Autism Watch: 2007

Party Whoas and Woes

Posted on: April 28, 2008

I recently took my son to a birthday party. (Yay! He was invited to a party!) Parties are hit-and-miss, with far more miss than hit. We’ve gotten to the point where we really have to put a lot of thought into whether or not he’s going to attend a party, and I think he probably doesn’t get invited to most of those from his class. Sadly enough, he also doesn’t get invited to a lot from our church family either. I’ll spare you my thoughts on that. Parties require a lot of prep time, a lot of us reminding him it could be loud, he could get bumped in a bouncer, or he may not get to sit next to the birthday child during cake time. By the time it comes around, he’s telling me “Okay, okay, okay, Mom, I got it.” However, talk is cheap.

This party was by a dear friend of ours, and she knows our son very well. She also truly cares about him, and we know he’s in good hands there, among the best. But, you can only control so much. The unknown element is the other guests, and it rarely fails that some other guest will feel the need to speak up and attempt to discipline him…usually when I’m right there. (“Oh, he’s your son?” said even though I’m the only other parent standing there, and I happen to be talking to him…and that’s just one example.) This party was no exception. We weren’t there five minutes before someone tried to tell him how to play with another boy, even though both boys were doing it.  (That’s a Party Whoa!) I swoop in, gently tell them I’ve got it, it’s much better if I handle it or it could get worse, etc., and swoop back out. Problem solved, right? I don’t know, but I do know that I’ve learned that I’d much rather risk offending someone than risk my child blowing up and ruining the event for himself or anyone else, by making a fit, throwing something, screaming, etc…and the more I think about it, shouldn’t the person giving out unsolicited discipline to my child be more worried that they offended me? Why should I have to worry that I’m offending someone when I’m just trying to parent and protect my own child, who I know better than anyone else? One of those mysteries.

Anyway, I don’t know if they were offended or not…yep, back to that, because I hate to offend/upset others, and I feel bad even if it’s deserved…I think there are times people mean well, and truly want to help, but what they don’t know is that ds is really bothered by anyone other than immediate family/friends/teachers trying to guide him, and he will melt down to the point of wanting to leave and never wanting to return to that party or any other party. A bad situation can ruin not only that night, but ds equates the bad with all gatherings of the same nature (a Party Woe), and one problem can set back all that he’s learned, causing months and months of regression. I’d much rather deal with something he does that’s truly a problem (and not just a misperception of someone else’s) and keep the event happy, where it can be a learning experience for my son. Those are oh so important, you can’t understand how important unless you’re really the one dealing with it.

But, to the point, what do YOU do when this happens to you? How do you politely get others to understand that they need to leave the parenting of your child to you? Do these other parents do it because they think your child’s just a problem child, or because of that lovely “If he was MY child, he wouldn’t have autism” phenomenon? Or is it a bigger picture — do we as a society need to start minding our own business more, and stop impressing our viewpoints on others?

2 Responses to "Party Whoas and Woes"

[…] Kristin van Ogtrop wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptI recently took my son to a birthday party. (Yay! He was invited to a party!) Parties are hit-and-miss, with far more miss than hit. We’ve gotten to the point where we really have to put a lot of thought into whether or not he’s going … […]

I think they should mind their own business, myself included. It takes everything in me not to say something to a parent of a child in denial about their son/daughter. Oh, he’s just really smart. He can recite a whole Dora episode at 2. He’s such a good boy, he can sit and watch the fan for hours. You don’t think there’s anything wrong with that?

Glad I found your site. I really need to find some different GFCF food to feed my poor family. I think we have only 3 decent recipes. 😀

Keep up the great work!!

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