Random ramblings of a Rose…

Posts tagged ‘Flexibility’

Validation

I want to talk about something today, folks. You probably guessed it from my title, because I didn’t make any attempt to camouflage it. Validation. Specifically the definition: to recognize or affirm the worth of a person or their feelings or opinions. Let me start out by saying that I am completely aware of the fact that validation isn’t necessary, and that sometimes seeking it makes one feel worse about him/herself than just being content, regardless of others‚Äô thoughts on the matter. However, as this topic specifically pertains to my boys – Jose, now almost 9, and Squishy, rapidly approaching 6 – I have to say that I am getting REALLY tired of people in their lives only deigning to offer validation (or finding it necessary to pass uninvited judgment) as long as I’m made aware of one *VERY IMPORTANT* (said with supreme sarcasm on my part) thing:

Their likes/dislikes, desires, dreams, activity choices, etc. may indicate that **gasp** (horror of horrors) they might possibly be gay or fall somewhere on the spectrum not strictly in the MANLY MEN camp.

You know, yeah – maybe that’s true. Maybe as they get older, they will come to me and let me know that they believe that to be the case about themselves. But guess what? And I’m speaking to BOTH (or should that be all?) sides here: THERE IS NOT ONE DAMN THING WRONG WITH THEM IF THEY ENJOY LIVING THE WAY THEY DO AND THEY ARE STRAIGHT, AS WELL. When did it become a rule that nail painting, wanting to do mommy’s hair & makeup, loving My Little Pony, being disappointed we’re not getting the new Tinker Bell movie RIGHT NOW, playing dress up & dancing in a tutu, participating in gymnastics, choosing pink as a favorite color or Queen Elsa as a favorite character, wearing a headband or hair clips – any of these things (or more) – are exclusive privileges awarded only to boys who may be gay/bi/anything other than cismale?
boysIf you are the well meaning more-liberal-than-I friend/family member who sits me down and gently discusses with me the possibility that my son may turn out to be gay in order to give me time to “prepare for that future” and, “What would you do if that were the case?”: thank you, but I really wouldn’t change a damn thing. If they’re gay (etc.) then they’re gay. It will not change how much I love them, my wants, wishes, and desires for them to have a blessed life, whether or not they are welcome in my home, etc. Pretty much all of you know that I am a moderately conservative Christian, so yes, I hold certain biblical beliefs that I may wrestle with regarding the topic, but none of that will change the fact that Jose and Squishy are MY SONS. They were given to me by our Creator God and I do not for one second doubt that He is in ultimate control of everything. So why would I need to worry and fret (which the Bible specifically labels as sin, by the way) about something that was never mine to be anxious over in the first place?

If you are the concerned more-conservative-than-I friend/family member who sits me down and lovingly states that hubby & I need to take a firmer hand in the choices our sons make, because in letting them make their own decisions more often than not, we are letting them choose a slippery slope: I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. There is not one single passage in the Bible that leads me to believe in any way, shape, or form that ANY of the choices our sons have made that we have allowed/upheld are ungodly or sinful. They are CHILDREN. They are supposed to explore & discover, lead by us and their other guardians, and Jose wearing leg warmers to ballet class or Squishy loving & wanting to keep his long hair is not going to create something in them that wasn’t there to begin with. It just doesn’t happen that way. And you know, I have to say that the Jesus I read about in the Bible isn’t someone who beat up on his disciples, watched porn, and fired assault rifles to prove his manliness to those around him. So when you tell me that I need to “toughen up my boys” and “let them be men,” I have to wonder if you’d have told Mary the same thing? And in case you’re worried about their spiritual relationship with God, don’t. You recall that time when Christ displayed anger in a physical manner – like we expect men to do – turning over the tables in the temple and kicking everyone out in righteous indignation for the mockery made of his Father’s house? I can GUARANTEE you that Jose & Squishy would be more than happy to participate in that sort of “manly” activity on God’s behalf. They love the Lord deeply and fully and the suggestion that they can’t possibly be true Men of God if they enjoy traditionally “female” things is ludicrous.

And if you’re the snooty, judgmental, self-righteous person on either side of this debate who wants to look down your nose at me because I’m CLEARLY screwing my kids up for life: leave. Seriously. We don’t need you in our lives. To the room mother surprised that my Christian-school-attending son would be in gymnastics, last time I checked, the entire male Olympic gymnastics team wasn’t gay (and you know damn well you’d still watch the Olympics and root for them, even if they were, so please keep your hypocrisy to yourself). To the former friend who joked how I was going to be so lucky to have shopping buddies to keep me up to date on current fashions when my boys are older (because **wink, wink, nudge, nudge** they’re obviously going to be open to that sort of thing given their proclivities), how dare you? You grew up feeling like you couldn’t be yourself because of how others might judge you and you were terrified to come out, but you automatically pigeonhole my boys because they make effeminate choices sometimes? Isn’t that JUST as bad?
2015-03-14 14.16.21So please, if you are going to give validation for my boys choices, give it because you love them. Because it makes them happy. Because they enjoy what they’re doing. Etc. Don’t only validate them because you think they’re going to need the support. Don’t only validate them because you think you know what their future holds. And don’t WITHHOLD validation from them because you think the choices we have allowed them to make aren’t “manly” enough, especially for “good Christian boys.” And if you can’t deal with these guidelines, then please just keep it to yourself. We don’t need, or want, false validation or self-righteous judgment. Modifying Thumper’s Rule here a bit: “If you don’t have anything nice and genuine to say, don’t say anything at all.” Because it’s gotten old.

Thank you.

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Update on Jose and the ADD/ADHD/Autism Question!!!!!

Well, I just went back and looked at my very first post and I realized that I never ever updated you guys on anything regarding the possibility of Jose having ADD/ADHD or something on the Autism spectrum!!! ūüė≥ So, I thought that while it was on my mind, I’d address that.

To start out with, he has not been officially diagnosed with anything at all, so we haven’t had to get into any type of education plans with his school. ¬†That may change at a later date, but I’ll explain that further in. ¬†So, we had been seeing Dr. Beth Onufrak (excellent licensed child psychologist – I want to get her name out there for people seeking help as she deals SPECIFICALLY with children ages 3-8!) on a fairly regular basis. ¬†Of course, the very first thing we had done was address all of our concerns about Jose with her and she led us through a very detailed inventory/questionnaire that is used to pinpoint specific areas to focus on with a child.

The results made it clear that while he does have control issues and obsessive qualities, he falls outside of the autism spectrum, so that was a relief! ¬†Not that we would have loved him any less or felt as though there was something¬†inherently¬†wrong with him if he had been given an official diagnosis, but that would have been such a huge burden and it made breathing just a little easier knowing we wouldn’t have to bear that cross. ¬†In regards to the question of ADD/ADHD, whether or not he does have one of those disorders, it hasn’t affected him as of yet to the point that it is interfering with his life. ¬†Therefore, we set that concern aside for now, and will return to it in the future (if needed) once we see how he does in the full-time school setting. ¬†If we feel that things are becoming too difficult for him to handle, we will talk to Dr. Beth about revisiting possible treatment/therapy.

So, what did we talk about in our visits? ¬†Well, as I mentioned above, he has issues with control and obsessiveness. ¬†Basically, because he is quite intelligent, he wants to be able to do everything that adults can, and it frustrates the LIFE out of him when he can’t! ¬†He wants to do things his way, and he’s convinced that is way is the ONLY right way; when things don’t turn out how he expects them to, it’s very difficult for him to cope. ūüė¶ Dr. Beth worked with Jose on flexibility and talking about things instead of keeping them bottled up inside.

For example: They would play a game where two of the puppets went to McDonald’s and knew EXACTLY what they wanted to order. ¬†(Jose always wanted to be the server/cashier.) ¬†One of the puppet’s orders would always have something wrong (no ranch dressing, only chicken nuggets when they wanted a cheeseburger, etc.) and that puppet would start to have a huge fit. ¬†The other puppet would talk to the first one about how to be flexible in a situation like that, and Jose would be drawn into the conversation to try and work out the best way for the upset puppet to react and handle the fact that things didn’t go as planned. ¬†<<<<This was an EXCELLENT tool and Jose still employs what he learned. ūüôā

Another tool Dr. Beth gave us to use was an un-chart. ¬†As opposed to something like a chore chart where completing specific duties is required, this is way to earn stickers and rewards for exhibiting excellent behavior that we want to see repeated. ¬†Jose chose a picture of Caillou (two actually – one where he’s mad and one where he’s glad) and puts Littlest Pet Shop stickers on it whenever he earns one. ¬†Still not sure what I mean? ¬†Let me explain: Say Jose is met with an upsetting situation, and rather than having a fit about it, he says, “It’s okay, etc…”, he earns a sticker. ¬†Or perhaps he displays wonderful character qualities without being prodded to – he gets a sticker! ¬†I realize this may seem silly and as though we are rewarding behavior that we should EXPECT in the first place; I know I went into it feeling kind of like that. ¬†But let me tell you, it works! ¬†By acknowledging and specifically detailing the type of actions and mannerisms we want to see from Jose on a regular basis, he now better understands and can exhibit those types of behaviors. ¬†The change has been amazing! ¬†Not saying things are perfect – he IS a five-year-old boy after all – but thinking about where we were 6 months ago and where we are now? ¬†Totally worth the time, effort, AND money. ūüėÄ

After seeing Dr. Beth on a weekly and then bi-weekly basis through the end of June, Jose improved so drastically that we are only going in on a need-to basis at this point. ¬†If things start getting more out of hand again (ex: fits lasting longer than 5 minutes and/or happening more frequently than 2 times a month) we may begin regularly scheduled visits for a time, but as of now, neither we nor Dr. Beth feel it is necessary. ¬†Do you know what an amazing feeling that is???? ¬†We are so proud of Jose and all the progress he’s made. ¬†We see him put into practice what he’s learned on a daily basis – even just tonight, when Squishy broke his mini Etch-a-Sketch. ¬†In the past, this would have put him into an¬†inconsolable¬†rage that lasted quite awhile before he could be calmed down. ¬†Tonight, his face crumpled, and he started crying, but got it under control easily within the 5 minute time-limit. ¬†It helped that we had a movie playing, which distracted him, but in the past, that wouldn’t have made a bit of difference. ¬†WOO HOO!!! :mrgreen:

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