Monday, November 4, 2013

Puberty: Boundaries & Impulse Control; From Boy to Man...Seems the Greatest Challenges Lie Ahead

Baby things are
irresistible to Nick!
"After years of therapy and programs it comes down to this for Nick; boundaries and impulse control. These are the two most important things for him to master now, or everything else community goes off the table."


I was in Costco pushing my cart through check out when Nick walked away. I looked up to see where he was, and my eyes went right to a mom clutching her baby protectively to her chest. Her frightened eyes were fixed  on Nick saying "Who are you?! Don't touch my baby!" My first instinct was to protect my baby, and give that mom a piece of my mind and perform an on the spot sensitivity training. Topped off by letting her know what a small person she was for not understanding that Nick was my baby, a vulnerable harmless kid with a disability and not the threat she was envisioning!!

Then it hit me, I know that look. It's the protective mom look we all have that isn't' conscious, it is pure instinct. Every mom's had that look. In that instant my heart and mind shifted, and it only took seconds for me to look around and piece together what was "really" happening.  Her baby was dressed as one of Nicks favorite things, Winnie the Pooh. Nick no doubt had rushed up on her cart, excited to see Pooh, and the mom didn't see a special needs kid, she saw a grown man rushing up to her baby and she was truly frightened.  I related to the frightened look on mom's face. I'd seen it before on my own face so many times. I remember how protective of my babies I was (and still am) and there's nothing rational about it. We feel a threat and we react.

Seems I've mellowed or grown up a bit, because the feeling inside me to puff up my chest and go toe to toe with the mom subsided as quickly as it flared up. Gone was my desire to make her see my point of view, have her apologize for thinking my kid was a threat, and my need to make her out to be an ignorant person who was mean to a special boy evil eye wasn't totally gone, but it was brief.  I took a deep breath and saw her side. I understood. Her reaction was perfect. The challenge, the responsibility was mine, not hers.

The transformation of my son from being a boy, to being a man is so fast I can't keep up. I don't' know about anyone else, but no matter how prepared I try to be, I'm still being caught off guard. Nick may be my baby, but in the eyes of the world, standing at 5'7" 175 lbs he is a man. And today he was a man who just ran up on a baby, and that's frightening. As much as he's my child this is not the time to be na├»ve and being right is not going to be very useful. No matter my personal views I have to protect him by facing the facts; no matter how special, adorable, good, kindhearted he is, he is also a man who has not yet learned boundaries and impulse control and that can get him in terrible trouble.

After years of therapy and programs it comes down to this for Nick; boundaries and impulse control. I've been talking about it for a while as I've watched Nick's progress and growth. These are the two most important things for him to master now, or everything else community goes off the table. If I knew 10 years ago how long these skills took to teach, to generalize, I would have made it a priority sooner. But, then again we've always been focusing on what seemed to be the priority at the time.

So last night I prayed.....
God help us and protect him.
Keep Nick safe in a world where he doesn't understand the rules.
Help me to be the best mom I can be.
Help me to teach him all he needs to know.
Help others to have kind hearts.
Keep him safe, please.



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