It’s a bit of an unusual day in GG HQ today as one of the Junior GGs wasn’t able to go to school this morning. I’ve mixed feelings about it … he couldn’t go to school as anxiety and stress about the thought of a school party absolutely overwhelmed him. It’s the fifth year in a row that this has happened so, to be honest, I was expecting him at home today. I love days like this though! It’s not often that any of the Junior GGs are off school and it’s a special treat to have one of them at home like this.
However, this is one of the times that I hate autism. Hate is such a strong word but it’s the right one for now. I hate that autism makes my beautiful sons struggle with things that many of us take for granted. I hate it when people say “He doesn’t look autistic”. I hate being accused of labelling my sons when, in actual fact, all I’m doing is trying to ensure that they get the best support available to ensure they have the best opportunities to do whatever it is they want to do in life. I hate when people hint that the only problem with my sons is bad behaviour and more effective discipline would help. I hate being classed as a “special needs mum” (but that’s a whole different blog post!). I hate it when it’s assumed that I know all about autism because I’ve got children on the spectrum when, in actual fact, every single person with autism is as individual as anyone else and all I know is my own sons. But, most of all, more than anything, I hate seeing my children suffer.
All the things I mentioned have happened to me … the truth is, I didn’t choose to be in this situation. I didn’t choose to have children with autism but I do and I wouldn’t change them one bit. There are so many things I love about being the parent of children with autism. I love my boys’ frankness. I love their unique perspective on things. I love that my oldest son has no qualms about ending every phone call to me with “I love you” no matter where he is. I love that being the parent of children on the spectrum opens my eyes to see the world in a different way. I love that parenting my children means I have to be creative in my parenting. I love that my children are secure enough in my love (and their Dad’s) to be absolutely themselves at home, even though the person they present in public can be entirely different. Yes, maybe I didn’t choose to be in this situation but I thank God every day for the privilege he’s given me (even on the sinking, not swimming days!).
So, today is all about discipline. Ouch!
Originally I wrote this blog post earlier today and recounted a situation I believe I handled well (quite proud of how it turned out actually) but then the two school boys came home and everything went haywire! I’ve always felt comfortable in how my children are disciplined. I thought Mr GG & I were fair in dealing with the boys and doing our best to follow through what we say both in punishment and reward. However, today, I examined things a wee bit more and I realise that the truth isn’t quite so rosy!
When things are difficult for the boys (like now, leading up to Christmas) I realise that it’s easier to give in than risk a meltdown. It’s easier to go back on a punishment than face the results. However, the truth is this is exactly the time when standing firm is what’s needed … a no has to be a no and a yes a yes. When life is stressful for my lads (well, especially one) then what is needed is to know exactly where the boundaries are.
I’m always (I hope) willing to acknowledge mistakes, I may not like it but I realise that I’ve been wrong lately, I’ve been allowing the boundaries to be moved. It’s time to tighten up and rethink my approach to discipline. I’ll keep you posted!
And in answer to what today’s Dare is … it’s to re-examine my approach to discipline … so that’s one to tick off J