#1 and I went snowboarding today. Which doesn't sound like much except that for him snowboarding has been more aspirational than real, and I'm a 50+ Dad.
I knew he needed me doing it with him, and what we both needed was bunny hill time. Not lessons, we did some of those years ago -- a borderline fail then. We needed sliding time in decent conditions.
Which we got. There were some anxieties of his I had to work around, some on the fly strategy invention, and of course I had to learn to snowboard (yay quick iPhone wikihow consultation) -- but we succeeded. Good runs on the greens for both of us. We stopped when he wanted to quit -- at a successful moment.
On the way home I thought of how far he's come since ages 3-7. Those were tough years, they left their marks on our faces. When I started this blog we were just emerging from the worst of it. By then we were experts in applying the lessons of Greene's "The Explosive Child", which I wrote about in 2007.
It occurred to me that I ought to send Greene a thank you note. That led me to a relatively new site and organization of his, called Lives in the Balance. Nice to see the team working there.
You can Tell Your Story | Lives in the Balance. I figured that would be one way to say thanks...
For our cognitively impaired multi-label son, ages 3 to 7 were hard. Very hard. I'm glad I don't remember them all that well; I do remember contemplating splitting the family so I could care for him away from his sibs.
We studied the Explosive Child intensively. It wasn't the only thing I studied -- operant conditioning with extinction of negative behaviors and rewards for positive behaviors was essential too.
Things started to get better around ages 7-9. We had more challenges, especially as he got older and stronger, but somehow his judgment developed just a bit ahead of his physical strength. The biting went away, the hitting went away...
He learned to read - at least to around 6th grade level. He learned many other things too -- hockey, swimming, snowboarding, biking, mountain biking, baseball, wrestling (ugh), xc skiing... Many more.
He's almost 17 now. Who knows what lies ahead. Things could go south at any time, but that's true for any of us.
He's come a long way.
The Explosive Child was the most important book we ever read ...
PS. Visiting the site I learned the "Explosive Child" has a new DSM-5 label: Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder - replaces the misused 'bipolar disorder' for kids like #1. There's a comic outlining the evolution of the label, which is as good and as bad as any of 'em .... "PIA", Conduct Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Pediatric Bipolar Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder.