Guardedly Optimistic (But Inside I'm Joyous)

It's four years since I was introduced to Dr. Greene's book; three years since I found the Lives in the Balance website and immersed myself in it like a crazy religious convert; and two years since we took our challenging son out of the system (first public, then private) to homeschool him.

Our son has been violent at home (mom, dad, older bro) since early toddlerhood. One of those kids that Dr. Greene describes, able to control rage in public, but not enough to stay out of trouble. A bright kid, he was a full year behind academically since a teacher found it easier to ignore him. It was only a matter of time (remedial issues, ill-informed judgments, a push to diagnose...) so we homeschooled for grades three and now four.

Homeschooling is tough. We don't have a support system; and we are a normal, struggling mid-income family. There just wasn't a choice, plain and simple. Raise a child til he's carted off to jail or fight for him. I even saw a family therapist, not because I thought she could help (no one to help us do Plan B in our locale), but I feared that the day my little son would be hurt in a violent episode and we wanted his situation documented in the event of an injury and trip to ER (thankfully never happened). And Plan B, Plan B, Plan B and more Plan B.

We've now had MANY MONTHS between episodes, and the episodes are a shadow of what they were. Hard to believe myself, but suddenly realized that the hard work of Plan B may be beginning to pay off for this little boy. We see some self-control; some self-awareness; a reduction in the degree of frustration; an ability to take some bad moments and roll with them; an ability to stick to some disliked school work -- things I never thought possible.

I'm guardedly optimistic and careful not to make pronouncements. One day he'll have to be reintroduced to some school (we did keep him in his karate classes all this time, and that's gone well) and of course I'm afraid. But, positive changes can't be ignored! Parents need to know, in dark hours, that things may look up one day.

I've been so profoundly grateful to Dr. Greene during these years. I couldn't have done this without him and his work. Maybe somewhere people have 'villages' helping to raise children; we've got Dr. Greene and his web site.