Friday, October 7, 2011

Sleeping the Arguments Away

In response to If Only It Were That Simple, Paula wrote:

Why worry about her sleeping so much? It's time when there is no arguing, no complaining and peace all around. My kids with neurological damage typically need much more sleep than my neurotypical children and even at age 10-12 sleep from 12 up to 14 hours a day, just as a toddler would! Realistically, that's where their brain function is and the sleep probably does them a world of good.

Paula has an extremely valid point, and has given us a new way of looking at things.  She's absolutely right.  If Danielle is asleep, it is absolutely impossible for her to argue, complain or fight with us.

So maybe we shouldn't see this as a problem at all, but as simply a peaceful form of respite.  Maybe it's really not all that bad.

Several people suggested that we might try switching Danielle's medication dosage to the evenings, so that she'll sleep at night, instead of being tired during the day.  We'd actually considered doing that, but it seems that right after she takes her medication, she becomes hyper and energetic, which I think would interfere with her sleep even more.  It seems that she's the most tired in the afternoon, after she comes home from school.

Perhaps we shouldn't see this as a problem, because a sleeping child is one who cannot argue.

Although a lot of comments have been focused on Danielle's sleepiness, what I really wanted to draw attention to was the fact that the pediatrician seems to have pat answers for almost every problem we've encountered with Danielle.  If only we would withhold her allowance, she'd stop hitting.  (We did, and she didn't.)  If only we would play board games as a family, she wouldn't sleep all of the time.

I guess our experience with the pediatrician isn't really unique, as so many of the so-called "helping professionals" have given us simple suggestions that, if only we would follow them, would solve all our child's ills.

It's just not that simple.

I wish it were.  If withholding Danielle's allowance had only worked, we would have saved ourselves the expense of sending her to boot camp, and our relationship would be much better.  We adults wouldn't feel bruised, battered and traumatized.  Perhaps we might have even gotten that happy ending that so many adoption professionals try to sell to prospective parents.

If it were a simple matter of doing x, so that a child would behave, do well in school, and end her violent behavior, I'm sure a lot of parents would willing to whatever x is.  Unfortunately, for many foster and adopted children, there is no magic x, y or z that will cure all that ails them.  Even a combination of approaches rarely solves every problem, and if a child has been damaged by prenatal drug or alcohol exposure, the odds are that they will one day end up in jail no matter what interventions they received.

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