Parents Not Always the Enemy (Pt 1)
There are some issues surrounding children with mental illness, their parents, blame and anger, I want to explore. While I'm collecting my thoughts, however, I ask you to consider this, originally posted on my personal blog in July, 2007.
Kindergarten starts August 20, 2007. Bob is registered. He's had his tour of the school. He can't wait. Me? I'm freaking out.
There's the obvious--Bob's behavior issues, the possibility they will follow him, and what will happen if they do.
But there's more to it than that.
Bob is my only child. We've known each other about 6 years now, but it seems like a lifetime. We've had our share of highs and lots of lows. Our relationship has gone from great to horrible and back again. We've laughed together, we've cried together, we've butted heads more than I can count.
Bob started daycare at 5 months. Since then, he's been enrolled in some form of preschool, so the transition to public school shouldn't be a big deal. But it is. Preschool is where you take naps, wear pull-ups, and have snacks, and even though everyone would like it very much if you learned to read and write, the real focus is on learning how to function in the world. As long as you're in preschool, you're still a baby. And you'll probably be one forever.
Once you walk through the doors of public school, you're not a baby anymore. It's official.
My Baby Is Growing Up
Deep in Bob's closet is a music box someone gave him as an infant. I've gotten rid of most of Bob's baby toys, but I keep this for a reason. There was an afternoon the summer of Bob's first year when we were playing together in his bedroom. That music box played its tinny little song, and Bob came crawling to me as fast as he could, laughing all the way. He pulled himself into my lap and hugged me, and let me hug him. I thought to myself, some day, not long from now, he'll be running...this baby will be gone. I started to cry, but didn't let him see, because he was happy, and letting me hug him.
I've thought about that a million times since. I feel like I shortchanged Bob in so many ways then. I admit I've been less than perfect, and have really only in the last couple of years reached what I would consider "responsible parent" status. I'm doing everything I can now to make it better. That doesn't take those mistakes away. And there aren't any do-overs.
So when I think about Bob walking down the hallway of his first elementary school for the first time, all I can do is wish I could go back. Go back to that day in his room, when he was a baby, and do better by him. And let him know that in some ways, he'll always be that baby, and I'll always love him just as much.
McClanahan, A. (2010, December 16). Parents Not Always the Enemy (Pt 1), HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 23 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/parentingchildwithmentalillness/2010/12/parents-not-always-the-enemy-post-1
Author: Angela McClanahan
Thank you for commenting on this post. While I'm not the author of the post, I will say that as a mental health professional, I disagree with your point of view. I have worked with children and families where attachment was disrupted early on for the child. I also have worked with many families where kids are in day care. I, myself, am a working, single parent. I would not have made it if I had not put my son in childcare. That being said, I do recognize the sensitivity that some children have to being left in childcare. However, I believe the number of children suffering from RAD due to placement in childcare is very low compared to the number of children that develop RAP due to prolonged separations early on. I also feel that the author of the post was not casually talking about the effect of attachments disorders. Rather, she was talking about her individual situation as a working parent having to depend on childcare. I think this is a topic separate from the instances of RAD as well as the causes of RAD. I'm sorry to hear that your 12 year old is not doing well and that you're having trouble getting treatment. I wish you the best in your search for the right providers. Please come back again soon.