The Challenges of Being an Aspie and a Parent
As if parenting a child isn’t hard enough…
In spite of my Aspergers, I somehow managed to convince/trick a woman into marrying me. In an even more unbelievable course of brainwashing, I had two children with this wonderful woman. I’ve since learned exactly why Aspies are awkward in social situations – it’s because parenting is EXTREMELY tough for Aspies.
Aspergers makes parenting especially difficult because:
1) you may very well be parenting a little Aspie. Although a genetic component hasn’t been confirmed, autism tends to run in families. As a parent with Aspergers, your chances of having a child on the Autism Spectrum are higher than those of a neurotypical parent. Children on the spectrum can be challenging for anyone; an Aspie vs. Aspie situation is only going to be more intense.
2) children are very effective triggers. My children love to climb on me and use me as a jungle gym. I’m completely fine with it, but someone with sensory issues may see this as an intrusion on personal space. Even something as innocent as an infant’s cry can seem like an assault on the senses to an Aspie.
3) everything can’t be about you anymore. One thing that’s great about being an Aspie is you have an excuse for being self involved – you can’t help it, it’s part of who you are. It takes considerable effort for an Aspie to put the needs of others before their own. But when you are a parent, what you want is almost always irrelevant. Your kids should ALWAYS come first.
4) you have to be in charge of everything. Your child’s doctor appointment, paperwork for school, lunches, setting up playdates, keeping organized… all of it is your responsibilty. People with Aspergers very often have trouble keeping their own shit together. Now you’re in charge of running your child’s life as well. They can’t do it. It’s all up to you. (Luckily, my wife takes care of all of that stuff for my kids… although that leaves me in charge of my stuff, which is hard enough as it is.)
As difficult as it is, Aspergers can also make parenting SOOOOOO much fun! As an Aspie, I find it easier to relate to my children. I can slide into “play mode” very quickly and just act like a crazy kid and have fun with them. Discipline is also a breeze when you can dissociate your emotions from your child’s responses – “I hate you!” and ” You’re so mean!” hurt a lot less when logic tells you that they are simply lashing out.
But the most beautiful part about being a parent with Aspergers – at least for me – is it gives you a chance to connect with someone almost effortlessly. I sit comfortably in silence with them, talk endlessly about nothing, I gaze into their eyes and feel the love that every parent has for their child… and I am at peace.
My family is one of my very few comforts in this world, and I am truly blessed to have them in my life.