The message of a “village” raising our children is no longer limited to being an insulting suggestion.
It is now an incentivized expectation and we are no longer asked permission for strangers to invade our private lives to usurp control of our children’s upbringing.
As helpless as various groups of us feel, we are not hopeless. Not yet.
I’m an ASD labeled adult woman. I raised and am raising boys who obviously share a great deal of the issues and habits I myself went through as a young child.
I picked up quite a few tips on raising boys over the passed thirty years. All the way back to where the notion of boys behaviors being seen as “mental illness” brought snickers and outright hoots of laughter from the crowd. Unfortunately, now, the crowd has been manipulated into a complete and unfortunate twisted mindset.
No tip will work all of the time. This is why one needs to practice and practice often.
Just as The System has taken slow and deliberate steps over the course of decades to see our children are herded and groomed into manageable groups as adults …we too must take slow and deliberate steps to keep them.
I will share one of the things I came upon through the years.
Go buy some Legos. Tinker toys. Lincoln logs. Any toy that needs to be assembled-buy it. If he already has toys like these, I still suggest you purchasing your own set to bring into play.
One wouldn’t want to risk upsetting whatever story may be in process within his kingdom that you’re not aware of, if you think borrowing an existing set would be an easier option.
(We’re going for curious gazes. There’s no need to risk evoking hostile glares over how Mom relocated the kingdom of “Ooptie’ with the citizen “oopties” now doomed for eternity.)
Come home and without saying anything to your boy, start unpacking and playing with your new goodies.
Don’t invite him, don’t announce this “great surprise” you have for you both to enjoy…let him find you.
You may not think he’s paying attention, but he will be.
Standing off to the side or eyeballing the colorful contents, mildly perplexed over what Mommy (or Daddy) is up to, your darling’s attention may be piqued to some degree.
Rustle the bags a bit more while unpacking, whistle a tune..make as much extra noise while setting yourself up to play without making it obvious that you’re trying to get his attention..again.
You’d be tickled over just how savvy little guys truly are.
If he has approached the table or spot on the floor where you’ve camped, I will suggest a little bit of playing pretend. As excited as you may be ( if this is the first glimmer of hope you’ve had interaction wise), you should contain the excitement and play it cool.
Play it to the tune of needing his help or pretending to be “confused” by the heap of toys you bought for “yourself”. Even if he’s three years old and has never worked a set of blocks or seen a ball of clay before.
You’d be charmed and surprised how “knowledgeable” a young soul comes into this world knowing he ‘is’.
You may hear excitement you thought you would never hear. The quiet burbling of fantastic imaginative stories may come trickling out from those simple minutes. If it does, you’ll know how to run with it. If it doesn’t, there is a helping heaping of Tomorrows you were born having access to.
Instead of trying to wrangle our way into their world, we need to create a room from their world under as cool and unstressed ways as possible. We need to remain calm and act as natural as is possible while we create situations.
Situations where they are allowed to feel they’re in control in a positive way-where they can offer “advice” and their chests can swell with having taken initiative to show Mommy and/or Daddy what they can do and what how helpful they can be.
Without feeling watched. Analyzed. Scrutinized.
Forced to meet deadlines or measure up to some mysterious standard which is still unproven or presented to us from “on high’.
To this day I can remember how hot my face would get and how desperately anxious I would get from my parents waiting for my responses.
For, you see, I didn’t crow and giggle in delight opening gifts that were given. Inside, I could be trembling with happiness but my external reactions were labeled as being “ungrateful” or worse as a “spoiled brat who had no appreciation for what she had”.
I didn’t run after balls that were thrown and shied away from playing with other children-for this I was called “lazy” and (even at a young age of four) a “brat who thought she was better than everyone else.”
Many times I would feel complete opposite emotions to what I was accused of being and doing, but as many of you may know, there is a sort of unexplained prison that comes built many a sensitive ASD child’s psyche. The more I was watched and could feel the weight of the wait and eventual disappointment, the more it encouraged me to hide myself even further away-away from the constant reminders of how “broken” I was.
This was just one key to that prison that I’ve presented to you.
It may not work for every child. It is better than turning to a system that has only invested decades of time and money to surveil, monitor and herd our children like animals.
The younger , the better.
The more consistent you can be, the better.
The more variety of toys and projects you can fit into your days with your child, the better.
If you can afford a tattoo or nights out, you can most certainly invest in a video game console to play games WITH him, not set in front of him and walk away. There are plenty of puzzle video games and bloodless games that he can walk in and “find” you playing on your own. Never mind how high on the “cool” charts you will skyrocket to when your five year old sees Mommy playing.
Start gaming with him young enough and it will be many joyful years you’ve shared before he realizes your gaming skills aren’t any better than a cabbage. The point is to start.
The point is for YOU to be the one he is introduced to, not some faceless and heartless System.
If you are blessed, like I was, the role playing of being a parent “in need of help and guidance” will naturally evolve into expected play dates and surprising hours of chatter you may have only dreamed about since the days you were presented with the fear of a “vanishing” child.
The more confidence you work up to tune out the noisy babble of outside “experts” the better you’ll become to flex your natural superiority as your child’s truest Expert.
Your child’s truest and LOVING expert.
As it should be.
Side tip: eye make up to pronounce the eyes and smiling lips are very effective attention getters for toddlers. It’s just you and he at home..no one is trying to turn you into a clown or force uncomfortable habits into your routine if you’re more of a natural beauty. It’s just a very small practice that’s been known to entice the attentions of babies who are constantly on the look out for visually stimulating images; like clowns, picture book characters and the toys they play with.
It’s all about the play time-no different than theater stage play or the many costume parties you will enjoy planning together in the future.
photo By digitalskillet1