Careful when Parenting an Autistic Child. Destruction of Their Property Can be Traumatic

There is the right way to parent and there is the wrong way. Making the child scared of you is not the way to parent. Your child will cut all ties off with you when they are tired of the abuse. 

When someone destroys something you love, you would be upset. When it is done when punishing an autistic child or any child, it can cause trauma. 

Autistic children and adults attach themselves to certain objects. These objects bring comfort and can bring someone out of a crisis or meltdown. 

There has been a rise of this on the internet. Parents will post videos of themselves destroying property belonging to their children. They do this to humiliate them. Some parents even encourage them and say its GOOD PARENTING. This could not be further front the truth. 

It can stick with them through adulthood. Let me bring you back to the 1990’s. 

Being Punished for Photocopying my Torah portion

I was about 13 years old when I was prepping for my Bat Mitzvah. My father had gotten a new Xerox machine. I had needed to photocopy something for my bat mitzvah tutor. I went down to the basement to photocopy it. It was jammed but I didn’t understand that. I went back upstairs. 
I had bought a Gameboy myself at a store called Funco Land recently. They used to sell used video games you can try in the store. It was one of my favorite places. I had money from my grandmother who sent me for my birthday.
My father came up the stairs when I came home. I froze, I was terrified. He screamed at me. I could not say a word. He then took my game boy and smashed it on the side of my dresser. I was crying and he slapped me when I did. 
It left a dent on the side of my dresser. I had to relive it every time I looked at that dent. 

Being Punished for Executive Dysfunction

I was about 15 years old. I had just gotten a boombox, which was my way of listening to music. The bass on it allowed me to feel the vibrations of it. I was working for a local grocery store chain. I absolutely loved it. My father asked me to record a cd he bought at a yard sale to an audio cassette. Easy enough? 

I suffer from executive dysfunction. I always have. We did not know back then that I am autistic but we definitely knew I had ADHD. I went to go do it and then I got distracted and did something else. We all know how it goes. 

One day he decided that he waited long enough. He takes my boombox that I paid for at the job I worked at. He threw it on the ground over and over again. It smashed into tiny little pieces.

As he smashed it, he was screaming at me. He didn’t hit me this time, I was thankful. I loved that thing. It was a big part of my life, since I did not have many friends. He screamed at me to clean up the big mess he made.

“If you cannot remember, it must not be important” is all he kept repeating. I was a teenager but that is a very ableist statement. As most of you know I was not supported growing up. I was counting down the days until I could leave home. 

How these events effected me

I had nightmares about these two events for years. The second event, I had buried into my subconscious for a long time. It was recently uncovered today. It was uncovered by me typing out the first event. These events contributed to my PTSD. 
Even after I moved out and far away from them, I still talked to my parents.I did not cut them off until after I had children and saw how they treat them.  When we got together with them, I refused to let them use anything of mine. I was always scared they were going to break it. I was always scared anyone would destroy anything I worked so hard for.  I would not lend anything to anyone. Big or small. They needed to be explicitly trusted before letting them into my home. 
It is not normal to live in fear of this. People should be able to help other people out without being afraid of their property being destroyed. 
 It is getting better I did work with a therapist. I am able to lend some things about but some things they must use in my presence. It will take some time to process that this should never have happened. 
As a parent I am sure you would never want to do this to your child. There are other ways of teaching your child the lesson you are trying to teach them. Gentle parenting is a lot more affective and less damaging. My children are able to come to me when something is wrong. They are never scared to tell me when they do something they feel would “get them in trouble.”I just want them to learn from their experiences. 

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