I want to start this article, by making it clear that I seriously considered writing it as an Autism related piece.
The fact is, the inspiration for it was definitely my Moderately Autistic eight year old.
My son is truly the apple of his daddy’s eye. I have a hard time imagining any person or thing that means more to me, than does he.
He’s far from perfect, and yes, he definitely can be a bad person at times.
A lot of who he is—who I’m battling to change—is directly related to his being Autistic.
One of his worst weaknesses, is something I shared with him at probably a very similar age.
The funny thing is, that’s indicative of the fact that he’s amazingly precocious for a boy who deals daily with a world that more doesn’t understand him, even than he it.
The failing in question? It’s generally referred to as being thin skinned.
We were in the park yesterday, where there were two young boys with what I term, “no parents.”
It’s certainly true there was an older lady watching after them. It’s equally the case, that she had no idea what they were doing at pretty much any point in her time, supposedly acting in the stead of their parents.
One assumes, though one may never be assured, that she was a grandparent. It’s also quite likely that she would never have allowed or expected them to act as they did, if she were aware of how that looked.
Needless to say, I was more than a little aggrieved by their actions, which included a serious amount of disrespect for me.
That said, I was more concerned for their sake, than for my own. Continuing down the path upon which they currently find themselves, will likely result in having children every bit as impolite and arrogant as they now are.
The fact is, as one gains age and wisdom, one hopes that one’s children and those of others, will be taught to treat them with a modicum of veneration. You may think that’s too much to ask, but the reality is, if that’s so, the lives of those persons are likely to be the much harder, as a result of that failure.
Without that level of respect, they’ll likely not absorb lessons such people could teach them, surrounding how to better get along in society.
I had a lady try to apologize for the actions of the children, not toward me, but toward my son, and I responded in anger. It was a horrible thing for me to do, so much so, that I made sure to seek her out, and beg her forgiveness.
She allowed as how she was truly sorry to see the children in question behave how they did, and informed me, she understood how I responded.
That was indeed a sad moment, because in my way of thinking, I had no right to behave as I did.
If ever she reads this, I want her to be aware how sorry I am for my misbehavior.
This all is but precursor the thing about which I really want to speak.
I explained to that lady, that the reason I brought my son to that park, was in part, to deal with attitudes and actions much like the ones to which he was exposed on that day.
Of course, my primary reason, is to allow him to let off steam after spending the majority of his day in classrooms, where people expect things of him that presently, make no sense at all from his vantage point. I want him to have fun. I want him to run. I want him to play.
But a part of that process, is learning to deal with those around him, not on his terms, but on theirs.
I’m not trying to say he should never expect anyone to act as he desires them to—though based on his idea of fun and exciting behavior, that’s very unlikely to occur.
Even when he deals with children who don’t spend their time directly taunting him, he must generally confront those who have zero interest in doing what he thinks worthy of time and effort.
I not only don’t expect that to change, but again, that’s actually why I take him to such places. If he can learn to satisfy his cravings on his own, or with people who’re willing to oblige him, that’s great. The thing is though, he shouldn’t expect most folks to be willing to do that.
It’s at this point I hope the title of this work makes sense.
My boy getting upset because people have no yearning to do as he would like them to, is something that causes him to see red. You can imagine his rage when other children tease him.
Since most people have no ability to understand his condition, I must keep a pretty sharp eye on him. There are also times, when daddy must rein his son in.
Personally, there are lots of times I would rather he got into mild conflict with the people that upset or discombobulate him. That’s not to be as a rule, since most parents (particularly mothers), will not allow it.
That’s not to say many dads tend to do much better, just that they’re less prevalent in such settings. When they’re around they tend to teach, particularly their boys, to lash out in anger, for the most part.
One my son’s failings resulting from Autism, is the tendency toward never-ending escalation. As such, children lashing out at him will likely either cause him or them, to be hurt; the older he gets, the more likely the latter will be the case.
The point of all I’ve expressed to this juncture, is that there’s a lot to be said for being thick skinned, and not much to be said, when that layer is a thin one. That’s why I consider it so important to teach him the “skill” of dealing with annoying, or even obnoxious individuals around and about him. This is the lesson I seek to instill in him. It can be a hard one, because he’s a “man of action.” Sometimes that’s good, sometimes bad. In this case, it’s not so great. I hope to get him to understand how things are in the course of time. In my mind, I pray I’m not alone in realizing how imperative this lesson is to learn.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.