My sixteen year old son is dealing with a rough case of "life is hard and relationships are harder and I just want to be the boss of my own life but want everything tough to be someone else's fault and I really want a relationship but they're hard". You know, teenager-itis!
Because he's pro-active (okay, because he's surrounded by pro-active people who bugged him into being proactive... tee hee!) he filled out a form that claimed to help folks pinpoint their struggles so they could take steps to help themselves.
Before he was quite finished, an impatient and overly curious mamma (aka me!) asked how he was enjoying the process.
"Well," he answered, adjusting his heavy glasses and putting down his number two pencil, "some of the questions are fine, but it sure asks a lot about my looks."
"What do you mean?" I was truly interested.
"It keeps asking if I'm happy with my appearance, if I ever wish I was bigger or smaller, if I feel good about my looks, if I worry about how my peers think I look.... that kind of thing. I don't really worry about my looks, but it's like they think I'm supposed to!"
I gave an upbeat giggle and then rubbed his back as he picked the pencil up and looked at the last few questions. Just as I was about to say something he interjected,"And now it's asking if my peers are uncomfortable around me! I don't know, THEY have to answer that question! This is a funny form, mom."
It was awesome! My son identified immediately the possible power of questions and how they can plant ideas. He announced confidently that he can't know what his peers feel, only they can. And, we chatted for quite a while about the questions he would suggest for such a form!
The next few days were more comfortable for both him and me. He had identified a few things about himself--for himself. And he'd identified them for me too. So I was a little less nervous about not being able to help him.
Of course, he's still sixteen, and an unusual sixteen at that! So his teenager-itis isn't cured. But it is healing and headed in a comfortable direction. Will there be flare ups and back slides? Of course! But every day we're given opportunities to discover and practice with tools that'll help us build something beautiful out of the mess.
And every day we try our darnedest to get comfortable and familiar with those tools. We aren't exactly sure what we're building, but it'll be unique.
And we'll love it in all of it's stages!!
Hugs, smiles, and love!!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)
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