We have had a busy few weeks around here that included CJ’s very first semi-formal dance. A friend had asked him to go as her date and, although he knows this girl from a previous school, the situation made him extremely anxious. At first he pretended as if it was no big deal. As the week progressed and we got closer to Saturday, his emotional state showed how much his nerves were frazzled.
I had suggested that we take the kids to dinner prior to the dance. My intentions were for my husband and I to sit at a separate table and simply give CJ money before hand. This, I thought, would be a good lesson in responsibility and social skills. Not only would they be put in a grown up situation, with us near by, but it would give them some one-on-one time before the dance. I thought this might help with his anxiety before walking into the school (or out of the school, given that it was an outdoor dance).
When I informed him it was time to get ready the meltdown started…..slow at first, and then in full force. It ended up with him curled up in a ball on my office floor. I simply asked him “How can I help you?”. His response “Can you sit with us at dinner?”. After agreeing, he got up, got ready and was prepared to go.
Once his date was in the car, she was convinced to go to his favorite fish place instead of the restaurant we planned on. So, there they were….him in a shirt and tie, her in a peach sparkly dress, eating in an extremely casual fish fry place. It worked though, by the time we drove them to the dance, his nerves were in check.
They didn’t quite make it 2 hours before we were called to come pick them up, and it took him 2 days to regain his emotional composure, but it was a step he needed to make. It was an initiation into high school. Even though it was shaky at times, he made it through. He has stated, however, that for future dances, he will bring his best friend, Megan, as his date.