This is a post-triggered post. This is a post to unpack all my thoughts and feelings that occurred while I was triggered.
I see parents who say ‘I accept my autistic child for who they are, but…” What comes after the ‘but’ is not acceptance. What comes after the but is usually along the lines of “I wish that they would do [more/less] of [whatever thing].”
Acceptance is about putting any weird expectations aside. It’s about accepting that your child is doing the best that they can with any situational demands that have been placed on them. It’s accepting that some days will not be good days. It’s accepting that on those not-good-days, your child is still doing the best that they can. They’re not deliberately trying to manipulate/control/upset/provoke you. They’re just trying to get through their difficult day.
I see parents who seem to think that it is perfectly acceptable and reasonable to continually throw little temper tantrums and go on ‘poor little me’ rants about their child’s behaviour. Then, when called out about it, they justify their horrid attitudes and continue with more poor me.
I see parents who say “Oh – we really want to listen to autistic adults – but we still want to be able to be offensive with our rantings, and you should cut us some slack.” I won’t cut you any slack. I won’t because basic human decency means that if someone has pointed out to you that you are being offensive, the *only* thing that you can do is apologise and try to be less offensive.
You don’t have the option to justify being offensive by being even more offensive. Your children, who you claim to accept, will grow up to be autistic adults like us. If you think it’s ok for you to continually offend us, then know that when your child is an adult, you have to be ok with other people being continually offensive.
So, you didn’t get the picture perfect life you dreamed up. So, what? Really, who does? Whose life goes according to plan? Just because it didn’t turn out the way you expected, that doesn’t mean that you have the right to behave like a toddler!
Finally, remember this: even if you’re not explicitly expressing all that resentment and bile in front of your child, they will pick up on it. They will feel that resentment. It will make them feel inadequate. It will hurt them.
Parents: You are the adult in the relationship with your child. Try to remember that, and act accordingly!