As parents we all just want what is best for our child. We want them to live happy and fulfilling lives, and we want them to be prepared for the world and all the struggles that they may face. The trouble is, we also have problems to face. We also have all the same emotions they have, we have fears. We want to protect our children from the world, but sometimes we can’t.
Discovering that your child is on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, is a very difficult thing to absorb and process. Maybe it has helped you to understand your child better, or maybe you are even more confused and scared than you were before. I am here to tell you- It is normal. Everything; every feeling, every emotion, every tear, every night spent awake wondering what the next day has in store, is completely normal. Even getting frustrated is normal. Every single parent, no matter what they claim, has at one point or another lost their temper with their child. We are parents, but we are also human; and humans are imperfect.
One of the hardest parts of parenting a child on the Autism Spectrum Disorder, is avoiding burnout. Everyone goes through burnout once in a while. Burnout is when the effort and hard work we put into something far outweighs the reward that we receive for our hard work. For example, a woman working at a retail job, receives $7.25 an hour. Within that hour she has to clean the bathrooms, deal with upset customers, organize the store, and work through multiple transactions. After a while, this woman begins to see that $7.25 an hour is not enough for all the work she has to put in, so she quits and goes to find a new job.
The problem with being a parent is you can’t quit. On top of that you are not paid for your work. According to Forbes if the average at-home-mom was compensated for her labor, she would make $115,432 a year. Being a parent is a hard job, that is occasionally unrewarding. Don’t get me wrong, we love our children with all our hearts. They are the thing that makes life worth it, but sometimes they can be incredibly frustrating, and sometimes we just want a break. This feeling of utter helplessness and exhaustion is called burnout.
Parenting a Child with ASD
Helping a child with ASD navigate life is often incredibly difficult. Many parents with children who are on the Autism Spectrum become overwhelmed with the day-to-day demands of parenting a child with ASD. Sometimes the demands can become so intense that many parents will begin to crack under the pressure. One mother shared her journey on an online forum detailing the many times she lost her cool on her child. Parenting a child with ASD is often characterized by frustration, anxiety, guilt, depression, and anger. No single person can experience all of these emotions on a daily basis and not have it take a toll on their mental health. If you want to help your own child, you need to make sure you are also helping yourself.
How to cope with Stress
One way that many people cope with stress and avoid burnout is by making sure to set time aside for themselves. It is difficult sometimes to make sure that you are taking care of yourself because as parents, we feel guilty for it. But it is incredibly important that you spend time on yourself and making sure you are happy. Your children and family will be thankful because you will be the best and happiest version of yourself. Some people de-stress by going to the spa and getting a massage, others do it through retail therapy, and some people just lock themselves in a room and read for a couple of hours. Whatever form of self-care you use, just make sure that it works for you.
One of the easiest ways to make sure you cope and avoid stressing yourself out is to seek out help. No one can survive without help from others, especially when it comes to parenting. Whether it's through your own support network or with the help of a therapist, it is always important to have help when you need it. We at Alliance ABA therapy are here to help you through your hard times and your good times. We want your family and your child to receive the best care that works for you. We want to help and become a part of your support system, because we strive to create an inclusive relationship with you and your family.
Please contact us at Alliance ABA therapy today!