If you’ve ever struggled with parenting an autistic child, you’re in the right place because my friend, I have been there. I am there – right there in the trenches with you. Though when we put it like that, we make it sound like we’re waging war.
And parenting shouldn’t be like that, should it?
So I digress – maybe that term, “right there in the trenches” isn’t what I was looking for. But the sentiment remains the same– I can relate.
And in this episode of the Autism Family Life podcast, I’m answering this question: is parenting an autistic child easy?
Shownotes and Highlights for: Is parenting an autistic child easy?
[00:45] Is autism difficult for parents?
[01:30] Four variables that influence parenting
[03:30] How income influences your access to services
[05:45] The impact of a powerful support network
Read the transcript here:
[00:00:00] If you’ve ever struggled with parenting an autistic child, you’re in the right place because my friend, I have been there. I am there [00:00:15] stay tuned until the end where I’ll share my autism parenting roadmaps that you can take the first step to repair your relationship with your autistic. In case we haven’t met yet.
I’m Kori, I’m an autistic autism mom mentor, and I’ve taught [00:00:30] autism moms just like you. How to make informed parenting, decisions and repair their relationships with themselves, their family, and the world around them. And today I’m addressing the myths and the hard truths by answering this [00:00:45] question: is autism difficult for parents?
So first things first let’s just address the obvious. Parenting is not easy. Kids don’t come with a manual. And honestly, there’s no amount of parenting classes in the [00:01:00] world that could even come close, preparing you for everyday things, let alone the developmental stages in the early years. And let’s not even begin to talk about what happens when puberty hits. parenting is not.
Easy. [00:01:15] And I don’t understand why people don’t like to acknowledge that. Adulting isn’t always easy, let alone being responsible for the wellbeing of another human, but I digress. So is autism difficult for parents? [00:01:30] That all depends. And I know you must be thinking well, duh Kori, but it’s true. It depends on a variety of factors, namely relationship status.
Income family size and [00:01:45] support network. Just to name a few, we’ll get into those in a moment though. So just sit tight while I circle back to the real question, is autism difficult for parents? And the short answer is. Yes, I’m not going to [00:02:00] sugar coat that or tell you it’s easy because it’s not easy. There is a lot that you take on many roles that you will play and a lot to process on a daily basis.
So I won’t get into everything just yet though, because we’re gonna focus [00:02:15] on those main, that main question, whether autism is difficult for parents. I want to go back to address those four factors that I just mentioned to recap. That’s the relationship status, the income family size and your support [00:02:30] network.
In no particular order. So first let’s talk about relationship status. Now the argument here can also be made for the parent or the partner who’s in the relationship who isn’t always actively involved or [00:02:45] doesn’t take much of an active role in parenting. And that really sucks. I can’t fully speak to the single parenting aspect, which is why I’m addressing what I just talked about, which is the more passive parent.
So the non-active [00:03:00] passively active or minimally active parent and pretty much what it meant for me. So for me, it meant that I was taking on more. It meant that I was making more of the decisions. It meant that I was the pillar. And it meant that [00:03:15] I was also the glue. It also meant that I was taking on a whole hell of a lot without getting a lot of support in return.
Forgive me if I sound just a little bit resentful here, but I can’t help that. [00:03:30] the second factor is income, which should be a little bit self explanatory. But look, let me explain when you have the expendable income where the extra income for the alternative and supplemental therapies that you may not have had ha have [00:03:45] had access to, or weren’t covered by your insurance, that can make a huge difference.
Your location also comes into play. Of course. And the amount of funding that your school district gets, if your child is between the ages of three [00:04:00] to 21, because then they’re covered under that wonderful thing called idea and special education. So that. Point being your income or at least your access to an ability to [00:04:15] make money is a huge factor when it comes to the services that you’re able to access for your child equally important though, is your ability to manage that money.
Next is your family size. And [00:04:30] I don’t mean this in terms of your support network, because that’s what we’re gonna cover next. But in terms of how many kids you might have and how old they are and whether they’re at home or not. So for me, for example, I don’t have a large family right now and I didn’t [00:04:45] come from a large family either.
It was mostly just me, my mom and my dad for about 10 years or so then it was just me and my. for this school year and me and my dad for the summer and Christmas vacations, I do have three kids. [00:05:00] And, but when I was 16, that’s when I had my son when I was 19. That’s when I had my daughter, my first daughter.
And then I didn’t have my third daughter and my youngest until I was 31. So there was this huge gap and [00:05:15] they weren’t all home with me at the same time. So your family size though, when it comes to that piece is just whether or not. I guess we also have neurotypical and neurodiverse kids because then you’re wondering how [00:05:30] do I balance my time with each of my kids?
And let me tell you, that’s almost impossible, but you do what you can with what you have on any given day. Finally is that support network [00:05:45] piece. This is arguably, I would say, one of the most important factors in your. Of all of these factories that we’re talking about here. This saying that it takes a village to raise a child.
That happens. When [00:06:00] you do have the support network, whether that’s from your family, if it’s from your friends, if it’s from the school system, wherever your support network is coming from. But what happens when you don’t have that immediate village or what happens when that village starts to shun you [00:06:15] to the outskirts?
I’m not saying that happens to every autism mom, but there is a chance that it has happened or has happened to at least some. so maybe it just starts with the little things, the smaller things [00:06:30] like missing play dates or a lack of invites to brunch with your friends. Then it just keeps adding on from there, but it can also be intentional or even unintentional on your part from wanting to protect your child.
Because you know that if [00:06:45] your child stims or God forbid has a meltdown in public, there’s going to be judgment. There will be strangers staring at you. And believe me, when I say there is not enough coffee in the world to keep this inner mama bear from [00:07:00] snapping, there is not enough money in the world to keep you from lashing out.
Maybe all of that to say your support network is going to fluctuate. And sometimes it may even seem [00:07:15] non-existent, but it is there. I promise. Does it seem like autism is difficult for parents on the surface? Yes, but let’s take another look at this question. It’s really [00:07:30] not autism. Is it? Maybe that’s what we want to believe, but it’s really not.
It’s the things that come along with it. Things like the executive functioning issues or emotional regulation issues, things like a lack of social skills or an inability to [00:07:45] pick up common. School cues, things like sensory overload, meltdowns periods of being nonverbal, things like masking to fit in people pleasing being hyper or hypo empathic, [00:08:00] knowing what it is that you want to say, but not saying it because you don’t know how to put it into words.
It’s a level of hyper awareness about what’s going on, but not being able to verbalize it in a way that makes [00:08:15] sense. Others, or at least that’s how it sometimes feels for me as an autistic adult, but that really only scratches the surface because I’m only one individual as an autistic [00:08:30] autism mom, though.
I can say that having a support network. Network was one of the most important things, not just for me as an individual, but for me as a parent, I would say equally important has been having this understanding of myself clearly knowing my limits. [00:08:45] It’s about being able to set boundaries and it’s about advocating for myself.
It’s about recognizing when I need a break for my kids and recognizing that they also need a break from me. Both quite honestly, are healthy and necessary. And by the way, [00:09:00] wanting to take a break from your kids, doesn’t make you a bad mom. So to recap, what we talked about today in this video was addressing the question.
Is autism difficult for parents? My short [00:09:15] answer actually is no, because it’s not the autism. That’s difficult to parents. It’s the things that come. But there are other things that do come into play, then that was the [00:09:30] relationship status, income, your family size and your support network. So wouldn’t it be great though.
If someone could provide you with a step by step roadmap to help you with some of those everyday parenting struggles? [00:09:45] Today is your lucky day because. Just that for you, you can find the link down in the show notes. If you’re on the blog or in the description, if you’re on YouTube, it is a step by step parenting roadmap from an [00:10:00] autistic autism mom.
So that’s what I have for you today. I just wanna thank you for watching today’s episode, which was addressing the question. Is autism difficult for parents? If you like today’s video, be sure to subscribe and don’t forget to hit the bell so [00:10:15] that you don’t miss any future videos like this one. If you are tuning in on the podcast, be sure to.Great review and subscribe. When future episodes are coming, that’s what I have for you today. I hope you have an amazing [00:10:30] rest of your day and I will talk to you soon.