There is a church activity for youth coming up and I told my son he would be attending. He, on the other hand, would not be choosing to go if I left it up to him. And he grumbled about it the other day, thoroughly unhappy with my forcing him to go--that it was like forcing him to work in a nuclear power plant. (OMG. lol.)
Maria Montessori might have given him the option, except he's not what Maria Montessori would call "normalized", so perhaps not. Maria might actually support me in my decision: this is a boy who spends a lot of time by himself, only one weekly guitar lesson as regular outside contact with the world. We have asked him if he wants to do this, do that or that, and usually it's no--but he might if his cousins are there. She would be all about getting him into the society beyond, I think.
He has no real friends outside of his cousins, which isn't a bad thing--except that he sees three of them rather rarely and the other one at the weekly guitar lesson and sometimes sleepovers. He actually asked if he could invite his guitar lesson cousin to go with him--that would make up for my meanness, I suppose--but not only did I not want him to, but his cousin is always busy with his own activities on Saturdays, so it was a moot point. I didn't want this other cousin going because if he did go, then my son would spend all of his time with his cousin and not getting to know better some of the other boys there (he knows a couple already, even played with one at our place a few times when they were young, and I'm sure could be good friends with them, but dang, he's so resistant to "outside" people--has been since he was a wee thing).
So, it went back to grumble. And why does he have to go and what will they do and upon hearing that there would be games (it's grades 7 through 12), he said they would probably all be boring baby games (I said he might actually end up being one of the younger kids there, so stop that line of thinking)... He hasn't said I'm mean, but I know he's thinking it.
But that's okay. I'm okay with being the mean mom. This is like the "meanness" of causing pain to get out a nasty sliver or having a bone reset. It's pushing him out of his comfort zone in a completely safe way, even if he can't see that it's completely safe. He will probably really enjoy most of the day, if he lets himself. I'm not thrusting him into a group of unknown people by himself; his sister's going, her friend whom he knows is going, other teens he sort of knows are going, at least two boys he knows are going... It'd be mean of me to send him at this stage without anybody there he knows, but that's not the case. So, I don't think I'm being mean and I think he might even come out of it thinking I'm not being mean; it wouldn't be the first time he was unhappy with his dad and me about something we'd decided and then later, he was it was a smart decision on our part and actually thanked us. It'd be nice to get a "Thanks for making me go," but if it ends up with me still being the mean mom, I'm fine with that. :)