The Unseen Struggle: Navigating the Fear of Judgment
I want to talk about the unseen struggle that we face as parents raising children on the spectrum and
that is navigating the fear of judgment. It's a tough one to hurdle and it takes time and experience along the way.
Yes, he is 27. He loves his Sammy the Sloth! The stuffed sloth, gnome, and countless books that aren't designed for a young man his age that inhabits his bedroom often raise questions, but for Jordan, they make him happy.
Maybe that is an assumption, but this is a parenting journey filled with assumptions for a very important reason - we like it when Jordan is happy.
His age, in this context, is irrelevant. His happiness is what guides us through this maze of parenting a child on the spectrum and the fact that he is 27 is irrelevant.
Jordan's story is not like most. He has never had a friend. He never played on a team. He never got his driver's license or went on a 1st date. We never moved him into a dorm room or his first apartment. He won’t get married or have children. He can’t live independently or make his own decisions.
Traditional milestones have a different meaning in his life. He depends on others to help him navigate life, protect him, and keep him safe.
That’s what we do. Happily. We do it day in and day out and we can't imagine our life any other way.
This is our life. He doesn’t show emotion, not like we do. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t feel emotion, it just means we don’t see his emotions like we do other people in our life and yes, that’s hard.
I can’t tell you how many times I questioned if he would “really” miss me if something happened to me? What a terrible question to ask yourself. If you ever ask yourself that, STOP. Don’t do that.
Let’s just assume instead. Yes, he would miss me, and of course, your childlren would miss you too!
We are their person and even if they can’t tell you.
After you read this I encourage you to commit to never asking yourself that question again, but when you do, and I know you will, this is the answer… YES, of course they would miss me they love me, I am their person.
No matter what, please just BELIEVE that because it sure feels way better than the alternative.
Jordan doesn’t outwardly show emotions, people often wonder if he is happy? They ask me. Well, let me assure you, he is happy and he lives a great life. He is surrounded by people who love him for exactly who he is. They don’t have expectations for him to be anyone other than himself.
They love him even though he doesn’t always, if ever, tell us or show us that he loves us too, yet we all know.
We just know ��
Maybe that’s another assumption, but I hope you learn to assume along your journey because it truly is beneficial to your own well-being, and that matters.
Our children do not have to experience life the same way we do to be happy, Remember that and remind yourself of it often.
Perspective is everything and you always get to choose yours.
When you can stop worrying about what other people think or say and instead, focus on you and your family, you will find acceptance and grace and just on the other side of that is more JOY.
It’s not easy living our life, always have to “have a plan” and usually a “plan B”, but it is our life and what I can tell you is when you accept your life and stop resisting it and stop wishing and hoping and dreaming it was different, life gets a lot better.
You hear me say it all the time, it’s different, not bad, just different.
Our life is blessed and we are so grateful.
Shannon shares her lived experiences in hopes of creating a more inclusive world for our children and adults on the spectrum.
Our mission is to equip families with resources, training, coaching, and community support. We believe if you are willing to expose yourself, your child, and your family to the world with kindness and honesty that compassion and understanding will follow.
She presents to organizations and businesses in person and virtually.