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parenting

why we shouldn't abandon critical thinking when it comes to self-image

I have Asperger's Syndrome, and I guess my body doesn't work the same way other people's do. For the most part, I try to ignore my body because it's inconvenient to have to feed and clean it. It doesn't give me good signals when it's hungry or when it needs to vacate. I figure I'm missing some neurological connections that pass along information like "I'm hungry" or "I need to poo". I manage pretty well, in spite of the communication problems, by feeding my body regularly and washing it once a day.

Although I have a somewhat objective relationship with my body, I'm not immune to feelings of inadequacy within the subjective realms of "attractiveness". When I was a teen, I was painfully thin with small breasts. Sometimes I wished I was pretty enough to be a model, because pretty girls were popular and I was not. People talked about models with admiration. No one admired me. I felt inconsequential. Other girls were obsessed with their appearance, so I worried that something was wrong with me and started worrying, too. I didn't feel particularly feminine, so I compensated by dressing in a boyish manner. I was always surprised when other people found me attractive.

Dear Special Ed. Teacher

Dear Special Education Teacher,

First, know that I appreciate you very much. I respect your strength and patience. I respect your commitment. I could not do your job, so I appreciate that you can do it, and that you want to do it.

But please, no matter how horrible my child is, DO NOT CALL ME TO VENT ABOUT HIM. Call your therapist. Use your professional support system. Use YOUR resources.

My son is 14, and he was diagnosed with a developmental disability when he was 12. His diagnosis was a result of a complete breakdown due to unrealistic expectations from society, family, and especially from his schools. Do you realize how many teachers and school staff come into contact with a child by the time he's 12 years old? Do you realize how many people have complained to me about my child, how many criticized my parenting, how many blamed me for his behavioral problems before, during and even after his diagnosis process?

Believe me, there were a lot of them. So many I've lost count of them, and of the emotional scars their condemnation left on me and on my son.

Also believe me that I know how challenging my son can sometimes be. I've been hit. I've been screamed at. I've been threatened. I've been called names. For every rough day my son has had in your classroom, he and I both have already survived the dozens if not hundreds that have passed.

So, let me share something really important with you:

When I stopped focusing on controlling his badness and started trying to figure out what makes him tick, both our lives changed for the better. Even though he couldn't tell when he was headed for a meltdown, I started identifying the triggers and signs and talking to him about them. He's a thinker. He's introspective. He absorbed the information and started tracking his own reactions. I learned when to back off, and found out that my son, once he has had time to sort things out, will come back to me and will hold himself accountable for his bad behavior.

What I'm saying is that instead of calling me to vent, you should try talking to my son. If you learn what makes him tick, you might just find that he's not that hard to work with after all.

And when you do need to call me to "get on the same page" (which I expect will happen given my son's particular issues) have a proactive attitude. Obviously something isn't working, and it may be something you're doing. If you want to be on the same page, you're going to have to be willing to consider you've been on the wrong one.

And one last thing:

Don't ever expect that by complaining about my son I will be shamed into doing things your way.

family court: a soul-sucking nightmare with a happy ending

today I feel really good. the fact that I feel really good today throws into sharp relief how NOT good I've been feeling for the last five years.

the bad feelings twisted my gut and interrupted my sleep and concentration. that's what happens when you deal with PTSD and you find yourself in a constant battle to stop an abusive ex-spouse with a personality disorder from destroying your family.

and yes, he did try, and I paid dearly for it in lost sleep, nightmares, anxiety, and physical pain. our children paid for it with emotional scars from my narcissistic ex's efforts to win their devotion and admiration, or, as the family evaluator stated it "inappropriate alienating behavior" by teaching our kids that "the use of conflict is a means by which one may achieve one's desires".

mother, brother, sister, me

yesterday was Mother's Day. I taught my small one how to slice strawberries so she could make me breakfast. I spent time with my kids planting corn and landscaping and did my best to be gracious about Mother's Day sentiments.

I'm not a fan of most holidays. I find the overwhelming requirements of any holiday that purports to recognize someone based on their role in your life to be fairly unreasonable. we're all told who we should honor and how, setting up expectations on both sides that aren't practical. still, yesterday I wished I had a mother to honor. I have a mother, but I haven't spoken to her in a dozen years and I don't plan to in the future.

in spite of my no-contact policy with her, the simple fact that she exists has led to several interesting developments this past week.

when school starts to suck

my youngest child, a second-grader, was just diagnosed with ADHD and depression. I decided to get the assessment done because, although she's clearly intelligent, she's becoming so averse to school that her little life seems to be crumbling before my eyes.

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