As you all know, BOTH my divine kids are wonderfully and fearfully made. Both are a bit different to your average kid. My DH and I work really hard to get them the help that they need and we are constantly (through trial and error) trying to navigate our lives around their respective issues. Recently I had two different conversations with two different professionals.
The first conversation was one that I had with Child1’s school psychologist during the last week of last term. I have a love-hate relationship with her for various reasons and luckily for her, my son loves her, otherwise she would have been GONE already. Here is a summary of the telephonic conversation that took place:
Me: Hello G, it’s Mrs W, Child1’s Mom
G: Hi Mrs W, how are you?
Me: I’m doing well, thank you. How are you?
G: Things are good etc….(we continue to painfully exchange some niceties)
Me: G, I’m a bit worried about Child1 who appears to be battling socially. His friends are going through puberty and have girls on the brain and he hasn’t caught up yet. While I am relieved about this, it does cause problems because he feels like he has “no friends” and that nobody likes him anymore. He’s quite emotional about it and I am not quite sure how to manage this transition in his life. Has he spoken to you about it yet? What would you suggest? Should I leave him to sort this one himself? Should I force him to make other friends? I don’t really want to get involved if this is something that he SHOULD be navigating on his own. DO you have any ideas for possible life skills/self-esteem building stuff for him? What would you suggest? How can I help him to help himself?
G: Mrs W, Child 1 is very (insert negative comment about Child1) and is (insert another negative comment about Child1) and (insert another negative comment about Child1)
Me: G, I hear you but that is not why I am calling you. In any event, we are doing really well with the xyz situation and with baby steps, we are even getting the abc situation under control. My husband and I are actually really proud of him because he has come such a long way from last year this time. We are very consciously trying to affirm positive behaviour at the same time that we address the not-so-positive behaviour. It’s a bit of a balancing act because we really don’t want to “break” his spirit.
G: Yes BUT…
Me: YES BUT…
G: YES BUT…
Me. YES But…
G: Mrs W, maybe we should set up an appointment.
Me: OK, I will call you soon.
I haven’t called her yet. And I won’t.
ALL of our conversations over the past two years have gone this way. I know that she loves my child but I feel that she is ALWAYS just trying to focus on his faults. I am by no means in denial about Child1 and what he struggles with but I would like her to (along with my DH and I) affirm him positively AS WELL. She has NEVER, EVER had anything good or positive to say about him. In fact, I have decided to give her one more chance. If our next conversation goes like this, SHE’s OUT and I will be requesting a new school Psychologist for him.
The 2nd conversation was one that I had with our OT about two weeks ago. As I mentioned yesterday, Child2 has gone puzzle crazy and we are so excited about it. And so on I (you know, the Mom who NEVER has anything to brag about) bragged to his OT. This is how the conversation went:
OT: How are things going at home? I haven’t seen him for 2 weeks now!
Me: Things are going really well. We are continuing with xyz and abc that you suggested and my husband and I have worked out a schedule because we can’t get to everything at night. Actually, my husband and I are very impressed with him because he is doing really well with puzzles! He is now on 50 pieces! (of course I go on and on and on with the gushing)
OT: Mrs W, you need to remember that Child2 is on the spectrum for Autism and that there will be some things that he is going to EXCEL at. It doesn’t mean though that his problems are over.
ME: I understand that, but you know! He is building 50-piece puzzles and I’ve been timing him and he’s doing it so quickly! I’m going to have to get bigger puzzles because those ones are no longer a challenge for him!
OT. Yes Mrs W, BUT.
Me: silence because I really had no words
So these are my questions to you:
While I know that I pay both of these professionals to do a particular (very specific) job with my children and while I know that as a parent it is MY job to affirm my kids, am I expecting too much when I ALSO need for them to affirm my kids once in a while? Is it even fair of me to have this expectation?
What do you think?
Is my Love Language (words of affirmation) possibly getting in the way here?
Could it be that subconsciously “I” want the affirmation and that it possibly has nothing to do with my kids?
What are your thoughts on these conversations?