Overparenting

Kristina Chew at Autism Vox (http://www.autismvox.com/overparenting-and-being-the-mother-of-a-disabled-child/) has a post on overparenting today that is giving me a lot to think about.

Being a ‘helicopter parent’ is something I’ve been accused of regularly in the past 5 years, mostly by implication or those passive-aggressive ‘jokes’ that are ever-so-funny.  It is so difficult to hear “Oh lynne, you’re going to have to let him grow up eventually,”  or “he needs to learn how to act,” or “All kids have tantrums, don’t be so sensitive.”  G is our first and only child and we’ve been blamed for being over-protective because we’re inexperienced.

I am a generally a self-confident person, but these attitudes have eroded my parenting confidence over time.  When G was very young, I was extremely good at telling people to parent their own children and leave mine alone.  But the external judgements took their toll until finally last year I found myself second-guessing myself constantly.  DH has been a rock for me, everytime I worried I was overreacting I’d ask what he thought and he always backed me up.  Whenever I got talked into something that wasn’t optimal for G, he’d firmly tell the other person no.  We’ve used our good cop/bad cop routine very efficiently in school conferences and IEP meetings and I highly recommend it to anyone else.  

In my opinion, this is an overlooked reason for why evaluations should be done early and promptly.  The delay in finding out if G had autism was what undermined my confidence.  Every time I would tell someone he was being evaluated for autism I hear a chorus of excuses for why he was the way he was.  It sucked.  I spent a year wondering if our parenting had caused his issues.  Getting an actual diagnosis has been incredibly freeing.  At first, I wanted to send each and every one of those judgmental people a copy of the ados report.  Now, while I still have my moments of self-doubt, I’m finding that is not necessary.  It is enough to know I have been a good parent to my child.  I was always doing what was best for him.  I was not, and am not, a helicopter parent – I am an advocate for my child.  I am rediscovering my inner F-U and it feels marvelous.

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Published in: on November 13, 2008 at 4:27 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good for you!

  2. MARVELOUS!:) Good for you!
    We were also accused of overparenting, especially DH. Like when we went to family events, he hovered like Marlin at the beginning of “Finding Nemo”, following P around every step (it was cute, he’s such a phenomenal dad). But people didn’t recognize at first how FAST P was, how he had no sense of danger, and how easliy he could get hurt in those non-baby proof environments, full of open fires and antique knickknacks.
    Now that we have a “diagnosis” people are more understanding, and we are emboldened to say NO more often when we know it would be too hard. I traveled with T to my little brother’s graduation and Mapman stayed home with P. It was really sad for P to miss a family gathering, but it was necessary.
    Go for the BOLD, I say!!!


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