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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Thursday, February 7, 2013

STFU and Listen - January Edition

Men, I understand that you don't want to be preached to, patronized or told how to raise your child. 

I get that. I am totally the same way. 

Here's my promise to you: if you can take a moment to read what I have to write, think about it in context with your situation, consider what makes sense and what doesn't, and make logical changes as needed, I promise to keep this page clean of BS, pretense, and patronizing condescension.

OK, so here's some tough love...keep in mind, a lot of this may not apply to you, but needs to be said.

It's not your wife's problem. Say this to yourself until you start believing it. It is not your wife's problem. It's yours. This applies to so many things, but recognize that you are in control of your actions and need to take responsibility for more than just what you've allowed for yourself. Man up and own this. Learn your child, their therapy, their needs, your wife's needs, etc. Be able to anticipate, plan ahead and compromise. You are your child's champion, fight for your child. If you don't, who will?

Stop avoiding reality. This "Autism thing" is real and isn't going away because you ignore it. As I have said to many people, "If, 15 years from now, you find that your child is not able to live an independent adult life simply because you could not be bothered with therapy, follow-through, and an hour or two a day of your time, what kind of person does that make you?".

Let go of your expectation of who you thought your child was going to become. Seriously. This is one of the biggest issues we face as parents and it is even more so in an autistic household. It's BS. It isn't valid in any situation. Your child will show you who they are, not the other way around. Your expectations are clouding the situation and getting in the way of your relationship. Drop them and open your eyes to the person in front of you who has a much more challenging road than you do.

It's OK to not be good at this. None of us are. We are only experts in hindsight. We're all crap until we've done it. Feel free to ask for help, advice or a sounding board. This is hard stuff, no joke, and to expect you to understand everything before you've had a chance to digest the information is unfair and unjust. Just don't use that as an excuse not to learn.

Calm the heck down!!! You know what I mean, so just calm down. None of this is 'easy', but it's certainly a LOT harder if you're angry all the time. Take a moment to regroup if you need to, then jump back in, but recognize that this is challenging for everyone, most especially your child.

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.

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