Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Advice? Really?

Everyone has advice. On everything. Especially parenting.

Your kids won't eat something: well tell them they can have nothing until everything is gone!

Difficulty potty-training: remove all "fun" from their lives until they decide that poop and pee only go in the potty.

Acting up: a good hard spanking will resolve that once and for all!

(These are common ones I hear people doling out to friends, family and complete strangers.)

I'm pretty up front about how I take advice on parenting. I don't. Unless I ask, don't offer. And I rarely offer advice. Only when it's asked for. In case you haven't noticed I refuse to subscribe to the "one-size-fits-all" parenting approach. And it's a good thing too, because with a special-needs child, especially one with autism, you spend a lot of time re-writing rules and being flexible. So, I especially like this button I found recently:

I found it here, where I highly recommend people visit who would like to support autism research and the families (like mine) who benefit from it. Until April 17, shipping is free and a portion of proceeds benefits Autism Speaks.

Here is the thing, I LOVE talking about autism. I love helping people understand my daughter, her classmates and children and adults around the world. I love sharing ideas. However, I strongly dislike well-intentioned people who believe it is their job to tell me what therapy I should use on my child, what so-and-so celebrity is doing that I should as well and most-importantly, how I should deal with my child's idiosyncratic behaviors.

And while we're on the subject, parenting advice is not appreciated for my normally developing sons either. When my two-year-old has a tantrum and I remove him from the situation and we discuss self-control, that is something that works for me and him. I don't care what you would have done differently, you're not me and he's not your son to discipline. He's two, there's a big learning curve, so do I think he'll have another tantrum, you can bet your bottom dollar. And yes, my eleven-month-old is teething and biting, please keep comments to yourself. I do not spank infants. And he is not biting out of malice so there is no need to bite back at this point (which failed miserably when I tried it with the previously mentioned two-year-old, I got bit back).

Am I a perfect parent, no, I am not. Is there a possibility that somethings could benefit by my changing them? Yes, of course. But let me figure that out. Don't shoot down my way of doing something because it didn't work for you or your friend or your cousin. Let me be the mom I am supposed to be and trust me, if I need your advice, I'll let you know. I'm not shy in that way.

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