Wednesday, December 13, 2006


"I really think your daughter should start seeing the counselor. I'm concerned that her lack of social skills will get worse as she gets older if we don't do something about it now."

Not exactly the words a mother wants to hear about her child. Ever. Especially not when said child is five years old. I signed the permission form, handed it to her kindergarten teacher, and by doing so, automatically put my child into the group of kids who are viewed by classmates as strange or crazy or bizarre. Did I sign her social death warrant and open her up to teasing and estrangement?

My entire evening was ruined as I ruminated over the words "lack of social skills," over and over and over again. What have I done wrong? What could I have done better? Did I miss something in her development? Where did she learn to react so emotionally? Where did I screw her up?

I wasn't able to enjoy the grade school Christmas program, the one for which Unruly dressed so beautifully and sang her little heart out while proudly smiling at me and sneaking in look-at-me-mom! waves every now and then when she caught my eye. To look at her you would never imagine there is a little demon residing behind that adorable smile waiting to break loose and turn her into a pea-soup spitting hellion.

She gets along with everyone, isn't shy or reserved or slow. She is smart, witty, opinionated and outgoing and yes, sometimes overly emotional. She gets quite upset when things don't go her way or when she feels she is being picked on. She doesn't respond well when told to do something she doesn't particularly want to do. I imagine as she gets older it will be referred to as "having a problem with authority figures," She is ecstatic about life and about everything life has to offer her. She is an endless fount of energy and some days, literally zings off walls, but the energy is usually pretty easily redirected. She is not ADHD, she has no problems concentrating on one thing for a long time and is able to entertain herself for hours. She is simply wired to the hilt with boundless excitement and energy and gets upset when someone tosses a wrench into her energetic zinging and exploring.

We have been working on the anger management and self-control issue for more than a year, and she has improved, remarkably. But, she has her bad days, as do we all.

But, a counselor? At five? I don't know how helpful it will be, or if the social stigma attached to being a kid who visits the counselor will hurt more than help in the long run. Next thing you know they'll be telling me she needs to be drugged to control her behavior. For the record, I am adamently against drugging children to control behavior. It's wrong, wrong, wrong and sets them up for a life of not being able to live without a little chemical help to work through life's problems. Behavior management skills, absolutely. Drugs, HELL NO.

I guess only time will tell, and during that time, I will continue to ask myself, every day "Where did I mess up? Why my kid?

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