Sunday, December 13, 2009

How a Label Can Be Relieving and Stress-Inducing

How can a label be both relieving and stress-inducing? Somehow, it is possible. We have an early sense that Aaron is on the road to something that the pediatricians call Oppositional Defiant Disorder. You can click on the link to learn more about what this means.

On the one hand, it is a relief to have a name to Aaron's issues. We can adjust our expectations and be less surprised when incidents happen. It frames our understanding of what he needs, provides some guidance as to remedies, and may open the door to receiving some of the extra help we need. Perhaps, subconsciously, we will be less apt to pressure ourselves or beat up ourselves about having a hard time with Aaron, for we now know he does in fact have extra challenges, which may make it easier for us to give ourselves permission to be drained without thinking less of ourselves as parents.

On the other hand, it is stressful to realize what we're facing. We have to be very vigilant to move Aaron away from the kinds of paths kids with his diagnosis can end up on. The very process of finding out about, securing, and following through on care resources is taxing. And we feel more pressure about choices we make concerning his wellbeing, since we know that without proper care he can worsen in his behavior and defiance.

So, in summary, this week has brought news that has simultaneously relieved us and stressed us out. Apparently, labels can do that sometimes.
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