can actually see what is going on. We plan to explore our options with a developmental pediatrician or psychologist for an evaluation. I’m searching for a family counselor that specializes in discipline issues with young children so Mommy and Daddy can get some help.

I’ve also called our daycare teacher and asked her to babysit next Friday night so Mommy and Daddy can go on a date. We’ve only had a sitter twice since David was born and we’re realizing know that we are sacrificing far too much just because Mommy feels guilty taking advantage of friends and family that have offered to babysit.

The frustration of parenting a toddler can sometimes be overwhelming, but I’m finally realizing that all we need to do is ask for help.


Lynette said...

Good for you guys. Asking for help can be one of the hardest things to do. I commend you for taking that step. I hope you find answers to the issues you are dealing with. It sounds like you're on the right track.

Heather @ Not a DIY Life said...

Oh, Dawn, my heart aches to hear about your frustrations! Yes, you definitely need to spend some alone time with your hubby to still be husband and wife, not always just mommy and daddy.

One thing I've learned is that we cannot try to parent our children alone. We NEED the support of our extended family and even professionals. Good for you for seeking help!

I'll be praying for you! Enjoy your date!

Nikki said...

Videotaping your child is the best way to show a professional exactly what behavior you are trying to address. Make sure the professional you consult gives more than a cursory look at the video. Too often, parental concerns are dismissed out of hand. I'm no expert (though I've been a teacher for over 30 years), but it does sound as if your father is correct. Hang in there. And don't be afraid to try new methods to cope with your frustration and your child's actions. It might take a little bit for a resolution. And you have checked for food allergies, right?