The Problem Isn’t Really The Problem

Don’t get me wrong, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome presents itself in the form of many problems for my son and our family. But sometimes, well, sometimes the problem isn’t really the problem.

We are a homeschool family and over the past year we have not seemed to accomplish much. It was decided that Lee was the problem…that his severe ADHD and impulsiveness due to FAS had escalated and was wrecking all attempts at learning no matter how loosely organized.

It was decided that Lee had to be removed from our home during school hours so that his brothers could learn at home, and he could learn in public school.

So I listened to the advice of family, friends, experts…my husband…and enrolled Lee in public school. He was not put into general ed classes. My husband and I went to the necessary special education eligibility and IEP meetings. We jumped through hoops. We made demands. Lee was placed into small, contained classes, but still he had to change from room to room….subject to subject…teacher to teacher. He was expected to learn their way.

And I cried for two weeks. I knew it wasn’t the answer.

Looking into the eyes of my son as he left home each morning I saw the altered personality…the lostness…the confused child who was trying so hard because his parents said this was best for him. When I picked him up each afternoon, a deflated teenager climbed into the car with very little to say.

I realized…

The problem wasn’t really the problem. The problem was within us…his parents.

Somewhere along the line we had begun to view our son’s inability to conform to certain behaviors as willful disobedience. We were seeing his inability to focus and complete school work as laziness and unwillingness to try. We were expecting of him what he could not give. We were inflexible.

We had begun to view our son through the eyes of the world. The world expects him to behave and learn in the typically accepted manner…except he can’t…and we are suppose to know better. Yet through the exhaustion, frustration and stress involved in parenting a child with FAS, we almost gave up on him…much like the world which does not understand him.

But I understand him. I love him. And he’s again under a blanket of love…

And we are a homeschool family…all of us…again.

This parenting gig is pretty much learn-as-you-go. You gotta live and learn, and sometimes you crash and burn…and we have to share our stories in order to offer support, insight and inspiration…okay?

Melody can be found at 5M4SN and at Slurping Life sharing photos and a few words from her special life.

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