My youngest son is six. He’s always been on the defiant side, can be difficult and frustratingly stubborn. I wouldn’t say that fits are in his nature but a complete shutting down is not uncommon. Nor is the need to physically remove him from a situation because he will just refuse to do so on his own. It can be hard for me to understand what to do. His insistence can come from a negative place that I wish I could get my hands better around. Even things he eventually will like to do can start with a fight and stress that no one likes to deal with. It can get my oldest son incredibly angry or their sister will completely capitulate and make matters worse through the best of intentions. Add to that his general fearfulness. And that fearfulness actually is counter-intuitive. What I mean by that is that he will learn something, say riding a bike, and then completely be terrified of riding his bike because he ‘doesn’t know how.’ He refuses to take on hard things and won’t do homework or work on his handwriting and reading without a fight. He’d rather play video games as they are easy and obtainable. But as I said before, once he gets going he does enjoy it…. Yet, letting you know that he only had a pretty good time.

But let’s make something completely clear. He’s a great kid. That intensity when things are hard also shows itself in excitement about so many things in life. Like the first two kids, he has shown me a completely different way of enjoying so many things in life.

My concern is that I will learn to work with a kid like him but that it will be at a detriment to him. My wife and I had twins 13 years before we adopted this little guy 6 months into his life. We learned so much raising the twins. But that learning was through trial and error… and error. We made mistakes and learned and hopefully grew. But what I experienced was as a human being. It came as we worked through problems and things were done and said that can not be taken back.

At school, they are beginning to see him as a kid in need of continued movement. His teacher is working with him and I’m grateful for her help. We’re lucky to have her and being in her class was the direct result of the intervention of a good friend who works in the school system. Understanding that he might have an attention deficit is of help because it points me in a direction to look for assistance and learning. That understanding has made me accept things like, he’s sat at the dinner table for 15 minutes now and is sliding off his chair, so maybe we let him excuse himself. That it might be ok to let him have a video screen at a restaurant after he’s been good for the night and is done but his mother and I would like to sit and talk before heading home.

Now with this guy, I can see that issues with him are harder than before. Having raised the twins all those years earlier, having experienced difficult times and the years after to look back is a benefit. But there are things I’ve never experienced. The biggest is the defiance and contrarian nature of this guy. So I’m reading, listening, and hopefully learning. It’s not going to be easy but as cliché as it is to say, what is easy? I would never say the ‘best’ kid so let’s say the most pliable and agreeable kid has moments…

This one is going to be tough, I hope to grow as an individual myself while helping him become the man I know he has inside him.