You concede. I concede. We all concede for Autism.
A good day
Learning to stand my ground
I suspect that all parents feel the same way when they hear their child (or one of their children) whining or a fight brewing amongst siblings. My heart starts racing, full panic mode begins and I have to decide quickly whether I am going to intervene and stop the fight before it happens...or if I am going to keep an ear to the ground and let the chips fall where they may (praying silently to the Gods of sibling rivalry that the children will work it out before I have to step in).
Making the decision to intercede or let them figure it out has become a thing of science. I listen for tonality, volume and the subject matter of the squabble. As a general rule of thumb, I try to let them settle the dispute before my husband or I step in. There are times when we both know it's going to escalate quickly and we go running.
I have noticed recently that I am not as fair or calm with my two neurotypical children as I am with my son with Autism. I concede easily to my child with Autism. This is a big parental no-no with any child, but even more-so for a child on the Spectrum. It teaches the Autistic child that if he screams loud enough or bites himself hard enough that eventually Mom and Dad will give up and give him/her what he/she wants (even if they are in the wrong).
I had one of those "I suck" moments when I made my oldest son give a toy or a turn up to the middle child and I saw his face drop. It was a nanosecond-quick moment of "I have to give everything up just to make this guy happy" and I immediately felt terrible. My husband and I have been very careful but also very honest with our oldest about his brother's diagnosis. I thought we were doing a decent job of not treating any of our three kids differently, including discpline-wise.
I have let the Autism overshadow my parental choices. And that's not fair to anyone in the family. I concede out of laziness and because I don't want to deal with the reckoning that my six year old subjects us to when he is forced to give in or back down. I have become terrified of his reaction - which is sometimes violent. In short, I have become a pansy.
Not anymore, though. We are going back to being strong and in charge. It doesn't mean that we are going to be tyrants or that we are going to go running every time the kids start squabbling. All this means is that we are not going to give in to avoid the tantrums and dispair of upsetting the tenuous balance that we have in the house. I can't teach my oldest to give up everything he loves to please other people. That would make me the worst parent in the world. And I definitely cannot teach the middle kid that he can get everything he wants because of his diagnosis or because his tantrum was loud/violent enough.
This will undoubtedly stir up some tension and it will most certainly increase the volume level of our home...for awhile. And then it will be okay...bcause our kids are smart and they will understand and treat each other better, in the long run.
And if they don't understand...Oh, well! That's the way the cookie crumbles!