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When you make a huge mistake

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
So, I am a typical AP mom. My oldest ds (10) has a HFA diagnosis. We unschool. I am mindful most of the time. I believe parenting, for our family, is my spiritual journey. I put everything I have into my kids. I want to illustrate that I am doing my best.

I am not just like "whatever". And yet I feel I am failing my family.

My oldest child just won't bend. We say really often that to have an Unschooling family, we all have a responsibility to each other to meet the needs of all.

My second oldest (6 1/2), just had a surgery to reconstruct his hearing. We have said over and over to all the kids that we have to do our best to protect Peter's ear while it heals (about three months). Ugh. I feel overwhelmed just typing this all out.

My oldest (Daniel) had a huge fit at the playground. He felt justified in forcing Peter to do as he said, and felt a high level of violence (including Peter's ear) was justified.

It was so awful. It escalated and escalated until I lost it and broke his ds. I immediately regretted it and knew I had made a big mistake.

How can we recover? Although Daniel was being dangerous, threatening the other kids (I have an infant and a 3 yo girl), he doesn't see at all how his actions played a part.

I admit the social part of Daniel's behavior is hardest of all.

I feel very alone, as Daniel's behavior is isolating.

I am struggling, not knowing whether to blame myself or allow Daniel to find responsibility (to a degree). Even now, I am staying calm, typing this as I sit with Simon (our baby). Daniel came in and I gently asked him to leave so that I could have some space. He refused as he always does, so I had to leave.
post #2 of 7

Velveeta, I don't have a lot of time, as I'm about to pick up my daughter, but, I just wanted to take a minute and acknowledge that I've been there, not in the exact same way but in the place of needing to forgive myself.  Yes, you acted in the exact way you want your oldest not to react, but, out of fear, you needed to get his attention, to get him to stop potentially harming your other son's ears. 


When you make a mistake you have to let the dust clear.  Keep a quiet afternoon.  Maybe let your children know you need some time to think about the situation but in a while you'll be ready to talk about it with them.  Meanwhile, get back to normal at home.


Your heart will find the right words to help you explain in a loving way how protective you feel about Peter and his ears and how protective you must also feel about your eldest.  I also know from my experience with my son who has PDD that he can, when looking in hindsight, see how he was harming and hurtful.  Good may come out of this by the two of you talking about the surgery and your fears.  Maybe he has some fears too.


Ask your husband to come home, if you can, but if not....put on a book on cd, a movie or peaceful music...and take the space until your ready to pull yourself back together.  You will.  We ALL make mistakes.


Let us know how things work out....

post #3 of 7

I've also BTDT. It is hardest when the child injured is your own, because the mama bear in you wants to rip the offender's ears off, but then you are that child's mama bear, too!


My best advice is to think about what you want to say to your son and offer a sincere apology for whatever it was you did that you think was wrong (yelling, for example). Keep it short and simple, b/c if he is anything like my HFA son he'll start tuning you out if you go on too long, lol. 


I think it is so important to model apologizing and admitting when we have done wrong. And when I look back on those moments I wish I could take back, I do take comfort in knowing that I owned up to them and that my KIDS know that my actions or behaviour were not okay and that I don't think it was okay. And that people mess up, even grownups. 


We were an unschooling family for many years and in some ways we still are mostly, but autism made me rethink my approaches to things. There is a certain amount of "in the moment" inflexibility and lack of consideration for others (mind blindness) with autism. Between our own approach at home plus their various therapists they are slowly learning to cope with those situations, but my son is still not in a place where I can trust him to be 100% safe in certain situations, so I either don't put him in those situations or I take preventative measures (shadow him, separate him, etc). 

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you for these kind replies! Today is better. Honestly, I wish my children didn't have to get so many lessons of me apologizing! Lol. It is just so hard.

Yes, as unschoolers, I know we as a family are deeply challenged bc of the inherent lack of structure. I feel called to reexamine frequently!

My plans are to remain open to what works.

I am so grateful for you friends who understand.
post #5 of 7

Also an unschooling family with a child on the spectrum here. I get what you are saying about questioning the lack of (visible) structure. I have had moments when I seriously doubted even my most deeply held beliefs (about family, education, and more). But I want to say, that for us, I am glad we stuck it out - it has worked out amazingly well. YoungSon is 17 now, and FAR exceeding any expectations.


About the apologizing part - yes, it is important to apologize for your part. But it is also fair for your son to learn that his behavior has an impact. That if he acts nasty enough, even calm, loving Mommies can get mad. I would never say that it is good to yell at your child. But the reality of life is that if you make someone mad enough, they probably won't be very nice.

post #6 of 7

Not unschooling and no full blown ASD in the house, but an oldest DS with social challenges, sensory issues, anxiety, rigidity and perseverations who about once a year pushes one of his parents over the edge by freaking out so uncontrollably (even physically) and acting like a madman (including crazy obsessive cackle or uncontrolled shrieking, sometimes hitting, kicking, scratching, and usually involving pain and danger of injury to himself, his siblings, other kids or a hard-to-replace important item) that we lose it and lash out. At that point, he will cease doing whatever it is he was trying to do and start crying, and he will be upset - but rational again. The few times we have been driven this far, of course we felt bad, and of course we apologized, hugged and talked about it, but I have noticed to my surprise and initially my discomfiture that I did not feel as bad about it as I feel I should, being the kind of mom that hangs out in this kind of forum.

It is not only that we lose it after having tried every other way of keeping the situation from escalating (including full physical restraint, which for me isn't even an option anymore, as he has been strong enough for quiete some time to hurt me very badly), it feels afterwards as if it was the only thing that could have stopped him in his tracks and got his attention. Each time I did not know what else to do and in all honesty I still don't. And we did point out to him that yes, he has a share of the responsibility for pushing us this far, and that parents are people, too, and and there are limits to what they can take.


I do think you have to forgive yourself first. You are struggling, and you couldn't take it anymore. (You wrote "I lost it and broke his ds" and I admit, English not being my first language, I am not sure what you mean and wonder whether it's me or a typo, so maybe you could clarify what it is you are struggling with forgiving yourself?).  You say the situation is very isolating - you being unschoolers, I wonder what kind of grown-up support you have outside your family in raising your ASD oldest, who can validate your own feelings and actions and help you find perspective - other relatives, therapists, doctors? it must be very hard if you feel you have to do it all alone...

post #7 of 7

:Hug BTDT I broke an XBOX. Later I apologized. I keep it short and explain that while DS's behavior was unacceptable, my response to it was inappropriate. I make sure that I own my actions and part in the conflict. Interestingly DS will often then do the same.


The worst thing I ever had to apologize for was fussing at DS for month's about his table manners and what I thought was refusal to use utensils. After seeing the OT, I had months and months worth of apologizing to do!

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