Social mores must be taught!

Today I took Orangeboy to one of his periodic check-ins with his doctor. I had to take the siblings along because I didn't have anyone else to pick them up from school. They don't mind tagging along though, because this child psychiatrist has a cool office stocked with neat toys and gadgets that he lets them have fun with while we talk. (BTW, he's a psychiatrist who works with children not a psychiatrist who is a child - although at times, it seems debatable.)

During the introductory chat with the kids, Dr. Shrink asks Big Brother if he has any girlfriends -for whatever reason - and Brother makes a face. A silly conversation about what type of woman Brother should marry follows and, suddenly, Orangeboy pipes in and says that he would NEVER marry Sister! And Dr. Shrink agreed that would not be allowed - even in Alabama. (sorry!)

I didn't think much about Orangeboy's comment. I guess I thought he was just trying to provoke or insult his sister. Then hours later during supper, his sister, in her characteristic way of bringing up a topic out of the blue as if we were just discussing it, asks,
"Who would marry HIM anyway?"
This is when I discovered that Orangeboy thought that he COULD, indeed, theoretically marry his sister!
His response to Sister was, "Well, you might!"
She retorts, "I wouldn't because I hate you and you can't marry your sister!" (She didn't really mean hate - exactly.)
And Orangeboy asks, "What? You can't?"

I informed him that she was right, you cannot marry a sibling. And he was surprised!
That made me feel like I'm doing a LOUSY job on teaching the boy social skills. And here I thought I was at least doing an OK job. He's NINE years old! It might not be unusual for preschoolers to want to marry Mom or maybe Sister, but a nine year old?

I consider this entirely my fault. I know he doesn't just pick up on all these cues and conventions like most kids. We probably should have talked about family structure and how families are formed a little more by now, but I'm just glad this came up before he asked his sister to the Prom!

And now there is the question of "why can't you marry your sister?"
I dodged that for now, but I know it will come again.

1 comment:

  1. Awww, that's kind of sweet.

    And you know it's not just autistic kids who can remain completely clueless about certain things. I used to babysit 10 year old twins who were such innocents about many things. For one, they still had total, unimpeached belief in Santa Claus.

    That was just my rambly way of saying don't be too hard on yourself!


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