It is sometimes eerie to me how something will be happening in my life, and then I will read on line about it happening in someone else's life. Only they write about it with more authority and eloquence than I do. Because in this case, the person who experienced the same experience was fellow blogger Claudia. And since Claudia is an author as well as an experienced adoptive mom, she wrote about it probably more eloquently than I could. You can read her posthere.
This subject of how to best be in relationship with our children and when to be the um tough love parent and when not to, has very much been a topic for the adults in our house. In large part the subject is my eldest son, Chet, who though 25 functions much more like a mid teen than anything else. Socially, he is probably a bit younger even than that.
Like all parents, we want our kids to be the best self that they can be. To have the best life they can. Yada yada yada. Where my wife and I have had the challenge in recent years is that it became clear to me some years ago that our efforts to help Chet overcome his social deficits were not only ineffective, but also causing so much angst and anxiety for him that our relationship was becoming toxic. He had pretty much peaked and our efforts were perceived by him as more like constant nagging. I am an optimistic person. But if someone is taught basic social skills daily and still 22 years later can not remember these things and use them, odds are you have reached the "as good as it gets" for them.
The problem is that there can be a perception that I have "given up" and am settling for less than our son's best. That was the root of our conversation just this weekend. K comes from a military home and she truly believes that by being hard on him, she will somehow bring him to a place of greater social ability.
The hard part was to have a talk that would not come off to my wife like I was judging her but would somehow help her to see that the rift between she and Chet will continue to grow if she continues to use this same tactic. I was so glad to read Claudia's blog and to be able to say that I didn't want to define my relationship with him as a lifetime filled with him feeling that he never measured up. I didn't want Chet's perception to be that somehow he was just not good enough. If that means that I put up with some crude language (because he doesn't know how to tell jokes he invariably gravitates to something sophomoric and rude), well that is how it will be. I do remind him of time and place, but I try for this to be gentle and quiet, and not at all about whether or not he is "funny." He wants desperately to be funny.
Somehow we did have that talk. Being married for so long there is a deep bond of trust between us, even when we don't see eye to eye. K doesn't necessarily believe me,but she might believe Claudia. LOL And above all, I know she wants to feel that there is a positive loving relationship between she and Chet. So she is committed to trying to change the way in which she interacts with him. Tonight, I am thankful for wise bloggers and for the dedication of my wife to bring her best self to their relationship.