The ability to express yourself and finding things you like to do are so important in growing and discovering what life is all about. We all have times when we get down on ourselves and we feel bored and just want to hide in our room and never come out. I remember having these feelings as a child when I felt alone or had nothing to do. As a kid we are looking to our parents, our teachers, our family, our friends and those we trust for guidance, to learn and seek advice from. Sometimes we feel we are uncertain as to what we are trying to learn or accomplish. We as children need to have consistency in our lives and we need to feel loved, protected and respected. We may not always feel happy but it is very important that we understand the “big picture”. Life is not perfect but it is the greatest thing we could ever hope for. We are given an incredible opportunity to experience and live our lives and hopefully we will find that if we have patience, learn respect, and never give up when we feel like doing so we will benefit tremendously and our lives will start to take shape and we will start to develop and mature along the way.
I try to instill in my son this same ideal and it can be a challenge at times because he sees and interprets things much differently and he is very easily distracted and loses focus. An autistic child has a disconnect and easily gets upset and frustrated. As a result they have more difficulties concentrating, being attentive and exploring outside of their self imposed boundaries. We see it most of the time with our son. He is now trying to develop friendships and as a teenager it seems more difficult for him to relate with kids his age. It is not easy for kids growing up today but like we did when we realized what lied ahead of us, we must provide our kids with sound advice with regard to their personal development, their education and their social encounters. As a father I have learned that patience and understanding is so important in establishing effective communication with your children. There are times when you feel your children are growing up way too fast and are trying to exert their independence way too soon. I see it with my son as he wants to stay up when we say it is bedtime. He will get very upset and will become difficult. It seems this has been a regular occurrence as he does not want to go to bed. He seems to have a sleep disorder which seems to be somewhat common with other autistic children as they have so much stimuli and find it hard to totally shut down.
The life of a teen can be a difficult time as there are so many things to deal with and it is also a time of awakening physically and sexually. Teens desire to experience friendships, relationships and it is critical they develop a healthy sense of themselves with a high self worth that will enable them to meet the challenges they face and achieve all they wish to. All children growing up must learn to have patience and they must realize that anything worthwhile is certainly worth the effort. They must also learn to like themselves and feel good about who they are. If they have self acceptance then they will be able to forge healthy relationships with both boys and girls. If a child is content and finds happiness in the things they do then things will naturally fall into place.
Parents must always be there for their children and they need to spend time with them, listen to them, encourage them, teach them, guide them, help them, support them and love them unconditionally. When a child feels love and security in the home they will learn to love themselves and they will develop confidence and will be able to establish healthy relationships and develop friendships. As a parent of a special needs child I find I am trying to over protect my son and it seems my son realizes this as he brings it to my attention. I only want what is best for my son and I will do anything for him. I just want to be there for him and help him so he can grow and develop normally and find a good sense of himself so he can feel good, find interests and have many friends. I also believe we have to learn to let go sometimes and let our children feel free to explore and learn on their own too. We can not control our children but we must point them in the right direction so they can make wise choices and not be afraid to venture out and try new things. I too am learning and we do indeed learn from our children as well.
I have wishes and dreams for my son and I want him to know that we love him and will always try our best to help him and we make a promise to be with him for as long as we are able to and if I can show him the way by setting a good example and with my writing then I will have some comfort and peace of mind because as a parent we always want to be there for our children and teach them right from wrong and help provide for them so they will be able to set out for themselves one day and not be afraid. I want my son to believe in himself, love himself and freely express himself so he can truly find happiness and success in his life. This will bring us great joy.
Matty, always take heart and believe for you are very special and you deserve the best in your life. We love you so much and we will always love you. May you always know this in your heart and may you never feel alone.
Mommy and Daddy
Edward D. Iannielli III