Read the Comments

I am not a big fan of reading the comments on local news because of the vitriol spilled but I have revised my feelings on this. See, it is in the comments that people expose who they really are. It is where somewhat normal people in our lives and in our community expose themselves.

Many conservatives have expressed over the last few days that they are not racists and want no part of these groups that do. Yet they continue to support media – Fox News and Breitbart – that have an alt right, racist agenda. They also say that white supremacy is a small portion of their base which I beg to differ. They have just been quiet, hidden in fear of the moral and social implications of their views being discovered but now they are embolden by the President who espouses not only their views but gives them a platform like Charlottesville. They are feeling Brave in their new found freedom and comment frequently on news articles about politics, local crime stories, and social issues.

The time for us to just pass them off as ignorant or a small fraction of our society is no more. I say now – read the comments, click on their names, look at their Facebook profiles, see if you have mutual friends with them, and see where they work. See what they are saying on Twitter.

Know the enemy in your mist. Know if you are going to church with white supremacists. Avoid patronizing their businesses and inform their employers that you cannot do business with them because they are employing Nazis. This fight against hate and fascism doesn’t have to be fought in the streets. It can be shut down and made to crawl back to which it came through social media and quiet opposition.

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Anchor Me

The last few months I have been unsettled. I've drifted from my goals, my art, and my writing. I just let things go. I've been lazy with my life and I am now sowing weeds so to speak. As much as I would like to be a person who is carefree I am a better person when I am grounded and have purpose.

An empty plate leads me to distraction and laziness and this seems to apply to every area of my life. I can see this trait in my own children as well. They seem to function better when their is organization and purpose to the chaos.

I have started tending to my "house". I have written a list of goals and I am slowly crossing them off. One of them has been seeing to my physical health, something I am bad about neglecting until I can't anymore. By the end of August I will have seen four specialist and had a brain MRI as I try to get to the root of my pain and exhaustion.

And as I get my health on the right path I have been pulling and dragging the children with me. They have become accustomed to their quick fix meals and junk food. I recognized I created this problem.

I've declared Autumn mine. To travel, to challenge myself emotionally and spiritually, to strengthen my faith, and to love those close to me deeply. The last three years of my marriage has been hard on my soul and I need to move forward clear headed and with intent. I want to return to a place where I can say that I am in love and if I can't to move in a different direction.

I am craving to be in the woods. I need the covering of trees and the whispers of the wind. It is my sanctuary. A church in and of itself. A time to soak in through all your senses the Truth Teller.

Grounding does the soul good.

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Silence On Charlottesville Encourages The Alt Right

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” ~ Elie Wiesel

The silence of so many Trump supporters is deafening. Others I hear loudly. Today I have seen repeated claims that Charlottesville was a false flag. I have seen Trump Supporters claim that the white supremacists that were there were paid to be there to make him look bad. (here is proof that they were not paid) I have read that the students, clergy, and multitude of people who counter protested were also paid to be there, that they were carrying clubs, and had guns. Of course this is false.

I watched a You Tube video that claims that Heather Heyer purposely stepped in front of the car that killed her and that the driver was being attacked. More distortions of the truth. More distractions. More conspiracy theories. To believe this shit is a choice. It is not an alternative fact, it is a damn lie.

But the last two years have been one lie right after another. When I attended the Trump Rally in Mobile, AL, and later went on the news with the white supremacist paper handed to me as we parked our car I was called a liar. That I had made it up. I was threatened. I was called a liar and a bitch and a nigger lover. People claimed I was not even there even though there was plenty of photographic evidence of me there (including my picture at the rally on al.com).

We have a group of people who are choosing to believe “alternative facts” because to acknowledge the truth would expose flaws in their ego, their moral compass, and their choices. We have tainted free speech with acts of violence and domestic terrorism. And the deflection has already started, pointing fingers at Black Lives Matters and the Women’s March. I have seen conservatives ask why this is considered racism and I cannot even justify that with an answer.

This is Trump’s America. This is the America my children are growing up in.

I can’t even anymore with the denial of white privilege. I don’t want to try and understand your views on why it is okay to shoot black people and not white people who commit the same crimes. I can’t support militarized police officers who are daily beating and killing black people in the streets for petty crimes, planting drugs on Latinos, or tazing pregnant women.

I can no longer excuse your wanton ignorance. There are no more passes. There are no more excuses.

There is only one clear choice to make. Silence is a choice and if you are silent I am going to believe that you have taken the side of the oppressors. I am going to believe that you have chosen hate over love. It is time to speak out against the hate, to take action, and to stomp out these false narratives.

For moral and ethical people there is only one side. One.

 

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On Homeschooling: You Are Not A Prisoner of the World

Dear Homeschool Mom,

Slow Down. Don’t be in such a hurry.

Repeat after me “They are only little once”.

And this is so true. Our children will soon be out on their own and it will seem like they were just eight yesterday. Enjoy them, soak in that energy, live this one day.

Don’t be pressuring them to know all the things before it is time. The world moves fast but you do not have to. And neither does your child. They don’t have to read by 5 and know Algebra by fifth grade.

While it is always a wonder to see homeschooling families that send their children off to college at 12 I have to ask myself how emotionally and spiritually healthy that is. I have a 12 year old and even if she had a MENSA level IQ and could do Differential Equations in her sleep I would not want her on the same campus as my 20 year old. The simple fact is she is not ready and nor is any other 12 year old.

We have to stop rushing childhood. We have to quit rushing towards each milestone, accomplishment, or grade.

Ask yourself why you are in a hurry? Who are you competing with? Whose standards are you living by?

You don’t have to know what you are doing every step of the way. When homeschooling you do not have to have every subject done according to a traditional school schedule. You don’t have to use any particular curriculum. You do not have to follow one specific philosophy.

Let them play. Eat the cake. Go to the playground. Sip the wine. Savor each bite. Do just one more field trip. Take just one more day off.

Because the world will be waiting.

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Guilty By Association In the Age of Trumpism

Over the last 24 hours I have watched in horror what has taken place in Charlottesville, VA, and it is just another page torn from the past that we have not learned from. Mostly white men,  some wearing white hoods, carrying torches while chanting white pride slogans and “white lives matter” all over the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee.

I believe in free speech. I believe in the right to protest. The First Amendment is something sacred to all Americans but when does hate speech and a call for violence turn into domestic terrorism? How long are decent and moral people going to allow this to continue in the era of Trump’s America?

A vote for Donald Trump was a vote for this kind of behavior and acts of violence. People died in Virginia today. DIED. Civilians. Police Officers. Numerous people went to the hospital with injuries. The people responsible are the people who voted for Donald Trump. They believe that Making America Great Again is to Make America White Again. They cloak themselves as the moral majority while pepper spraying their opponents, that included young people to pastors, all while holding lit torches towards their faces.

Your vote for Donald Trump has fueled racism and bigotry and violence. If you voted for Donald Trump you are part of the problem. You are guilty by association. I don’t give a shit any more what your reasoning is. You cannot cloak your vote in Christian Conservatism or that he was the lesser of two evils or any other justification.

This is not about her emails or about Obama. What this really boils down to is who are you. If you cannot see the epic failure we have watched unfold the last six months I have to wonder what has happened to good sense and morals. The time is now for you to denounce Donald Trump and everything he and his followers stand for, and stand with the Resistance. This is not the America I want for my children. Or for yours. Or for any of us.

 

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July Has Been Shitastic

I tend to be optimistic and positive. I have faith that everything works together for good. Even if we can't see it. Even if we never experience it. I imagine all the moments in our life like a rock hitting still waters and creating ripples. But I won't lie I am feeling weary.

I am not hopeless. I have not lost my faith. I still believe in the power of love and grace but I. Am. Weary.

My sister has a rare form of lung cancer. She has never done a bad thing in her life. Nothing to merit this or the diagnosis that comes with it. And it pisses me off. And while I believe that disease does not define us and that we can live fully this is not something I want her dealing with. I wanted more, so much more for her. I'll be honest – I wanted her to have it easy.

But that is life. Full of mystery and curve balls and unpredictable chapters.

One of my good friend's son died. And his death has not been the only one this summer. Death has been an ongoing theme for the last few weeks. Even the murder rate is up where I live. It is like a cosmic dumpster fire going on with a murder a day.

And I am off my game. My personal health is not great and there is no quick answers or fixes. I've gained weight, feel like shit, and unmotivated. My body hurts. I am in a totally different place than I was a year ago.

I know what to do. I know how to improve things. I just do not have the energy to do so. I have a list of things I need to do and another I want to do and they both feel insurmountable.

I would love to list all the good things going on in my life but they are marred by black clouds and unknowing. I told one of my best friends I needed a vacation from my life but what I really want to do is escape. Sometimes it is hard to choose joy, hard to be kind, and hard to show grace.

I'm so disappointed in people these days. The bigotry and racism and divisiveness. I trust so little of what people say and I question actions.I was raised with the belief that we would know people by their fruits and lately all I see is rot and immature growth. And that is a judgment. And it is also snobbery.

July cannot end fast enough. Not that I am looking forward to August but I know that the seasons will change and hopefully with it my soul will be renewed.

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The End of a Journey

I watched you grow up through the eyes of your mother.

At first it was just simple messages about your babyhood and milestones. Babies just days a part gave us a lot to compare for the next twenty years. Our ginger haired pale forces of nature.

Your mother, who became my friend, told her journey to motherhood, her journey to you and it gave other women hope. YOU gave them hope.

Everything you did under the sun your mother delighted in. She adored you. You were her miracle. She inhaled every part of who you were and it was unconditional. 

I watched you grow up through pictures. From toddlerhood to manhood. I delighted in my yearly Christmas Card and loved when social media boomed and I could watch you and your sister bloom under the watchful eye of your mother. Sometimes a picture does say a thousand words.

I was a stranger. An onlooker to your life but loved you from a far. I had hopes for you and prayed for you. I always thought that you would make your way down south so I could meet you face to face. To see the boy I had heard so much about, a son and a brother who was trying to find his way in this world.

I remember encouraging your mom to homeschool you and to let you be adventurous  even though it made her nervous. I loved hearing about your studies into alternative medicine and building furniture. I snickered to myself plenty of times when your mom would tell me the latest mischievous trouble you would get into. I loved that you challenged her. 

I will never forget your mother’s due diligence in bringing a sibling home to you. It seems like it was yesterday Lissa was born, and home. The two of you were made for each other as if Destiny willed it into being. I know from personal experience that she on her life journey will wonder what you would say, what you would do, and why did you have to go so soon. 

I regret not having met you or even shared a joint. I would have asked you about your adventures and told you about the Delta. And I would have asked you what led you to become a conservative. I may have harassed you a bit about all the hard times you gave your mom and caused her to worry. 

Your journey is over here . I hate that the world will never get to see the man we all knew you had the capability to become. You will be in my heart remembered as the ginger haired boy who stole his mother’s heart, who enjoyed the outdoors and daring adventure, and who pushed   Boundaries to discover who you were.

On the other side I hope you have found what you were looking for. I hope there is a peace to your restlessness. I hope you feel the love from all those who knew you. 

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Right-Wing Propaganda In A Public School Classroom

On Wednesday a concerned mother posted a picture of her son’s AP Government class summer reading list from Spanish Fort High School in a closed Facebook Group I belong too. The group is made up of the silent minority here on the Gulf Coast – liberals, progressives, and secularists that don’t fit into the southern conservative culture. As I read it it seemed almost like a hoax. Fake news. Surely, in one of the most affluent and educated areas here on the Gulf Coast this type of thing was not going on right under the nose of parents and administrators? How wrong I was.

I quickly verified that the teacher who gave out the list to his students did indeed teach at Spanish Fort High School and not only that the list was up on the schools website dating back to the 2014-2015 school year (it has since been removed). Not only did I find out that this teacher taught with a right-wing slant in his classroom but that he had previously run for public office and failed – mostly due to his extremist views on the federal government and state rights issues. There is also a blog but I will get to that later.


After asking for permission to share, several of us in the Facebook Group began to publicly share the list. I sent the list to other area Progressives, the ACLU, and I also posted it to Facebook but not before I sent it to my aunt whose daughter attends school there. Within hours it was soon discovered that Gene Ponder had been using this list for years without permission and without approval from the Baldwin County School Board or the principal of the school. That his class had been allegedly taught with a far right slant with religious and racist overtones for close to a decade. Keep in mind this is a AP Government High School course that students must take in order to receive their Honors Diploma.

And there in lies part of the problem. The class is required for students on the Honors Diploma track and Gene Ponder is the only AP Government teacher at Spanish Fort High School. It puts parents and students in a bind to complain about the content of his class for fear of retribution or being singled out. This is not a liberal “snowflake” issue, this is an education issue and having a non biased public education paid for by tax payers. The thing is, even conservative, Republican parents would find issue with some of the books and websites used for Mr. Ponder’s class. Yet again, it wasn’t until this ONE parent stepped forward that this problem was revealed.


What I find amusing is that I am constantly reading about how liberalism is taught in our schools and that school text books are liberal propaganda but that is just not the case, especially here in the South. And Gene Ponder is not alone, there are dozens upon dozens of public school teachers like him. Teachers who are manipulating and brainwashing our youth against climate change and with the beliefs of those like Alex Jones. Gene Ponder wasn’t trying to get his students to critically think about the governments role he was manipulating them to think that someone like Michael Savage and Ann Coulter are the great political thinkers of our time and that Global Warming is a liberal conspiracy. He wanted his students to think of Brietbart as an unbiased news source but not only that he surreptitiously included Christian religious beliefs and propaganda into his class as well.

You may be asking why I give two shits because we are homeschoolers. Well, for one my cousin attends this school as do several friends children. Friends, who are both conservative and liberal, who would oppose this reading list and the characterization of Republicans and Democrats put forth by Coach Ponder. I am also a tax payer. My tax dollars fund public education and pay Mr. Ponder’s salary. And trust me, we pay our fair share of state and federal taxes therefor I believe I get a say.

Mr. K was once a public school teacher. He taught Computer Science, Algebra, Geometry, and middle school math. He went in for seven years and taught the classes he was assigned. He taught the students theory and facts and did so without interjecting any political or religious beliefs. The same should go for science and history teachers as well. Discussions and exercises on critical thinking are one thing – manipulation and brainwashing are another. For nearly 165 hours of instruction time Gene Ponder had these students undivided attention, for a grade, and what you see on this list and what you see from the websites he has listed for his class, this is where he derived much of the views espoused in his classroom. These students were not being encouraged to read The Federalist Papers they were being encouraged to read Liberalism Is A Mental Disorder by Michael Savage. And to add icing on the cake one of his students posted two power points that they were shown and taught in class.


First and foremost these two lists presented in Gene Ponders class is not even factual. By 2016 the GOP was the party of less educated whites and lower income whites. While less educated voters leaned towards being Democrats in the 1990s it’s just no longer a fact now and that is evident by our latest election cycle. Even by 2008, education levels were more equal on both sides of the fence. Surprisingly enough one of the biggest complaints I have heard from Michael Savage, Alex Jones, and Laura Ingram is the criticism of educated elitism from Democrats. The truth is the majority of college educated voters voted for Clinton (52% Clinton, 29% Trump) Gene Ponder and his ilk can’t have it both ways. What is true is that over the past 16 years more and more college educated individuals have moved to the Democratic Party and there are a multitude of reasons for that and one is that the Republican base and party leaders are science deniers. It appears by the two power points presented in his class that Mr. Ponder was presenting these to create divisiveness rather than to promote critical thinking as to why certain groups lean toward certain political groups or ideology. He did get something right – it is white, Christian, heterosexual men who make up the GOP base but I doubt there was a critical overview as to why that is the case. After reading some of the comments of some of his former white, male students on Facebook it became clear that their was a air of white male superiority and is that what we want taught in ANY classroom.

I imagine Mr. Ponder is tenured and will retain his position but I think it is abundantly clear that teachers who perform certain duties and teach certain courses need additional vetting. Allowing a known Tea Party political extremist to teach history is probably not a good idea.  I imagine had this been a far left extremist expounding views in the classroom there would have been a huge outcry. There is a reason for separation of church and state and why we do not allow religious proselytizing and prayers in school. The same should go for politics and political beliefs. It is one thing to tell a student that you are a member of a certain party and another to espouse the views of Ann Coulter.

While writing this blog entry Gene Ponder removed his entire blog. Things that make you go hmmmm….

We as parents and citizens need to continue to resist even at personal risk for the betterment of the whole.

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Refusing To Believe What Is True

Last week my children participated in a History Fair with other local homeschoolers. I won’t lie, I chose the subject for each child’s project as I wanted it to pertain to what they had been studying this year in social studies but also to the here and now. I wanted their projects to make them think but also make others think as well.

Our oldest son, Dylan, has been studying World History this year. We have actually been using the Sonlight curriculum which is a lot of heavy reading and there are several books pertaining to past and current child slavery practices and missionary work that has taken place across the world. ( The secular version can be found on Bookshark) His topic to cover for the History Fair was Chocolate & Child Slavery Practices. I wanted him to think about where our food comes from, but especially the candy that is made because 5 year olds are working 12 hours a day for next to nothing. I felt it being close to Easter would lead people to think about the candy massively produced for what many celebrate as a religious holiday. Of course, as people passed his project some were shocked but many paid it no heed because in their world view having an enjoyable experience trumps that of children as young as five being forced into slavery.

My two youngest girls shared a project for the fair. Theirs was on Victory Gardens. I chose this subject for a multitude of reasons. For one, I live in the home my grandparents built and one of my fondest memories about this house was the large garden my grandfather kept for about half of my childhood but started way before I came into the picture. Along with the garden there were also pots of herbs, tomatoes and peppers around the back door. Secondly, I chose this topic because of the times we live in. We as a country need to get back to our roots of producing our own food or at least a portion of it. In times of famines, drought, and impending wars growing your own food is not only a skill we should all have but a necessity. This year we will be creating our own Victory Garden with our neighbors.

However it was Jack’s project where I definitely had an underlying agenda. Jack has been studying United States History this year ( we used a secular curriculum). It is a mixture of boredom but intrigue for him. What I believe stood out to him was the past and the now current corruption in politics and what has lead us into wars. It is no secret that I am raising pacifists and that a portion of our family time is spent on raising awareness on social justice issues. This lead to not just Jack, but all of our children (And more than half of Americans) wondering to themselves how someone like Donald Trump got elected to be our President. Jack is a child of few words. He is quiet but when he does voice his opinion he gets straight to the point and his project did just that.

Excuse my shitty photos – the camera is broke on my phone.

So the title of Jack’s project was “Would You Vote For Me” and the facts on his board surrounded a hidden picture of a famous leader. Some read it thinking it was someone current and nearly half of all those who read the facts about this person said they would have voted for them before seeing their picture. This man was charismatic and drew huge crowds, he loved Disney Movies and his favorite was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This famous leader lead the first anti-smoking campaign, was a vegetarian, and was Time’s Man of the Year. He was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. In private, this man was introverted, loving his family and his pets. He fought for his country and as a leader supported and went to great measures to protect those in the military. And let me say that this man knew what it was like to grow up in poor conditions. He lived in homeless shelters and hostels for three years as a struggling artist. He took delight in simple pleasures like eating chocolate daily and he was a prolific writer. On the surface he sounds like a great person.

No matter how people answered the question “Would you vote for me?” they were indeed shocked when they peaked and saw that my son’s project was on Adolf Hitler. Under his picture it told how he was responsible for the genocide of 6 Million Jews and tens of millions of other people during his reign. This is a man who won the popular vote. Nearly 18 million people voted for him with an 88% voter turn out the year he was elected. On the surface Adolf Hitler was not a monster. He was actually generous and undoubtedly had good qualities but the truth is Adolf Hitler was a monster, one of the scariest of them all. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing that cared deeply about animals, was against big game hunting, and for ethical slaughtering practices but yet he sought to exterminate a whole race of human beings allowing them to be tormented, enslaved, and butchered for experimentation.

And if you think this project was aimed to force people to question voting for Donald Trump – you would be correct. The comparison is not how the men are alike (they are) but how they were perceived by voters and half the citizens in their countries.

People believe what they want to believe.

And that has been the problem with this last election cycle. Half of America bought into an illusion of a leader. Even though they were presented with repeated facts and evidence that Donald Trump was not fit to fill the role of President they still believed in him anyway. While he incited violence at his rallies, lied blatantly, and nearly 70% of what he said was untrue people still fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Now that it is shown that he and many  a part of his campaign and current administration colluded with Russia, have ties to white supremacy, lie and are incompetent for their positions there are still supporters. It is like they are blind to all the broken campaign promises, the blatant dishonesty, the unnecessary and excessive spending, nepotism, and his trigger happy small fingers next to the nuclear weapon button.

 Yet, as Trump tweets daily about “Fake News” he is one of it’s largest participants. He associated with far right publications that are not just one sided but post exaggerated and often false information (Drudge Report, Breitbart, Info Wars). He listens to men like Alex Jones, who believe demons are manifested in human beings and that their is a reptilian alien race pulling the Global strings. Alex Jones, who I have actually listened to for years, is a right-wing extremist who believes in countless conspiracy theories (some with merit, most without) and is famously known for saying the Sandy Hook Massacre was a false flag. And Mr. Jones gets on air and proclaims how truthful and honest he is. He screams, yells, tears at his clothes, calls out to Jesus, uses profanity and makes declarations about other news sources being fake. However this week Alex Jones in legal documents in a custody suit claims to be a “performing artist” that does “political satire“. Alex Jones claims he is fit to parent his children because he is nothing like the character he portrays on Info Wars. This MAN, this “character” is one our President listens too and seeks his news from. ( to note I don’t think either he or his ex-wife Kelly should have custody of the children, both are unstable human beings)

Yet people will refuse to believe. Even provide excuses.

The truth is is that Donald Trump says one thing and portrays his self as a knight in shining armor, all knowing and with all the answers. This is something he has in common with Adolf Hitler. People fell for the smoke and mirrors, bought into his patriotism, his claims that he would bring change and Make America Great Again. He played to an evangelical base as the more moral candidate even though he has a history that displays just the opposite. And yet, people still believed him.

Sadly, due to shame and stubbornness, many of those who chose to believe what they wanted to verses the truth will continue along the same path verses admitting they were wrong. And what will that cost us, the American people, and the human beings of this world? Only time will tell.

Adolf Hitler was the Chancellor of Germany for 11 years. In that time, he was responsible for the genocide of 6 Million Jews, 20 Million Civilians and Prisoners of War, and millions of others World Wide. Hitler rose to popularity and won the vote because many working class people were under employed or had no work at all, small businesses were failing, and people were suffering under the economy. Hitler claimed to have answers and appeared to be a savior to the German people. His slogan was “Freedom and Bread” and he promised to bring prosperity to Germany again. 

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You Don’t Say – Medication is bad for my child?

In line with some of my more recent posts on homeschooling and parenting I thought I would address the person who feels it is necessary to tell those of us with children who have special needs, learning disabilities, and mental health issues how to parent. It is their belief that their good mannered, sweet disposition child or children is the result of their parenting and life choices. Well I am here to tell you right now that if you think that having a neuro-typical child or one that doesn’t have learning disabilities is a result of your parenting choices then not only are you delusional but you may be an asshole. Or maybe you are a concerned aunt or grandparent and that a good spanking and better discipline will straighten the kid out and we are just looking to pigeon hold our child into a diagnosis.

If Only.

We have five children in this house who are all very different. For the most part we are fortunate to have healthy children. Physically healthy children. Not all our children were physically healthy in the beginning. One of our sons had developmental and speech delays and one of our daughters contracted whooping cough as an infant, then RSV and had damage done to her lungs and immune system. However they are both older and only get the common illnesses that other kids get.

One of our children is adopted. He is now a thriving teen but the early years were a living hell. We can look back now and laugh some and be thankful that we survived. We made a lot of mistakes. I personally carry guilt for a lot of things I did in trying to control an aggressive, violent child. We all have emotional and physical scars from about a six year period. Luckily we got help because we no longer could handle things on our own. We appreciate all the friends in our lives who stepped up to the plate to offer us respite, even when they didn’t get it but saw that we were drowning. It took a village and we are grateful.

And then there were those who thought that their superior parenting or magic cures would solve our sons issues. I can honestly say that I tried it all out of desperation.  I can say to the people who said to spank him – it didn’t work. It actually made things worse. Punishment did not work. Not even negative consequences worked. In fact it just caused more despair and frustration on our part and made our child feel inadequate and unloved. To outsiders I am sure that we eventually looked like pushovers and passive parents when in actuality we were doing exactly what our family therapists (plural) advised us to do.

We also put our son on medication. He has been on medication since age 4. I can tell you about all the side effects, the blood draws, the journal entries, and how long it took to find the right fit for our son. I can tell you I wasn’t comfortable with it. That I cried. That we cried. That I questioned it every single time he took his medicine. That I prayed there was a better way and there would be some magic pill to solve it all.

There wasn’t.

With in our four walls was a war zone. Broken furniture and holes in the walls and the other children hiding or locking themselves in their rooms out of fear. Our lives were a roller coaster that never stopped cue concerned individuals who thought we were doing something wrong…

Did you change his diet? It is probably food allergies. I bet its gluten. 

I won’t dismiss that food is the best medicine. I believe in gut health and I believe in the brain gut connection. All of that is scientifically proven. I actually have problems eating wheat and it makes me feel like shit. I also have food allergies that mess with my speech, impact the way I write, and cause me to be disoriented. But I am here to tell you we didn’t put our son on anti-convulsion and anti-psychotic meds as our first line of defense. Sugar, red dye, yellow dye, blue dye, and grains did not make him being an aggressive, violent, and hallucinating five year old. If only it was that easy.

You should see a chiropractor, use essential oils, and feed him super foods. 

This sounds like reasonable advice. I am sure people mean well – or do they? Or is it really a judgment on how you parent and the choices you have made. If I thought some essential oils on the bottom of my child’s foot would have prevented him from putting holes in the wall or walking on the roof in the middle of the night or would cure night terrors I would have totally done it. But just think about how ridiculous that sounds. And while I personally use essential oils for a variety of issues as a first line of defense, I do not treat my anxiety and PTSD with essential oils. I take medication and go to therapy. Anyone who tells you they have cured their mental illness or their child’s mental illness or autism with essential oils is lying. (hate mail can be sent to beautifulwreck2 at gmail)

And as I have said, I believe in the power of food and the gut brain connection. I think for some children and adults eating a shitty diet it can impact their behavior and moods. I don’t believe it is wise or safe to eat franken foods for our overall health but do I think eliminating Little Debbies and Doritos from my kids diet will solve our problems. Well, I did eliminate them and guess what – the child was eating an organic, whole foods diet without grains, dyes, or sugars and NOTHING CHANGED.

There is this assumption that if you have a young child with behavioral problems or mental illness it is somehow the parents fault. If only it was that simple. Bless. Do you not think the majority of parents with children with these kind of issues haven’t tried, researched, and discussed these things? Are you assuming we are uninformed or stupid? Some of us even took parenting class or got training as foster to adopt parents. We spend our time connecting to other parents in person and on the internet, we speak to not only our physicians, but all the parents I know with children who have mental health issues or a child on the autism spectrum has done more research than the FBI.

You just aren’t tough enough.

The fact that someone had the audacity to say this to ME is almost laughable, but I have heard it plenty in connection to all of my children. While I am much more laid back mother than I used to be, I have always had high expectations for my children – no matter what was going on with them. Do some of them have legitimate excuses when they are acting like assholes? Yes, but we don’t let that define who they are. And it surely is not a reflection on my toughness as a parent. (If my kids are reading this they may be laughing at the idea people think I am a permissive and passive parent) The goal of my parenting is not to put a band aid on inappropriate behavior but to get to the root of it. Sometimes the root of the problem involves changing the guidelines and structure of our life, therapy, and medication adjustments. (sometimes for them, sometimes for me)

Having children with learning disabilities and mental health issues has taught me to be flexible and we need to think about how we approach parents who are living this day to day. They are in the trenches trying to make decisions for their child and are not just looking for the easiest way out by turning to medication. Often times before we ever reached the decision to put our children on medication we had already exhausted a lot of other methods to help our child. We are not stupid, we are not passive, and we are not lazy. Please think before suggesting that what we are doing for our children is wrong.

 

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