Megan shares why she dreads all of the parent meetings at the beginning of a school year.
Every new school year I stress over back-to-school night. It has everything to do with adult socialization. As soon as August rolls around, I start fretting about parental events that always coincide with my girls starting a new school year. Of course, there’s the obligatory back-to-school night, but there’s also locker setup day, meet the teacher day and, for those of us with children on the spectrum, meet the support staff opportunities.
I dread these days.
It’s not that I don’t want to start off with knowing everything there is to know about a new school year, it’s because I have to socialize. It is never just a small manageable level of interactions with others, it is mega, super, colossal level socializing. Not only do I have to talk to numerous teachers, but I also have to make small talk with other parents.
Now don’t get me wrong, I want to talk to other people but I don’t do “chit chat.” Small talk is a foreign concept to me as it is with many of us on the spectrum. I find it impossibly difficult and demanding.
Chit chat about the weather seems so pointless.
I would much rather discuss something I am currently interested and excited about. Let’s talk about the current political climate or discuss a TV show I am binge watching. Don’t make me comment on the weather or the latest neighborhood gossip. I am not actively trying to be rude. It’s just the fact that I don’t find it very interesting or productive to discuss things I’m not particularly interested in.
Small talk is uncomfortable and strange.
It takes a good amount of effort to chit chat. Part of being social means looking the way the other moms look, talking about exercise classes and signing up for volunteering opportunities at school. Often times, school functions are not relaxed environments and I feel shoved together into tiny classrooms and forced to talk about topics that make me uneasy.
My daughters are also on the spectrum so I find it difficult to relate to parents who like to casually brag about their sons and daughters most recent achievements. Don’t misunderstand, I am immensely proud of my girls but that kind of boasting and grandstanding makes me uncomfortable. The things I’m most proud of about my children is vastly different than many of the other parents at their school.
Back-to -school activities are socially overwhelming for me.
Now that my daughters are older, there aren’t as many parent nights that I need to attend. When I do have to go, I have learned a few tricks that help me cope.
- I try to have my husband come too so I have a partner who can help me converse with other parents.
- I rehearse a few small talk conversations in my head so I’m ready if I need to use them if the need arises.
I tell myself not to get too stressed about interacting with other parents. After all, we do all have one thing in common. We all want the best for our children.
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