A letter writer’s mom treats her son differently from her other grandchildren — and it hurts.
Our elder has some scripts that might help…
My mom doesn’t care for my four-year-old son and it’s obvious! She is mean to him and treats him different than she does with my other kids. She doesn’t even talk to him as if he’s a child. She won’t allow him to go in the sunroom, but his older brother and younger sister can. Every time he tries to talk to her about his day she’ll just walk away as if he wasn’t talking! I of course will continue his conversation when that happens. He’s already having a hard time because my husband well his dad is in prison. He also is little harder to understand but he’s going to speech therapy. But if you listen you can understand what he’s saying. I’m tired of seeing him hurt and need advice.
There could be several reasons why your mom treats your son differently from his siblings. It is possible that he reminds her of his father for some reason. It is more likely, however, that because he is difficult to understand, it takes considerably more effort on her part, which she may be unwilling to give. It is also possible that she may have a hearing loss, which would make it even more difficult to understand him.
My suggestion to you would be to ask your mother to have a few minutes of alone time with you and then start off by saying, “I have a few things I would like to talk over with you based on my observations. I just need some clarification from you. I feel like you may be having difficulty giving equal time and attention to my son. I have observed that he is not allowed to go into the sunroom while his siblings are. In addition, when he tries to talk to you, I feel like you may be having trouble understanding him and that it may be easier for you to ignore him instead. Could you please just discuss this with me so I can better understand whether these observations have any bearing in fact and how we might make things better.”
Understanding children with speech impediments is extremely difficult and takes extra time and patience. Ask the speech therapist for suggestions to give your mother on how to help your son. I would suggest modeling slow and clear speech yourself — a sort of exaggerated form of speech. If you speak quickly, your son may speak quickly but if you slow down and model deliberate speech, he may model you. Also, if you hear him saying something incorrectly, don’t correct him by saying he is wrong but model the right way. For example, if he says, “Me thee a wabbit,” you can say, “You mean, “I see a rabbit! Yes, that’s a rabbit!” Don’t make a big deal about his errors but simply say the words the right way and leave it at that. His therapist may have other suggestions.
I am very sorry about your child’s father being in prison. That has to be hard on everyone.
Good luck to you. I am interested to know how things go so please write back.
Letter #: 432344