Monday, March 1, 2010

I Don`t Have A Clue

I have parented four neuro-typical kids and I really do understand when you let them do things even though you know they are not making the wisest choices. They do learn from their mistakes, they are able to take responsibility for their actions, and they are able to move on. Three examples of what I am talking about are the kid who could have easily graduated from high school with straight A`s and could have gotten more scholarship money chose not to do that so he is working as an RA and a PCA and still will find himself with loans to pay when he is done. He has told Karre that that was a really dumb thing to do. I have the kid who earned lots of money and spent it on dumb things like movies, video games, eating out, etc, etc, and now he would really like to move out and can not afford to do so, well he could but he would have to live on a really tight budget. I have the kid who really would rather not be driving my mini van around town but has not taken the time to fill out the paperwork to get a discount on the insurance and she has not come with a transcript so no looking for a car.

Now all of these kids are really well behaved and have generally made very good choices. None of them have ever smoked, used drugs, crashed up the cars,they are not irresponsible when it comes to relationships, and the ones who are of legal age use alcohol responsibly so I can say that I think we have done a pretty good job of parenting them. The issue here is the younger four kids who have an alphabet soup of disabilities. When do we let them do their own thing? How much do we let them mess up before we step in and stop them from doing what they are doing? I know that it is not okay to let them physically harm themselves or anyone else but do we let Hanna dress crazy (wear striped shirts, flowered shorts,and flip-flops and let the chips fall where they may when her peers harass her? If so how long do we let this go on? She does not learn from her experiences and will keep doing the same stupid thing over and over again. Do we let her steal ? Do we allow her to act in a sexually inappropriate manner? Do we let Lauren use her cuteness to get people to do things for her that she can do for herself? (That is a skill that she is very good at and is is pretty ingenious of her to figure out how to do this).

The dilemma here is that I clearly do know when my kid is acting inappropriately, I do know how much structure they need to function well and behave appropriately, I understand that options do need to be limited for them,and I do know that they need to be supervised 24-7 but others who have a lot to say about accessing services for them do no view this in the same way. I am always getting the "you are squashing their potential" run around. The other problem here is that my husband and I as their parents are ultimately responsible for their behavior and the consequences of it.

Oh I know what I am trying to say here but I am not sure if anyone reading this will understand it so I had better get off the soap box here.


  1. I understand. So much of the world would prefer to ignore the fact that, unlike neurotypicals, our kids do not learn from mistakes, and are actually shocked when they get the same (bad) result again. You are not "squashing their potential". You are keeping them safe until they are ready to handle these type of choices.

  2. I get it. I have read other blogs with a similar frustration or even anger.
    Early on in my career there was the movement to close institutional settings. It was right to do so. However the kids still have intense needs (which were not being handled well in institutions) and they still need intense services (which they did not get in institutions anyway). What angers me is the fact that PCAs and paras are still low paid jobs and low priority in terms of overall funding. And I can't even start on the quality of the education/training and "humaneness" of too many of the candidates!