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Parenting a pre-teen with Autism

Saturday, 18 March 2017  |  Admin

Mum Doesn’t Know Everything

Unfortunately (or fortunately) depending on your view point, the difficulties that autism brings doesn’t get rid of the problems other families face. Our children are just as likely (if not more so) to disagree with us; they grow up, hit puberty and deal with raging hormones.

In our house this seems to have hit with vengeance recently. Number One has realized that I’m an infallible human and don’t have all the answers. In fact if you asked her at the moment, she would probably tell you that I have none of them. And in many ways she isn’t wrong. I don’t.

We are in unchartered territory. I have no idea how to parent a pre-teen. I’m not sure I was ever cool, and I’m certainly not cool now. Number One is feeling her way, but I’m all too aware I’m feeling mine too. She is anxious, frightened of the changes to her life that she knows is coming, and so if I’m honest am I.

Number One is starting to worry about fashion. She cares what her friends think. But in her head this is at odds with the comfort from clothes that she so desperately craves. She wants to be cool, go to town with friends – maybe not now, but soon. I worry, like all mums, whether she’ll be safe or not. Will she get anxious? Will she have a meltdown? Will she make the right choices?

She has opinions. About everything. She’s busy finding her place in the world, figuring out who she is. But she lacks the social skills to know when and where these opinions can be expressed. She’s in trouble at home and in trouble at school. Answereing back is the new order of the day. And I don’t know how to teach her the right way to be her. She isn’t a little girl anymore. Life is no longer black and white, it’s multicoloured, crammed with a million subtleties she has to learn to navigate if she’s to find her way.

There are so many challenges she’s faced over the years, challenges she’s faced head on with a smile. So many obstacles she’s overcome. We’ve been lost before and together we’ve found our way. I hope with all my heart that this time will be the same: that she still trusts me enough to listen and hat I still trust myself enough to find the answers.

This time next year I tell myself, we’ll look back on this and smile. We’ll have figured this one out. We’ll be onto the next battle… whatever that may be.

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