Intense kids are not bad kids. Means nothing to some, means everything to others. If you are the parent of an intense kid you know exactly what I mean.
Intense, high-strung, hard-headed, inflexible, difficult, just some of the words used to describe my son. All true words for the “other Zack”, when his mind is not working quite as it should. Delightful, charming, sweet, kind, helpful, charismatic, loving, words that describe the REAL Zack. He has struggled for too long, just like so many other kids.
Several years ago after a lengthy rage, I began to write a story, this story,( No One is Perfect and You are a Great Kid) all true, about Zack and for Zack. It tells how he, as a child with these emotional challenges, knows he is different from other kids. As he has always done, questions why, “Why did God make me this way? Why am I like this? Why me?” This was not written to sell or make money, but as a gift for him, to read as he got older, so he could look back and reflect on his life. Since the story was self published, through Create Space, I received extra copies. These copies were given to his psychiatrist, counselor and Pastor. Turns out, this little story developed wings of its own. Since then, I have been fortunate that the story has touched lives of parents and children who are on this same journey, feel lost and confused and totally alone. The story, told from Zack’s point of view, has allowed these families to know they are NOT alone. I have received letters from parents letting me know that their child was able to recognize themself in Zack, and understand that they are not struggling alone either.
All too often these kids are rejected, teased, isolated and ridiculed for negative behaviors they can not control. We want to let other kids who suffer as Zack does to know they are NOT alone and are NOT bad kids. We hope to “stomp out stigma” of pediatric related emotional and mental illness. Just as Autism is becoming more understood due to flooding of information and awareness we want the same recognition for other emotionally based disabilities. Knowledge is Power. I have posted our story, our journey on my blog for others to read and possibly see some of what they may be going through. I decided to be honest and share our story with others, in the hopes those families would realize they are not on this journey alone, if they too are trying to parent a child such as mine.
Zack has very little, if any impulse control, his ability to control his anger and emotions is very limited. Zack is diagnosed with OCD, Tourette’s Disorder Spectrum, ADHD and PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neurolopsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strepp). His OCD drives him to compete against himself and others for perfection at all times, and repeating the most minor tasks until he has it mastered. Sometimes causing great frustration, anger and rages, depression and anxiety. However he is NOT alone. (There is more in-depth information on my site, Youareagreatkid.com.) His story is unfortunately not uncommon, as emotional and mental illness in children and adults is widespread.
We hope to bring awareness to the fact that kids like Zack who may appear difficult, oppositional, “bad” may be suffering from such disorders that affect their ability to think and act appropriately at all times. These are not bad kids, they are often lovable,kind, smart and charismatic, but very misunderstood.All too often people see bad behavior and assume a character flaw. Could be, but maybe not. Zack loves biking, baseball, basketball, drawing and animals. His mood swings can be drastic and instantaneous, creating a very chaotic and stressful home life for us all. We hope with more attention and research and better medications these children and adults can get the help they need to bring the stability and peace their minds crave and desire.
Does any of this sound familiar? To many I bet it does. To those that can not relate to any of what I am saying, please, if nothing else, take from this to consider, if you witness a child being unruly, difficult, raging, don’t assume it is intentional. Don’t assume the child is bad. Don’t assume the parents lack better parenting skills. Take a moment to consider that something more serious may be the root cause of this behavior. Something that child may have no control over, wishing they did. Just consider.
INTENSE KIDS ARE NOT BAD KIDS
Over the past year Zack and I have been on another journey. He has developed and created a line of cool t-shirts, kid friendly apparel for all to enjoy. We will see where this takes him, if nothing else it has provided him with a sense of pride he has not had before as a result of his struggles.
Through our book, No One is Perfect and You are a Great kid, we try to let other kids know they are ok despite any challenges they may face. Our site http://youareagreatkid.com offers more information for parents of these very special kids.
Kim Hix, author, http://youareagreatkid.com
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in Children…when it is not just a phase (yourmindyourbody.org)
Family Connections (goodboyroy.wordpress.com)