Tuesday, May 08, 2012

My Rant

Parenting children is hard.

This is a universally acknowledged truth.

Most people know this because they either have children, or because they know someone close to them with children. They can see just how hard it is when they visit them, or spend any amount of time with them.

Parenting children with autism is exponentially harder.

This is not necessarily news. I think most people, as especially those with children, can imagine this. 

But what is perhaps not known is just how much harder it is and how the autism manifests itself into real, everyday life.

It's like having to bring your "A" game, your absolute best every single day. If you have an "off" day, like say---maybe you just don't feel up to figuring out every detail, 8 hours ahead of time, with more than one backup plan in place, and you just want to coast a little one day, you will pay for it. 

There will be meltdowns, and tantrums, or worse...your child will figure out a way to escape out of the house and you won't realize he's gone until it's too late. (no, that last one hasn't happened to me, but it's a fear I have)

But, I'm not going to sit here and go on and on about just how hard it is. What I am going to tell you is that, until you have had the experience of parenting a child with autismyou will never know how hard it is. Like most things in life, you can imagine all you want...and perhaps you will gain new perspective from that. But the true, major learning lessons in life have to be experienced to be understood.

And what really sucks from my perspective about having two children with autism is this: dealing with people who not only think they know all about what it would be like having a child (or two) with autism, and they treat you as though you are doing it all wrong, and that they could do it better.

I know this, because I experience it whenever my In-Laws come for a visit.

And I'm done with it.

I'm done with the constant sniping little digs about how I'm "coddling the boys", I'm not "allowing them to deal with the consequences" of their actions.

The only person who really suffers from "dealing with consequences" is me. I have to pick up the pieces when one of the boys gets worked up.  I walk a fine line between pushing them harder and pulling back. Because I've pushed to hard in the past many, many times, and had to suffer those consequences all by my self. 

Autistic children do not learn things the same way that typical children do. If they did, they wouldn't be autistic, now, would they? 

It seems rather obvious, doesn't it.

Why is this so fucking hard for people to understand. Oh, because they haven't experienced it yet, you say? Oh how true.

But that doesn't stop their judgement, or glaring looks, or sighs, no matter how subtle or quiet they think they are being. I can still hear it. Really. 

When it comes to figuring out what people are not saying, I am a Jedi Fucking Master. 

And you know what, maybe I am making mistakes and doing it all wrong. Maybe I suck at this. But I'm doing the absolute best I can. Really. So why don't you get up off your judgemental ass and dig in and help me out. I mean real, get-your-hands-dirty-help me out before you let yourself think another negative thought about how I am functioning as a parent. 

If nothing else, you might just learn something.

1 comment:

Lana said...

Gem, I know we've talked about this lots in the past- but please hear me when I say you are NOT doing it wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. You of all the people I know are one of the few who have it completely right.

Please don't let them get to you. They're letting their own ignorance get in the way of a relationship with their grandchildren- amazing, fantastic grandchildren they don't deserve. And their incredible daughter in law they can't even begin to comprehend because her genius is to much for them.

Pity them, but don't ever EVER let them convince you that you're anything but incredible.