Your Marriage and Your Child With Autism
Unfortunately, in modern times, many marriages end in divorce or separation. This statistic rises even higher when you mix in a child with autism. No matter how loving and understanding you both may be towards your child, the truth is that autism is a very complex and trying developmental disorder. As a consequence, marital strain is not uncommon. By trying to stay positive about your situation, and by working to keep your marriage healthy, you and your spouse can avoid most marital problems, and survive the trying times of raising a youngster with autism.
Why did you marry your husband or wife? By often asking yourself this question, you can focus on the positives in your marriage. Raising a child with autism is stressful, and if you are stressed, you may have a tendency to snap at your parenting partner for the smallest missteps. Instead of focusing on perceived negatives, take some time to enjoy one another the way you did at the beginning of your relationship. This includes spending some time apart from your children. When you find out that your child has autism, it is essential to make sure that you and your spouse are not the only two people to whom your child will respond. A grandparent, aunt or uncle, mature sibling, or nanny are good people to fully integrate in your child’s daily life. This way, alone time with your spouse is possible.
Work together with your spouse to help your child, instead of fighting with one another. It is natural that, at times, you will have conflicting ideas about how to handle certain situations. Be prepared to compromise, and always seek professional advice before making any medical decisions for your child. Work together, and remember your mutual goal is to give your child a healthy, supportive environment, and the opportunity to grow, learn and achieve his potential. Try to set aside time each week to spend together as a family, especially if one parent is the primary caregiver.
Lastly, seek help when you need it. Any successful marriage depends on spending some time apart to focus on individual needs, and it is no different when you have a child on the spectrum. However, if you find that you and your spouse are drifting away from one another as you pursue individual interests, it is time to reevaluate the situation. A family or marriage counselor can help you and your spouse get back on the right track to a happy life together. It also can be helpful to connect with other parents rearing children with autism; many in-person and online support groups exist for this purpose. It’s not an easy road you’re on, but you are not alone. Consistently working to keep your marriage strong and resilient, even when stressed with the task of raising an autistic child, will help you create a loving, supportive environment that is beneficial and fulfilling for that child, as well as yourselves.
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