10 Ways to Enhance Parenting Styles for Children with Autism
Parenting is a difficult job. The challenges of clothing, feeding, disciplining, and teaching children can be stressful, especially when that child has autism. The child's potential lack of social, emotional, or communicative skills can make you feel as if you‘re not doing your job well. After all, the foundation of their care is you, the parent.
This is not a sign of being a bad parent, nor of not loving your child. In fact, feeling like their world is not easy, for them or you, can be a sign that you love your child. Regardless, stress can have negative effects on both parent and child, so we will go over ten ways you can work to prevent stress, both for yourself and for your child, and to be your best possible self.
One of the best things for the development of your child is to maintain a healthy relationship with them, and this starts with you. Working with your child to prevent stress will help keep that relationship strong. Though no one can live entirely without stress, these tips will help you be your best self and provide a strong foundation for a loving and productive relationship with your child.
Remember not to limit your knowledge to one single place. Talk with your child's teachers and doctors to hear different points of view about things you may be unsure of, and never stop reading and learning.
Parenting is not something one masters in a day’s time; it is a gradual process that you learn by facing all sorts of challenges. This can be extremely stressful with an autistic child since the child needs the care and love of their parent to overcome what they lack. Below are certain ways in which one can maintain a healthy relationship with their autistic child:
- It is well-known that dealing with an autistic child can be very stressful and even drive a person to frustration, but walking away or shouting is not the right answer. Take a break and do not endanger the child in any way. Try to find someone who can take turns caring for the child while you take a break.
- Make an effort to communicate with your child, even if they find it difficult. You as a parent should not give up, no matter how many attempts it takes. Understand why they are struggling and work on that. You can also speak to someone who works with such children.
- If you find your child is distracted too often, try to identify what is drawing their attention. Make efforts to understand the distraction and use it to your advantage.
- Find ways to reward the child and let them know why you are doing so, specifically, what you liked about their behavior.
- Make learning new things fun for the child. Try to find activities that are fun as well as educational so that it gives them time to open up and connect with you.
- Ensure that the child is given ample amounts of time, that there is plenty of interaction with them, and that you give proper guidance so they do not feel alone or neglected. A child who is neglected may not respond well to any treatment later in life and would tend to feel lonely.
- There is no single treatment approach or method of teaching that is best for all autistic children. Try to understand your child’s specific needs and then seek out various techniques or treatment options to best suit their abilities.
- As a parent, it is very important to always stay positive, even in stressful situations. Do not feel sad or discouraged if your child does not respond the way you wanted. If they are given time to understand and learn, they will gradually pick up speed and adapt.
- Alone, it may always feel like a challenge, so you should reach out to support groups such as family, friends, or professionals for help since it is a good idea to share information as well as meet other parents who are also dealing with similar situations.
- Maintain a schedule throughout the day that the child can adapt to. But do not make the routine too rigid, as it may turn out to be a problem for you if it needs to be altered on certain days. Make the routine flexible and talk to your child about the routine.