Parenting is hard. Why doesn’t anyone call it for it is? Last week I was walking through the grocery with my 6 and 8 year old when a teachable moment presented itself in a not so shiny wrapper. The kids and I were headed down the frozen […]
Our family’s story is one of HOPE. We have two children and both inspire me each day to find ways of making our family lives easier for them and for all of us.
Four years ago my 5-year-old son was struggling in school. His lack of awareness and focus was brought to our attention by the school. It was a concern for us since this was the beginning of the elementary school.
Each night after school my son would scream, yell, slam his books down and run to his room when we began school work. He hated school. And honestly, so did I. We were constantly walking around on eggshell not really knowing what to do. I really wanted to instill a love of learning in him but his behavior and dislike for school was getting the best of us. It was a chore to get him out the door in the mornings. Friends told us we should consider having him evaluated and possibility put on medication. My own frustration and criticism regarding our son pushed me to the point where I scheduled an appointment with the doctor. I then schedule an appointment. With each attempt to get help and having it fail to effectively make changes, I became more discouraged. We continued dealing with the frustration and temper-tantrums and by the end of the school year I told my husband WE HAD TO DO SOMETHING. My gut said to try moving schools. He needed an environment that could support LEARNING AND WE NEEDED A SUPPORTIVE SCHOOL TO HELP US.
We uprooted our family from a small Florida town and moved to the city. I think I was partly in denial at this point and believed an environment change would be what we needed. The school we found was incredbile and supported his needs, allowed him to learn but we were still having some issues. He would maintain at school but keep everything bottled up inside until he got home. The frustration and focus would spill over into homework and tasks around the house.
You see, I was in a cycle with him.
**** While going through all of this, I was fatigued, emotionally exhausted, and overwhelmed however that year would create overwhelming change for the better. In 2013, I enroll in a Parent Coaching Certification Program because I needed REAL TOOL FOR ALL SITUATIONS. I also needed support and a deeper understanding of my child. I wanted to parent with rules and guideline but I wanted to instill peace and safety as well. And if I couldn’t get a handle on my son’s behavior, I at least needed to understand it. And learn how to parent his temperament, respond to his behavior in a peaceful way, and breakthrough the old tools that didn’t work. To say this changed my parenting approach is an understatement however I knew in my heart there was something else going. ******
The following week, I decided to ask our new family doctor about the lack of focus and behavior. She said, “Christina, you’re on the spectrum, his chances are around 50%.” She handed me a form from the American Pediatric Association on ADHD/ADD and ODD and explained that he could come back for testing. I had held off because I thought an environment change could help, my parenting approach certainly changed how we were relating to each other but could he be biologically imbalanced? As I looked through the form, the questions made my heart sank. The questions were aligned with what I was seeing at home with his behavior. What should we do? Again, denial kept creeping up.
I prayed on it day after day. And then while driving home from the grocery, God dropped it right in my lap. “THERE IS ANOTHER OPTION.”
Hmm, okay…But what was the option? Where was it? Did it land in my grocery bag?
Two days later I had coffee with a holistic nurse from a networking group. She shared her story about finding Dr. Valerie Miles, a holistic pedatrician in Jacksonville and how WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION changed their family. Her daughter had issues with severe eczema which had gone untreated for years until she found whole food nutrition. It was incredible to hear how she had gone from one doctor to another doctor trying to find a solution for her ill daughter. Her daughter was allergic to everything and her skin would NOT HEAL. She put her daughter on fruits and veggies and her daughter’s skin cleared up. I was blown away by the change she experienced and how deprived our kids are for nutrient rich foods.
I STARTED TO WONDER IF MY SON’S DIET HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH HIS BEHAVIOR. I’d often watch him drink a red Gatorade and become a different person. We ate fruits and veggies but were we getting enough? How long did it take them to get from the field to the grocery store? I started reading the clinical trials that had been done on WHOLE FOOD NUTRITION. I was desperate to try something natural and FOOD BASED. I put my son on 23 fruits and veggies and within TWO WEEKS, I had my sweet loving child back. The FOCUS, OUTBURSTS and MELTDOWN stopped. He’s now processing situations and experiences differently. There is also more balance in the home and in his routine. We still have to watch the food coloring and sugar but there has been a huge SHIFT in our home. There is more PEACE, CALM, and NATURAL COOPERATION. Please know that there is HOPE.
My guess is that if you’re reading this may have had similar experiences. It starts with us as parents, asking the right questions and getting the right tools. Now, I say all of this to share HOPE. Does this mean that whole food fruits and vegetables will produce the same thing for you or your family member? I have no idea, but I do know that I have been awakened now to the reality that nutrition plays a HUGE role in making life easier for every one of us. It is what our bodies need. How our bodies use that fuel will look different for everyone. What I ALSO know NOW is that the fuller picture of health comes from not only getting the wide variety of fruits and veggies but also from eliminating gluten, sugars, dairy, and processed foods… and drinking lots of WATER, moving every day, getting good sleep. And I know that creating deeply connected, long-lasting relationships based in trust, love and understanding starts with a converstation.
If you know someone who could benefit from our story or a converstation, please share.