There’s a unique quality to parenting an older Autistic child and a younger neurotypical child. One, quite frankly, I haven’t figured out yet. I’m sure it’s well understood that parenting a child with Autism is different.
There are thing that I let D get away with that I would NEVER have if he didn’t have Autism. I have to let some things go. I have to give him an outlet for his frustrations that doesn’t include aggression. I must allow him some comforting behaviors that sooth him that are not always age appropriate.
And then there’s A, the typical younger child.
Ironically, I have no idea what to do with A. The crash course I’ve taken in parenting a child with Autism didn’t include any chapters in parenting a child like A. A is a typical younger child, doing things at times to spite older brother, which under any other circumstance is perfectly normal. He is also picking up behaviors from older brother. Behaviors that he wouldn’t otherwise be able to get by with. Tantrums, complete with throwing things, which I don’t let D get away with. He often attempts showing a temper that I’m sure he doesn’t have. He tries to do everything big brother does, which I know is perfectly normal.
The biggest problem is me, I know. This one is the last baby. The one who almost wasn’t. The one who cries. I’m such a sucker for a crying child. I can’t stand it and want to soothe almost immediately. Then along comes the child who uses tears instead of anger to get what he wants and I fall for it. Yes, I admit it. I fall for the tears. I’ve only just begun to attempt to steel myself against those tears he uses so effectively. I’ve begun to discipline A, finally. To begin to enforce the rules. I still do not know what to do when he imitates some of D’s ASD behaviors. I’ve been at this parenting journey over 7 years now and still haven’t figured it all out.
I’ve often said that by the time I figure out how to raise my kids they will be in college and won’t need raising anymore. Isn’t that kind of the way it works though?