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Break the Rules - Autism

Friday, 22 July 2016  | 

Break The Rules (Occasionally)

In my world consistency is important. If I make a rule, I enforce it. To the outside world Iím sure that I look like the meanest mum in the world Ė especially on the exciting days like Christmas and birthdays. But the reality is that in our house structure works, it makes it obvious that Iím being fair, my daughter feels safe and endless arguments are avoided. After all if I forget a rule she will remind me. She is an excellent rule keeper (even if she doesnít always apply it to herself) and woe and betide anyone that decides to break them.

But that in itself makes life complicated. After all, as every child knows there are some rules that are meant to be broken. One day my child will start high school where other students WILL most certainly be surreptitiously breaking rules discretely Ė they will pass a note to their friends, they will chew a piece of gum, they will rock on their chair. Somehow itís essential that she learns to tolerate this. And that is not an easy mission.

Itís an on-going work in progress; as the poor woman who dared to pull up for a second on the zigzags in front of school has realised. Itís a hard lesson to learn which rules have to be kept all the time, which rules are important some of the time and which rules are meant to be broken. Itís even harder to learn that when youíre only eight, you have few rights to enforce the ones you feel are important.

So we work on the rules that are meant to broken. The things that might happen on play dates, the things that friends might want to do, the things that would single her out; the things I know that she really wants to do but that the anxiety stops her doing. Eating cake before tea or ice cream for breakfast, jumping on the bed or having a pillow fight. The things other children would jump at. The things that should be fun; things I know she can learn.

Whatís more, she loves to do it. She finds it hard, but loves that we are so proud of her for doing it. And after all, part of our job at parents is to be the makers of memories, and what better way than breaking a few rules.

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