Monday, March 22, 2010
Won't You Be My Friend?
We used to have lots of friends. Couple friends, singleton friends, friends that like to play with rocks. Some part of the blame for our lack of friends falls on us. We've isolated ourselves a little bit. The kind of stress we've been dealing with doesn't lend itself to social occasions very well. I think when you have a child with special needs, no matter what kind they are, it's very natural to want to isolate. You may think no one will accept you or be able to understand. Or you may not want to deal with judgment and questions. Whatever the reason, it's sad and makes life harder. I miss social experiences. I miss have other significant relationships in my life.
One of my reasons for lack of friends is because there just simply aren't a lot of people out there that can handle my son's intensity. Which is the truth. He scares other children. One of my friends, who has stuck around, came to Chica's birthday party last weekend with her 9 month son and Taz tried to kick him multiple times. You have to be a pretty understanding person to put up with that. (I'll explain why my son has problems with other children in another post)
Another thing a friend would have to put up with is being flexible with Taz's needs. Everything, or almost everything, revolves around Taz. If we go out to a park, and Taz is hungry and ready to go, we must leave. If we're inside, and Taz has lots of energy and wants to go outside, out we go. This makes it difficult to maintain friendships. Who wants to have to obey a pint-sized dictator? Not me, and I'm his mother!
Also a part in all of this is what I call the embarrassment factor. It's natural to judge a person's parenting ability based on how their kids behave. When they don't behave well, you would question the parenting, right? Plus, my son doesn't respond to typical consequences (also to be explained in another post) so it would seem to many that I am enabling his behavior or "letting him get away with it". Which I hear all the time. Now, make no mistake, when Taz is having a tantrum or rage, he in no way gets whatever "thing" he is raging about. BUT, we have to handle discipline very carefully. This is very hard to explain to other parents who've only ever seen kids that act like mine on shows like Supernanny. How do you explain a 200 page book's worth of information on bipolar disorder to someone in 3 minutes?
So, if there's anyone out there who'd like to be my friend, even if my little Tazmanian devil tries to hit your kid, or screams in his face, or demands to go outside when it's raining, you are welcome to apply =)