Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The feelings that sometimes consume and distract me

So today we had an appointment with a Psychologist, the appointment went well for my son or so I thought. The Psychologist afterwards spoke to me and discussed how she believed I was overcompensating and basically took over the session. This hit me like a brick, was what she said true or is it just another opinion? I am still reeling from what was said, in reflection these are the things I have concluded:
  1. Being a parent to a child with Selective Mutism means that as a parent you can feel anxious because you worry about every time your child gets spoken to, can he respond, what will they think, do I need to do something, say something. Where is the line between encouraging your child to grow and keeping them safe.
  2. I thought I believed that my son having Selective Mutism did not have any reflection on my identity as a parent, but knowing and believing are two different things. There are times where I want my son to be seen as normal and not needing help but the fact remains he does.
  3. Helping the child also means empowering the parent, not disempowering the parent.
  4. That I wish people could see Josiah when he is free from fear and able to speak, how he plays his loudness, his talking, chatting endlessly. But who they see is not the same Josiah I know.
  5. That trusting people to help your son, is very scary
Where to from here, some time soon I need someone to help me work out the dynamics of being a parent to a child with Selective Mutism, as well as I wish there was a support group or even to meet another parent of a child with Selective Mutism would be so helpful about now. I think that I need to take some action in this area and start to advertise or something to get one operating.


  1. I have read some of your posts on the yahoo message board. I too am the parent of a sm child. Mine is 14 now and was diagnosed at 7 although I had been trying to find help for him for years before he was properly diagnosed. (I had to find the answer through the internet. The school psychologist wanted to punish him and the psychiatrist said he had oppositional/defiant disorder.)

    I think that you need to trust your instincts. This is not the right psychologist for you and your child! She obviously doesn't understand. I am in a parent support group in Minnesota and, trust me, all of the parents are anxious about their kids! We love our children and it pains us to see them suffer and to be so misunderstood by others. After all, we see them at home where they are funny, happy, smart, articulate, wonderful children! We also see the judgement in other people's eyes when our children don't behave like they are expected to! Who wouldn't be anxious!

    We have had a long journey with sm. It has been both frustrating and rewarding. I have learned so much about my son and myself. He is so brave to face his biggest fears every day that he goes to school. It was a slow process but now he speaks to other kids and to his teachers. He really, for the most part, looks like every other kid except that he doesn't give presentations in front of the class.

    But don't think that my anxiety about his sm and underlying social phobia is gone. He starts high school next year. This will be a huge change for him. Right now, he will not discuss it. I am overwhelmed with the thought of "training" a whole new school of teachers and administrators how to best work with my son. My son will not visit the school and simply says "I won't go." That first day and the anticipation of it will be difficult. But after the first day, he will have the same kind of amazing success that he has had in middle school. I am sure of it!

    I was at his school the other day. He didn't see me but I watched him walking down the hall to lunch. He was smiling, laughing and talking with a friend. He smiled and joked when he noticed me waiting for his brother. And then he walked into a crowded cafeteria with his friend. Two years ago, I would not have thought any of that would be possible at the big middle school.

    Things will get better and easier. But I don't think that our anxiety for our children will go away. Find a therapist who understands how huge this is to deal with!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience Lisa, I think that as a parent of SM transition and change is really difficult. We don't want to imagine the worst and we want to help them through their anxiety in whatever way they can deal with it. Sometimes we have to wait for our children to take the lead, and still gently providing opportunities for this to happen.

  3. Lisa, I know how youe feel. As parents we are always questioning ourselves and going through many stages of grief. I am in the beginning process with my daughter and we had a very horrible experience with the first psychologist we met with. She told me I needed to stop being so encouraging to her and questioned me multiple times about abuse...because she has never seen a child soooo "guarded" except for abused kids. Then to go on saying after meeting her for 40 min that she thought my daughter had seperation anxiety. It is so hard to know what is the right thing to do and if you are doing what is best for your child. I have to think that we are the ones that know our "shining" child and that we are the experts. Hang in there...I too believe that there needs to be more support for parents and families.