Q: I am the mother of a 6-year-old Aspie boy. He currently functions
extremely well in mainstream kindergarten; it has been extremely
important for him not to get his folder signed at all this year (a goal
he set for himself, I might add). However, he is having difficulties
at home with the limits we set for him. Like all parents, we're just
attempting to keep him safe (he has had an unsettling fascination with
electrical plugs recently) and to teach him kind behavior toward others
(including ourselves) while recognizing his special outlook on the
world. I realize how stressful school must be for him (partially
because he does behave himself so flawlessly at school), and I think
that some of his argumentativeness stems from a "let down" effect.
Nonetheless, it is taking a toll on our family life.
You guys seem to have such great self-esteem and really enjoy being who
you are; it also sounds like you are close to your parents. What do
you feel that your parents did or did not do that helped instill
positive traits during elementary school years? How would you
characterize your childhood relationship with your parents? We want to
do everything we can to help our son grow into a person who feels good
about himself and his abilities. Thanks for a website that gives
parents insight into (grown) Aspie minds and thereby provides us
understanding we might not have otherwise.
A: I love my parents, and I have nothing but good things to say about
their patience in bringing me up. That said, I realized early on that many
aspects of their life experience were not going to be transferable to me.
Just as they reached a point where my math homework was beyond them, my
social development was not going to proceed on a schedule that they could
Moreover, since I felt the safest with them, I was and am more likely
to lose my temper over small irritations from them than anyone else. For
instance, my dad asks a lot of inane questions as a relational gambit, which
I don't want to answer because it seems pointless to me. I get annoyed and
snap at him, and he gets offended because he was only trying to talk to his
daughter about her life. Maybe he should be more accomodating to me and not
pepper me with empty inquiries, but he's right when he says I need to keep
my temper in check and accept his questions as the friendly overtures they
Self-esteem is important, but you don't need to particularly work to
improve it. Plenty of bad people feel good about themselves. What is
necessary is to show him every day what a good person, a true human being,
is like, and to push him towards being the kind of person he can be proud to
be. Self-esteem will happen on its own if he feels he is at least trying to
live up to his own idea of the good. Best of luck.