If I could know
Talking to your children
What to say to my child!
It is only natural to feel we have to be all knowing for our children. It seems we have to know how to answer those typical kid questions and satisfy our child's curiosity with our honesty, our knowledge and our imagination. As an adult and a parent I have grown to realize that the bond between child and parent is one that is life long and filled with emotion, joy, happiness, surprise, sincerity, frustration, anger, hope and pride. We may not always have the answer and sometimes the answer may not always be the right one but we always try our best to answer our child and let them know we are there to answer their questions as best we can.
Sometimes we encourage our children to ask questions and other times we dread the time when they ask certain questions. We never really are sure what our children may be thinking and it is very important that we develop a relationship that is open, based on trust and allows for two way communication. Raising a child who has challenges and is diagnosed as autistic makes you realize how very important it is to nurture, love, encourage, teach, understand, listen and communicate effectively with them.
I have had many sleepless nights worrying for my child and hoping he is comfortable and peaceful. It really pains me when I see my son struggle and have difficulties. I may not always know how to maintain calm in his life but I try as best I can to give him the proper love and support to help him get past the difficulties. My wife is usually the disciplinarian with our son and I am the one who is more susceptible to giving in. I mean well in providing my son with good morals and principles and I am strict with getting him to listen and understanding right from wrong but sometimes I may not be as strict with "lights out". I really try to get my son to bed at a reasonable hour and he is now at the stage where he seems to rebel and not always comply with our requests. I do not know why he hates going to sleep but in researching autism and sleep disorders it seems more common that children on the spectrum have more difficulties going to sleep.
When my son is having a melt down I so want to hold his hand and reassure him that everything will be ok. It is very hard to see it happening but as the parent you must maintain calm and just try to protect your child and try to help them through it. It can be a very emotional experience and you will certainly feel frustration in seeing them having such difficulty. I have to sometimes have time to myself after going through it with him and try to reflect and realize I am not alone. I want my son to not feel alone either. I want him to know that his mommy and daddy will always be there for him and he will be protected and loved for as long as we are privileged to be here to share our lives together.
In college I took a class that I now draw some knowledge from and that I find is somewhat helpful in dealing with my son's situation. I believe we all could benefit from a course in psychology and in understanding the mind and how we perceive things and how we relate with others. If we were able to figure out the human mind we would be given the Nobel Prize as it is such a mystery and no one can truly understand what makes us develop as we do. Some of us are great leaders and some of us are great scientists and some of us are great teachers and some of us are great humanitarians. Not all of us can stake claim to greatness but we all try to do our very best and we live our life to honor, respect and develop as a person who can contribute and share life with others.
For those who have disabilities the challenges are far greater but that does not mean they should be left behind. There are many very capable individuals who have been living with disabilities and they have been nurtured, loved, encouraged and given the opportunities they deserve just like everyone else. This is monumental and it gives hope to so many who may not have had such opportunity before. All I want for my son is for him to know that he can do anything he wishes and he should never be held back because he is different from others. In fact he has something that can at times be considered a gift since he has so much potential and is high functioning. We just need to address his social needs and allow him to grow and develop and mature. We need to help him establish friendship, believe in himself, trust in others, understand that he has God given ability and teach him to do all he can to make a difference and find happiness. He hopefully will come to realize that he can dream, have hope and experience success and happiness too.
When we are away from our children it can be an adjustment but we learn early on that we all live separate lives though we come together as family. We all have to live and grow together and go about our lives together and apart and realize we are all individuals. Even our children are individuals. We start to realize this as they grow and develop distinctive personalities and experience their own lives. The first day we send our child to school is when we come to understand that they will be guided by others as well and they will be influenced and exposed to things outside of the home. This is essential and the only true way they will learn and develop. This is also where they start to become more inquisitive and start to ask more questions which we try our best to answer.
As a parent we have such hopes and dreams for our children and in a way we live through our children and we want the very best for them. We want them to have perfect lives even if it is not realistic but we hope for the best for our children and we always want them to be happy and guided by us. We want them to believe in themselves and to welcome challenge and to always ask questions. It is important to ask questions because that is the whole basis for learning and understanding and I will always be there for my son to answer his questions no matter how hard they may be. In fact I will always encourage him to ask questions and to talk and express himself. That is so important for an autistic child and it can really make a difference.
Edward D. Iannielli III