PARENTING STYLES UNFIT FOR AUTISTIC CHILDREN
Having known from a recent consultation and diagnosis that your child is suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder, your parenting decisions will probably be never the same again. Chances are, you will be given a proper guide on what to do and shouldn’t do while raising your autistic child with love and care. A couple of expert advice are essential tools that will help you become a well-suited parent or guardian for your child as they face the challenges ahead with you on their side. However, even in an ideal scenario, well-prepared parents may still have second thoughts when it comes to the right method of parenting to apply. If you don’t think you are prepared enough to become the best parent for your autistic child, there might be inevitable shortcomings that you will have to face and accept. Your approach might not work, but this doesn’t mean that you can just give up on your responsibility and role. Rather, think of several other parenting styles that you can adopt for your own betterment until you can eventually provide your child with the right nurturing environment dedicated to their special needs. If you are not familiar with the right parenting styles for autistic children, knowing the unfit ones is another way of making you a better caregiver.
Many parents believe that giving their child a sense of independence will result in a more holistic growth and development. Not interfering with what the child is doing and supporting his or her interest can help hone leadership skills, initiative, and discovery of potential talents. However, on the case of an autistic child, this type of parenting may not provide positive results. Knowing that most autistic children are not self-directed or are socially inclined, it would be unwise to leave them on their own. Parents are encouraged to always engage with their child, as guidance is what autistic children need the most. Learning social cues, making small talks, and understanding how society works and behaves, are just some of the essential things that should be taught to autistic children and parents share this primary responsibility above anybody else. Failure to do so would lead to even more withdrawn and solitary tendencies which would cause more serious problems as the child reaches further stages in life.
While guidance is a must for autistic children, overly concerned parents have the tendency to check on their children in almost every action they make. They think that children with this disorder need to be provided with special treatment at all times and when a new challenge presents itself, they’d topple it down before their child can even look through it. While it is true that autistic children need a special kind of attention and care, it doesn’t mean that they require it in every moment of their life. Hovering above their children’s actions, parents practicing helicopter parenting would most likely impede their children’s learning and development because they deny them of the direct involvement and experience that goes along with it, contradicting the very concept of learning through observation and example.
The learning process and development of autistic children greatly differ from those without any disorder. As a spectrum disorder, autism displays a list of symptoms that are easily observable in early infancy before reaching the age of 3. Speech difficulty, sensory offensiveness, and social unresponsiveness are just some of the early indicators of autism hence it is common for autistic children to not be able to learn a single word or phrase, understand a cue and respond to it at this specific range of age. Competitive parents are not helping at all in dealing with these issues because expecting your autistic child to learn things and develop certain skills that are projected from normal children is never the right thing to do. Comparing your child’s growth and progress to others would only make you feel inferior as a parent and lead you to question your child’s potential even at such a young age. The worst case scenario would be you getting jealous of other parents and making your child feel unloved or neglected in return.
The expression “too much of everything is bad” can easily be exemplified in the case of overly supportive parents of autistic children. While it is never wrong to give everything your child needs, it is also not good to give more than what your child can handle. Autistic children have special needs, such as therapies and programs, that can help treat the disorder and make the symptoms appear less hindering to their development. Enrolling your child in a therapeutic class, physical training or speech therapy means that you as a parent understands the needs of your autistic child. However, it isn’t quite right to make a very loaded schedule for your child, since it will not provide them the right amount of time to absorb what they learned and apply it. Enrolling at a dozen therapies and programs would tire your child out, especially if they’re not as interesting as he or she would expect, making it impossible for your child to give their hundred percent focus and retention to all of them.
If normal children can grow up to be rebellious and hard-headed with the lack of proper discipline and confrontation from parents, how much more for those suffering from autism spectrum disorder? Your child suffering from this disorder doesn’t mean that you have to exercise maximum level of tolerance to them because doing so would reflect a certain degree of misinformation about autism. Some parents believe that autistic children aren’t capable of achieving much, and would easily give up on expecting something from them may it be simple social skills, accomplishing chores and behaviour control. The truth is that they are capable of all these mentioned things if only the parent establishes some sort of house rules or a clear set of instructions and be stiff in implementing it.