Everything has a label, we have ADHD, PDD, GDD, NT, PPD, HFA, AP, GD, EC, and OCD just to name a few. everything has something to signify the disorder, the type of parenting, a deviation from the norm. We put labels on all of it, Like each person is simply a spice or a can in the pantry of life.
Sam’s labels help him get services. PDD and ADHD and PICA. He gets help, he becomes a child in the pantry with his label. I am guilty of it. I attach that label whenever he starts acting out in public. Because I feel guilt that I cant “control my child” I feel guilt and fear that I am being judged across the board for his behavior. Once again he LOOKS so typical so I feel like I have to justify. It’s so unfair to him. I am working on it.
I have always labeled myself as well. I am an AP parent. yup! It’s like a badge of honor that I wear proudly. I breastfeed,cloth diaper,co-sleep, anticipate the needs of my babies and let my babies self wean. It has defined who I am as a parent for 16 years. My XH mother railed me for it, my mother applauded me for it, my friends questioned it, applied it, renounced it and adapted it.
Then came Sammy. My world came full stop something like the titanic after hitting the iceberg. How can you parent a child with attachment practices that refuses to attach? SERIOUSLY FRUSTRATING. How do you anticipate needs for a child who doesn’t have a clue what his needs are? HOW do I do this? I don’t I guess.
I have had to change my strategy. My AP’ness becomes more like that of a bear cub’s mother. I protect him from himself and from the world. I tell people that he is autistic so that he wont be judged as a bad kid. So they look at him with empathy and not judgement. He doesn’t need sympathy he isn’t broken and neither am I
HE IS STRONG AND WILLFUL AND SMART AND INTENSE! and now so am I.
I have to parent him differently. I have to let him struggle and learn. I have to allow him frustration and anger so that he can propel forward. I can’t mitigate his struggle but I can hold his hand and guide him, love him and hold him when it all becomes too much for both of us.
Our kids don’t assimilate the way other kids do. They don’t learn simply by seeing it happen. Each step has to be taught and retaught. over and over.SN kids don’t just “figure it out” some day, they don’t magically wake up one day and get it. OK maybe some do but most do not.
Attachment parenting is all about meeting the needs of each child right? I am, just not in the typical way other people do. For kids like Sammy we attachment parent by stepping back, holding our breath and often simply saying a quiet prayer. Dear Lord let this be the right thing.