Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nurture vs. Rescue

When we look within what do we see? The challenge of parenting is to know the line between nurture, one would encourage development rescue discourages development and growth and allows my son to stay where he is. In understanding I look at the definitions of nurture and rescue:

Nurture: to feed, care for. Synonyms: back, bolster, bring up, cherish, cultivate, develop, discipline, educate, foster, instruct, nourish, nurse. Antonyms: Deprive, ignore, neglect starve.

Rescue: save from danger, Synonyms: bail one out, conserve, deliver, dis-embarrass, disentangle, emancipate, extricate, free, get out, get out of hock, give a break, hold over, keep, liberate, manumit, preserve, protect, pull out of the fire, ransom, recapture, recover, redeem, regain, release, retain, retrieve, safeguard, salvage, save life of, set free, spring, unleash, unloose. Antonyms: harm, hurt, imperil, injure.

As parents how do we contribute to our children's anxiety. Social pressure can make us react in strange ways. Each time someone talks to my son there is a lot that goes on in my mind "how will they react when he doesn't talk back, will they judge me or think the is being rude, will they wait too long for him to respond, when should I respond, should I do anything." My son needs to overcome Selective Mutism and there are things that I do that can rob him of the opportunity to overcome his fear.

Therein lies a choice the easy path is to continue to rescue when my son feels uncomfortable. Or I can take the hard path examine myself, observe my son and allow him to learn how to overcome his fears, the hard part is I can't control those around me, explain the rules to everyone:) but he needs to opportunities to overcome. I don't want to be part of my son's defeat.

On the other hand I deal with pushing my child to communicate again, all throughout the day I know I need to encourage him to use his verbal communication not non verbal this is extremely difficult some days. One day I remember my son having a 20-30 minute tantrum yelling at me because I wouldn't give him his drink he wasn't saying please non verbally or verbally. This is a problem that we deal with and his behaviour can be trying, I know that if I wasn't nurturing my son I would just give in straight away to his tantrums, but I don't. Regardless of his communication style being rude, demanding and anger are not rewarded.

The true role of a mother is to nurture some of us have been taught the opposite in rescuing and parents of children with Selective Mutism can all relate to the pressure especially socially to respond to situations with a rescuing mentality, because some people don't understand the dynamics of SM and some realistically should not be expected to know. So what have I concluded my desire is to nurture but I know that I might fail and enable and rescue my child. But what I can do is provide situations when I know he is safe for him to practice social skills and to allow him to feel uncomfortable in these moments.

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