Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Parenting & Freedom of Choice

When you judge another, 
you do not define them,
you define yourself.
~Wayne Dyer

I do not usually engage in conversations about politics, religion or other peoples parenting choices. However, if you are going to presume to tell me how to parent my children well then, hey, let's go. Jersey just took her earrings off and put her hair in a ponytail. I am not thrilled with some of you.

I parent my children in the way that is best for them at this moment in time. For Boy Wonder that means ABA, attending public school and home therapies. It means a no tolerance policy of his aggressive behaviors. This is what is working for him. He can not communicate most of his thoughts and feelings to me. I have to guess all day everyday. I am filled with self-doubt on a regular basis. I have tried bio-med therapies and therapies other than ABA. They did not work for MY SON.

I know people for who the special diets, DIR/Floortime and other alternative therapies have worked. I am thrilled for them that THEIR CHOICES worked for THEIR CHILD. I am thrilled when any parents choices work for THEIR CHILD because it means they are parenting THEIR CHILD in the way that is best for THAT CHILD.

Now I'm going to rant.....

You do not know me. You do not know my son the way I know him. I parent him to the best of my capabilities. I play to his strengths and strive to overcome his deficits. I dislike intensely his autism. I have wondered every day for nearly 7 years what he is thinking and feeling. I see my child through a thick glass wall. He is yelling to me but I have to interpret and guess and make the best choices on limited information. I am alternately loving and stern with Boy Wonder depending on the day and situation.

I work on the assumption that he understands every word I say. I never say anything negative about him in front of him. I do not tolerate anyone else doing it either.  I realized that this was not the way to go years ago. After reading Carly's Voice, I knew that it was a great freaking parenting choice.

I am preparing for two different futures for my son. One in which he can live independently which is not likely and one in which he will need to live in a group home which is the one that is currently likely. I strive to change that every day. I also on occasion pray for it too. 

So for your review, I do not judge your parenting choices of your special needs kid. You are doing what works for your child. I am doing what works for MY CHILD. I am entitled to my thoughts and feelings on Boy Wonder's particular brand of autism just as you are entitled to your thoughts and feelings on YOUR CHILD'S autism.

For the adults on the spectrum who feel their parents didn't parent them in the way they would liked to be parented, I am sorry for your pain and experiences. I value your opinions. You are the ones leading the way for my son and other children on the spectrum. I try to learn from you. Your insight offers me a wonderful perspective. I appreciate and value it. At the end of the day, I am just trying to do the right thing for my son and for me that path is not always clear.

We ask people outside our community to treat us and our children with respect. How can we have the audacity to do that when we can’t treat each others choices with respect?



  1. You go, Jersey. Your hair looks good in a ponytail.

  2. Very well said. I take input from many sources but the final decisions belong to my wife and me. Thank to @luau for linking to this one.

  3. Love love love this. I too hold many possible futures in my mind as I walk forward through life with my son, but the probability of his needing assistance to navigate the world for the rest of his life, looks to be the path he is currently on.

    Inclusive not divisive is the way to go here, and you batted it out of the park. Happy to call you a member of my community.

  4. Bravo Jersey! Excellent post. Only you know what is best for your child, and only I know what is best for mine, and we each deserve respect for the choices we make for our kids. The last line of your post totally nailed it. Thank you.

  5. YES YES and YES!!!! You totally nailed it.

  6. Maybe this was a rant but it was done articulately and in a way that educates rather than divides. Well said. Can't wait to meet you in Sept!!!!!!

  7. Perfectly stated. Ponytail and all ;0)

  8. I love the way that you stated this. Perfect!

  9. YES! Thank you! I'm so sick of people telling me what works for their kid on the assumption that it HAS to work for mine. I'm sorry, my kid needs medicine, not music therapy for his aggression. UGuGHGHGG. LOVE YOU!

  10. This is so great! And I love how you say that you hold two different futures in your mind. I do as well. I have no idea whether my son will be able to live on his own. He's verbal and high functioning (though I seriously hate that term) but still struggles with many self-care issues. Who knows what the future will bring, but I think we can prepare them, regardless. And I love your point--I am so sick to death of people judging.

  11. Totally relate to what you are saying! We do what's best for our kids. To suppose otherwise is - I'm hoping- the exception and not the rule. To push one's experience on the rest of humanity, parenting their children on the spectrum is divisive, presumptive and disrespectful. What is respectful - always - is acceptance - regardless of belief. Is it really so hard?

  12. Spoken as only a Jersey girl can! Hear, hear!

  13. Bravo! I hate seeing other adults judging parents of children on the spectrum. They just don't understand the challenges faced by both parent and child. It is very hard. I have family who haven't supported me (in this case my mom) and I've had family that have been very supportive and understanding - even while they are being judged. I applaud you for appreciating and working hard for your son and family. As this is the only post I've read, I don't know much about your son's autism but it seems he's either completely non-verbal or at least not able to verbalize complex things (feelings). Good luck.

    (when I read your post on my phone, I couldn't comment)