We always hear about the anxiety our kids with autism feel… but what about us parents?
Jay is 10 now and really starting to come into his own. As he starts to understand himself , how to communicate his feelings and needs , my hopes for his future increase. I feel blessed because there is no doubt in my mind that one day, one day by boy will live on his own. My boy will go to college. My boy will not only get a job, he will most likely have a career. My boy will most likely marry and perhaps have children of his own. I know how lucky I am to be able to say that.
Here is where my problem lies. As Jay gets older and tries desperately to express his independence, my anxiety gets worse. I know it should be the opposite.. but I can’t help but feel anxious.
Do I let him go to so and so’s house for a play date by himself? What if he has a melt down? Do I go with him and stay there even though he wants me to leave? Basically I find myself asking the same question over and over:
Ahhh…the English Punk Rock band the Clash. They had one big hit that you may be familiar with. The song was called… “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” The song lyrics play over and over in my head like a broken record.
One day is fine, the next is black
So if you want me off your back
Well come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
If I go there will be trouble,
If I stay it will be double
Well come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?”
This song is so true. If I leave him alone at a play date, well the odds are there will be trouble. He’ll loose at a game of chess and fall apart about it. He will decide suddenly he is done playing and without any explanation will walk into a different room to read a book. I know this because it has happened numerous times.
But if I stay it will be double. If I am there, well Jay feels as if he does not have to try so hard. He will also take out his anger on me instead of the other child. I get it. With me he knows that no matter how he acts Mama will always love him. He can tantrum, meltdown, yell, flap, hum etc etc etc. Mama is there to redirect him, to hold him, to make sure he is safe.
I am anxious to leave him because no one can make it better for my baby like I can. At least that is what I believe.
And what about his friend, the person who has invited him over. Does this kid and his parents really have a clue how to handle my boy? Even if I brief them, tell them about his triggers, what strategies we use to get through the rough spots… is it fair to make them have to deal with that.
It is much easier to have the play dates at my house. So we do. I make sure that there are plenty of snacks and fun things to do. I am there to referee, to explain his behavior, to make it all better.
But if I don’t let him go to the other child’s house, eventually the invites will stop coming. The only way my son is going to grow, to learn , to understand how to be social is to be well… SOCIAL.
So… should I stay or should I go?
I still don’t know. I am still anxiously going round and round on that one. I certainly do hope I find the answer soon, because that song is driving me crazy!