Parenting a child when you lack social skills and the child might, too

Parenting a child when you lack social skills and the child might, too

I have always been a pretty awkward person, not many friends. I “survived” into adulthood. A combination of one of my equally “weird” friends claiming he has asperger’s and that I must have it too, an online-test and a discussion with my psychologist has led me to understand that I might be what she’s describing as “autistic in the sub-clinical level” . No real diagnosis though.

Fast forward to having children myself. My firstborn is a friendly chap, my second is a weirdo like me. He’s been also diagnosed with ADHD and social development/communication problems (among others). I am pretty sure he’s “like me” all the way, if you get my drift.

Socially, I had a very difficult time growing up and now I am concerned for him. He has a couple of friends (just like I did: other non-conventional kids), but he just “doesn’t fit in” in the larger frame of school or sports team.

Any advices? Perhaps from fellow “non-conventional” people who struggle with the same issues? Ideas (also books, website etc.) on how to deal with it in two levels

  • That my child will not suffer
  • That I will not pass him my social anxieties. E.g. recently there was an exclusive invitation in his running group for some of the children to participate in an advanced running camp. He was not invited of legit reasons (not good enough, etc.), also because of his social skills I suspect, but when I saw the invitations, I had the feeling of “another party I haven’t been invited to” from my childhood.
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Comments: 2
  1. patrickandrachelnard

    Okay so I am also an aspie, but being a girl never knew what was actually “wrong” with me until adulthood, and suffered a ton in school due to my lack of social acceptability. So I totally get it.

    One thing I did do with my older daughter was to sort of ‘coach’ her, without judging or criticizing, on how to approach other kids, what seems to make for awkward situations, etc. I didn’t tell her she had to take my advice, but I just had conversations with her about this stuff, whereas my parents never did any of that so I was left totally up to my own devices and did very badly much of the time. My older one is 19 now and honestly, I think it really helped. She’s still a little awkward but not nearly to the extent I was. She always had friends in school and was never really bullied. She may have never been as bad I was in the first place, but some gentle guidance couldn’t have hurt.

    It took me about 30 years to be able to appear totally normal with other people, and even now, several years past that point, I sometimes realize I’ve weirded someone out and cringe about it later. But because it didn’t come naturally toward me, I think I’m in a decent position to impart those lessons on my kids, and you probably are too.

  2. pavlinika (author)

    Unfortunately, you cannot hide him from the suffering. This sounds horribly cruel, but let him suffer…..let me explain why.

    3 kids all with severe adhd which causes extreme social awkwardness. Once they were medicated in junior high, that did alleviate a bit. The youngest being a super pale ginger boy, helps him stand out even more.

    As painful as it was, as much as I cried alone, after consoling them, as much as I want to strangle the other kids for tormenting, and kill their parents for allowing it, I understood how necessary it is for our kids to learn how to deal with feeling like an outcast.

    My reasoning….they will become adults one day, move out on their own. Have a boss and or co workers that are assholes. I won’t be there to protect them, to rescue them. As much as I want to be.

    When my kids would come home upset and in tears, I would comfort them, tell them it was ok the be upset, sad, angry….but to remember how they feel at that exact moment…..remember the sorrow, the pain, …remember it and NEVER make anyone else feel the way that they do right now.

    My kids are 21, 19, and 15 and just typing this still causes me to cry…

    Everything your son has gone through so have we….I understand how painful it is, but it’s also necessary. Fair? HELL NO! Why do the bullies always win!!

    To date, my kids have never bullied, never made anyone feel bad about themselves. My daughter, when she was in HS, personally cut out hearts and wrote sayings on them and taped them to every locker. Only the administration knew who it was. She learned how such a simple gesture could make such a huge difference in someone’s life.

    My youngest, when he was 13?, at a camp out, gave his only $20 to a homeless man, hopefully bringing this man a little joy. I only found out about it weeks later.

    My oldest has gone out of his way to help a stranded motorist on more than one occasion.

    They have become helpful, understanding members of society….they are not perfect, but through them learning how to deal with the pain inflicted upon them by others, has taught them to help when they can, to listen to others, and try to be kind and understanding in every situation.

    Except when they are dealing with each other….sounds like WW III around here. 😊

    I pray this makes sense! And good luck!

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