Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Extending the leash...

Having your first child have special needs may hinder ones ability to view potential or limitations in a manner that is realistic. I realize this and I try to be mindful of it and to hold it in my thoughts when I am in the midst of one of my reactions to one thing or another. As a younger child GM required an enormous amount of guidance. His "bumpers" didnt work. Most kids have some boundaries that they recognize (not all, but most) especially regarding social scenarios and cue reading. I had developed a habit of guiding these things with him and have basically been running on auto pilot. Serving as his bumpers, bouncing him back into play so he might knock down a few pins here and there. what I am wondering is has this become a self fulfilling scenario. Has the time when he needed it and the time when he could have branched out on his own somehow passed me by? Does he not have these skills partially because I dont give him the room to make the mistakes that teach these skills? Did I miss the window?

Now it needs to be said that he has huge amounts of freedom when in our home and when playing with friends. However in a setting such as walking with another family and the boys all run really far ahead. How far would he go before his bumper would make him stop to check for where I was and wait up. I dont know!! I even tried it one day, and let him run so far ahead that I couldnt see him. I was about to burst wanting to call out to him and finally just did. He is nine years old after all, but he does have real needs too. I am really trying and exploring this idea and hoping that I can get back to a place of equilibrium, where I feel that my guidance is balanced and necessary. This will be something for me to work on this summer. Im not for kids running wild all over the place, here and there. But I do need to loosen the reigns and give his instincts room to kick in.

It is important to say that I may be wrong all around, he may not have these types of instincts developed at this time. But I feel I need to test this out a bit. In my effort to be a mother who recognizes my son's needs, I dont want to smother him or squash his potential.

1 comment:

APKimberMama said...

I've never really thought much about this, but DH and I provide bumpers for our boys as well. At this age I'm not even sure it is an issue of specials needs (which we definitely have), but just teaching safety and boundaries. Part of raising children away from pop culture is their innocence. We've gently talked about strangers, or cars, but I don't think they really understand that the world can be dangerous. How could it be, when we have spent their whole lives keeping them safe? Kids who see a lot of violence in movies and on television seem to have better internalized the dangers of the world.

Its a conundrum, really. I want to raise my children as part of my life, and be family-centered and not child-centered. In a more tribal society they would learn about danger, life and death, etc. through the real life experiences of those around them. But everything is so sensationalized and the news media is not how I want my boys to learn about these kinds of things. I also want to teach them safety without making them afraid to live.

Of course, it goes in all different directions. The same child who runs too far ahead and seems fearless is clueless when it comes to meeting new people and so retreats and hides.