Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I Quit

I don't 'quit' on kids. I don't.

In all of my (twelve and a half) years of daycare, I have given one family 'notice'. It was a situation that I had talked to the parent about. Other families were becoming uncomfortable bringing their children here. I monitored the situation closely. Something felt very, very off and it was out of my control. I couldn't fix or change it. I gave two weeks notice and I never looked back. It was the right thing to do.

I have had many, many challenging behaviours to contend with over the course of time. But I didn't quit. I once had a friend who had a child that had ADHD before it was a well known, well talked about catch phrase. She had daycare after daycare 'quit' on her. When I started babysitting I promised myself that I would not give up on a child. It is devastating to the parent and not good for the child.

But what is worse? Admitting defeat? Or subjecting that child to day after day, where it felt like they were constantly on the receiving end of time outs and relentless coaching to modify the offending behaviour? All to no avail.

I felt like I was talking to a stone wall, for the difference that I made. He could repeat the words that I said word for word. He copied my inflection, my tone of voice and my body language. But he did not understand me.

He copied every move that everyone around him made (including the cats and dogs). But he did not understand the concept of independent thinking.

Had he been in a situation where he was the youngest, in a group of children that were setting the bar for him, he could have thrived. Instead, he was the leader of the pack. He was mimicking behaviours of those who were much younger and developmentally challenged.

The younger our crowd got, the more he regressed. To the point where he went from being fully toilet trained to ... not.

I tried everything that has worked for me in the past. I tried every new tactic that I could think of. I talked with my son (who has seen the exact behaviours that I have seen) and he has verified the validity of this ongoing issue (I am  not imagining this or exaggerating). I have bounced my words off of the adults in my world. I was running out of options.

So yesterday ... I quit. It had to be done.

The self esteem of a child is at stake. I had to do it. He was taking the vast majority of my attention and energy. I had to do it. His behaviour was affecting the behaviour of everyone else in the house. I had to do it. I physically shuddered each and every morning when they drove up into our driveway. I had to do it.

It was the right thing to do. But I quit. I feel like I gave up on a child. And I do not feel good about it.

I will go through this day and know that every day from here on, will be without the energy-drain of the child that needed more than I could give. I will be more available for the rest of the children. I already feel a great relief knowing that I won't be fighting the same battle day after day, hour after hour, minute after minute. It is for the greater good.

I tried everything that I could think of to fix or change the situation. Nothing worked. Not for me. Not for him.

I quit. It doesn't feel good. Not yet. Not today.

I would like to know the 'rest of his story'. I wish him only good things and I hope that this decision sends him onto a better path ...

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