Jul 30, 2012 1 Share

Social Graces

Group of teen friends sitting outside and laughing.

Have you ever had one of the moments when you're just about the drift off to sleep and you suddenly bolt upright as you remember something you've forgotten to do? I've had  that feeling for almost a week now. There's something I should've done a long time ago, and I've left it undone until now. Like my recurring nightmare of entering a final exam only to realize I had forgotten to attend the class all semester. So what, you may be asking, have I left undone that has left me we such a feeling of dread? I have forgotten to socialize my son. 

Quite honestly, socialization has never been that high a priority for me, in terms of readying Cameron for the world. My rationale has always been that I would never be successful in making Cameron enjoy socializing, so why bother? If he is able to function in society in terms of "community skills" isn't that enough? By community skills, I mean that he can use public transportation, make purchases in stores, order food in a restaurant, and the like. So what if he prefers the company of himself in the comfort of his own room? Is that such a bad thing? 

Unfortunately, it may be. It has been long been proven that socialization is critical for overall health and happiness. The recent Colorado shooting has certainly thrown some light onto the subject of isolation. Not that I'm saying the Cameron is ordering an arsenal online while he's up in his room, but I'm becoming acutely aware that socialization is not just a nice to have. It's a necessity for a long, successful life. 

I think I've been kidding myself into thinking that school and work are providing Cameron with the necessary socialization. But I know Cameron well enough to realize that even if he goes to the school dance, he's still standing off to the side or dancing by himself. I've seen him in the street when neighbors try to talk to him when he's out with our dogs. He says the least amount of words possible in response to their greetings, and doesn't lose a step towards his destination.  

Now that this issue has my full attention, I'm of course trying to fix it overnight. I've started Googling camps and am now trying to figure out if I can get Cameron to Buffalo on Friday, with all the gear he needs for this teen adventure I've found. (This is what it's like to live with me ... I get an idea in my head, and it's off to the races.) But if I find a camp at this stage in the summer, and get Cameron enrolled, will it be worth what it's meant to be? Will it be the catalyst that Cameron needs to open up that socialization compartment within himself? Or will it merely satisfy a well-meaning mom's desire to check another thing to try off the list? I think perhaps I'll call a friend and discuss this with her. 

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I hope you can get him in or

I hope you can get him in or off to some other activity (try a local community class/workshop or something?) Look at the bright side...at least you are able to take your son places and send him to camp and whatever.  We can't...no money, and no car, nobody to come over to play with him (beyond his siblings, the kids in the neighborhood don't like him)...I can't wait for school to start.