Fellow AuDHD Parents, Responsibility and Blame Are Not The Same

spilled cereal
Responsibility is not synonymous with blame, though many treat it that way.
“You need to take responsibility for your actions, young man!”
This is true, though it can lead to focusing on the results folks are unhappy with instead of possible solutions.
Shame is instilled at a young age when they learn the problem is them vs the decision they made.
When my boys were young, mistakes were frequent and abundant, especially in the spilling and breaking categories. With three boys diagnosed with AuDHD (autism and ADHD), it was crucial to teach them problem-solving and resilience—the stuff you’d teach any kid. But with our kiddos, it needed to be more deliberate and collaborative.
When a spill, smash, rip, or crash happened in our house, we wouldn’t respond with a frustrated lecture using phrases like:
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Are you stupid?”
“You really drive me crazy sometimes!”
I lost my temper plenty, was impatient with a short fuse, and regretfully frightened my family on more than one occasion. These blowups were the result of trauma, emotional dysregulation, and so on.
This was before we received our diagnoses, but once I knew better, I chucked the excuses and did the work to become better. Years of work, not just a weekend seminar.
Upgrading your parenting skill set doesn’t mean you’re a lousy parent and definitely doesn’t mean you’re a lousy person. It’s like studying to pilot a jet.
There are storms, turbulence and rough landings you need to know how to navigate and bounce forward from, while walking beside your child.
We learned to see mistakes and mishaps as opportunities to be resourceful. Phrases like:
“Well, that happened. What do we need to do now?” instead of,
“Dammit, why do you always do this?”
That’s a simplified example of course. There are beliefs about parenting serving as the roots of what we say and do, such that the words often come on their own, no scripts to memorize.
My boys still have big blind spots because of their diagnoses, but they’ve become more confident problem-solvers overall, and that’s a big win.
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