Ignatz has been diagnosed with ADD, and the principle that Parents Must Present a United Front is being severely tested. DrBob and I have very different ideas about what’s going on, and we’ve had a lot of fights about it. For the record, he’s won every damn one.
In a nutshell, there is strong evidence for a physical component to ADD’s etiology, and I think it might be worthwhile to try Ritalin. It has helped in some cases, and might make a difference in his ability to concentrate and remember things. There is all kinds of conflict Out There about this, and I don’t want to get into it here. Yes, I’ve read both sides. Yes, if there’s a chance Ritalin can help, I think it’s worth a try. If it doesn’t work, at least we’d have tried it and we’d know for sure. Even if it did work, I don’t think it would be a total solution because of the attendant psychological problems.
The psychological problems. Hm, yes. Chicken-or-egg debate, that one. Are they the cause of his behavior, or are they a result of his condition? I say the latter: his inability to function at the level of his peers is wrecking his self-esteem and making him act out. DrBob says the former: some buried inner conflict is making him have ADD. I advocate trying ritalin or some such to see if it can help him focus, and then working out some coping strategies to help him get around this limitation. I hope that if he can function better, he will feel better about himself, and some of the depression will lift. DrBob advocates sending him to psychotherapy to locate the source of this inner conflict that is making him depressed and apathetic and forgetful. Frankly, I expect that after two years of therapy, the therapist will tell us that his ADD makes him unable to function at the level of his peers, which is wrecking his self-esteem, and she recommends ritalin and coping strategies. And we will then be where we could be now if a certain spousal unit would listen to me.
The other thing is that he is “Gifted“, a term which I hate. It is not just a gift: a 130+ IQ is also a curse for a kid in an ordinary elementary school. Especially when that kid has behavior problems. (No, the behavior problems are not just a result of the giftedness: we checked.)
So that’s the background to our problems re his relationships with everyone in the family, his steadily slipping grades, why he dropped out of hockey and broke his mother’s heart, and why he keeps getting in trouble at school. He was diagnosed shortly before his tenth birthday, it took us a year to get an appointment with a therapist, we are trying to figure out what all our options are, and that’s about where we stand now. Just so you know, because this is sure to come up from time to time.