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Unilateral Decisions

We started going to the gym steadily early this year and had signed up three children for the child care. During the week, I took the twins, and on the weekends, #1 or #3 would also join us.  #2 refused to go due to his anxiety of new places, so I didn't push the issue.  #1 liked to go because they had an area for older kids, ages six and up which had computers and video games.  They also had Just Dance 3  which was his favorite video game.  He'd put it on and dance the entire two hours if he didn't have to share or take turns. We owned several of the Just Dance games at home and although all the kids loved them, #1 loved them the most.

And then one weekend, he was allowed to play Just Dance 3 on Saturday, but on Sunday, he wasn't. Apparently somewhere in between the time we were there on Saturday and the the time we went on Sunday, some parent had complained about the appropriateness of the game for younger kids. She said the dances and song lyrics were "inappropriate"  And with that one complaint, the game got pulled. Bet it was a first-time mom...

When they told #1 that the game he loves and was playing there just the day before was inappropriate, he popped a gasket and started to cry. He was confused and angry, even more than I was. When things happen to him that are illogical, he tries to understand them, but can't. "It's inappropriate? Why? You mean it is gone forever? Just Dance 3 is gone forever. I will never see it again. I am so sad. It is gone forever. Why is it gone forever? Did it break? Did someone take it?" I couldn't say anything that would transition him out of that.  He perseverated on it for days. And just when I thought he was over it; he'd be fine and not say anything about it all day,  he would be in his bed at night crying because the game was gone. I tried to explain that we owned the game and he could play it at home, but he wouldn't listen or play the game. He was tainted. The rules at the gym transcended to all walks of life and in his mind, the game was hexed.

I don't know who the mom was, or how old her kid was, but I have watched all my kids play Just Dance 3 and haven't had any issues. I don't think the girls will fall into a life of pole dancing for money in some run-down dive-bar because of their exposure to hip thrusts or retro-hits. Also, how much can you protect your child from pop-culture?  I remember as a kid singing Rod Stewart,"If you want my body and you think I'm sexy." Did I know or care what it meant? Nope,  I just liked the beat No pole-for-profit here. One Direction's song, Live While We're Young, was a top 40 hit and popular with kids of all ages, and has lyrics saying, "Let's go crazy, crazy, crazy 'til we see the sun, I know we only met but let's pretend it's love, And never, never, never stop for anyone, Tonight let's get some and live while we're young. There was no increase of social deviancy since then.  I bet that mom cranks that up in her car while she's driving the protected child around town and thinks nothing of it.  Is she going to get "some"?

I understand in a customer based industry, you try hard to please the clients. The theory is that if one person complains, than there must be more people that feel the same way. But, sometimes, it is only just one overly protective person that has their panties in a bunch. The group as a whole should not have to suffer the repercussions of that unilateral decision. That mom brought her kid to a public child care. There are always going to be toys, kids, rules, movies and games that she may not want her kids to have, but it is public, so you have to compromise.  If you want to control everything in your kid's world, keep them home.

One of the staff in the child room said to me something like, "he can play the game if that person isn't here" I told her that with kids on the spectrum, you can't vacillate in that decision because it is very confusing. And although she was trying to help, I got even angrier. What will I say to him if she's here and he can't play it? You want another melt-down on your hands? You're not thinking?

So now, when I tell #1 that I'm going to the gym, he gets upset but will still go. He asks about the game every time and is still bothered by it. But, he does recover and play other games which is a huge step for him.  Hopefully,  I can use this as a springboard to teach him that things aren't always fair and sometimes people just make bad decisions. And that will be hard. Really hard.

Dear Anal-retentive mom, You are doing a great job at sheltering your child. So great in fact, that other kids are now being restricted because of you. Jeffery Dahmer's mom thought she was doing a great job too. I suggest you take a breath and realize that in the grand scheme of things, a little music and dancing won't hurt anyone. Relax. Your kid will have so many other reasons to be messed-up. And the fun part is, that you'll contribute so much without even realizing it.
"So let's all get some, and live while we're young."

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