As adults, we try to do our best for our children at all times. It is our primary function as parents. I do wonder though if sometimes through our actions we inadvertently do more harm than good.
This morning, one of my friends on Facebook, let me have a rant about something and nothing, and the more I thought about the point in question, the bigger the thing became. It is probably one of these things that gets in my brain, and goes round and round, and forgets where to stop!
Now, as parents we know we lie to our children. We tell huge lies, while they get chastised for quite minor things!
The biggest lie of all, has to be Santa Claus. It’s a beautiful lie, but I am already imagining the heart ache the truth is going to do to the boys when it finally comes out. I must also admit feeling a little uncomfortable with the whole Santa thing. I mean, we spend all year telling our kids not to talk to strangers, as there are some bad people in the world, and then we tell them on Christmas Eve a strange old man is going to break into our house and come into your bedroom! There is no logic to our double standard here!
We also tell them little lies on a daily basis like if you don’t clean your teeth properly they will all fall out and the tooth fairy doesn’t pay for teeth that haven’t been looked after! There we have two lies in one!
Now, the damage I was talking about this morning, was not about the type of untruths all parents tell their kids, it was a little more deep than that. It’s about putting them in situations that mean they hear or see things that can become embedded in their very being and affect how they act and react to certain situations.
Some of you may remember that at a meeting at the school during the last academic year, it was suggested that with D’s poor fine motor skills, it might be advisable to get him referred to occupational therapy to see if they could suggest something that might help make life a little easier for him. He tries so hard when doing writing, but his fingers don’t always do as they are told! Off we trundled to his GP, who said he would write a letter of referral, but there was a long waiting list. With the problem being one that wasn’t going to get any worse, we saw no problem with the wait. D was quite excited that someone was listening to the fact he was having problems, and we talked about what an occupational therapist did.
Time passed, and I hadn’t really given it much thought. Until, today that is. A letter arrive address to the parent/carer of D (this annoys me on letters as it says there is a minor in the house to anyone who sees it), and so instantly I assumed it was the referral. When I opened the letter however, it was in fact a referral to the school doctors unit. Now, I am hoping the GP hasn’t just passed us on and we have to have this appointment before getting onto the waiting list for occupational therapy which is presently about a 6 month wait.
I always worry about meeting new general medical personal, rather than specialised ones, because every one of them we have encountered so far just focus on D’s size. There seems to be a blinkered reaction as soon as they see a fat kid. And a fat kid with a fat parent, then it must be their fault! I must admit to often asking Hubby to take him to appointments to remove this reaction. It has been hard at times to get taken seriously.
When D was three he was very wheezy and had more chest infections than you think you could fit into a year – he still suffers when he gets a cold. He was finally referred to the hospital as the antibiotics he was being given seemed to have little effect. They did all sorts of tests and then gave us a follow-up appointment which, we weren’t informed of at the time, would be with the childhood obesity clinic! Nobody told us this is where it would be until we arrived for the appointment. I wasn’t impressed and in fact quite upset by it. Anyway, we were backwards and forwards, and they weighed and measured him on a regular basis. We kept food diaries, which we were accused of falsifying, as a child his size had to be over eating – D is a greedy child at meal times, but isn’t looking for food in between, unlike M, so its easy to monitor what he is having. When we saw the dietitian, we were basically told not to feed him until he was the right weight for his height. I was flabbergasted by this response. Finally one of the doctors took x-rays. Apparently an x-ray of your wrist can show the rate of growth of your body, its something to do with the small bones there. It was established his body was 18 months older than his birth age, so he was a big lad from that point of view! All the conversations about D’s size were held with him in the room. Never was I able to talk to the doctors without him, and D being a clever child, took in most of what was said. He therefore was asking questions about loosing weight before he was 5 years old. This kind of thing is damage that the health care professionals should have not been inflicting on him.
We have seen different GP’s recently for a variety of different ailments, and almost all of them have asked if I would like D to be referred to the community dietician – not what you need when you have a sick child on your lap! When I refuse, I get questioned and made to feel like the worst parent in the world. I have said to some that I refuse to hold that conversation in front of D, and then have been questioned by him afterwards as to why!
The attitude is blanket he is fat because he is lazy and over eats. Both of these are wrong. We keep an eye on what he eats, and he is under the recommended calorie intake for a 6-year-old on most days. It is hard for anyone who doesn’t see him regularly to understand how difficult it is for him to keep still. It’s not in his nature. He spends at least an hour a day on the trampoline and loves his Nickelodeon Fit on the Wii!
Now the reason I am so tetchy about this is because I can remember being dragged to the doctors at a very young age because of my size, and I am sure I could tell you the calorie value of everything I ate before I left primary school. By the time I left secondary school, I lived only on shakes, and by the time I left college I knew the optimum time for regurgitating anything I ate. I don’t want this for D, and yet the cycle has begun.
Now, I might be making something out of nothing here with this appointment, and I certainly hope I will, but on past experience I fear what will come of it.
I think as parents, we have to do our best for our kids, and when that sometimes means telling those that are meant to help us, and don’t, to butt out then that is something we have to do.