If you and your spouse are healthy and have no long-term illnesses to speak of, the news that your beloved son or daughter has autism may be difficult to accept. The queries of the parents, therefore, can go anywhere from “Was there something we did not do right during the pregnancy?” to “Why did this fate befall our family?”
None of these questions have answers that are effortless to get, honestly speaking. Whereas the former kind remains somewhat mysterious even for the smartest doctor out there, the latter is hard to deduce for mere mortals like us. According to Dr. Kalman Heller, a retired psychologist, “They may be diagnosed with complex disorders such as Autism, Asperger’s, Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Bipolar Disorder, Tourette’s, or Mental Retardation. All are challenging to identify reliably, and even more challenging to treat effectively.”
What’s more frightening than the lack of exact information about the condition, however, is the fact that the marriage between parents is more likely to end in divorce when you have an autistic kid. What gives, you may ask?
Parenting Demands Are Consistently High For Children With Special Needs
When your offspring does not have any disability, you only have to be hands-on until they hit late childhood. Around eight or nine years old, they can already clean up after themselves, do most of the homework on their own, and pick up what’s right or wrong. By the time the kid becomes a teenager, you may not even need to cook for them as they already know how to do that.
On the contrary, in case your son or daughter has an autistic disorder – especially a low-functioning one – your job as a parent does not have an expiration date. In reality, the tasks may even be more challenging as they are growing up because there’ll be a time when your child can get as tall as you are and lifting him or her off the ground during stressful episodes is hardly an option. If one of the parents cannot or will not deal with the demands of parenting a kid with autism, then that puts the marriage in peril. As Dr. Rick Nauert said, “Parents of autistic children consistently report greater stress levels, more caregiving burden, and depression than parents of typically developing children.”
Acceptance Does Not Occur At Once
The ideal train of events involves the parents hearing from the specialist that their child has autism, and then working together to improve their son or daughter’s life. It may not happen, though, if the mom or dad cannot take the diagnosis as true.
Being in denial is apparently normal. Darlene Lancer, LMFT, said, “Life is unpredictable, and denial helps us cope and focus on what we must in order to survive.” In that case, the individual might try to treat the disabled youngster no differently from a non-disabled one and expect many things from them. Considering the autistic kid performs poorly at school, for that reason, the unbelieving parent will possibly discipline him or her like an average child. This behavior, of course, may be infuriating for the understanding parent, to the extent that he or she might file for divorce sooner than later.
Staying in matrimony is not tricky even amidst taking care of your autistic kid, especially if your devotion and love for the spouse remain strong, and vice versa. In case your bonding moments only end in bickering and calling each other hurtful names, however, and no amount of counseling can fix your issues, then terminating your marriage may be the most excellent decision for the entire family.