I've heard a lot of talk this week about RAD kiddos and Christmas presents. Parents at the end of their ropes contemplating not giving any presents or leaving a note from Santa saying their behaviors don't warrant the presents they wanted, but here's some socks.
Do I get this? 100%, in fact I have stared at the Nintendo DS box wrapped up under the tree every morning and contemplated taking it away. My son has been particularly challenging and I have been particularly annoyed and irritated by his behavior. Does he "deserve" the Nintendo DS? Absolutely not!
I could go into a diatribe about how Christmas isn't about deserving presents and Gods love has covered us despite our sinful nature, so shouldn't we also put aside our kids "sins" and show them love this Christmas. I could, but I won't, this year I want you to stop and think about yourself on Christmas not your child.
As parents of special needs kids we've given up a lot of "normal". Our holidays are often stressful as we hyper-vigilantly plan out every minute. We don't get to sit around the adult table and converse with friends and family as our kids play nicely in the next room, we are stuck watching our child like a hawk trying to put out fires before they are started, all the while holding our breath waiting for the next crisis. If we do get a chance to talk with adults we end up listening to others critique our parenting or telling us that 'boys will be boys' or 'oh my kid does that, it's normal'. Worse yet we hear about all of the perfect kids the other adults have as our son waters the plants with pee.We've already lost so much at the holidays, do we really want to lose presents too? The rest of the day may totally suck, the kids will be ungrateful and unappreciative. They may break the very thing you bought them and that they wanted so badly. BUT before all that there is a moment where they are excited and happy, truly happy. It may only be a second, but YOU did that. That happiness you see, the twinkle in their eye, it's not there often is it? That smile is what "normal" parents live for, and YOU have given that to them. This year on Christmas morning I want you to take that moment, however brief it is, and cherish it, because you brought joy to an often joyless child. YOU had a moment where you felt like a "good" parent, a "normal" parent enjoying their kids happiness on Christmas.
What will you get for YOU if you take away the presents? Your child will NOT learn a lesson, there is no logic or cause and effect thinking with attachment disorders. Your child will not remember this next time and say "Hmmm...last year I misbehaved and didn't get any presents, by golly this year I'm going to behave so I can have what I want." Not. going. to. happen. Likely the lack of presents or a note will only solidify what they feel inside, worthless, bad, un-loveable. They will take that feeling and run with it the rest of
Why do that to yourself on Christmas? Sure you may have a moment of satisfaction, a moment of "See what happens when you don't behave! See what happens when you treat me like crap, the one person who pours out their heart and soul to help you every single day!". But is it worth it? I for one would much rather have the fleeting moment of joy in my child's eyes then that moment of satisfaction. A moment that in reality continues to make me feel like crap, a crappy mom who cant even enjoy Christmas with her kids, a crappy mom who can't help this child, a crappy mom who will never be enough. This year I am going to be enough for me and enough for my kid. I'm going to watch him open that Nintendo DS and see the quick twinkle of his eye however brief it may be.....and Ill hold on to that twinkle and remember it when he breaks this Nintendo DS (just like he broke the last three**! LOL).
***To my oldest son's credit the third DS was dropped in the toilet by his younger brother (he also has attachment issues) who thought peeing and playing at the same time sounded like a GREAT idea ;)
ENJOY YOUR CHRISTMAS THIS YEAR MOMMAS, DO IT FOR YOU BECAUSE YOU ARE ENOUGH!