The Nightmare of ‘Back To Baseline’: Why Parenting Kids On Meds Is Maddening
In November we had our six month check up with our son’s behavior specialist. We drive all the way back to Virginia (a seven hour drive) just to maintain the rapport and relationship with her because we trust her. When you are parenting children with behavior disorders, having a doctor you trust with your child, your family, and your situation is priceless. However, this time she said the words that will stop any parent who medicates their child in their tracks: “We need to take him back to baseline.”
Dear God, NNNnnnnnnoooooooo!!!
For those who may not know, “baseline” is the process of weening or stripping your kids from any medication they may be taking. This is usually suggested before a major med change or to reassess how your child is doing if they’ve been on a particular regimen of medication for some time.
Our boy has been taking the same prescriptions for his ADHD and ODD for nearly a year while going to occupational therapy to address his sensory needs. Since moving, we haven’t done OT but his anger has progressively gotten worse. They attempted changing his meds after his November appointment to focus on his anxiety, but we were only met with more hostility. Let me paint you a picture of what this looks like. In a matter of three days, the following took place in our home:
- We were spit on.
- Our $350 heater was thrown to the ground multiple times.
- Our one year old daughter was punched in the back.
- Books and toys have been thrown.
- He completely laid out in the floor of the gym making angry snow angels.
- He smacked his friend in the back because he was “copying him”.
- Our dog was punched directly in the face.
- I left late for work each day to the sound of full out screaming, crying, and throwing himself in the floor.
- I had food thrown at me.
- My husband was called all, but not limited to, a jerk, a bully, an idiot, and the worst daddy ever.
- He told my husband he wanted him to leave our family, followed by telling him he would “make him die”.
- He threw a huge fit in the post office so bad that my husband had to take him back to the van even after 15 minutes of waiting in line, only to go back and start all over again.
- He threw rocks at our car.
- He tried to run away down our driveway.
- He threw a toy so hard at the wall I sincerely have no idea how there isn’t a gigantic hole in it.
- He told both of my parents he hated them.
- He threw a fit in my parents’ living room floor that continued out onto their patio and back inside again.
These are just the things I can remember off the top of my head. I haven’t slept in days. I tell you this with embarrassing transparency because it is so important that people understand what our daily lives look like behind closed doors. This is our real life.
Parents, unite. Be strong. Break down. Do what you need to do to make it through but just remember why they choose to fall apart on us. These kids do their best (even when it doesn’t seem like it) to keep it together all day long through classroom parties, homework time, and after school programs so when they make it home to you, they are exhausted! They choose us to lose it on because we are their safe place. They know that they can completely fit out on us and we will still love them.
My husband and I make a point to tell our son, in the post-meltdown calm, that we still love him no matter what; that there is nothing he could say or do that would ever make us love him any less. I tell him every morning and every night that I am so proud God chose me to be his mama.
Friends, this is so crucial. Our kids are confronted with their weaknesses daily, but we need to remind them of their strengths. We need to comfort them, love them through their most ugly times, and show them that we are still their biggest fans…even when they aren’t on any medication and their “baseline” is a shade above Sissy Spacek in “Carrie”.