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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"What's Wrong With You"?

This is one of the most difficult posts Iv'e written during my blogging life. The diagnosis of my daughter recently with Aspergers Syndrome bought with it a wave of memories and emotions. The most prominent being guilt at the memory of me, in a moment of sheer frustration asking my daughter "what's wrong with you"? I can't now even recall what it was in relation to. But I do remember being exasperated at her for doing, or not doing, something that to me at least seemed so obvious.

When the assessing psychologist said to me, it seems clear you have an Aspie girl on your hands, those angry words came back to me in a flash followed by an overwhelming feeling of shame that I was so thoughtless and mean, and a deep concern that I may have tapped into thoughts she was already harbouring about herself.

I can't take back those harsh words. Or all the other moments past where I have been impatient and frustrated with her, and she has been anxious consequently. I want to wrap her up and tell her how sorry I am. How insensitive I have been. That there is nothing wrong with her. On the contrary she is remarkable. Amazing. That the only one of us that has something wrong' is me. And that is my impatient attitude. That I hope she will forgive me for my imperfect parenting. And that my admiration for her resilience and self taught coping strategies is greater than I can articulate.

The blessing of her diagnosis means never again will I say those awful words and in doing so risk damaging her sensitive soul. But it also speaks to the importance of accepting and learning to understand the unique ways in which our children view and experience the world. What all humans share is a desire to have their perspective respected. Validation is at the core of self esteem. If we are always focussed on our children's struggles or deficits we miss opportunities to build internal resilience and a strong sense of self worth.


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  2. You say this is the most difficult posts you've written in your blogging life. I actually think it's one of the most beautiful posts you've written.