Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, Parenting, success | Tags: AS, asd, ASD parents, asperger's, asperger's syndrome, autism, disability, education, goal setting, goals, Grandparents, information processing, parents, personal development, personal growth, self empowerment, university
I mentioned earlier (SMARTIE Goals) that when we set goals they have an achievable outcome when we set them for ourselves and when their achievement depends on us rather than on others and yet we insist on setting goals for our children. I’m not sure when our goals for our children become clear, but some children have had their names put down for a school before they have finished their first feed. Our goals for our kids tend to run along the lines of, go to a good school, go to university —
or in some families “university” may be substituted by “Oxford” — get a good job —
possibly a specific one like “become a doctor” —, get married, have children, this is normal. The parents of autistic children do it too, although their goals may be slightly different: be able to spend all day in school, have a friend, be able to speak, be able to live independently…We are parents we have dreams for our children and we set goals.
Our goals are not our children’s goals, our dreams are not their dreams and sometimes they may be. We can ultimately only set goals for ourselves. We do have responsibilities to our children, some of them legal duties: we must keep them from harm, ensure they receive an education, I would say we have a duty to teach them good manners, but I am a little old fashioned — I am, however, right! It is not for us to impose our goals upon our children but it is our duty and our privilege to share our lives with them and to share with them what gives us joy. We cannot impose upon our children but we can invite them to share, if they refuse our invitation it is not a rejection of us but merely of an activity. If you love to read, read to your children, but also let them see you reading for your own pleasure. My daughter used to get annoyed that her questions were frequently answered by directing her to a book or an Encyclopaedia article, but she is now not only a dedicated reader but answers her own questions, although she tends to turn first to Google rather than Britannica. When my wife and I were going to dancing lessons we let our daughter come too and she loved them. She had gone to dance classes as a toddler and gave them up, we didn’t stop her, perhaps we should, who can say, but ultimately the classes were for her, not us and it was her choice.
Some parents are so desperate for their children to deliver on the goals their parents have set for them, their children’s time is not their own, neither are their choices. I don’t say children should not have extracurricular classes, they should, but they should be allowed to choose. Of course some kids will want to give up the moment something becomes difficult, so a degree of pre agreement should be put in place to carry them over some difficulties. If in time it is obvious that they have no liking nor aptitude for an activity, they should be allowed to give it up, but if they enjoy something despite being utterly incompetent then — as long as it is safe — let them continue. Children, like all people, have their own internal wisdom let them tap into it.
Ultimately the goals our children will accomplish with the most satisfaction are those driven by their own passion and it is our job to support them in that. All we can do really is to love them absolutely and be there for them. Sometimes they will crash and burn, sometimes we may have to pick up the pieces, but if it is in pursuit of their own goal, not ours, at least we may not have to bear their resentment. Whatever our children accomplish in their lives the most important is their own happiness, whatever they do be it honourable, we should be proud of them. Wherever they get to in this world, with all its pitfalls we should celebrate, and if they do not achieve all they set out to, however they may feel, let us remind them of how far they have come and how proud we are of them. Anyway I must dash, my youngest granddaughter is in nursery so its about time I got some university brochures for her, perhaps she should be a doctor, doctor is good, or a film star perhaps, must get a brochure for drama college too….
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