Noah continues to struggle at school on a social level. He walks around depressed about his old friends that graduated or left the school, but refuses to move forward to reach out via Facebook and make new friends at school. If Noah’s father and I didn’t push Noah, he won’t move forward.
Last week, I sat with him and showed him how to use Facebook to find his friends from last year. I showed him how easy it was to stay connected. But, I feel he really doesn’t get it. Once his friends accepted the friend request, I explained that a good friend asks questions and doesn’t just spew stuff about mangas and anime. No matter how many years he had in social skills group this part just doesn’t seem to connect always.
Yesterday, Noah had a senior swim party. He wasn’t going to go at all! This made my husband and I so sad. It is his senior year; he should go and hang out, even if it is for a short time. So, the day before the event, I drove Noah to school. I had his undivided attention. We usually have the best talks when it is just the two of us. Originally, Noah’s plan was to visit the library, check out some books and movies for the weekend and have lunch. I explained that he should make an appearance at the swim party and he might know some people there. In fact, I told him he might have fun. That’s when he told me he just likes to be alone. That was hard to hear. I told him lots of people like to be alone. I have moments where I just need “Me time.” However, I really want him to understand in the real world, he needs to try and step outside of his comfort zone, even if it just a little bit. Any movement forward is better than none.
Recently, Noah told us about a class trip during Spring Break. He really wants to go. Perfect! It is the bait we needed. We told him that we would only agree to pay for this trip if he works hard in school and begins to be more social by making new friends and attending some events.
I just don’t want him to be alone in the world. This is my biggest fear. Am I pushing too hard?
Hi, I so hear you and can relate to everything you are sharing. My biggest fear, too, is that my son will be alone in the world. For him, spending time alone is easier than being with others. I do my best to recognize that he does best in “controlled” social situations — such as playing music with others or singing in the choir. I see at these types of functions, he is social, and he shares that he is social at school. But weekends are unscheduled typically, and he goes to his comfort of playing video games.
I have a friend with a son who is out of college now. She shared that she was afraid her son would sit in his college dorm room all by himself for 4 years. She assured me that is not what happened, which gives me hope. At some point (not sure when that is) I need to let go, allow my son to have his own experiences, and be encouraging of any steps he does take.
Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for sharing. I feel comfort in knowing, I think you made a good point. The choir is a social activity. I too need to let go. I just don’t know when that will be.
I think you are doing the right thing by pushing him a little bit. I think it’s funny that since I learned about my son’s diagnosis 10 years ago, I started to compare myself to him and slowly realized that I too have struggled my entire life with Asperger type symptoms. I remember my mom always pushing me as a child to do things (go to swim parties, join cub scouts, go on camping trips etc.) and I hated every minute of it because I just wanted to be alone. In hindsight, it was probably the best thing for me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in the same boat as you are with being the protective parent and I have no intention of pushing Mason as much as my mom pushed me, but I do feel at times that I should be pushing him a little more than I am. He joined the choir at school and I’m hoping that gives him some friends that he can hang out with. From what he tells me, after 3 weeks of school now, he still doesn’t have any friends and I’m wondering what I can do to help him with that process. I just keep assuring him that it’s still early in the school year and he’ll get to know other kids in time. He too uses the “alone time” line and I’ve always respected that. When he has a meltdown, that “alone time” is really important for him to decompress. Even when he doesn’t have a meltdown, he will use the “dad I need alone time” line and sit in his room and watch YouTube videos. (he typically watches potters demonstrating pottery techniques or guitar players teaching different songs and playing styles). I totally respect that because I was the same way as a kid but I read books about playing guitar instead of watching YouTube LOL 😉
I think you’re doing great!! I think it’s a “learn as you go” process and we’re all students right now. The cool thing is that we can figure this out and share our experiences with the rest of the world. 🙂
A comfort zones is a nice place, but nothing grows there.
A little discomfort is ultimately necessary for growth. Without challenging ourselves, we never make any progress. I don’t think you are pushing too hard.
Source: I have autism.
Thank you! I appreciate your response. I will keep pushing outside his comfort zone.
Hello, I am an aspie myself, and I think you actually might be pushing him too hard. I don’t want to be disrespectful or anything, I have only read a few posts and I don’t know Noah. But I have a different perspective. I never had many friends, one best friend, and later one boyfriend, now husband. That is enough for me, more than enough when you include family, I feel actual panic and pain in a crowded loud situation, and just because it is the norm to be social, it does not mean its beneficial for everybody. I found a goal on my own, I studied hard and made it into the best art school in Sweden, Im Swedish by the way 🙂 and I don’t know if I would have found that passion if I had been pushed to find something. Just make sure he is happy his way! Hope this helps! /Frida
I absolutely agree that sometimes we push too hard. However, these moments open up for good conversations. It is not disrespectful at all. You are entitled to your opinion. Noah is learning how to advocate for himself at school and even with us. It’s the dialogue that is important for everyone in this situation.
I can definitely agree with that! 🙂