Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Slighted

Lately, I have been wrestling with certain emotions.  Emotions that surface when I feel like my child has been slighted.  It is difficult, because I know that Finn is oblivious to the social nuances in which these slights take place, but that is not always going to be the case.  Also, I know that these slights result from either his parents' reserved and less than social nature and/or his own, neither of which are going to change.  I see this as a lifelong challenge he (and therefor, I) will face.

For example, an acquaintance's daughter just turned two.  They threw a party.  Now, initially I wasn't bothered by the fact that Finn was not invited because we have had little contact with this woman and her daughter.  However, perusing the birthday pictures on Facebook (curse you social media!!!), I noticed that almost everyone we know was invited, even those who probably have as much (or as little) contact with them as we do.  It made me start questioning why we were "overlooked."  Was it due to my social reserve?  Did it stem from Finn's taciturn behavior?  Were these children invited because they threw parties to which this girl was invited and she was reciprocating?  (We did not throw a party for Finn, partly because I think it unnecessary at two, and I knew he would prefer something quiet.)

Other slights have occurred when adults have ignored Finn in favor of other children because his needs/wants were not vocalized as forcibly as those of others in the vicinity.  Sometimes, I can intervene in his behalf, but not always.  Adults will often spend less time engaging with Finn than with other children because he doesn't supply them with immediate positive feedback (although I can tell that he does enjoy the interaction). 

It is hard for me as a parent in these situations.  I want my son to have friends.  I want other people to appreciate him for who he is.  There are so many wonderful things to like about him, but these characteristics are discovered over time and with patience.  I also recognize the need for myself to proceed with caution--to not project my feelings onto and vocalize my worries to Finn.  He may not be bothered by the lack of social invites or lack of attention.  Like his father and me, Finn might be just fine with "calling it good" with a few close friends--people with whom he can really connect. 

As a parent, you want to protect your child from hurt and harm and tough emotions and it is a sad to realize how powerless you are to do so.  I am just getting the smallest taste of what is in store for the future, and I can't say that I like it very much.


 

3 comments:

Jaimee said...

I think the fact that you are aware of his sensitivity and how that might affect his social life is a great first step. I feel strongly that with sensitive kids you really need to give the tools to deal with social situations if he becomes bothered by them. Otherwise when he goes off to school and you're not there to advocate for him, then it will happen all over again. I think they could be small tools at this point, like teaching him how he can react to or interact with certain situations, down to what he can say and what he can do to stand up for himself.

In the case of the party... hard to say. Honestly, parties are so expensive these days that often parents have to limit how many kids get invited and when there are siblings involved that limits things even more. I know a friend that threw a party for her 3 year old and only invited 5 friends that year and promised to invite different friends the following year. Seems a little silly, but maybe something like that was going on?

Washington Hills said...

There have been times I've been there with one of my kids. Don't have words of wisdom, because hurt is hurt. Thank goodness for the good times, too!

Kristina said...

I have two "sensitive" kids and at first parties were few and far between because they just didn't play with other kids comfortably. But as I gave them opportunities to test their social skills in more comfortable settings they started to open up. By school my oldest could handle a half day of kindergarten but no more and would cry after school most of the year--afternoon session was good for this because it gave us the entire morning together making our routine essentially identical but incorporating school into the afternoon activities instead of field trips.
My second child loved going to full day k but still cried after school albeit for only a month. He loves school work but dreads the many people. He likes to have a couple of friends and will now play with anyone happily at age 8--for a time. He starts to complain when people are around all the time.
My youngest has a completely different personality and has helped my older two. She went to preschool with minimal trepidation and waved as she jumped out of the car for k. She went to first grade this year at a new school in a new town and didn't even want me to come with her. She took the bus like the big kids.
Now my oldest is still the one who has a hard time starting school(she begs for home school every year) but at ten years old she has learned some survival skills during our very honest and candid discussions about social situations. I have had to teach both her and her brother how to be around other people--how to respond how to play, how to talk when to expect disappointment, sadness, etc.. Sometimes it is overwhelming but as I see them enjoy socializing more each year I know it is worth it and I am glad I can help them a little. Also, reserved personalities come with special skills that the rest of us don't have and I am proud of them and their talents just like you said about Finn. You can see his enjoyment even if others can't.
I hope this helps you feel validated and encouraged that at two they are just starting out and have many more years to develop their personalities and skills. You are a great mom!

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