Saturday, April 1, 2017

Bertha Butt Goes to The Great White North

Image result for the great white north

I will soon depart for Canada, where I will spend the next six to eight weeks. I will travel with only carry-on baggage, as most of the belongings I will need have been sent already and will be waiting for me when I get there. My housing situation has taken a dramatic turn for the better. I was originally slated to have a bedroom in the home of a medical school professor. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the apartment above the family's garage was vacated early when the student who occupied it departed unexpectedly. The professor offered me the option of renting the garage apartment. I jumped at the chance. It will cost me about five thousand dollars by the time I pat two months' rent (they're not asking for a deposit!) buy a bed, a sofa, and a TV, but that is a small price to pay. I will have the use of a car owned by the uiversity affiliated with the medical school I will be attending. I need only pay for my own auto insurance for the time I'll be using the car and for my gas, obviously.

This will be the closest to being on my own that I've ever experienced. As long as I'm not hosting noisy parties, engaging in illegal activities, or damaging the property, the professor and his wife do not give a rat's butt what I do. My parents don't presently interfere in my life on a daily basis, but I still don't feel 100% independent living in the condo that they own.

The day following my arrival, I'll go through a bit of an orientation, get a photo ID, and will meet my supervising attending psychiatrist. Then I will leave for the nearest ski resort. The ski season is still going strong in The Great White North. I'll spend roughly three days skiing, then will return to my home base. I'm not expected to be on duty until Sunday, but I will report for work on Friday in order not to be viewed as a slacker. 

At least one reader of my blog is vehemently opposed to the time-out technique. The person views it as wholly inappropriate for anyone with any sort of mental or neurological disorder. There certainly may be children for whom it's not the best way of curbing antisocial behaviors. I'm far from the definitive expert on such matters at this juncture of my career. Nonetheless, I maintain that for the child with whom I dealt, even if he is afflicted with a mild case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which at this time is  considered a neurological disorder, it was appropriate for him to experience an unpleasant consequence for having hit his mother when she took an electronic device from him that belonged to someone else because he handled it carelessly and threatened to break it. 

Children have to learn that they cannot seize the belongings of others, cannot destroy the property of others, and cannot hit others. Had this child lived before 1970, and in many places even after 1970, he probably would have faced physical consequences for his acts of defiance and violence. I remain not firmly convinced that such would have been inappropriate. Still, I can accept the premise that problems are best solved without violence. I understand why it's important to be able to discipline a child without hitting him. It did bother me that the child had esentially no consequence other than the self-imposed consequence of dragging his original five-minute time-out into a multi-hour ordeal for hitting, kicking, and spitting at me as I took him back to the time-out space repeatedly, but I knew that such would be the case when I signed on to help with the behavioral intrvention. Had the boy been my own child, after roughly the third unauthorized instance of leaving time-out, I would have found a large bag and would have stuffed the child inside it and would have put him out with the day's refuse. I was joking. I would actually have located the large bag and would have  taken possession of one of the child's toys each time he refused to remain in the time-out space, and I would have moved bedtime forward incrementally as well. I'm not a bleeding heart.

As I continue my education, I will come across the complete panorama of experts, from the James Dobson types who think a child can be cured of almost anything with enough spanking to those who believe that time-out is a cruel if not unusual punishment and that a child should have a voice in all matters concerning him.  I don't think it's a fluke that the incidence of the neurological, sensory, and mental health issues that would theoretically cause a child to behave in an antisocial manner have increased exponentially since tolerance of the behaviors associated with such disorders has become so prevalent as it is in today's world. If that makes me a troglodyte, call me one of the Butt sisters.

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