As a parent it is a joy to have conversations with our children. I always look forward to speaking with my son and hearing how his day at school was and how he did on a test he prepared for. It is so important to interact with our children regularly and engage them in meaningful conversation. During the work week I don’t always have the time to see or talk with my son so I make it a priority to at least speak to him on the telephone and I ask him about his day at school and I always ask him about his homework and what he had for dinner. I feel so much happier when I have the time to spend with my son and gather together as a family at the dinner table. I feel during these difficult economic times that it is much more stressful on parents and their minds are preoccupied so they don’t always give their children the proper attention they deserve.
Children learn a lot from their parents and they gain perspective from them and tend to copy them in how they relate in their daily experiences. Since we have a tremendous influence on our children it is our responsibility to guide them and show our children the ways they should conduct themselves in everyday life. We also have to engage them in conversation and listen to them and let them express themselves and talk about anything that is on their mind. When a child knows they can talk to their parents and can say whatever is on their mind they will feel more comfortable and will be more willing to talk about what is troubling them. It is the best feeling in the world when your child asks you for advice and looks to you for answers. I may not always have the answer to his questions but I will try my best to answer him to the best of my knowledge. My son can ask some difficult questions and he certainly keeps me on my toes.
I sometimes try to test my memory and think back to the days when I was a young child and how I interacted with my parents. I remember my dad working a lot and going to bed early because of his work schedule so I didn’t have a great deal of conversation with him during the week. My mother was more involved in helping me with school and sitting with me. I have fond memories of sitting at the dining room table of our first house in Brooklyn, New York and mom would be by my side helping me with my math assignment and she always made sure I understood it and that I completed it properly. For inspiration I think back to those days in relating to my son.
Recollections I have with my dad were when he would drive me to my baseball games and he would speak to me giving me advice and encouraging me to try my best and not to get upset if we lost the game. I also remember when I was a young kid when my dad took me to his job site on a Saturday and introduced me to some of his ironworker friends and colleagues. I was in awe of the job site and talking with these men who were responsible for building the tall skyscrapers and bridges like my dad.
My dad had the opportunity of meeting my son and he was always wonderful with him in accepting him and spending time with him. He loved to talk to my son and help him with his legos and talk about some of his experiences working on the tall skyscrapers which amazed my son and led him to ask his pop many questions about those days which brought a smile to both my dad and my son’s face as well as mine.
With an autistic child it is much more difficult to have conversations because they won’t freely talk. I have always had to take the lead with my son in our conversations and I am more used to it now but I always wished my son would feel more free to express himself and share his experiences. It seems that autistic children have impairments in social situations and they have a disconnect that makes it more difficult for them to express themselves. In establishing a relationship with an autistic child the parent needs to always treat the child with dignity, compassion, understanding and respect. If the child feels they can trust you they will tend to open up and feel more inclined to share their feelings and talk about them. Raising an autistic child is very demanding and requires a lot of determination, patience and love. If you can provide all these attributes you will tend to have more success in getting through to your child and expanding their world.
My earliest recollection of a conversation I had with my son was when he was just a baby in the crib and it was strictly a one sided conversation but it was spoken from my heart and I will try my best to write it as I said it those many years ago:
“My son, my son I am so very happy to have you and your mommy in my life and I feel so blessed and my heart is overwhelmed with joy. When I first saw you when you were crying after taking your first breath I was in love with you right from the start and my love for your mommy grows and grows. You make my life a joy with your presence and I am so proud to be you daddy. Mommy and daddy love you with all our hearts and we will always stand by your side and teach you the ways of the world and give you an upbringing that is surrounded with love, encouragement, protection, discipline and faith. We will always listen to you and teach you and we are sure you will teach us also and we will always think back to your special day and always smile because you bring such joy to our lives. We are so happy that you are our precious baby boy.”
Edward D. Iannielli III