To the lonely neurotypical parent…

I saw a post today by a parent of an autistic child. It was reaching out. Reaching out for people. It spoke about the loneliness of being a neurotypical parent who wanted to connect with the people around her, but who put her autistic child’s needs first, because they couldn’t cope with the interactions.

I felt for her. I felt her loneliness. Her pain. It’s an echo of mine. A negative image of my issues.

Because I have to do the opposite. There are times when my neurotypical child needs me to socialise. They need me to reach out and interact. They need me to support their friendships and interact, despite my exhaustion. Despite my sensory overload. Despite my confusion.

Parenting a different processing-type has its difficulties. Understanding has to be learned. Assumptions have to be challenged. Personal experience has to be questioned.

I felt a strange bond with that stranger online. I felt like we had something in common, albeit from polar-opposite positions. 

Just as I need to make sure that I get down time to be alone, she needs to make sure that she gets social time in company. It’s vital self-care. People can only go on so long before the cracks start to show.

Stranger on the Internet, I hope you find your balance. I hope you don’t feel bad that your needs and your child’s aren’t compatible. It’s ok. Really. You parent the child in front of you, you respect their differences, and you see to your needs when you can.

Maybe there need to be coping strategies for people in support roles who cannot make the connections they need to when the opportunity arises. Pre-printed cards with “Hello, I can’t talk now, because my child’s sensory needs come first, but I’m trying to make new connections. Here is my number and email. If you would be interested in talking to me, I’d love to hear from you”.

Coping mechanisms aren’t just for us autistics. After all, the more energy you have to care for that brilliant child of yours, the happier everyone will be.

8 thoughts on “To the lonely neurotypical parent…

  1. And sometimes you also have two children with incompatible needs as well. One needs to stay in more often the other wants to do stuff.
    We agree in school hols when only one parent around we take it in turns. A day in the house then a day where we do something. Kind of works but not brilliant for either child.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a brilliant idea. I will share this with a young relative who is autistic, but has a neurotypical toddler. We are all of us trying to accommodate other people’s needs and our own. It’s about striking a balance.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry and then not sorry. What I mean to say is that I’m a neurotypical parent with a nerotypical spouse, a neurotypical child and one who is ASD. I instinctively say I’m sorry when I hear about someone else being ASD, but at the same time, now awhile on my journey with my son , I wouldn’t change him at all and so am not sorry. For you the author, I’m sorry for all the struggles you go through, but I’m not sorry for you are you, and even though I don’t know you, I wouldn’t want you to be changed! 🙂 Another thing , where do i find the follow/subscibe button on your blog?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There should be a button in the bottom right hand corner 🙂

      Thank you for such a lovely comment. You’ve put a huge smile on my face. I love the sorry and not sorry 😄

      (Let me know if you’re still struggling to follow, I’m on the app at the moment so not sure where it is on a bigger screen, but can check!)

      Liked by 1 person

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