I love this post from Life Without School blog (not the group blog):
It coincides with thoughts of my own that I’m trying to understand and integrate.
I have so many years of experience watching Nic (and fewer years with Theo) and trying to give him information that will allow him to have a bit easier time navigating social circumstances. Nic is a child who’s natural tendency is to blast into a new situation and take over (or attempt to) and not stop, observe and figure out the situation first.
This is simply who he is. But I have felt it’s an important part of my job as his mama to help him NOT do this. And I suppose the younger a child is, the more this makes sense.
But I have to consider: am I really trying to help him integrate more easily, or am I trying to insulate myself from the judgements of others because he is obviously so poorly acclimated to the ‘right way’ to interact with others?
And truly, at 9 years old, he doesn’t need me to protect him from much of it anymore. He is mature enough to handle it if he blasts into a situation and is rejected by other children. In fact, typically, it just rolls right off of him.
But there are other represetnations of my needing to do more to respect who they are. And it frequently involves other adults, not children.
An example from this week:
We went to meet with Nic’s new doctor. Due to a scheduling conflict we met, instead, the doc’s nurse practitioner. That was fine, she was able to help us with what we needed. But, she didn’t seem to have had much interaction with children. And I find that many times when this is the case they tend to say patronizing things to children — even though it is obvious that they think they are being funny. It’s as if they think that children are idiots.
In this case, when we told her we homeschool, she smiled, looked at Nic and said, “what’s 5 + 5?” Nic (who could have answered that at 4) quickly identified her as ‘one of THOSE people’, rolled his eyes and said, “10.”
He’s had loads of experience with THOSE people. They tend to say things that are somewhat moronic, and usually insulting in their assumption about the abilities of the child.
And I found myself in the position of seeing Nic’s face and saying, “she’s just trying to be funny.” And Nic gave me a look that said, “seriously, mama, the next thing she’ll say is ‘does baby go pee-pee on the potty?’ Looking back on it now, I can see how truly funny this was.
But at the time, it wasn’t funny. I was deep into the ‘she’s gonna think I’m a bad mother’ territory. I wanted Nic to show the best of himself…not his inability to deal with THOSE people.
So in the future, I must endeavor to support Nic and not listen to those voices in my head.
Will I say something that supports him? Will I say nothing and just let that adult see just how moronic and condescending they are being…but looking at his face and hearing his possibly rude, but honest and deserved, words? Dunno. Will depend on the situation.
It comes down to the facts:
— I am a good mama
— Nic is a good kid
— he knows that I love him
— he knows that he is smarter than they give him credit for
So, maybe my job is not to buffer his reactions, but to help him understand that he’ll always encounter THOSE people and that he needs to chose his reaction, not have it chosen for him. And then I need to tell myself that, over and over and over again.
peace from the edge of ‘almost getting it’