I often wonder if my son resents me meddling in his world. I mean, for the most part he is happy alone, playing with his trains, coloring or any myriad of other activities. Sometimes the socialization aspect seems somewhat forced.  I know that, as a parent, I have to help him get ready for life on his own, but how hard should I push?

First I think about the facts. He will need to be social in order to survive. Our world is interdependent. Its not like he will be living on his own in the mountains, killing his own food and living in a home powered by solar panels.  He needs basic social skills like communication, a basic understanding of money and hopefully tipping etiquette for when he starts dating. 🙂 After all, he’s a handsome boy.

Then I wonder how much meddling is too much. I think back to some of the things my parents made me do that I hated and cringe. I disliked wearing dress shoes but was forced to wear them for years. They were extremely painful and rubbed my ankles raw. Finally I wore them to my pediatricians office and he told my mother to get those shoes off me and find more comfortable dress shoes.  Apparently I have low ankles or some such and need a certain cut of dress shoe. I felt justified and empowered, because my parents finally understood that I wasn’t just complaining. My pain was legitimized.

I wonder if my son would tell me to “butt out” if he could. We have already been corrected and schooled by therapists, doctors and other medical specialists. I think my whole parenting worldview was rocked when I was told that, due to Raymond’s sensory issues, spanking was a reward that reinforced bad behavior.  Once I understood it, I realized that I really never wanted to spank my kid in the first place. However, that’s how I was parented and that’s how I thought it was done. Now I know better.

So which side is right? I know he needs socialization, and sometimes he really likes being around other kids and adults. He is more social with my wife and me than ever, and expresses every day how he wants to play with friends and be around other kids. However, if he doesn’t want to be social should I make him? Is it right for me to force that sort of behavior, especially knowing that if put under that stress Raymond is likely to melt down?

I guess it is parental nature to worry, but this one keeps coming back to me. I’ll likely struggle with it for some time. What’s your take on it?