Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What are we fighting for?

There's one subject you rarely read about on parenting autism blogs: marriage.  I have stayed away from it too.  I guess that's because it's not only personal, but it would no longer be just my parenting experience I'm sharing.  It involves someone else.  It could be considered airing our dirty laundry for the world to see.  But it's relatable, it's honest and it's a void in the vault of the written autism parenting experience that could probably use some light.

There are always disagreements in a marriage.  As special needs parents there seem to be more.  And with the additional stress that comes with being an autism household, boiling points come faster and cooler heads do not always prevail.  During our latest (heated) argument my husband and I went round and round regarding the effectiveness of a specific therapy.  Are we seeing gains?  Are those gains in the right areas?  Is it worth continuing when problem behaviors are still such a huge part of our days?  Why isn't this helping and what will we try next if it doesn't get his aggression under control?  

I personally feel like we are making gains in this area and we are having less severely aggressive incidents than we had a year ago.  My husband is frustrated we aren't making more gains and that nobody seems to care or understand the effect his aggression has on our everyday lives.  While I'm fighting to press on, he's fighting to press professionals harder.  As we butted heads, raised voices and jabbed rhetorical spears my rational brain became irrational.  Until he said "In a couple years he's going to be bigger and you aren't going to walk away from those blows" and it cut through my angry haze.  And then it hit me, his argument and frustration was stemming from concern.  Concern for our son's well-being, concern for the safety of our other children, and concern for my safety.  When we have these disagreements, no one is fighting to win.  It's so important to remember we are fighting for our child and we ultimately want the same thing.  It's especially important keep that in mind before arguments turn into insults and insults into low-blows.   

 This argument was just the latest in a string of arguments over the last couple years revolving around education setting, therapies, where we live, and how we can most effectively discipline and teach our autistic child.  I could go on and on.  But when I look at that list, I don't get discouraged.  I see two parents who both vehemently love their children.  I see two parents who both care enough to have an opinion about the best way forward, and who will both fight to make it happen.  We don't always agree.  Sometimes we argue.  Sometimes we compromise.  But if our children's health, education and mental state are the things we bicker about the most, I think we're doing something right.  There are a lot less important things we could be fighting for.

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