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Parenting autism: When parenting gets tough

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Wearing the hat of a parent is no easy feat. You navigate immediate issues- like establishing bedtime routines, making sure the kids eat enough vegetables, monitor their screen time. While simultaneously being focused on their future selves- will they get into a good school, will they select a positive peer group, will they make a positive impact in life. This juggling act can be consuming- in all aspects of the word. Now add a different dimension, a diagnosis of autism. In addition to the above comes a host of factors that impact the intuitive parental-child dynamics; due to a disconnected feedback system. Which leads to the question how to navigate, and parent, through these challenges?

“Your are doing your best.”

This seemingly simple affirmation, “you are doing your best”, holds an empowered sense of self-acceptance. You may not always have an answer, or stumble in confusion in your understanding ASD, yet the underlying intention is unconditional love for your child. This is not the same as having all the answers, rather to embody your intent behind your actions-or lack there of. You are doing your best.

Release what you cannon control

In parenting any child, there can be moments of frustration when directives are misunderstood or your ‘wishes’ for the child to behave/act/speak in a particular manner fails. Parents with autistic children report this frequently; which often leads to isolated behaviors for the family social life. In these moments, release what we cannot control. This is not passive acceptance for any behaviors, rather a conscious shift in understanding between personal desired expectations and child noncompliance. In moments of desiring a specific response, look for ways to authentically teach the outcome desired. This may take several trials and repetition for innate understanding. If needed, don’t be afraid to ask for support.

Take-aways

Below summarizes the above made points that parents can embrace during those though points of parenting.

· “Your are doing your best”. Empower yourself as a parent, assured in your unconditional love for your child that you are doing your best.

· Release control. Things don’t go as planned. Yet this is not blind acceptance of any behavior. Be clear on your intentions and build innate understanding with your child.

· Ask for help. Parenting is tough and additional challenges strain the family. Seek support and guidance whenever needed.

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