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Wellness

How Not To Be Overly Controlling In Your Relationships

For parents, this is a good time to talk with students about the importance of boundaries and what happens when your kids break them.

If you have any children in your home you know how demanding and controlling they can be around other people. These are qualities that are useful for any family, but with kids who are on the autism spectrum, they can cause tremendous trauma. One of those people on the spectrum is my son, and I’m really terrified for him.

What happens isn’t always what anyone should expect. The thing about an autistic kid: even if they aren’t rude or annoying, they can be incredibly controlling with little regard for how things affect the rest of the community. I know several people who have done work with autistic children and they all tell me that you have to be willing to give up power and control to your kids in order to get it back in return.

I remember when my son came out of his room (a windowless closeted space) to play at the park with a group of other boys. My three-year-old was excited to play, and his friends went over and started beating on the little boy. My son looked over at me, turned and was about to tell my mom that I was going over to see what was happening, when I spotted a man with a clipboard on the corner of the playground. I ran over and said, “Is that the guy who beats your son?” There was no response from Mr. Rheingold at that point or anything, and no one else seemed to be around.

(And by the way, I’m actually happy for that guy if he didn’t beat my son because, you know, that would be a really dumb, rude move.)

Mr. Rheingold didn’t have a camera in his hand. He didn’t have a written policy. He didn’t do anything like that, and, even as an adult, I’m still not certain what exactly happened, but I do know that as of this week he’s going to make “anonymous and/or private social media complaints” to all of the local school districts. He’s going to try to bring this to light and tell parents what he did and what it looks like by writing a blog post for the front page of every newspaper in my state. I know this because I’m going to be making those complaints this week.

I know that this may sound like a horrible thing to do to someone you love, but that’s the first thing you’re told when you have an autism-spectrum child . You’re not even supposed to be angry at your child because this is supposed to be a very positive thing. “People with autism tend to be highly motivated, productive and productive by nature,” it’s all they say. We have to learn to see people in a different way. It can be a painful journey, but it’s one we have to make our own.

I’m not saying that if you have a hard time dealing with people with autism, you don’t have it. All it takes is for one person to get angry at your child and have all the other kids in the neighborhood follow suit. I am pointing out that there’s a problem, and that you have to recognize it, and try to control it.

When I saw Mr.