I was reading blogs, trying to find other blogs on Autism etc. to follow when I came across this. This post challenged me…and I’m afraid to say…shamed me.
A few weeks ago, Aspie Teen came to me begging to look into some websites and programs he could download so he could create anime based music videos. Unfortunately, he started asking when Aspie Baby was in full havoc wreaking mode, Aspie Mom was in full I’ve had enough mode, Aspie Monkey Boy was in full swing from the chandelier mode and I was in full Dear God I’m going to hurt someone mode…so I told him I’d do it later. Now Aspie Teen is the type that later means ask every 5 minutes until you do it. (A trait I’m positive he inherits from his mother).
I completely shut him down. I looked at the system requirements, and what would be involved. Unfortunately at this time my wife’s computer was the only one who could handle it and no way is Aspie Teen using moms computer to do this, as all Aspie Teen seems to need is four seconds with a pc until 4000 viruses are downloaded. One of his prevelant special interests is anime. Which isn’t so much of a problem once you’ve limited what sites he can go to watch them and strictly lay down ground rules for what is appropriate since there are some sick perverted anime’s out there! Luckily Aspie Teen is very trustworthy and obedient if not exasperating.
I told him that we couldn’t do it, that we couldn’t risk the damage to mom’s pc which is where she does her school work, blogging and writing from. I explained the system requirements and that source videos for him to use would open up her pc to risk of infection by viruses and hackers. His answer was simple. Buy him his own pc to work from. One big enough and with strong enough firewalls enabled to allow him to proceed unhindered. Great…my kid thinks I’m made out of money.
This was the absolute wrong answer he could have given at that time. Money in our house is always tight. This was shortly after Christmas too which meant I was REALLY behind the ball at the moment. His answer was a good solution, just not a practical one. Unfortunately, he could not understand the money issue, nor was I in a very patient mode to explain it. Nor do I like explaining this issue to my kids. For me, not having the money to meet my family’s needs is a personal failure. As such, I don’t like having to talk about it, let alone explain it. Now we do ok…we are no where near as poor as I was growing up. The rest of my brothers and sisters think I’m rich (which I asssure you is not the case), because I own a home and two cars. My kids have toys and tech…food in the house (which could be a blog all by itself). But rich we are not.
At any rate, he persisted to the point where I shut him down cold. Enough. Dad said no. Sorry but that’s it. (paraphrased). I saw the light in his eye dim, his head hang low and his shoulders slump as he walked away. Never to mention it again. I failed. Big time. Was my reasoning sound…yes…was my my stance justified…completely…was I the best communicator and messenger in this instance. Big Fat No. I destroyed his enthusiasm and probably his faith in me to meet his needs. I felt about 2 inches tall and wished someone could step on me and end my guilt and misery.
So when I read this blog, I was shamed. Inspired to do better, but shamed. I applaud this mom’s ability to encourage her son. I hope to one day be able to do as good as she did. So I encourage all you NT’s out there with kids/wifes etc. on the spectrum. Hold your tongue. Take a deep breath. Hug them….and then calmly give your answer. Get outside your comfort zone and forget you ever heard the phrase “because I said so”. Be firm…but remember the possible damage you can do with a word. Good luck.