Monday, September 26, 2016

Is My Son Missing Out On A True High School Experience?







My son was all, "It's homecoming week. I guess. But I don't care."

I asked if he wanted me to take him to the football game. Or the dance. Something.

"Ew, no," Tommy replied, wrinkling his nose. Obviously I know he hates sports. But I wanted him to know that I would take him if he wanted.

Honestly, I don't know if he'll go to any of his high school dances. He skipped the middle school ones. I won't force him to go.

I went. I didn't attend many games, because yawn, but the dances I showed up to. I'd go with a bunch of girlfriends and we'd giggle and point out the boys we liked. Sometimes we had dates. Other times we didn't.



I'm learning my son is different. He has autism, and being in social situations isn't fun for him. They weren't always fun for me, but I went for the excitement. I went to see if the boy I liked would dance with me. (He did. But it was terribly awkward.) In my senior year I met Tommy's Daddy and it wasn't so awkward. Or maybe it was because I was older and more mature. I don't know.

I do wrestle with wondering if I should have him go to a high school event. Suppose he regrets not going when he's older?

But. I have talked to other people who said they never did any of the typical high school things and don't regret it at all. I never went to any football games and I don't regret not going because again, how boring.




Tommy is only a freshman. Maybe he'll surprise me down the line and say he wants to go to a dance. Perhaps he'll meet a lady who accepts him for who he is. Maybe she'll have autism too. Maybe she won't.

It stings a little to know that I might not have photos of him in a rented tuxedo putting a corsage on a date. I see many of those on Facebook. I remind myself that not everyone is the same. My boy doesn't want to go to Homecoming. THEIR boy does.




I do wonder if I should push him into an extra-curricular activity. But he doesn't want to join any. No sports. No clubs, because, ick, other people. I did plays in high school. My parents forced me to do cross-country and I vowed that I would never force a child of mine to do something they didn't want to do. I was miserable in cross-country.

Is my son missing out on a true high school experience?

Well, no, I guess not. Because it's his experience.

It might be different from mine. It might be different from yours.



But it's his.

63 comments:

  1. Don't sweat it mom! I didn't go to everything either!! Tommy is awesome!

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  2. Don't worry! He will have a true high school experience for sure - it just might not be your definition of it!!

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  3. Take care, Mama! I understand your worry, but you are doing a great job following his lead.

    I went to 2 high schools in 2 different states. The high schools were completely different. My first school had amazing, fun dances and everyone went. The second school couldn't pay people to come to a dance besides Homecoming and Prom. One was a smaller school, the other gigantic. I guess what I learned is that every person is different and every high school is different.

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  4. I've always been kind of antisocial, sometimes it makes me sad thinking about all the things I missed, but evidently it's not my cup of tea, and forcing it can make it worse. But yes deep down it stings.

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    1. I am the same, sometimes I'll think what if then I realise I totally would have hated it and I did the right thing for me.

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  5. When I was a freshman I didn't go to any of the social stuff at my school. Eventually I got more comfortable with some new friends and really enjoyed the activities but everyone is different!

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  6. As long as he is happy then that is what matters. Having said that, it may be a good idea to try to focus on what he is interested in and encourage him to participate that way. Interesting thoughts and sometimes you find what interests you later on in life.

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  7. He's not missing out. If he know he doesn't want to participate, being forced to can be torture, especially forced to do something that is honestly meaningless. I for one enjoy things like this, because I'm a social person. But for someone like your son who finds comfort in none social situations, this is different. Which I'm pretty certain you already know. The fact that you are so concerned speaks to how great of a mother you are!

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  8. Like a previous comment said, as long as he's happy then that's all that matters - but I'm sure you already know that! My little brother has autism and doesn't like busy social events either. X

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  9. Yes :) Everyone's experience is different. All you can do as the wonderful mama that you are is keep exposing him to ideas or activities. The right things will stick. The ones that will give him his own special experience!

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  10. No, he is not missing out much. There is so much more to do than homecoming etc. Let him be happy in whatever he chooses to do.

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  11. So agree with this! Forcing doesn't do anyone any good!!

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  12. I love that you let him be exactly who he is and do what he feels is best. No need to feel regret I don't think it'll weigh on him. I can't wait to hear what he decides is his thing!

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  13. I agree. Let him decide. It's his experience.

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  14. I missed my Project Graduation night because.. drumroll.. it was the release of the X-Files Movie.
    So that should tell you exactly how I felt about it all!

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  15. It is his experience, very true. I think we all missed out or didnt attend one thing or the other, I think so far as he is such a great kid, you are fine.

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  16. Like you said it is his experience. I struggled with this as well and quickly learned that my daughter is happier when she is not forced to do something. Your son will enjoy high school more if he is not forced to do things he doesn't want to do.

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  17. I think he will appreciate you giving him the choice. You don't want him to get agitated with you pressuring him to attend social events. It's weird seeing our teenagers grow up, but we have to trust them to make decisions for them.

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  18. Dont worry Mama let Tommy decide what he wants to do better that way. He really isnt missing out on something big if it isnt bothering him it should not affect you

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  19. Don't worry! I think he shouldn't be pushed in situations he doesn't feel comfortable in. After all, he will decide if he wants to go or not :)

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  20. He will get there! Let him be content with the world around him. I'm sure it can be tough at times for everyone. Thanks for sharing and being transparent with this story!

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  21. Don't worry he is making his own way. Not everyone has the same experiences.

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  22. Mom is always mom. I can understand being a mom but don't worry it is his choice if he want to go or not. I found the post near to my heart.

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  23. I don't think he's missing any. To be honest, who wants to go to those dances anyway, they're awkward and boring. I think it's nice to make sure that he has the high school experience that wants to have. His happiness is all that matters. You're doing an awesome job, momma!

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  24. Thanks for sharing your awesome son's experiences. He sounds wonderful!

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  25. Everyone has their own journey and experiences in life- there is no ONE experience. Don't worry :) he will have his!

    — DT | Here I Scribble

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  26. I love how supportive you are of your son and I don't think he's missing anything that's worth missing in his life. I like that he's creating his own path and the best you can do is to support him and show him that you're there.

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  27. All these events are a very 'American' experience. It isn't the same for high school over the world, so if he misses a few things it isn't really such a big deal. He's being himself and doing what he enjoys. Good on him for going his own way.

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  28. Oh what I would do just to be in high school best years of my life! I miss it in so many ways!

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  29. I don't think he's missing out. Although he may not want to get involved in high school now, it doesn't mean he won't be interested in something later. Trust me. I was like this in college. I didn't get involved until I was in my third year. It's tough when you don't want to be "bothered" with other people. But honestly, it's the best way to get to know different people and things. So, there's still hope.

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  30. I think you're doing fine. If he doesn't want to join and being around people isn't his thing, then that's ok. I have four teens and they are all different. Some want to participate and others don't. I leave it up to them, but always encourage them and leave the door open if they change their minds.

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  31. I say let him chart his own course when it comes to games and dances. All kids are different. One of my son's played every sport available and the other son didn't care for sports at all.

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  32. Your son is the only one who isn't attending school functions. Let him decide when and if he wants to go. Not the end of the world not matter if we are disappointed which we should be.

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  33. I would not worry about what his experiences. Everybody has their own experience. I never went to any of my dances and I still don't regret it.

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  34. I was never one for High School activities, and I don't regret it one bit! I didn't even attend prom! LOL.

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  35. He sounds like a great son, please don't worry about not having photos of him in a tux. The doctor I worked for had a son with autism. He is precious. My daughters were all about going to the dances and my son was into sports. But I didn't take a lot of photos back then so I don't have that many of them.

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  36. If he has trouble in social situations, many of the "traditional" high school events sound like they would be a nightmare for him! His experience will be what he makes of it, and if he's happy skipping games and dances in favor of other activities, he can still have fond memories from high school. His Nintendo back pack is awesome, by the way!

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  37. I agree with letting him do the things he wants to and skip the rest! My son never went to dances, and only went to games when he really felt like going. I'm sure he'll find something he really likes to do as the high school years progress.

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  38. Aww as long as he is doing what he wants, I am sure he is fine. Allowing him to do what he wants is the best thing you can do, everyone's experience is difference at school.

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  39. My oldest is on the spectrum and she never wanted to do anything, until she met the right group of friends. Now that she's in middle school, she's a new person. She's doing things my husband and I never thought were possible. It may take time, but he may be doing what he likes.

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  40. I think you're doing a great job having him make his own choices. He's a Freshman, so he has three more years to find some things he wants to do. If he doesn't, that's ok, too! It's his story :)

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  41. I think having your son make his own choices is great! I don't think that your son is missing out!

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  42. It's good that you allow him to make his own decisions. Some people are just different, but they will have their own unique experiences that remind them of what high school was.

    Sondra xx
    prettyfitfoodie.com

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  43. I don't have kids so it's hard for me to really advise or relate, but I would want to make my own choice.

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  44. Tommy knows what's best for him. He will be okay. This is a small part of his life. He's a Freshman. He has time...and time to make his decision to make his experience in High School unique to him.

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  45. Don't worry, He can do the best for him. he will be okay. And I agree with you that pushing is not good at all

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  46. Each one of us has our own experience to have. Don't worry if it's not 'typical'

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  47. It is fine if he does not do what one is supposed to do in High school. Let him pursue his own heart.

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  48. I wasn't a fan of going to dances and group activities, I'm still not. I don't like people so much :)) But I don't regret a thing. I'm glad to hear that you don't force him to do "normal" activities. He should always stay true to himself and do only what he wants.

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  49. My daughter has autism and though she does not like many extracurricular activities we did find a couple of things she likes. I worry because she has no friends and never wanted to have a playdate when she was younger or bring friends home. I understand she is different and as long as she looks happy I don't push to hard on these things.

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  50. Honestly, he's the only one who can decide if he's missing out, and I think it's great that you're not forcing him. My son isn't a fan of most group events. He didn't want to go to any of the dances his middle school had. He has two close friends, and he's happier playing video games with them and chatting online than actually leaving the house. He's 12, so that could change, but for now, I don't force him to socialize beyond his comfort zone.

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  51. Everyone has their own unique high school experience. I think your son has developed his own style and knows what he's interested in participating in and what he's not. Maybe you can ask him if he would like you to help him through a small party, like a movie night, at your home on the evening of the school's Homecoming Dance where he can invite a close group of friends that he'd enjoy spending time with.

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  52. I don't think he is missing out on anything too important. However, I understand your sentiment that you don't want him to miss the high school experience. Ultimately, it's his decision what to participate in.

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  53. I can see myself wondering about this too if I have a child uninterested in school activities in high school. I know I enjoyed my high school experience so much and it was a blast. I want the same for my kids, but they all have their own path and ways in life. I want to respect them individually.

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  54. Honestly, high school is different now than it was for us and it continues to change. I think many kids like to get out of there as quickly as possible, especially if they're not considered one of the "golden children." You know...the rich, perfect kids that the entire community knows, etc. It's annoying.

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  55. Every child is different and everyone is going to have own experiences. As long as he is happy that all it matters.

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  56. Yes, every child is different. You are doing an amazing job! Supporting him with what he wants to do is the best.

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  57. I did not go to any sport and dance too because I am lazy and it's boring for me too. But hey, you are a great support to his decisions. That is more than enough.

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  58. I totally understand your worries, but I think his decisions along with fate will steer him in the right direction!

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Thanks for the comment!

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