FOSTERING AUTISTIC PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIPS
One of the main roles of every parent is to know the problems that keep troubling their child, provide the necessary advice, and help them come up with a good solution. Parents should see to it that they are teaching their sons and daughters the ways to deal with these problems and not just spoon feed them with immediate remedies, in order for them to become responsible adults. But what if the child’s problems spring from their own parents’ behavior, health condition, or mental capacity?
There are many cases of families where the parents are challenged by a certain disorder or health issue, one of them being autism. Parents on the autism spectrum may find their kids or teens getting distressed and ashamed of their autistic features, which might be a consequence of the feedback of the community or the judgment of their friends and acquaintances. The autism-related issues might also be severe that it’s obviously causing problems in the household. If not seriously addressed, this growing problem may ultimately create a rift between parents and children at home. If you are a parent yourself who is diagnosed with autism, the following discussions might give you the motivation and clear guidance to fix your relationship issues with your son or daughter.
Make Compromises for Sensory Issues
A simple misunderstanding about how loud or how low the volume of the television is can lead to more serious arguments between you and your kid or teen when they don’t understand your condition. The kitchen is not a good place to debate about how much of the spice or seasoning is needed for the dish, especially when it’s one of the few places where the whole family is gathered and expected to talk about how each other’s day went. It is also frustrating to always argue on whether the lights should be turned on or off during the night. Similarly, always asking for cuddles or giving away hugs may become tedious for your child.
If you have sensory sensitivity issues, it is better to discuss this with your son or daughter so that they can understand deeply about your autism condition and get the idea of what you may feel when you’re exposed to these certain stimuli or crave for more. Through a meaningful talk, you can both make certain compromises for the benefit of the whole family. For instance, if your kid wants to turn up the volume of the TV or other devices, you can wear noise-cancelling headphones to avoid arguing and maintain peace in the house. If the situation is reversed, your child can then wear the headset instead. You can also agree on setting up schedules for sensory activities, such as doing your own fun-filled massage therapy.
Clear Out Any of Your Child’s Misconception About Your Autism Condition
Your child’s attitude and perception about your autism diagnosis can easily be affected by what they hear from their friends and the people around them. While it is not appropriate to prevent your child from talking with their friends and peers, it is sometimes crucial to guide them towards the right kind of people they will spend their time with. It is possible that your child will hear demeaning and harsh commentaries about your autism condition, and they might even be ridiculed for it. When this happens, proper and serious communication is necessary to clear out any wrong information that’s been passed on to your child. If your child still cannot understand technical terms regarding your diagnosis, simply stating the facts about your condition will give them the knowledge and confidence to defend your side and inform others about it. You can give statements such as “I am mentally competent “, “you don’t automatically inherit my disorder”, “I am capable of accomplishing things that other normal people can do”, and “I can talk with other people but with specific limitations”.
Emphasize the Advantages of Your Autism Condition on Your Role as a Parent
Sometimes, telling the positives will somehow make up for the negatives that your son or daughter feels or thinks about your disorder. Truth be told, being an autistic parent also comes with benefits, and these are left for you to discover. Pointing out these advantages can make your child realize that you are indeed a responsible parent, regardless of your autism diagnosis. They will be reminded to be always grateful for your sacrifices, especially when you make these exemplifications:
- Your insomnia or lack of desire to sleep has allowed you to stay up late at night and check on your child, as well as to keep a watchful eye on anything that happens inside the house in these nocturnal periods. It is undeniable that your being autistic increased the level of security in your home at night.
- Your tendency to hyperfocus has given you a strong commitment and willpower to accomplish your parental roles. This includes providing full support to your child’s school-related activities, preparing the necessary allowance for your child’s wants and needs, and not taking your eyes off of them when you’re caught in a crowd of people on a concert, beach party, and other similar big events.
- Your constant need to follow routines has trained your child to be more systematic and organized, a lifestyle that most successful students adopt. By making strict schedules for your child’s daily school routines, he or she has never missed an assignment or project and has never come to class late and unprepared.
Being an autistic parent indeed presents more kinds of challenges that you must overcome to foster your relationship with your children. Having a positive outlook on your everyday life is one thing, but possessing the courage and strength to communicate with your child about delicate matters and problems is one of the best traits that you can develop as a parent on the spectrum. Start fixing your relationship problems today so that you and your child can live inside a more harmonious and happier home.