The 10 biggest regrets (so far) around parenting my PDA child ..

As my learning curve continues it is getting less steep, less messy and less painful because I have learnt from experience to listen to my child first, my gut second, and those who have experienced PDA first-hand third. And the professionals? Well the jury is still out on that one! However looking back at all the bumps along the way I know I have made many mistakes and gathered some regrets so I thought it might be helpful to share them.

My 10 Big Regrets

1. Allowing my concerns to be brushed over.

I first brought up the possibility of autism when my son went to nursery at 22 months, then again when he started school, then when he changed schools for the first time at 5. I was always told the same thing ‘He is emotional and socially immature, but he is fine, we see no problems, you are worrying too much because of your family and work history.’ I just accepted they knew what they were talking about, but they did not.

2. Following parenting tips

Whether recommended by professionals, other parents, books and TV shows I tried them all and not because they worked but because they were the ‘right’ way to parent.

3. Having a zero tolerance strategy for violence towards me.

You may think this is fair enough but by punishing my child for something he had no control over and was caused by anxiety and my failure to create the right environment for him to thrive I was destroying trust and worse, damaging my sons mental health and leaving him isolated. Later I learnt to remove myself from the situation until he calmed down and then hug him if he wanted it and only much later (sometimes as late as the next day) talk to him about it and the possible reasons behind it.

4. Allowing myself to get into a victim mentality.

– Feeling poor me and letting my own mental health slide only worsened the situation. It built resentment, made me feel stressed and angry and powerless. I resolved this situation by having counselling which gave me the strength and confidence to take back control. Realising my child wasn’t doing this to hurt me but because he was hurting was my biggest mental breakthrough.

5. Listening to my child but then dismissing his wishes as impossible to implement

– Telling him you can’t expect people to..(accommodate you), I know you don’t like (being left with anyone) but I have to work and so on. All things are possible to change if you have the desire to, what I meant was I don’t want my life to change too much so I will try to make things bearable for you as they are instead of putting you first and doing what you want/need.

6. Physically forcing my son to go to school because I felt pressured to.

– This is a huge one and the one I have most problems justifying to myself. The school knew I carried or manhandled my son downstairs in the mornings, in fact it was at their insistence that I ‘got him in by whatever means necessary’. I felt wrong about it but I did it, you should never go against your instinct of what feels wrong with your child. I have appologised to my son since for doing this.

7. Accepting that it was unreasonable of me to expect the school to change ‘that much’ just to accommodate my son’

– I was often told this or that ‘what about the 30 other kids or we just don’t have the resources. I tried to see things from the schools point of view, I should not of. He had/has a right to these services under reasonable adjustments.

8.Not fighting harder for a specific PDA diagnoses

– I wish I had fought for the PDA on the diagnoses as it has caused so many problems not having it however it is not officially recognised in my area and I had already been waiting 5 years for any diagnoses by the time I got one for ASD.

9. Failing to recognise what a demand looks like

– After diagnoses and doing a course with the PDA society I implemented what I thought was zero demand strategy as my son’s mental health by this time was so low. However just thinking ‘well he has to do his 2 hours interventions’, ‘he needs to change his clothes’, ‘I must make him eat’,’ I will just ask him this….’ These are all demands. I realised that after 3 months and moved to as near as I possibly could to totally zero demands, he began to recover almost immediately and I never reinstated demands, he gradually reintroduced them for himself and now does most things expected of a 12-year-old boy.

10. Not following my gut.

I would add to this list not Home Educating sooner but my son really wanted to go to school and ”be like everyone else”, he just couldn’t cope there but I can not regret trying to make it work for him right up until the point he saw that it wasn’t working for himself.  I could have added failing to be able make his first choice of attending school accessible but I realise that should be the government’s  regret to carry, not just for my child, but for so many autistic, and other children under SEND who deserve their right to equality in education to be honoured.

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12 thoughts on “The 10 biggest regrets (so far) around parenting my PDA child ..

  1. Karen Gafen Solomon May 4, 2018 — 1:32 pm

    I wish I could call you on the phone and just chat. I am going through EVERYTHING you gave written about here and it is excrutuating!!!! Fustrating beyond logic!!!!!
    Thank you for putting this into words and sharing ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad it has helped if only to know you are not alone… I am sorry to hear that things have been so difficult. In the worst of it I remember thinking that if one more professional says they can hear my frustration I will scream! Anyway I wanted to let you know I do have a Facebook page (if you do Facebook) and you can always PM me there. Alternatively I have a twitter account but that is more for sharing updates etc. although it is linked to my fb. You can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/PDAautism/

      Like

  2. It’s good to read these, they resonate with me so much too. Crazy how much we have to change our mindset, I still struggle with not letting myself feel like the victim 😓 x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment and your honesty. I think there is a difference between feeling the victim (or the why me? mentality as I tend think of it) and knowing you have a hard day and needing some TLC. Parenting is hard and challenging regardless and we all need a glass of wine and a hug now and then x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha I think I have too many glasses of wine in these moments 🤩

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Another great piece. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you so much for reading and commenting. x

      Like

  4. Just love everything you’ve put..Resonates completely..If everyones experiences are mostly the same why do professionals always make you feel as though you are isolated? in your experiences and diffculties. Your writings and all the others ive read should hold some weight locally and world wide? but everyone is fighting a battle.. why?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right Lucy. I used read in groups and talk to other parent and think ‘right I know my son has a PDA presentation of autism because there are other children like him’ and then I would go into a meeting and say that and they would just act like I was nuts! The worst time was after the summer holidays and I had been to the PDA workhop, my son had his ASD diagnoses and I thought they would listen, I even took in a box of PDA reasources, but instead I was accused of medicalising my son and reported to social services who were actually amazing but it was scary.

      Why would anyone make this stuff up? It is so wrong. I honestly don’t know whether to be glad or sad it resonates with you and so many others but I hope at least it helps parents feel less alone x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Another brilliant post, thank you! (I missed it when it was new.) I’m not so sure about listening to ‘professionals’ either… well, I can listen, but I’m much more reluctant to take advice now than at the beginning of our journey, as I’d say that on the whole, it’s not the advice from professionals which has been helpful (and sometimes it’s been quite the opposite, unfortunately).
    Also, points 5 and 7 here certainly struck a chord with me… and many other parts of your post too xx

    Like

    1. Aw thanks. I seem to of written a lot of posts now so it is easy to miss some! I always love to hear a post has struck a chord with others as I can only really speak form my own experience. X

      Liked by 1 person

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