Hey! Let’s talk about Max!

School has been in session for two months and I have already been called in twice for parent/teacher conferences.  I am the proud owner of a nine year old that does not stop talking, ever.

As expected, the most recent trip to the elementary school involved his teacher dancing around the letters, ADHD.   When I told her he had been tested twice, once with a hearty, “He has severe ADHD” and the other expert said, “He most definately does not have ADHD!”  she seemed relieved.  It was easier to have me know he may have ADHD from another source than herself.

I like Max’s teacher.   She’s a funny, smart, well cultured lady who obviously enjoys teaching and my son loves her class.  But why oh why do I have to feel the need to not only tell every teacher every year, but the same teachers over and over that I would rather not use prescription drugs to “help” my child? In addition, it irks me to my core that each teacher/principal/student counselor team I have ever met with always says the same thing, “Max cannot help his behavior.  He has no choice.”  He seems to have a choice at home, when he knows punishment is lurking behind every outburst.  I tell them to be harder on him but my words are ignored each time.

Well, I must be a pushover too, cause after the most recent conference,Mr. Pilver made new rules.  No TV.  No video games.  No computer.  No dessert (that one was me).

It’s working.  We have requested that Max be sent home with daily reports, so that we know his behavior on a regular basis without being called on the phone when things have gone too far.  They have all been positive.  I am sure he’ll have tougher days, but so far he is paralleling that good behavior he’s shown at home.   He has gone from a D average in spelling, the class the teacher said he paid zero attention in because there wasn’t enough creativity in it for him, to five weeks of 100% tests.  And I don’t buy that creativity thing.  He has begun to sing the letters in a tune in order to remember.

I am sure tweaks will have to be made, but this whole no electronics/no sweets thing is brilliant!  We haven’t followed it true for every occasion, it was just Halloween.  But for the first time, Max still has most of his candy after a week.  He barely even pays attention to it.

I’m curious about what other parents looking for an alternative to ADHD prescription drugs do to help out their kids.  So curious that I may just read a real book (with pages!) on the subject.

About kristiane

killing spiders with my laser eyes.
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8 Responses to Hey! Let’s talk about Max!

  1. Matt says:

    Loved this and so agree with your POV. I’d say more but I somehow feel like it’s a political discussion and that saying anything is a no-win. But, agree with youuu. 🙂

  2. Amy says:

    This is so cool. I think I’ve told you before about the girl I know who LOVES her childrens’ “disorders” and has them on medication cocktails…ugh. I’ll go there though…hearing that teacher excuse someone’s behavior as he just can’t “help” it is sad, and there are so many parents who’d rather believe that than know their own kid and put in the work. And lack of personal responsibility and society as a whole, yada yada. Yay for the Pilver family.

    • kristiane says:

      One thing I have noticed is that some very involved and very ‘good’ parents put their kids on medications. However, they seem to put just as much effort into managing behavior in that way as they could in others. I don’t want to bash publicly those who do, but I don’t understand trying every other option beforehand. We explained to Max how his school wants to put him on drugs, and that immediately sent him into a rant about drug use being bad. I’m pretty sure he went to school and said he wasn’t going to be a drug user to his teacher.
      It does help to have a scary man’s voice in the house. Somehow I am not as threatening. I actually get to use the “Wait until E gets home!” line. It works every time.

  3. Oregon Sunshine says:

    We’ve experienced the opposite problem, much to our chagrin. Until we made the decision to homeschool through a state run, online charter school, NONE of the schools we tried bothered to educate him at all. Really, I do not know what they did with him all day, every day. In Oregon, the school had direct communication through the doctor via a form they were to fax in to the office. And guess what? Because they didn’t want to “deal”, Dude ended up being medicated (non-stimulant) into a lethargic lump who struggled with a lack of energy to do basic things like school, or walk through the grocery store.

    Since moving to Georgia, we’ve reduced Dude back to the original level of said medication (which treats anxiety in children and is a blood pressure medication in adults- and has been helpful) and Dude has energy again. Some days he can be a bit “Much”, but I prefer the energy level, the ability to keep up when playing with his stepsister and the willingness to do his work, even if there are a lot of silly antics along the way.

    I applaud your decision to not medicate Max. There are books out there designed to help children learn to control their ADHD impulses and behaviors and for parents to understand their child’s behavior a bit better. We are going to be working with a workbook starting today, because I’d like Dude to be back in mainstream education without anyone complaining or pushing for him to be overly medicated. (They say it gets better by puberty anyways). After all, you have to teach children how you want them to behave, right? So with ADHD kids, you just have to work harder for them to “get it”. Or teach differently. And have lots and lots of patience.

  4. Oregon Sunshine says:

    I should add that diet seems to play an important role in behavior as well. We’re finding that Dude needs to have more protein than he has been getting. Having some protein at breakfast time is making a huge difference in his school performance and attention span in the morning. In other words, cereal alone isn’t cutting it any more. Additionally, years ago I tried to go wheat free with him as food sensitivities can mask as behavior difficulties in children. I *think* I saw improvements, but before I had a large enough sample to determine that from, the neighbors gave him cookies and daycare gave him crackers. I have not re-tested this as it was hard to get every care provider on the same page without doctor’s orders as a single working mom. Now, I haven’t re-tried it because Bad Pants and I do not see eye to eye on the topic and he’s not on board.

    I could go on and on. If you want to discuss what I’ve learned through trial and error more, let me know.

  5. keb says:

    I think your are doing great. My sister was in the same boat with her son at this age. Her son is now 13 and doing great. She never resorted to drugs even though she was encouraged by many educators. I agree that there are “triggers/and helpers” regarding diet and with research you could probably find some information that can help. But all-in-all, good for you!

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