Our children may be more skilled, not less!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Malika, May 15, 2011.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Taking J to an outdoor event this afternoon put some curious thoughts in my head... It was a "fete" held at the local horse race track - various horse races and free events for children: riding on little ponies, a bouncy castle, clown, face painting, etc. The queue for everything was very long, as you might imagine, and the longest was for the pony riding, involving maybe a 45 minute wait. As soon as he saw the ponies, J started clamouring to go on. I explained that one had to wait in the line. He then started having a tantrum - much to the puzzlement of the people around us, who shot us some curious looks. There were other kids crying and finding it really hard to wait - but they looked about 2 years old... So I took him off to a quiet place and said very firmly that that was how it was, one had to wait one's turn, and if he wanted to go on the ponies, that was what we had to do. I also said that if he continued the tantrum, we would go home and asked if he understood. He said he understood. So then we go back to the queue and start waiting. At first he is on my shoulders looking around - for the first 10 minutes, so far so good. Then he says his knees are hurting, and my shoulders are sagging, so he comes down. He doesn't wait like all the other kids, of course - his 'waiting' involves running away briefly and then coming back, playing at pretend-fighting with the little boy next to us (just fun, and very gentle), going to stand on the fence right next to us to look at the horse racing. We finally make it to the ponies and he has to stand with all the other children waiting their turn in a little enclosure for about 5 or 10 minutes. He does it - all the time jigging about on the spot, but accepting to stay there.
    And then we repeat the process again for the bouncy castle... And he stands right at the front of the castle with a few other kids waiting their turn for about 20 minutes. He is moving around, but staying there, waiting. And then the idea occurred to me... we usually think these children are lacking in skills, and of course in a way they are, in the sense that other children of his age can bear frustration and can wait patiently, standing more or less still. But the fact is that J managed to do these things too, in his own fashion, but they are MUCH HARDER for him. What it took for him to do that is presumably much more than it takes an ordinary child. So... in a sense they are more skilled. Or, rather, having to call on a skill to a much greater degree.
    Just an odd thought, maybe. But I had not looked at it like this before.
  2. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Malika! You know I used to say that our kids may simply be the next step in evolution, considering the increase in diagnosis'! :bigsmile:

    But the more I deal with my four, if this is the next step in evolution, mankind is in HUGE trouble! hahahaha!

  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    I don't know abot more skilled, but our kids are usually differently skilled than their peers. They have different perspectives. And I think some of our highest functioning kids wouldn't even be considered difficult children years ago but now we, as parents, are often forced to try to make our square-pegged children fit into society's round holes.
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Yes. I meant that because it takes our children MUCH more to do the things that other children (and their parents) simply take for granted, in a sense they are EXERCISING more of the skill than other children. My son had to EXERCISE patience yesterday, for example, when the other kids just have it naturally, without trying!
    These things are often not seen to the naked eye, of course - casual observers would not have thought J was being patient. But I could look at him and know that he was. Just accepting to stop the tantrum was a big deal!! All is relative, as they say... And our perspectives have to become very relative, I find.
  5. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    I think it takes so much more for these kids "just to maintain" in everyday situations but frankly it's a compensational skill and not one I'd put on my wish list (if I could have put in my order ;-)). That extra outpouring it takes always seems to come at a cost--challenging behavior, angst, tantrums, anxiety, etc.

    I came to think of it as the child having only so many Functioning Units per day, and when they're gone, they're gone. I found it really helpful when we had out of the ordinary events such as this to plan for down time both before and after to keep the demands low.