Wednesday, July 17, 2013

speechless

I know a woman who is the mother of a ten year old boy. Until recently I had not met the son but heard all about her custody battles with his father. While I have never made replies to her discussions, I felt sorry for this woman because it seemed like she was struggling with her ex-husband's ability to provide a much more luxurious lifestyle that what she could do as a single mother working part time, but I didn't agree with her machinations to prevent her son from being able to go on vacations with his father because she couldn't compete.

Recently she brought her son with her to a couple of gatherings and boy was it eye opening. First, the kid was rude and argumentative to everyone who tried to engage with him. Everyone. When I asked him about a course he was taking, he responded by mimicking me. It was weird. I quickly changed the subject and began talking with another child to avoid any awkwardness, not that it mattered because mom didn't seem to notice.

Even stranger, he was baby talking with his mother. May I repeat that he is ten years old? He was talking like a small child and mom was cooing back. He never stopped baby talking during both of the occasions that I saw him.

On the second occasion, children of all ages were playing together but he wanted to stay with his mother. She eventually went with him to play but then a six year old boy asked him why he was talking like a baby and he had a meltdown. He was screaming and shaking and completely out of control which caused the six year old to start making fun of him until I thought he would pass out from hyperventilating.

Am I wrong to think that this is not okay? While the child may be keeping up with his peers academically, are there tests for emotional development?

Though I am careful to remove references that will identify the mother to anyone other than people who were with us, part of me is hoping that this woman reads my blog because I'm too cowardly to tell her face to face that her relationship with her son worries me. This is my compromise between minding my own business and feeling compelled to say something.

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