It’s been a difficult journey, trying to teach Michael about things that are not concrete, things like spirituality. But never has Michael needed it more than now, when he is struggling with finding his own voice, power, and feeling like he has control making decisions. I can see that he is on the cusp of puberty, and has been there for quite a while. He has been questioning many things his Dad and I have said for awhile now, but when he started questioning his spirituality and religion, I knew he had come into a new realm in his development. It makes me sad that we can’t pray together like we used to, and that he is not taking what I am teaching at face value anymore. Yet, I have to say I am proud of him for asking questions, for challenging me. It is exhausting sometimes, particularly when the big questions calmly asked are interspersed with days when everything I tell him to to do is questioned and results in exchanging words. However, this shows me how he is maturing and becoming his own person. He also patiently listens and watches what I do. I see his maturity.
We have yet to put his rosary in the car. He asked me this a few weeks ago, so that he could see God there. I admit I keep forgetting to do it. Tomorrow I will bring it up and offer to let him put his up next to mine. He will also once in awhile ask questions about God, about prayer and about the state of the world we live in. He asks about homelessness, people struggling in poverty. I do my best to answer honestly trying not to trigger more anxiety. He lives and breathes enough of that everyday. I am happy to answer these questions, but he does not want to pray with me. Still, I take it as a promising sign that he is being open minded when I pray out loud and he does not get angry like he used to in the fall. He is seeing so much turmoil with some of his closest friends now and trying some of this out at home. He is re-enacting some strange games. He rolls his eyes when I put on Christmas music. He is a mini teenage, I think. Still there are great amazing days when I see how his intelligent mind works. These days help me through the emotionally difficult ones where he and I struggle to understand one another through the maze of autism and anxiety.
Exceptional Parents, how are your children handling the lead up to the holidays? Is this a difficult time of the year for them and you? For many families it is due to the structure going down and uncertainty about what is coming. Do your best to be there for your child, listen to them, be clear in your expectations, and let them observe you taking a positive and proactive view in practicing what you believe, physical or spiritual. Until next time.
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