Parenting Autism- Getting Past the Sadness

It’s very common for a parent of an autistic child to sometimes feel quite sad about his or her child’s autism. After all, every parent wants his or her child to be accepted, to live a happy life, and to make all of their dreams a reality. In fact, you may have experienced an overwhelming feeling of sadness upon hearing of your child’s autism, as our society has long held the idea that your child’s condition is tragic and incurable.

But I invite you to look at things in a different way. Perhaps you can look at your child as not tragic or incurable, but rather, as unique and remarkable.

In our society, people who are different are often seen as unfortunate, sad cases. But if you think about it, your child is probably a pretty amazing person. His autism is actually a part of who he is, and he’s probably not sad about it at all, unless society has convinced him otherwise.

Imagine if our society held autism up as an incredibly marvelous thing. In that case, most of us would be pretty happy about our child’s autism, right? Our child would still be autistic, but our perception of what that means would be different, and so would our resulting emotional response.

In either case, society is telling us how we should feel- happy or unhappy. But in reality, no one else can dictate your feelings, unless you allow it. You truly decide how you feel from moment to moment. You decide if you’re going to buy someone else’s idea about how you should feel. And yes, you can decide to be happy or unhappy, despite what everyone has told you. You can decide to be happy now, without waiting till your child is recovered. I’m not talking about denial, where you’re pushing down feelings and pretending they’re not there. I’m actually talking about making the decision to be truly happy.

That doesn’t mean that you give up on hoping and trying for more. If you can hope and work for your child’s best outcome without making your happiness dependent upon it, and if you fully accept your child as he is now, even with his autism, then your child will feel that acceptance and positive expectation, and will respond by believing in himself.

No matter how many gloom and doom predictions others make about your child, you ultimately decide what you believe. Making the decision to fully accept your child and to be happy now, while trying for the best possible outcome will give your child what he needs- lots of learning opportunities in an accepting and loving environment.