Originally Posted by jenmk
I have not read this entire thread, so perhaps this will not entirely apply. Forgive me if that is true.
However, I just read a reply to someone about "not making a child do something that they do not want to do." I agree with this idea . . . mostly. My 3yo suddenly decided he didn't want to go to playgroup. When we arrived, he walked into the building, but would not go into the room. I asked if he didn't want to be there, if he wanted to go home. He said he wanted to go home. So we did. I would have loved to stay and chat with the other parents, but I was not about to force him to stay. However, once in a great while I do have to make him get into his car seat. Neither of us like this experience, but it happens. 99.99% of the time I do not force him to do things. I do talk him into going along with me a lot of the time when he resists.
What struck me, however when I read that line about not making a child do something they do not want to do, is the behavior of my DH. There have been times when he very rudely did not do something that he didn't want to do, and it has hurt the feelings of my family or friends and me. Something as simple as going to dinner with my parents after they spent the day helping us move into our apartment. We didn't have much food, needed to go out to dinner, and when asked where he wanted to go, he stated that he wasn't going because he wasn't really hungry. In reality he just needed some space. I understand that feeling. But the hour or two spent having dinner would not have hurt him, though he didn't want to be there. It would have been the right thing to do. However, I had to go to dinner with my parents by myself and try to explain my DH's rudeness. I was so embarrassed by him and upset that he would do that. But it was just a case of him not wanting to do something that he really should have done, and since he didn't want to do it, he didn't do it. From the almost 8 years I've known him, this has come up from time to time, and I've realized that he and his siblings grew up in a family where they didn't ever have to do anything they didn't want to do. So they approach life that way: if I don't want to do something, no matter what it is, I don't have to do it. Now there are other issues at work in this family, and very self-centered people, but the underlying theme of not ever having to do anything they don't want to do is prevalent.
So, perhaps there is a negative side to this idea.
Jen, my dh and ds are highly sensitive introverts. I am neither.
Dh and I have been married for almost 23 years. It took until about five years ago to realize it really, really does pain him to spend too much time with people. He physically needs to decrease the mental and emotional stimuli. I just thought, he was a stick in the mud at times.
Ds is highly sensitive to sounds. He can identify every instrument in the orchestra by sound. Music is a passion of his. But when we go to the symphony, the intensity of all the sounds that he can discern is overwhelming in an accoustic environment. In a restaurant, it is very distrubing to our son to hear the cacophony of sounds and voices and noise of everything going on. You might investigate "The Highly Sensitive Person" or "The Highly Sensitive Child". I know of many people with intense sensitivities and it is a gift of intense awareness. But it is also an overstimulating and overwhelming experience, especially when combined with introversion. And if spending time with your parents is like mine, a little goes a long way with dh. Even if they helped ya move, send them a Halmark card and a gift card to their favorite restaurant.
But scolding and discounting dh's experience won't help matters, from my experience.
We frequently use the phrase "I need some space". I consider this a polite and authentic way of expressing an emotional need. And this is what I request our son express when he needs time alone. We try to honor that need as equally valid as a need for food or a need to show appreciation.
The perpective of "right thing to do", "embarrassed by him", "rude", "would not have hurt him", "should have done", "self-centered" are a lot of judgement to apply to another's equally valid experience, imo. But, I learned this the hard way, myself with dh.