Therapy or no? How to decide
Apologies for the length of time since my last post. There have been a few things going on around here and it's been hard to find time. I am quickly approaching the conclusion of my Master's program, so my time is precious. Thanks to those who read!
SO, Mack started therapy a few months ago because I wondered if he was struggling with OCD. Whether he is or not has yet to be determined. It is possible that his allergy medicine which doubles as an anti-anxiety medicine is working to keep his symptoms at bay. It is currently spring allergy season, so I am not taking him off of it right now to find out whether it is having an effect on his handwashing and contamination struggles. However, since we started his therapy, HE is enjoying it. HE feels he is benefiting. I don't see much change. I still hear millions of random voice changes and strange noises daily. I still have to remind him (as gently as possible) that he must follow the rules of not running in the house, not climbing the walls, folding and putting away his laundry, cleaning up his toys, respecting others...and so much more! Yesterday, I had to give him a heavy movement job to quell his outbursts some. Not that it worked longer than he was engaged in the activity, but at least I got half a minute of chill. Until Will got involved and decided arguing was a good thought.
And that brings us to today's discussion!
I am pondering whether Will needs to go back to therapy now. If he returns, that will make 3 kids and 2 adults in therapy every other week. Will has struggled more and more recently with arguing with others, trying to ensure his way, and trying to ensure his version of fairness. His siblings are not push overs, though. They won't stand for it. Not a single one of them has learned the fine art of simply walking away from the conflict when it is evident the conversation is going nowhere. Of course, I didn't learn that until recently myself. I finally, at nearly 40, learned that saying "OK" and washing my proverbial hands of whatever conflict I'd been invited to was the best option. That I am not going to convince the other person of my opinion. No matter what I say to try. This skill is not one easily learned. Nor one I want employed by my children who lack the ability to discern the appropriateness of when to use it. But, Will digs in his heels and will not relent. I don't know the full extent of the most recent issue, but he and Mack were arguing over something regarding bikes. Probably that Mack didn't put his away right, so Will had an issue with his. They were screaming back and forth across the driveway for at least 5 minutes before I simply told Will to go to his room. I have had so many reflexive conversations with him in the last week, I am DONE.
So, is it time for Will to be in therapy again? Perhaps. But he doesn't want to be in therapy again. What I am doing is clearly not enough. He is almost 13 (yikes) and hormones are likely part of the issue. We're unlikely to medicate him. I know he is having more significant symptoms of autism right now. So what does he need? Therapy? Horse riding? More attention? Less sibling interaction? More structure? Less structure? More challenging school? A break from something?
There are a million questions that I have to consider when deciding whether returning to therapy is the right thing for a kid. As parents, we almost constantly second guess our decisions. There is no manual. No certainty. Nothing and no one will tell me I made the right choice. And there might be more than one right thing at any given turn. I have to do right for our family. Which, because we cannot ride right now, and martial arts is out of the question, might be Leigh and I stepping back from therapy and putting Will in instead because he may need it more at this juncture and we can't afford 10 hours of therapy a month either financially or otherwise.
We shouldn't have to choose whose therapy to pay for, but we do. I am certain you do to some extent too. Mental healthcare is healthcare and it should be more accessible.
Leigh and I might just end up flipping a coin to decide how to proceed. But, first, research. And a conversation with Will. And one with Leigh. Maybe one with both of them. We will decide together what is right for our family right now. In this season. If you need help with options for your conundrum, reach out. I am here!