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They’re struggling too

This transition period for Little Man has been rough on the entire household.  I’ve noticed in recent days, it’s taking its toll on his relationship with his siblings.  His outbursts, meltdowns, and lashing out have tapped their patience as well as mine. It’s difficult to navigate. Where’s the line between them calling him on his behavior, acting as normal siblings would, and reminding them he can’t control much of it?

Spouse and I went out with friends yesterday. We were gone for about four hours. We got home, and as soon as I walked in the house, Princess was rolling her eyes, obviously exasperated with her brother. She was snippy with him all evening, and then again this morning.

I’m trying to do this right. They didn’t ask for this. And while I do think they’re learning to be better people for having an autistic brother, I often realize how very unfair it is to them. I don’t want to tell them they can’t get upset or mad at him. Honestly, he can be a real jerk sometimes, something that’s happening more frequently these days as his reserves are tapped just getting through the school day. I think I need to remind them the source of a lot of this. But I know I get impatient with him, I get hurt by him, I get angry with him. How can I turn around and tell them they aren’t allowed to be any of those things?

I feel guilty when we go out, leaving them to manage him. Is it fair to ask them to hang with him for a couple of hours so Spouse and I can maintain our relationship? Sometimes the stress isn’t worth it, knowing he will either text me a million times, or drive Big Man and Princess insane.

I’m tired today, and feeling a bit lost on this particular thing. Some days I just look at them and realize the enormity of what they’re being forced to deal with. That hurts. Some days, I look at them with pride and wonder because they’ve learned so much and are becoming such amazing  young people simply for the fact they have a brother with different needs. I guess we all have our days when patience is just thin, and he pushes the envelope, driving us all over the edge. And then other days, when we’re not so tired and worn out, we have more reserves to deal with his outbursts. I’ll just add the therapy expense for them when they’re older to the tab.

6 thoughts on “They’re struggling too

  1. This hits home for me. We really debate having another child. We only have the one. Besides the statistics of having another autistic kiddo, I wonder what life will be like if I have a neurotypical child. It feels like they would automatically be burdened with something they never asked for. I have no doubt that having a sibling who has different needs provides great opportunities for growth, I could see how it also seems unfair at times. I know we have to have conversation with my son’s cousins about why he gets away with thing that they don’t. I’ve had conversations with kids about, although it is not okay for anyone to hit anyone, my son cannot apologize for it. (Don’t get me wrong, my son doesn’t go around hitting people. He seems to great people by touching their forehead with his open palm.) I’m sure all parents with differently-abled kids have the same kinds of struggles. I know being an Autism Parent has brought be challenges that I never even expected to think about. *Hugs* to you, mama.

  2. I didn’t have an austistic sibling but I was left to watch a lot of the younger ones, often. Did I get frustrated? Yes. Did they drive me batty? Yes. Was it unfair to me? I thought so. Now? I’m glad I had my brothers and sisters at that time. I hold it very dear. I’m sure your’s will too. It was all part of learning responsibility and family stuff. 😉

    • Thank you. I reached out to LM’s speech therapist. She’s an older sibling to a sister on the spectrum and has proved an amazing resource already this year.

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