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Derek’s Way
“Maybe I should take him to a psychiatrist, “ I thought, “ I’m obviously not qualified to raise him.”

Mechanically I cleared away the bowls of half eaten cereal. Tears quickly formed in my eyes, if only the solution were that simple. With one common gesture I had wiped away all traces of mess. “Mess,“ that’s the perfect word to describe what I was in. What this whole house was in. How could one small child create such discord between five people?

This morning had been awful. Who was I kidding? Every morning was awful. I’d paste that phony smile on my face, grinding my teeth in preparation of the dance we were all dreading, but doomed to dance anyways.

The battles over wearing socks in February, which bowls he could or could not eat cereal from and the regular morning wrestling match over the toothbrush never ended. Eight year olds should not still be acting like toddlers in the throws of the “terrible twos”. Sure he had ADD, but so did my husband and I. We understood. Why was Derek so out of control?

When we were growing up, no one talked about ADD. There was no diagnosis. No medications or behavior therapy for impulse control. We were simply told we were bad, troublemakers, or just plain stupid. Armed with recognition, we knew within 24 hours of Derek’s birth, that we had a “live one”. Convinced that we would never repeat the mistakes our parents had made, we unsuspectingly brought our little darling home and immediately started fouling things up. Eight years later, I knew our mistake. I just had no idea how to fix it. While we had possessed an excellent understanding of what not to do, we had no working model for what we should be doing. Derek needed something else.

As I entered the living room, my gaze fell on the stack of books beside my chair. It had been my practice for the last several months to spend this time of day reading. Anxiously, I raced through parenting books as though the devil himself were at my heels. Parenting experts. They were all there. John Townsend with his boundaries, Gary Smalley with his love languages and Dr. Dobson claiming to tame the challenging Child. To date, Derek was not only still Challenging, but he was actually growing worse by the day if that was possible.

Author: Beth Lane

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