He never takes his contacts out at night. It has been one of those issues that we have had many, many discussions about. He doesn’t have extended wear contacts. His vision is so bad that he has to have his contacts specially ordered by the ophthalmologist’s office. Even with contact lens correction, his measurements are 20/50 and 20/60. So, everyone told him that he should make sure that he takes care of his eyes by taking his contacts out every night. He didn’t believe that it was necessary and it made his life easier to just leave them in 24 hours a day.
It was also something that he had control over. Kids who are oppositional defiant try to find things that they CAN control and that no one else can really do anything about. We couldn’t physically make him take the contacts out. Yes, I know that we could have told him that he would have to wear glasses if he didn't take better care of his eyes. But, I also know what kind of battle that kind of threat would have created. Sometimes, I just get tired of having battles when I don't have to. At his age, it seemed like he could figure out what he was responsible to do without us having to fight about it.
Then, he finally learned why he should be more responsible with his contacts and his eyes.
He woke up one morning with a terribly red eye. We told him that it was probably a consequence of not taking his contacts out, but he didn’t believe us. He didn't tell me that it was causing him pain, so he went to Day Treatment, anyway. My husband and I have made it a habit to take him to Day Treatment every day, whether he acts sick or not.
He has had so many days over the last few years where he has missed school unnecessarily, that now we just let the teacher and the nurse at the facility decide whether he is too sick to stay there for the day or not. Several times since he came home for Day Treatment, he has played his sick game. Sometimes they call us to come and get him, and sometimes, he decides to stop acting sick and he stays there the whole day.
That day, I was called and told that he had pink-eye and that I needed to take him to the doctor. Just like I thought, he didn’t have pink-eye, he had an eye infection caused by his contact lens. The doctor told him how important it was for him to take his contacts out every night and also told him not to wear the contact in that eye until it was better. The infection was painful and made his eye very sensitive to light. He said he never wanted his eye to feel like that again.
But, it recurred TWO more times over the next few weeks! I guess he had to learn by repetition. It was annoying when he had to miss Day Treatment for a couple of days each time, because they kept telling me he had pink-eye even though he didn’t.
After the third time of enduring the pain and sensitivity to light, he started taking his contacts out almost every night! He has had nights when he has fallen asleep before taking them out, but still—finally--he has had a consequence that TAUGHT him something!
I hope that the consequences that he has had from his drug use and addiction will eventually teach him something, too!