Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Marriage Difficulties and Raising Aspergers Children

"Is it common for parents of Aspergers children to have difficulty in their own relationships? My husband and I differ greatly on how to parent our 5-year-old son, and this is causing problems in our marriage. He thinks I'm too soft and over-protective ...I think he's too harsh at times. I am feeling so stressed on multiple levels right now. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated."

Having a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism has the potential to place a great deal of strain on a family -- and particularly on a couple. Some couples may struggle with issues of blame, how the child should be disciplined, guilt, etc.

Daily routines are a constant challenge. A special needs child often comes with additional financial costs to the family. Dealing with the school can seem like a full-time job. The time that it takes to care for a special needs child can leave other family relationships with no attention. All of this can add up to a number of problems that need to be looked at.

A 2009 study reported that mothers with children on the spectrum have stress levels similar to combat soldiers. A 2008 study showed that 39% of mothers parenting children with challenging behavior are stressed at the clinically significant level, and that this stress negatively impacts a child's outcome.

Many parents of children with Aspergers are aware of this stress and isolation, but they don't know how to combat it, or they put their children's mental health ahead of our own. It is easy to identify the problem, but so much harder to find a solution.

In order to cope with the stress that comes with a child with special needs, it will be necessary to be willing to talk about your feelings with your spouse. Seek the assistance of a therapist if you have the ability and resources to do so. There are also good books out there to help you understand more about supporting one another. Also. try to locate a local support group.  => Here's our support group on Facebook <=

Learn as much as you can about the diagnosis and options that are available to you and your child. Try to maintain a consistent routine within the home to reduce additional stressors to both your child and yourself.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook


Anonymous said... Absolutely. It's typical for people to change their minds too.
Anonymous said... all parents have different opinions.
Anonymous said... Being aspie I think you will discover over the years that it's here to teach parents to approach their kids, leaning in with their ear first not the rod.  Aggressive behaviour towards people living with ASD only compounds sensory issues. Behaviour that NTs think is behavioural is actually neurological and corrections should not be approached with behavioural techniques.  Over stimulating children at a early age in an aggressive manners will only lead to them shutting down and by shutting Down I mean shutting out the aggressor.  As we don't need the quality and depth of relationships that NTs do its very easy for us to turn our backs on everyone including our family.  So ask your husband what kind of relationship he wants with his child in the future and perhaps he could adapt his technique accordingly.  I hope this helps. 
Anonymous said... Divorced. Ex denies problem. Argues constantly regarding child's needs. Refuses to take no for an answer. Constantly threatens court action to get what he wants. There IS a genetic link after all!
Anonymous said... I am divorced now....we clashed before the divorce and it's worse now. Ex does not believe the dx which has been the main problem. Its been very difficult and heartbreaking at times.
Anonymous said... I have had a great deal of problems in my relationships. Now a single dad of two, when my eldest was diagnosed it was a lightbulb moment for me. All the problems my daughter faces I struggle with also. Raising a child with Aspergers can be stressful enough but if one parent has gone undiagnosed this can lead to real stress in a relationship.
Anonymous said... I hear you! I have to walk away when husband disaplins. For some reason mommy instinct kicks in. He loves our son and wants him to just sound different then women when they yell or talk. Funny thing is our son listens better to him then me. Hang in there and try to find a therapist that will teach you how to work together. It worked for us!.
Anonymous said... I think as mothers sometimes that protective lioness comes out. I am the one who went through life probably undiagnosed so I know it must be stressful on my husband to have two of us like it in the house.
Anonymous said... it brings alot of stress for sure,and if your marriage isn't strong to begin with,it may take a toll on it.
Anonymous said... It can be very difficult.
Anonymous said... It's very tough!!!! Read about it together - maybe that might help!!!
Anonymous said... Me and hubby pretty quickly got on the same page re our son's condition and decided to use RDI to help our son become more flexible. We agreed in principle but struggled and disagreed sometimes with putting the theory into practice. We have acknowledged the strain this has put on our relationship and have worked hard to be mindful of the other's feelings, concerns and ideas when discussing anything to do with management of our son's condition. I think you have to find common ground and work from prepared to meet in the middle. We were lucky in that we agreed in principle with the theory of how best to manage the condition. Perhaps that is the place to start? Plus to explore some of the underlying assumptions you may both be making about why he behaves in a particular way and how best to manage this. Perhaps you need a mediator to help you work on this? It can be hard to work it out when you're so emotionally enmeshed in it.
Anonymous said... My AS son is now 19 and I am married 31 years to an AS husband. It has not been easy and I learned a great deal about being patient. I too struggled greatly in the discipline area because it is so difficult to know where to draw the line with AS kids... Having an AS hubby makes it even more complicated because of the 'police' aspect of Aspergers. My strength to deal with all of this comes from the LORD. I am thankful to have Christ in my life... or I don't think I would have made it this far.
Anonymous said... My son has Aspergers too. He is now 11 and my husband and I argue when disciplining him. My husband has to accept our son see"s things differently. He is going to the same destination we are ' he just takes a different route:-) My husband has been in denial and is slowly been coming around. Our son was diagnosed when he was 4 and we have experienced a lot of amazing moments. Our son is amazing and I am sure yours is too:-) Enjoy the journey with your son...I know your husband will come around too 
Anonymous said... sometimes you gotta let things go!what has worked for me is to discuss about the kids when they are sleeping or not in the room.communication is KEY!find out what he expects or wants for your child and tell him the need to find a middle ground for you both.its vital for your childs future.and do what i do...take a break every know and then,take turns doing it!go for a car drive,meet up with friends or go for a walk,think of something to do alone.otherwise you will burn out!
Anonymous said... the stress was far too high for us to bear, we just couldn't take it. Since Nov I am by myself with 2 kids, and believe it or not, it is a true relief
Anonymous said... We did for a little while until he started coming to therapy sessions. We also spend sometime reading together at night about aspegers. It's very helpful and now he understands a lot more. We have agreed on more things now and if we don't we discuss it before anyone hands out a time out Good luck!
Anonymous said... When partner is disciplining walk out of earshot. If you .confront them at the time they get worse. Harder on the child rather than easier. Have s chat while child is not around,
Anonymous said... yes we clashed a lot,he had little tolerance,he has nmow been diagnosed with aspergers too,
Anonymous said... Yes, yes and yes! Daily here! My daughter is an Aspie (so am I for the record) and I know her and I both "Live in the moment" a lot. When my daughter was younger, she would meltdown so bad that I would have to hold her til she was calm so she wouldn't hurt herself. Now that she is older, she doesn't tantrum as bad, but I also know that what comes out of her mouth in the midst of being at a 10 on the emotional scale is not what she thinks overall. Aspies can be at a 10 emotionally and then a bit later be at a 2 acting as if nothing happened. My husband will then want punishments and some kind of closure to his feelings on the issue and his outrage at what happened a bit ago, and he wants something done to show that it wasn't okay for her to act out. The thing is.. I understand that she acted out because of frustration, being at a 10 emotionally and was having a meltdown (I still have them to this day sometimes myself), and if I punish her for those meltdowns, it's either going to key her up again or make her feel worse. I know she didn't mean to do those things but those emotions have to run their course because she will think clearly again. My husband just doesn't get it but I remind him over and over again "It's an Aspie thing" trust me on this.. please? She will be okay." That doesn't mean she gets away with the typical kid back talking and misbehaving, but when its emotions and frustration boiling over.. in our house, she should feel it is safe to let those out as long as she doesn't hurt anyone else or herself.
Anonymous said... yes. you have to agree and balance the rules. Stick to them nomatter what. Its the only way. Aspergers alone is confusing. makes it worse when you get two people one telling you one thing the other something else. Its not thinking of the child, forget about how you feel, the kids always go first. That is the beginning of figuring it out. Good luck.
•    Anonymous said... Absolutely...we were exactly the same way. We had to learn to compromise ...listen to eachothers valid points and make a plan. Its actually made our marriage stronger because we learned the reason why we felt the way we did had to do with our own upbringing. Having a common goal..helping our child..was important.
•    Anonymous said... I didn't realize until after our son was born and later diagnosed, that my ex probably has Asperger's. This may sound terrible, but as my son got older, I could only cope with one of them, and our marriage fell apart.
•    Anonymous said... I feel I could have written this, going through the same. Chin up x
•    Anonymous said... Im very over protective too and have differences with my partner. Its hard but think you just have to muddle thru it. Wish i had a answer for you xx
•    Anonymous said... My husband and I have a son that is now 25 - he has Aspbergers and other special needs. We had the exact same issue. To this day, we still struggle at times. So here are the two great pieces of advice that were shared through the years - and became more and more important and valuable: 1) Be the very best parent you can be at that moment. NEVER look back! Just know you did your best. Otherwise you will drive yourself insane with the 20/20 hindsight and guilt. 2) Never stop challenging your child to be all he/she can be. But!!! Be prepared to accept it when you know in your heart you've uncovered another limit in his/her life -don't try to force something that just isn't going to happen. You will only frustrate both of you and lose some of his/her trust in your safety...and you will regret it forever (I say that from experience. ) And just advice from our experience: Aspbergers was not a thing 20 years ago. GET HELP...YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THIS ALONE NOW. It doesn't get have to work as a couple...just go get help together...even if it's just a support group. Don't forget to give your other children time to talk about their feelings and frustrations -they may need help dealing with things sometimes...don't get so busy with your 5 - yr - old that you forget to make time for the others.  Last of all...remember that your husband knows exactly how little boys feel. Some things kids with Aspbergers do are not because of their exceptionality, but because he/she is just being a kid. They start figuring out how to work you and use their unique siuation. Listen and respect each other as a couple. You will be ok! If you all can learn to look at your child's situation as he/she lived in an exceptional world. He/she will never completely adjust to your can learn to adjust to theirs. You will be shocked at how your child reacts and what you really begin to learn.
•    Anonymous said... Omg who the heck was that Tammy McCormick White and where was she when my son was two years old and growing lol. Could anyone have given you any better step by step advice, I think not.

More comments below…


Anonymous said...

Try amily therapy and taking parenting c;asses together and both working with an ABA trained therapist working with your son... my son is now 19 and the same issue was huge in our marriage too (and there were other bigger issues too that we couldn't get beyond at the time - sadly) - that's the one he repeatedly tossed in my face. and yes that's what it felt like - a slap. the other issues aside - there was likely some truth in the middle. I tended to err on the side of coddle and he on the side of firm discipline - and that may not be a bad thing. (we worked out our co-parenting and are divorced )kids, even ours adapt better than we tend to give them credit for. if you are both approaching parenting from the center of love and can find a way to work together w/o undermining, the duel differences may just be what your little guy needs. ♥ good luck and contact if you feel the need

Anonymous said...

I hate to say that having a son with Aspergers eventually split me and my husband up. He couldn't cope with our son, it put immense pressure on everyone and he left. He now gets on so much better with our son as he isn't around him all the time and seems to deal with him better "in small doses". He's re-married and 3 years on I'm still single, living with depression and doing my best to get through every day best I can. It doesn't always have a happy ending x

Anonymous said...

at times my hubby and i clash over parenting our aspie son but u need to do it together as structure and rules of the house are good for our children and anyway dad is the peacemaker as myself and josh can be too close at times and fall out but dad gives out and moves on whereas i nag and nag........

Anonymous said...

Both of you are probly right.It take two a mother who is protetive a father who pushes to overcome.It makes for a perfect combo.So don't stress overy his way or yours.

Anonymous said...

50% of marriages with a special child unfortuanly end in divorce-mine did I am now remarried my ex remarried 5 yrs ago he still tells me i am crazy & nothing is wrong with our son try councilling & parenting classes u both half to be willing or u also will become part of that satistic its true

Anonymous said...

The main point you need to agree on is: no education action will ever change (let alone heal) the disposition, or maybe the lacking emotional competence of your child.

Anonymous said...

we too had all these problems parenting our a/s daughters,we could never agree,now understand as 5 years ago hubby diagnosed with aspergers too,so many families have an undiagnosed parent too,but its getting better,

Anonymous said...

We always try and discuss ways to deal with our son - above all you have to show a united front - rules have to be consistent from both parents as otherwise it will just be confusing for your child. Sit down and perhaps between you find some common ground and write the rules down so that your child will always know where they stand. I have a teen with asperger and I think in particular at this age rules need to be consistent from everyone

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

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Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes.

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Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Parents, teachers, and the general public have a lot of misconceptions of Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism. Many myths abound, and the lack of knowledge is both disturbing and harmful to kids and teens who struggle with the disorder.

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content