I am not certain whether I should have begun with these…or if I am right to finish with them. But there are a couple more things that I want and need to say about parenting with…
- Unconditional Love
- and Laughter.
First of all, one of the hardest thing about writing this book has been the title. You see I don’t believe I am writing a book about how to parent an autistic, Pathological Demand Avoidant, or neurodivergent little human…
I believe that I am writing a PARENTING book. Period. Fullstop.
I believe that every little human everywhere deserves those five things. I believe that if they received them then 90% of mental illness would end within a couple of generations. And I cannot even imagine the knock-ons to other areas of society. Poverty? War? Prejudice? How would humans who had grown from infancy with those values handle those issues?
So why don’t all parents do it this way then?
Because this is incredibly hard. It means sacrificing yourself, what you want, and even sometimes what you NEED for another person.
Worse yet, this is an incredibly slow process. Building this solid foundation for human development takes years…a good decade at least before you see any of the fruits. Perhaps even longer.
The system of demands, rewards, and punishments by comparison can achieve results much more quickly. I admit that. You can force your will upon another, especially one that is vulnerable and dependent upon you for their physical and emotional needs. You can do it in a matter of weeks or months even.
That has been proven. Not just with the horrific abuse of ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis). But with the majority of modern parenting techniques whether it be corporal punishments or reward charts they work on the same Pavlovian control and condition theories. The sad truth is that as justifiably upset as ABA makes the #ActuallyAutistic community, it is only a slight extreme variation of ‘acceptable’ parenting theory.
Meanwhile, you are spending years of one-on-one or two-on-one intensive, 24/7, 365 patience and care. What is more, you and your methods are under constant scrutiny and attack by family, friends, ‘experts’, and strangers on the street. They keep pushing you to…just make him do it. Telling you…that’s not how the REAL world works. You ain’t doing your child no favors doing everything for her like that.
It is daunting. Discouraging. And all too easy to give in, give up, and take the easy way. Especially if you don’t have a strong support network or your partner does not ‘get’ it.
But then one day things start to click. Small things at first. A ‘thank you’ here and there…genuine ones. The occasional apology even. When you take her out, people start complimenting you on what a bright and happy young woman she is.
More importantly, she starts to share her thoughts and feelings with you. And you discover that this person is delightfully insightful, a great conversationalist, and someone you genuinely like and enjoy spending time with. The type of person that you would choose to have as your friend even if she were not your offspring.
Oh sure, there are still moments. There always will be. Even with ‘normal’ offspring.
But you know…you realize almost miraculously…that you have given this human being the absolute best chance of being HAPPY.
And that, folks, is the difference. Fast, instant obedience. Or…Happy, thoughtful, and complete humans.
That choice is the same whether your child is autistic, ADHD, Pathologically Demand Avoidant, neurodivergent, or ‘normal’/neurotypical.
Sometimes I think the biggest difference, especially with our Pathologically Demand Avoidant little humans, is that they see through all the bullshit…and just won’t settle for the ‘normal’ crap parenting that is on offer today. They push us and prod us…until it is us who grow and change into the human beings we were meant to be.
It is my deepest hope that these words will inspire more parents to take that journey into self-discovery…to become the person they were meant to be…a person worthy of this miracle little human.