Little did I know that the things that drive me crazy about my spouse (and vice versa) would turn out to be terrific assets for parenting a child with autism. My husband and I have found we can actually divide and conquer parenting responsibilities based upon our own less-than-stellar abilities. Try it!
1. Who is the most laid-back? In our case, my husband has a live-and-let-live attitude. A perfect job for him is to work on social facilitation during our son’s group outings (like cub scouts). Whereas I tend to hover, my dear husband is able to step in at just the right time. He also gets along fabulously with the other dads.
2. Who is the most uptight? That would me. And that’s okay, because I can redirect that energy elsewhere. I am a meticulous researcher and form filler-outer; both important skills when raising a child with autism.
3. Who is the worst student? It’s a tie! My husband detests reading anything except the sports pages, but he seems to know how to get our son to practice reading by making it fun. On the other hand, I made it through high shool geometry by the skin of my teeth, so I wind up on math homework duty by drawing picture-based math problems.
4. Who is the worst athlete? Me again. Steve may be able to hit a golf ball 300 yards, but he is a lousy coach because his body does naturally what the rest of us have to practice at the gym for years. I, on the other hand, drop the ball as often as my son does, so I’m very non-threatening to our little guy, who knows that he can beat me after a few tries at a new physical skill. I’m also a leftie, like my son, we we tend to do everything backwards and upside down!
What are other ways to leverage your spouse’s strengths and weaknesses?