In the past few days, I’ve spent some time re-reading some responses from friends and family members. As I have been struggling with E’s screaming and extra feisty behavior as well as the stage of pre-teenism that J is at, I often feel like I’m doing this all wrong. I considered finding a parenting mentor for this new role of being a parent of a child with autism. I thought about why. What is a mentor? I looked it up in the dictionary…mentor: a wise and trusted counselor or teacher; an influential senior sponsor or supporter. What qualities would I seek in a mentor? I then realized that I find mentorship in all of the relationships that I have.
After finally connecting on the phone with my dear friend, J, we spoke for nearly an hour. She has such perspective and I gained so much knowledge and a better understanding of what is important right now for me parenting a teen and being a parent in general. Of course, you wouldn’t know that if you saw me slamming doors and yelling at my family about 30 minutes ago! Nonetheless, the biggest take away I got from her was that it is okay to make parenting mistakes. The ability to say, ‘I reacted incorrectly in that situation, what you did is still not okay, but if I were given the opportunity to start over, here is what I would have said…’ Admitting fault is so disarming. I wish that my children would learn this. I wish that I had learned this lesson when I was younger. It’s time to start role modeling some better behaviors. After this afternoon, I feel like the only thing that I am teaching my kids is that when you get really pissed off it’s okay to yell and scream, stomp around, and slam doors. Probably not my finest parenting moment. Time to turn it around!!
There is a fabulous parenting mentor/counselor here in Seattle who gives the most wonderful, empowering free library lectures about parenting teens. I went to see her talk once, and Peter the next week. Her name is Lori Gradinger. Her website is here:
I need to go again and regain that perspective that I had last spring when I first attended her seminar. I felt closer to finding out my strengths of a parent of a teen then than I do now.
Tonight is the Seattle Children’s Autism Center/ASTAR fundraiser. I’m so thrilled to go. After these last few days, I feel a bit fragile and I hope that I don’t start to cry and make a big spectacle. Why do I have a vision of this happening when I’m all dressed up at a fancy, lovely event with some dear friends? Where else could it happen! Thanks to D & B for their extreme generosity of the invitation to join their table at this very important event.