Integrity – A Parental Lifeline

I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.”    – Abraham Lincoln

I have always viewed integrity as an ideal. Lately, it has been dawning on me that integrity is actually my life line in parenting my teenage Aspie.

“I think that I actually just hate you,” my Aspie Son informed me the other night, “I get along fine with everyone else and when I was at Dad’s house, I did the work he asked me to do with ease but when it is you, I feel so angry. So, I think it is just that I hate you.”

“Well, I think that makes sense,” I replied, “When you visit Dad’s house, it is for a short time and there is a lot of emphasis on you having fun. With me, there is a lot more working on life. I am the one who works with you through school and a lot of the life lessons so I can see how I could be the one that triggers irritation.”

“Well, I don’t know because Dad talked to me about life but I didn’t get angry. I think it really is that I just hate you!” he concluded.

I took a deep breath and remained silent. I realized that engaging in this a conversation when he is in this kind of space is not helpful. However, the conversation does continue later when he is doing the dishes.

I was walking toward the kitchen and my Aspie Son popped out.

“What do you want?” he demanded.

“I wanted to get a glass of water,” I explained, “Is everything ok?”

“See, that is what I mean. I think I just hate you because just you saying that makes me SO angry!” he replied.

“Well, that is too bad because I love you and there is a lot about you that I actually like,” I explained.

“Well! How do you think I feel? Hating my own mother! But if I didn’t tell you, I would be living in denial!” He emphasized the last part of this with a dramatic turn back into the kitchen.

I nearly burst out laughing at the ridiculousness of this last display. I was thankful for this gut response. The earlier conversation had me feeling sad and discouraged. My Aspie Son’s bluntly honest responses to everything are sometimes harsh and painful.

Being a parent to a typical child is difficult. There is uncertainty, guilt about mistakes and fear of making the wrong decision. The same struggles exist when parenting a child with special needs. These struggles are often magnified and there is a unique lack of payback. There is little reciprocation from the child and often my child’s frustration is poured out on me. Additionally, the outside world rarely gives recognition of the hard work being done every day. Quite the opposite, there is judgement, shock, and a drawing back when my child’s behavior is outrageous and socially unacceptable.

How do I keep my perspective and persistence in these situations? Truth be told, I don’t always keep my perspective. When I do, it is because I choose my motivation. I do not chose to act in order to receive praise or recognition from others. My choices cannot be motivated with a hope that my son will be pleased with me or even acknowledge me.

integrityI must make my decisions, take my actions and draw my motivation from inside of myself, from who I want to be. I do what I do because of the parent I want to be. I will know when I lay down at night or when I look at my face in the mirror in the morning that I have done what I believed was right and best. Integrity is my life line.

“I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence.” – Frederick Douglass

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About aspergersmom

I am a 35 year old woman. I am the wife of an amazing man, who keeps me sane. As a recent California/Florida transplant to the midwest and the mother to a combined family of 6 children; 3 boys, 3 girls, my life is an adventure. I blog and raise our family with my best friend.
This entry was posted in Ah-ha moments, Challenges, Dark moments, Parenting on the Spectrum, Personal/Parent Development. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Integrity – A Parental Lifeline

  1. Judeth Davis says:

    I often tell my husband one of my favorite things about him is that he is ‘the real deal’ – any way a situation ‘slices him’ he shows up as generous, kind, smart, serious yet with a great sense of humor. In this piece you have written, I see a woman working on living life from her core values with integrity and that, dear young mother, makes you the ‘real deal’.

  2. cindy says:

    My 12 yr old son Aspy son has been saying “I hate you” for many years. I’ve learned to “look the other way” and accept it as a momentary glitch. You are right…It does seem harsh, but it is honest. I have a neuro-typical 16 year old and I know that she would just love to nail me with the same statement. The difference is the social filter. My son does express what his feelings are in the moment, The fact that he can express an emotion is great because in the past year for the first time, he has also said he loves me! My daughter, while knowing she would like to say the H word, holds back. She probably feels it in the moment, just as deeply as my son. I;m confident that one day he will also be able to be able to distill his emotions into what we see as socially acceptable.

    • aspergersmom says:

      Thank you Cindy. How do you explain to the 16 year old that you would not be as willing to look the other way as you are with your son? How do you handle the perception of different expectations for your NT child than your Aspie child? This question has been one of the hardest for me to answer.

  3. Abbey says:

    This really is so amazing what you are doing! Speaking about your child with Aspergers! We have a four year old with Aspergers, and I tell people all the time, the greatest thing he has taught me so far is honesty! I love this! I love how you talk about raising your son not based on how others will see you. That is something I have struggled with because everyone seems to have an opinion on how to raise my son and how to control his tantrums, but no one is there with me during the daily therapy and all of that. This blog has really encouraged me! Thank you!

    Abbey
    aspiehero.com

    • aspergersmom says:

      Thank you! Learning this with my son has helped me in other areas of my life as well. My confidence has increased because of this lesson. Congratulations on catching on to your son’s situation early on. That is huge! Best of luck on your family’s journey and thank you for the encouragement!

  4. This just made my day. Both the familiarity of the situation, ‘I don’t like you so it must be your fault’ is my son’s default answer- as your philosophy. This is going into the motivational drawer of my brain.

    • aspergersmom says:

      Your comment just made my day! I am glad this was motivational and encouraging. Raising our children is a sacred mission and one that needs all the support and strength we can find! Keep on bravely loving!

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