How do I balance out the needs of two children on the spectrum and two NT kids?
Parenting is hard work. Unless you have a child with Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism, you just have no idea about the true demands this adds to everyday parenting. A second child on the spectrum does not always mean more of the same because every child is affected so differently. Balancing the needs of a large family is a full time job, even without Asperger’s Syndrome!
It is easy to feel overwhelmed and stretched too thin when you have so much on your parenting plate. Planning a strategy to help meet everyone’s needs is necessary. Don’t forget to take care of yourself so you’ll feel like taking care of everyone else.
Taking care of yourself:
- Participate in support groups focused on the needs of Asperger’s families.
- Find respite care when you need a break. Everyone deserves to get out and relax for an hour or so.
- Do not ignore your hobbies. A mother with four kids is going to have to schedule time for hobbies, but it is important to do things you enjoy for relaxation and personal growth.
- Keep in touch with your friends. You need this form of support. Your friends know you and know how to lift your spirits and keep you motivated.
Taking care of your kids:
- Spend one-on-one time with each child. Focus a little time each week on each child. They all enjoy the special attention and it gives you a chance to teach each one something new or enjoy a favorite-shared activity.
- Keep in touch with each child’s teacher. The children spend a big chunk of time at school. Knowing what is going on at school will help you be a more effective parent and advocate for your children.
- Look for ways to make life fun and ‘normal’ for your family. “Top Ten Tips: A Survival Guide for Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum” by Teresa A. Cardon, M.A., CCC-SLP; foreword by Kristi Sakai is a book that lists practical tips for living with Asperger’s and how to blend all of your family into everyday life situations. Suggestions cover life at home, at school, and in the community.
- Listen to each of your children. Sometimes moms of many can get so busy that they forget to stop and listen. A few minutes of listening to each child can clarify the causes of problem behavior or illuminate special moments.
Finding balance is a goal for which to aim. With a little investigation and preparation, you will find what works for each of your children and your family as a whole.
The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide: A Complete Resource Guide For Parents Who Have Children Diagnosed With Aspergers Syndrome