Fathers For Autism

I am a road-worn father of an amazing autistic daughter and NT son. I started this blog to provide information, a sounding board and a voice for fathers of autistic children.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

STFU and Listen! - February Edition

Alright men, it's that time of the month again...oh stop, I meant the time where I get a little real and non-flowery. 

Here we go...

* Children, regardless of diagnosis, are still children. 

They want to play, have fun, connect, learn, grow and be loved. 

Your child's diagnosis DOES NOT define them any more than their eye color does. This is one facet of their life and they need to feel like they are more to you than "autistic" or "aspergers" or "insert diagnosis here".

Go play with your children, any way you can.

If that means making a fool of yourself, then, for crying out loud, make a fool of yourself! Do you remember when you played cops and robbers or cowboys or any of the other role-playing games we did as a kid? Do you really think you looked cool and put together? Of course not.

The challenge for you is to find a way to connect with your child no matter how daunting the idea. You may have to try 100 things before you find the right one, but don't get discouraged and don't give up.

They absolutely KNOW when you have given up. So don't.

* Stop blaming!

You are not going to find an answer to your challenges by wasting your time blaming everyone for the cause.

Here's some questions for you: If someone walked up to you and said "You're right! I did it...I made this happen.", will it change anything? Will you then allow yourself to focus on your child rather than the culprit? Will the time lost, due to your frustrations, be worth it?

* Talk to someone!

Contrary to popular belief, we men are not "rocks", "pillars" or "stone". We are allowed to have feelings about this and we need to express them. Maybe not in the typical way, but somehow. I tend to talk to the guys I play sports with or I write.

The more you keep it boxed up inside, the worse the explosion will be when you finally let it out. Trust me, I know. I am one of those who always stored my emotions inside like a vault. No one was allowed in. I figured it was what people expected of me and what was best for the situation.

I was dead wrong. Allowing my emotions to come out gave people insight to how important this was for me, how engaged I was to my daughter, and brought me closer to my family. In the end, it made me a better father because I was able to communicate with my daughter even though she had no words.

* Get off the damn couch and help!

This one likely doesn't apply to a lot of people, but it had to be said.

* Don't use your work as an avoidance.

You know you do it. You justify the heck out of this, but you know it's happening. I did it too.

You work hard every day to provide, clothe, and house your family. It is as important as anything else that you can do for them. Of course, working late, extra hours, and on weekends can bring in more money if you're hourly, but doing it to have some time away from the chaos at home is simply avoidance.

You are stronger than that. You know you are, but you allow yourself the excuse because it's an easy one.

* Pay Attention.

This is probably the most important thing I can talk about. Some days can be a nightmare and, eventually, you may want to zone out. This is a natural human response to uncomfortable or overwhelming situations. It is also counterproductive to all of the work you have done.

If you disappear from your life, you might find that everyone has moved on when you return.

(Again, these are this month's musings. If I offend, that is not my intent. My goal was to lay it out there, open and raw. Sometimes that is the best way to clean a wound, bandage it and allow it to heal.)

1 comment:

  1. Good post. Sometimes we need a kick in the ass. Thanks for the reality check.