Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Our Client's Children

Lynette wasn't in today, so I couldn't talk to her about her apparently brilliant and very troubled son. Helen came, though, with "good news" about her grandchildren. The older two children, girls aged 5 and 6, are in counseling now and both are on medicine for their hyperactivity. I've met these children in their home a few times now. So has Heather, and we were both surprised to hear them referred to as hyperactive by their grandmother. They were curious and well mannered, asked permission to step outside the house and again to go down to my car. They weren't loud. They asked questions and listened to the answers. But, they're both on the hyperactivity meds, and at least one is in a level 4 placement at Bon Secur. I'm not sure if she is the one who was raped by her grandfather, Helen's father in law, at the age of three. But that one, the rape victim, is still "hyperactive" despite the medicine. The three children are also on a different medication to help them sleep at night. Works like a charm, apparently. Sometimes they pass out even before they get to the bed.

What I do consider genuine good news is that the counselors are working with their mother, teaching her to use "time outs" instead of spanking and "hollering." The mother "does a lot of hollering," Helen explained. And, Helen continued, the children's father is still working, but not spending the money on the family. He spends it on drinking, and the two parents "party" and fight most the night in front of the children.

Maybe the kids really are hyperactive, rather than poorly socialized or made anxious by a chaotic environment and the rape. Maybe there actually is some medical benefit to knocking children unconscious every night. It certainly has to make life easier for the parents. An evening routine, story reading in bed, and consistent discipline are hard work. I can't help but think that fundamentally healthy children are being labeled and drugged to accommodate the sick adults who surround them.

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