Aspie worried about becoming a parent

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Benbob
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05 Jun 2011, 6:31 am

So it's like this:

I'm an Aspie and my wife if NT, she wants children in the next few years as do I, but, I have no idea how to interact with children. I mean with friends children I find I have no common ground for discussion with them unless they wish to know about science or pokemon. I really don't want to have a kid and "mess it up" by being an absent parent in it's formative years.

Are there any parents with Asperger's here? If so did you manage to socialize with your children? Perhaps I will get some kind of oxytocin effect allowing me to "fudge" interactions, however I wouldn't want to risk it.


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liloleme
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05 Jun 2011, 9:14 am

I know a lot of Aspies have asked this question. I think it is down to the individual....obviously when your child gets older you guys would have a lot of fun. My husband loves to play with my kids and he and my son play the same types of games and have some of the same interests. My husband is undiagnosed and I am diagnosed. I wanted a baby before I wanted a husband :lol: . The reason I married the first guy that came a long was because I wanted a baby. I was obsessed!! ! This was the wrong reason to have a baby but I do not regret my first three children and I certainly learned a lot. I had my two little ones with my current husband (it will be 10 years in Sept) and I had them because I love my husband had he had an unplanned child with someone he dated a few times before he met me so he really wanted a child because he had been a bachelor for so long and he finally had a kid but he couldnt keep her. I also wanted to have another child because I thought him and I together could really make a special kid....I was right, my son is awesome, so awesome we had my daughter a few years later, she is awesome too. I love all my kids....all five of them. So you would think Im great with kids, right?....WRONG, I am just as uncomfortable around other people kids as I am other people. Since they are my kids, a part of me, I have a connection with them that I could not have with any other child. I have three kids with Autism. One of my daughters from my first marriage has Asperger's, my 8 year old son and my 6 year old daughter has classic autism. Even though my Autistic kids make a little more sense to me my NT kids are very special to me too. I am very close to my NT 21 year old daughter because she has the empathy that my 18 year old Aspie lacks and she is very special because she has grown up with us and has a deeper understanding for people with special needs. I think it has made her an even more sympathetic and empathetic person.
So...now that Ive told you my life story :lol: Ill just say that it could be that your own children may be very different to you than other children. No can be sure of that until it happens but it is most often the case.

Also just wanted to add....dont feel bad if you cant "bond" with the wriggling screaming baby at first. Newborns need their Mom a lot more in the first couple of months. Your wife will actually need you more than the baby will.

EDIT: I was just thinking....While I dont relate to other peoples kids when we went and spent some time with my husbands daughter I did feel closer to her and she just sort of fit in with us. I believe if we had to take her, if her mother could not longer care for her, I would be ok with it. I think I could manage to bond with her mainly because she is so much like my husband. Her mother wont let her come to stay with us here in France until she turns 12 which will be next summer so we are looking forward to her spending the summers with us.



Last edited by liloleme on 07 Jun 2011, 4:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

AnotherOne
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05 Jun 2011, 8:01 pm

children need tons of support and help for many years and that is an opportunity for bonding with them. they'll need your help with feeding and clothing and riding a bike and so on. spending time with them helps create the connection and memories for the future.

I was scared too, it is a huge responsibility but I think it is a great that you are asking. That sounds like you'll make a responsible parent.



missykrissy
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05 Jun 2011, 9:39 pm

i am not on the spectrum(maybe a bit...lol.. no diagnosis) i just wanted to share that in my experience, i don't much like other peoples kids. i also have trouble relating to other children and i have very little tolerance for their 'behaviours.' i also have a step-child whom i've had a great deal of trouble bonding with even though i have been his main care giver since he turned two. our relationship is rocky at best. with my biological children it's different though. i've had an instinctual connection with them since before they were born, i find i understand them so well and i know why they do what they do and i'm able to deal with pretty much anything they throw at me. it has needed some work, i won't lie, especially with my youngest as i didn't want any more kids but i love them all and am able to connect with them on a level i can't reach with other peoples kids and to understand them beyond what i would have thought possible before i had them.



psychohist
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05 Jun 2011, 10:10 pm

My wife and I are both aspies and we have two children, aged 2.9 and 1.3. Interacting with them is not a problem: kids want their parents' attention and will go a long way to get it. However you interact with them, they will accept.

Child care for multiple children at once can be difficult as an aspie, and my wife often gets frustrated when both children throw tantrums at the same time. A longer spacing would probably have helped. I think the ideal as an aspie would be to bring up children one at a time, but that may not be realistic if you want to be sure to have more than one child.

Bonding is a bit different and perhaps less assured for father than for mothers. With my daughter, it was instant: she just seemed so perfect. With my son, who had substantially different hair color and features than me, it took much longer. Even though I knew intellectually that it was unlikely the IVF clinic messed up, I eventually got a paternity test to make sure, which seemed to help.



Polgara
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05 Jun 2011, 10:44 pm

Just remember you don't have to do everything the way other people do, to have a successful relationship with a child. One thing that helps a lot is to remember how you thought and felt at that age, if you can. (Obviously with babies, that is unlikely, LOL!) If you want you could find a couple of texts about infant body language, so you will have a clue. I found my kids were in a lot of ways a lot like me, and liked/hated a lot of the same things for the same reasons. Now they are grown, my oldest is rather a curmudgeon, the middle child can be sociable when it's called for, and my youngest is still partially in the doofus stage but won't be for long. But my youngest is the one that got me diagnosed when he was. It seemed I was the only one who could tell that he wasn't doing that weird stuff to be contrary, but because he just didn't get it. Now my middle grandchild shows strong indications of also being a lot like me. (Not that I mind!)

You will be able to enjoy seeing the continuation of yourself, you don't have to be Ward Cleaver or Cliff Huxtable, you can be Emmett Brown and still be a good parent!



Mummy_of_Peanut
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06 Jun 2011, 4:55 am

My husband and I both have aspie traits, although neither of us have a diagnosis. He could never relate to children before our daughter was born. Every night, when he comes in from work, he just plays with her. He's like a big kid, pushing cars around the floor and building lego. He then baths her and reads her bedtime story. I'm a full-time mum and spend loads of time with her, when he's at work. I'm more of an educator than a playmate, but I try to make it fun. Our weekends are family activity times. We go to museums and parks. Yesterday we were at a science festival and we all had a ball. It's just a matter of spending time with your kids, that's all they want.



angelwife27
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06 Jun 2011, 10:22 pm

benbob,
My 19-year old aspie son is now a father (and husband). I have been very proud of him at times and very worried at others. I think socializing with your own children is much different than with other people's children. You will be amazed at the bond you will feel with your child. My concerns for my son as a parent have more to do with his aspie behaviors. He has problems getting enough sleep and then can't stay awake to look after the baby. He get frustrated when the baby is fussy and he can't get the baby to stop crying. My son can focus on whatever he is interested in, i.e. computer, a book, etc., and completely ignore everything else including baby.

So, for what it is worth, my advise for you is to consider how well you and your wife can cope with the unpredictability of having a child. Also think about how much support you will have from others. Do you have someone you can call when the baby is crying and you are at your wits end? Is there someone who can watch the baby for a couple of hours while you and your wife have some time together? Are your lifestyle habits compatible with having a small child in the house?

Above all, remember, parents are just people. You do not have to be "perfect".



CrouchingOwl
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07 Jun 2011, 12:53 am

My son is only about 9 months old, so my response reflects that. I don't say I really 'socialize' with him at all in the context you describe. I do care for him, protect him, entertain him, and assist him in exploring the world. I don't expect to ever really have a significant relationship with him based on my general interests on my level of interaction until he is much much older. That being said, while they are children you don't have to have one. They may chose the same interests as you but will participate in them on a different level of understanding and engagement. Or its possible they will chose different interests. That shouldn't matter as much as helping them to cultivate their interests and themselves as best as possible.

It may help to think about growing a plant. You don't ever really expect to interact much with a plant, but you will spend lots of time with it as you help it to grow and you can still enjoy the plant regardless of whether it ever talks to you. Children on the other hand do interact with you, but the level of interaction changes continuously. Half the fun seems to be watching those changes take place.

I was joking with my wife about a shirt that I wanted to create for my son to help remind people of how to interact with our son. He still has a lot of stranger anxiety and can find all the extended family members who want to admire him quite terrifying. I wanted the shirt to say:
Rules of interaction:
Do not start out trying to play with me as if I were a toy
Do not expect me to be entertained if you take my toy away and insist on me only watching
DO spend some time being near me not demanding that I interact.
DO pay attention to what I'm doing and see how you can participate in what I am doing by doing the same thing.


Of course this isn't meant word for word for you because it was meant as a joke to push away relatives who get upset and act as if its our fault that he isn't ready for them to swoop into his life and demand his attention. Kids of different ages need different things. But the key points of spend time together and focus on the child's interaction needs instead of yours I think stay the same. So, don't stress finding common ground, I'd stress finding out what their interests are and provide fertile ground for those to grow. And I'd also say try to take it one step at a time. Spending time holding and feeding a baby and teaching them to play peek-a-boo are great places to start out. Once they learn to laugh you can try to learn new ways each day to make them laugh. If you do things like that you'll be to a great start.



MollyTroubletail
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07 Jun 2011, 1:14 am

I had two children and I was not that good of a mom, to be honest.

I needed so much quiet time by myself that my children were mostly left to their own devices all their lives. I neglected them a bit, though not through lack of trying. As they got older and entered school, I found it easier to interact with them on a more intellectual level. But I found it awful to take care of babies and toddlers.

Despite my neglect, they both grew up to be thoughtful, loving, well-adjusted and successful teenagers. While some other supposedly better parents' kids were using drugs and having sex.

You just never know.



Benbob
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07 Jun 2011, 7:00 am

Thanks everybody, I think I'm a bit more relaxed about it now. Although I may heed the advise to separate them out chronologically.


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