Friday, November 2, 2018

The Three Types

I think we can all agree that unsolicited advice usually stinks. I think we can also agree that unsolicited advice often comes from people that don't have a flipping clue.

And sometimes it's from people who you thought would have your back from the get go.  Family.

Yep, we're going there.  Let's talk about family and the ones who seem to make the effort it to judge the crap out of your parenting, your kid, and your whole situation.

 It follows a simple formula.  Kid starts diagnosis process, advice and opinions coming flying at you.  There seems to be a few certain sub groups of these less than helpful folks.

1) The Deniers. There's nothing wrong with your kid.  Your kid was an early walker, everyone knows that means a late talker. Cousin Jimmy didn't talk till he was five and he's fine.  Mind you Cousin Jimmy is living in his mom's basement but he's got a job now. Stop fussing! You talk for them too much.  Back off your kid. You hover too much!

2) The Accusers. Well you didn't follow a micro biotic all vegan. no soy, no gluten, no dairy diet while you were pregnant. You bought that house that's too close to the cell phone towers.  You used a microwave to heat up leftovers! You didn't follow a delayed vaccine schedule? You didn't breastfeed or breastfeed long enough.  It's all "You didn't. You. You YOU!!! Look what YOU did!"

3) The Fixers. "Oh, you just informed me of your kid's autism diagnosis?  Allow me to send you every article or meme that I have ever come across on the subject online. Anytime I see you, I will never ask you about any other part of your life other than autism.  I will be puzzled that you didn't follow the advice of the twenty different crack pot articles that I sent you.  I was HELPING! Let me fix it!!!!! The diet! What about the diet?? I sent you that email last week. Why aren't you doing the diet???"

The fact that the majority of these folks that do these behaviors are related to you tends to make this a tad more hurtful.  I can bet you dollars to donuts you have all three of those types in your family.  So even if you go to complain about a "Denier" to another family member, there's a good chance you might be talking to either an "Accuser" or a "Fixer".  You never get a freaking break!

I think this is why a lot of autism families start creating their own families.  I call it the "Autism Mom Mafia".  Seriously, I could walk into a room full of moms with autistic kids and say "Someone is giving my child a hard time." and every single one of them would take off their earrings, pull out bats and brass knuckles and say "Where are they?". No questions asked.  That's freaking loyalty, Fries.  Cause they just get it.  If my son is struggling in school with something, am I am going to call the family member that likes to remind me that I didn't breastfeed my kid and this is all my fault or the mom who knows to get poop stains out of anything.  I have moms I can and have texted at 5 AM because I know they are up already for the day with their kid and they'll immediately reply back "Oh, you got to sleep in today. Lucky!"

I'm not saying go blow off your entire family.  Far from it.  You can't change them but you can change how you react to them. What you choose to share with them.  What you are willing to give them and most importantly, you know know how to lay down some boundaries like a mofo.  Sadly, this is a process and doesn't happen overnight but you can make progress towards a better relationship.  Heck, you can do that.  You work on goals with your kids all the time. Who's to say that Grandpa Denier or Aunt Accuser can't benefit from a nice behavior intervention plan?

So what do you do with a "Denier"? Well, keep living.  Keep doing your thing. Eventually they will either sort of catch up or fall behind. It's sad if they do. That they couldn't be what you needed them to be or what you thought they were but let them kick rocks. You have enough going on. You want to carry them with you to? Didn't think so.  It should be noted that this group is often an older generation and one that is completely in the dark about all things special needs.  I give them a little slack.  Why? Simply because they come from a time where "those kids" went away. Sent to live in group homes and institutions.  They didn't grow up with these folks around. So yeah, it's a bit of a mystery to them.  However, once you start dropping knowledge of them and they still don't come around? Boy, BYE!

An "Accuser"?  Redirection is your best friend! They want to remind you of the time you let your kid eat Red Dye? You remind them of the time their kid ate a french fry off their minivan floor and still lived to tell the tale.  I mean, if these folks are family there is bound to be even better dirt on them that you can remind them about.  "Oh, you want to talk about why I let my kid co sleep?  How about the time in high school you told your mom you were staying the night at my house when you were really co sleeping with your boyfriend in the back of his van after a Metallica concert?"

Now nothing fixes a "Fixer" like some good old planned ignoring. You want to tag me in every meme on Facebook with a puzzle piece on it? "Oh you did? I didn't see it.  Facebook algorithm strikes again!" You want to email me every article you see about Jenny McCarthy and diets? SPAM FOLDER,BABY!!!   You want to tell me at every family gathering about the YouTube clip of the latest cure du jour? I will give you resting bitch face and say "That's nice." and change the subject.

Moral of the story folks? You have autistic problems and they can only give you neurotypical solutions because that's all they know.  Yeah, it can be a pain but it's just what it is.  You can make the choice on how you handle it though. Personally, I am going with humor and a side of fries.

Kiddo will always be my "Ride or Die" best bud.