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Saturday, July 1, 2017

What Is It Like To Parent A Child With FASD?




What does is it like to parent a child with FASD?


It means constant supervision. Joseph is not safe out of our sight. He won't intentionally hurt himself or others, he simply lacks cause and effect thinking abilities. He doesn't think about what will happen if he stands on a stool and sticks things in the fan. He doesn't think about what will happen if he sits on a trike at the top of a hill.

It means explaining and then explaining again, why my child cannot be trusted and then cleaning up the pieces when people fail to believe me.

It means parenting my big for his age, 9 year old like a toddler, but refusing to let others to do the same because of his poor attachment.
It means constantly evaluating what he is saying with what we know to be true because of his unique perspective on life. If he says someone gave him a candy bar, we don't assume they did, we have to figure out where he got it and why he has it. 

It means receiving notes, cards, hugs and kisses multiple times a day from your child who, when he loves you, loves you with his whole being.

It means checking up on everything he does. If I tell him to put the ice cream in the freezer, there is no guarantee it will get there. I may later find it on a shelf in the pantry.

It means making sure he understands what I am saying, just because he nods his head and agree's with me, doesn't mean he understood a command.

It means defusing rages the likes of which would make many people run for cover. 

It means doing ones best to help children understand that their sibling is not always accountable for his actions, even though they receive consequences when they do the same thing.

It means ignoring the shaking heads when people see what is deemed, "Socially inappropriate behavior."

It means feeling frustrated with your child and being unable to prevent the same situation from happening again, because your child is unable to understand a situation.

It means always thinking ahead to prevent those massive meltdowns and tears.

It means listening to screaming and raging for an hour only to have the storm pass and your child come up to you and say, "I love you mom!" Which leaves your heart in a muddle of love and frustration.

It means learning to let your eyes show love even while you are dodging kicks and flying objects.

It means holding your child back from things others his age are doing because you know he is unable to keep up and he will melt down in tears of frustration.

It means always looking for new ways to defuse situations because what works one time is not guaranteed to work again.

It means looking for ways to set your child up to succeed, even if it is a simple thing like hanging his coat on a hook.

Parenting a child with FASD means your emotions are on a constant roller coaster. You can go from rages to adoration to a melt down in moments. Everyone is with FASD is affected differently, what is true for one person may not be true for another. This is only my side of the story, I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for those affected by prenatal alcohol exposure. They need our love and grace....but so do their caregivers!

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