Jul 22, 2013 1 Share

The Power of Words

Illustration of young man talking through megaphone.

Kids say the darndest things. Last summer, we were at a family dinner at my father’s house when Cameron announced to our hosts that I don’t like coming over there because their house is too small. You can just imagine the look on everyone’s face! The reason Cameron had made the comment was, of course, my own fault. On the way home from a get together earlier that week, I had said what a shame it was that we couldn’t all be together in the same room. Our hosts spent most of the evening in the kitchen away from the party while some of us reveled around the patio table, and some of us watched golf in the living room. Cameron filed my comment to my husband away for future use, and flung them out over dessert. (Great! He finally pays attention to a conversation without prompting, and this is what I get.)

So why am I bringing up this story a year after the fact? Because Cameron brought the incident up again last week himself. I was commenting on something Cameron had said that I found to be witty, and for some reason he responded to me with a confession about last year’s dinner at my dad’s house.

Cameron said, “You remember last year when I said you thought Pepop’s house was too small?”

“Yes …”

“Well, I said that on purpose because you told me to stop bugging Pepop about spending the day together.”

What I thought was another awkward social moment innocently caused by Cameron, was in fact a premeditated dig at his mother intended to embarrass me. It was a strange realization, that my precious son with language processing disorders out the whazoo had formulated and executed a plan to retaliate against me using words as his weapon. Oddly enough, it was kind of cool to learn that Cameron had the capacity for such retaliation. (Even at the expense of dinner invitations!)

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not proud of Cameron’s conniving behavior. But I am a little relieved that he has the capacity for such behavior… just as I would be relieved by his capacity to make friends, even if he were hanging out with the wrong crowd. However, this incident, and his desire to come clean a full year later makes me wonder about past behavior. Were those temper tantrums in the grocery store 15 years ago uncontrollable outbursts, or were they a targeted retaliation for something? How can I help Cameron further tap into this capacity of his and harness it for good instead of evil? I guess Cameron will forever be full of surprises. Clearly I need to be very careful about what I say around him, and maybe Cameron can work on letting me know when I’ve done something to irritate him before a year has gone by. And then maybe we’ll both be fit for family dinner again.

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Great Column

My son Cody also has language processing issues but comes up with those times when he surprises all of us by showing he actually does have the capacity to have neurotypical thought processes just as Cameron has done here. But like your story, it always seems to present a socially awkward situation when Cody decides to do that. Great column, I loved it!