Saturday, April 9, 2016

Autism Answer: Be The Parent You Feel Good Being

Me & my boys!

When my sons were little I parented a little bit "differently" and found myself often in opposition to, well, pretty much everyone!

I just really, really, really believed in freedom first, politeness and listening to grown ups second. 

But I could never know if I was right. I could never know if I was doing my sons a service or a disservice, I could only know that I was doing parenting the way my heart and soul believed in and loved it. 

I also knew that I had watched my own mom parent in opposition to almost everyone, with passion, love, patience and conviction. I watched her believe in raising the bar for what our futures could be. And I watched my entire family-- mom and all eight of us kids--become adults who defy our labels. We are the "outliers" where statistics are concerned. We are free to be different and do well, without falling into the too often unfortunate categories assigned to our kinds. We are happy and successful and supportive. 

So in parenting my own sons I kept an open mind and open dialogue with other parents and educators, while checking in most often with myself. The greatest example I had was my mom. Not in the specific things she did as much as in the way she followed her instincts and beliefs. 

Now when I chat with my mostly adult sons, I know that they have grown into amazing young men. Maybe it's because in allowing them freedom first, I did something right. But probably it's because they themselves are awesome people who were parented and surrounded by folks who love life and are truly happy with who they themselves are. 

So when I'm asked to give parenting advice I'm most confident about this: Be the parent you love and believe in being. You're going to be parenting for a long time. Make sure you like who you are while you do it!

And maybe, like me, one day one of your children will write a song about it!

Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook) 

*Author's Note: I invite you to purchase a copy of my book, Spinning in Circles and Learning from Myself: A Collection of Stories that Slowly Grow Up, where I share with you the journey of discovering my confident, parenting self! xoxo