Now that my son with autism is 16 years old, and is doing pretty well, not only for a kid with autism, but for any 16-year-old boy, I feel like I can finally add a few more parenting tips. So here’s tip #1:
Push your kids to be their very best. They will throw huge fits, there will be many tears and you will be up some nights wondering if you pushed them too far. There will be times when you will have to say sorry. But most of all, let them know that you are pushing them because you love them, because you want life to be easier for them down the road if they can just learn that one more skill.
There will be days, make that years, when you feel like what you are doing isn’t making a difference. You will want to give up because the gain just doesn’t seem to outweigh the pain.
There will be days when you cave and let them watch too much TV or play too many computer games (or whatever their obsession is). You will then have to pay the price of reigning them back in. But I am telling you, all of this struggle, as tiring and fruitless as it may sometimes seem, is worth it.
Don’t let their stubborn clinging to unhealthy habits daunt you.
As long as you also make it very clear that you love them, through whatever means works for them – maybe a hug, maybe a little extra computer time, or a visit to an amusement park, all of your pushing will pay off.
Will they be perfect? Are you or I perfect? But they will be stronger, better people, more able to function in the world around them.
Proverbs 22:6 Teach children in a way that fits their needs, and even when they are old, they will not leave the right path.