Look Away

I’m learning this stuff as I go, just so you know.  I don’t profess to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination.  But people who know me personally and know Little B personally seem to be somewhat put off by his new diagnosis.  I think it’s just that they don’t understand what it MEANS.  They know Little B well, and have since he was born…now they don’t know if what they know is right.  They don’t know if this “label” should change their perception of the little boy they know and love. 

Here’s the dealio:  I am still struggling with this one myself.  He’s my baby.  I love him dearly.  But I don’t always LIKE him.  Isn’t that true of your relationship with your own children?  No, just me then?  Okay, whatever.  Poser. 

The frustration of dealing with his negative behavior traits (i.e., the grunting, the rage, the violence (yeah, I said it…), and his constant demands) is no different today than it was when I thought these were temporary frustrations that he would eventually outgrow…but the aftermath of that frustration is different now.  Now, every tantrum ends leaving me with a feeling of doom.  That we’ll never be free of this.  That I will spend the rest of my life catering to his every whim, his every need, and trying to be the steady calm for his storm.  Those feelings are tempered by the new knowledge that this is not something that he can control.  I used to spank him, but not anymore.  How could I spank a child who has no more control over his outbursts than he does over the color of his eyes?  The spanking did, I will admit, literally calm him down sometimes.  It could ‘snap’ him back to reality.  Not always, but sometimes.  Losing that parenting tool has left me a little confused.  I get confused too when Little A and Little B are engaged in the same activity that they should get in trouble for.  The doctor was clear:  Little A should be punished more strictly than Little B.  Even though she is a year younger, and they are doing the same thing, because Little A is capable of more self-restraint than Little B.  So, how the hell, exactly, am I to enforce THIS concept?  Is Little A not confused enough, at this point?  BLAH! 

Concepts and words are easy.  It’s the putting them into action, with style, that eludes me.  I have a lot of things to figure out, obviously.  But in the meantime, I thought I’d address some issues that you guys might need help with to. 

In this first installment, I’ll address those of you who are complete strangers, or possibly even distant relatives or acquaintances.  You might not see us, specifically, out in public, but apply this tip to any situation like the this that you happen upon.  If the kid is acting strangely, or throwing an unGodly tantrum, or hitting his mother, here’s what I would want you to do if it were me and Little B that you happened upon:

Just look away.  Walk away.  I do not need to see you stare in disbelief that I am putting up with it.  You will only complicate matters by hanging around just to allow your “normal” kid to watch to set some sort of example about how not to behave in public while you shake your head in disapproval.  When it goes on and on, and you begin to suspect that there might be something wrong with him, I do not need to see the realization come across your brow.  I do not need to meet your eyes and receive an “understanding” nod of your head.  You don’t understand.  I don’t even understand.  Just walk away.  I don’t want to feel the urge to tell you, someone I will likely never see again, that my son has Pervasive Developmental Disorder, as though I require some sort of excuse for this display.  I want to end the tantrum with as little anxiety as possible, and get on with my day.  That’s my only goal.   Even if you think, in some part of your heart, that maybe you can help me through this in some way, trust me when I tell you that there is nothing good that can come from you lingering.  Just move on.  (And take your damn kid with you, too.) 

Tee hee hee.  I couldn’t resist that.  I’m sorry.  🙂

Thanks.  You’re the best

P.S.:  To be clear: the above advice doesn’t apply to close friends and family.  You, I gain strength from.  Your listening and trying to understand makes me feel validated, and loved, and supported.  I’ll probably not have any “tips” for you guys until I get a grip on this myself.  Just continue to love him.  That’s really all he needs.  And to stay over at your house once or twice a week.  But beyond that, just love, really.  That’s all.  And maybe to come over and play one Saturday when the weather’s nice.  And to be loved.  Because he loves you.  You know who you are.  He asked about staying over at your house recently.  I told him you loved him…and that you’d be calling for him to come over any day now.  And that’s all he needs.  He could stay longer than just one night, depending on how much you really really love him.  But that’s all your call. 

Hey...I can't abandon ALL OF MY PARENTING TOOLS. 🙂




About zohrbak

Zohrbak is an old email username I had a while back...it's a made-up twist on two characters from Spaceghost. Zorak and Brak. I'm a geek. I am a married, working mother of 4 children, ages 4-15. I also have interests outside of my children, but I can never remember what they are.
This entry was posted in bad kids, Bad mother, crazy kids, Family, Humor, Parenthood, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, The Joys of Parenthood and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Look Away

  1. YaYa says:

    Little J and I had a great time playing with Little B Sunday! Both of them kept me very busy and Little J wanted to do everything Little B did. He enjoyed driving Little J’s jeep, go high on the swing & climbing the fig tree and he knew he had to leave the rip ones way up high for the birds. He gave Big Red a hug but didn’t like the slobber that come with it. We had a few minor melts downs, like throwing of toys b/c I wouldn’t let him have something and I just walked away and let him finish his fit. Once it was over, it was like it never happened. We talked about how good he was being and he told me he loved me and gave me a big kiss. Little J loves playing with Little B – he says, that’s his buddy. He is so strong minded, if he said, I’m going in, before I knew it he was off, so we talked about how Little J wants him to wait for him, so he would. They sat together quietly in the chair and watch Sponge Bob and I could here them talking to each other about the show, it was sweet! This is a learning experience and I am glad to be here to support you!

  2. Just Aimee says:

    Ok, first, all of us here do still love him. Duh.

    Secondly, I don’t think you should have eliminated options of any kind in regard to disciplining B, including spanking. He’s not this weirdo kid who is out of control, and he doesnt lose all present and or future responsibility to the people around him, & his expectations should not be any different. You are just operating on a different time table than other children. He is perfectly capable of controlling his emotions he just hasnt learned that skill yet, just like an infant hasn’t learned yet how to not cry when startled or any other learned social skill, or a 6 yr old will cry when they get their feelings hurt, but by 11 or so, they hold it in. I feel like that LIMIT lessens your, our, everyone’s FAITH in this child. His final expectations have to be very close to the same as anyone else, bc in adulthood, to be successful he will have to abide by certain social rules. Protecting him from having to learn those rules condemns him to your worst fears.

    I realize I may sound kinda harsh…like I’m saying, “you must spank him” or be really tough on him…but I am not, at all. Whether to spank is really a personal decision for you, and your children. I think my harshness comes from the fact that just because he learns and operates differently does not mean you cannot have the same successes, the same lessons learned, and even, yes, the same outcomes.

    Ex 1. Look at all the methods out there to teach children to read? Why? Because we arent all the same. We NEED different methods, different paces for different children so that they can all reach the same goal.

    Also, Lets take Diabetes. Ok, the person can’t help that, right? Right. The medical community is going to educate you on this condition….they are going to tell you how to handle it. Now, if I am diabetic, and my blood sugar drops, I have several choices there. I can go into shock (or whatever) and pass out, or I can eat or medicate or whatever is required. A few stumbles will teach you to maintain the smarter of those 2 paths the majority of the time.

    Lil B CAN learn. He now reacts to things exactly the same way a 2 yr old (without his diagnosis) would. He’s just a little behind in this learning process to learn to handle his emotions. PLUS, we all lose control of our emotions sometimes, still, as adults, even without some social emotional diagnosis. Its called being HUMAN. As he gets older, he will learn how to control himself. He will have social pressures to help him learn…and those social pressures aren’t bad…they are the same ones that taught us. They are natures teaching tools.

    He may always have different interests, different methods of doing common tasks in his life, but again, left handed people do things differently than right handed people, and they manage. Women do things differently than men, and we all manage. He is ‘high functioning’, and will continue to be, and he will figure out a way to make his way in this world.

    Now, he is a child, with some difficulties. Yes, you will have to make certain allowances for those difficulties and differences. For just a moment forget about the label given to him. He has trouble with ONE thing…controlling how he reacts to things emotional. My son has trouble speaking to a crowd. Should I shelter him from crowds forever, should he be excused from doing social studies presentations bc it makes him feel bad. No, its a learning process. I should tell him comforting things, try to help him through it, but not dismiss the possibility that with practice, and teaching techniques that he WILL learn to do that successfully. Do I need to remind you that one time I ran out of a spanish classrooom bc I couldn’t remember a poem?? I ran to the bathroom and I CRIED over a poem!! Would that happen now? Well NOW WAY! I have learned to handle that differently.

    This is how I see Little B: He is just LEARNING. As time goes by, he’ll get better and better.

    All children are not EQUAL. We love our children equally, but we cannot treat them as if they are the same, because they aren’t. It unfair for THEIR DEVELOPMENT to treat them that way. As parents, when one of our children responds to certain things, discipline wise, that it what we use to help them learn. My oldest never responded to spankings. I, of course, still gave him a few, but overall I could and still can bring him to tears, and into much awareness by just a meaningful discussion.
    “A” needed physical punishment. The talking did NOTHING. He still got the talks, but spankings occurred. Its how he learned the lesson. Its what got results. He is VERY impulsive…that’s NOT his fault. He was born that way. But it does not mean that there is not a way that he can learn to control that, at least to a manageable level. He actually has…I’m so proud of how well he does that.

    Little B can too, and if a pop on the butt works, even if only in certain situations.

    Have FAITH in him. Dont punish yourself so much, or try to bear the burden so heavily. God did not give this to you, give B to you for you to fail. Its day by day.

    • zohrbak says:

      I am guilty of losing faith. I am. I will be honest. Because so much of his therapy has been placed squarely on my shoulders. There is no formal behavioral therapy available locally. So, it’s pretty much my baby. No pun intended. And I’m not sure that I am patient enough, knowledgable enough, and can find a way to make the time it will take to make this all happen.

      However, I do have high expectations of B. I know that he’s very very smart. I know he’s capable of learning.

      I also get that it’s okay to spank him for things that he clearly has control over: Should I walk into the kitchen and find him drinking draino, he will get a spanking…But I can’t teach him how to deal with his crap by spanking him…that’s not a method by which he learn to deal with those problems…that’s going to take hours and hours and hours of situational reference and repetition. So, I meant that I can’t punish him to teach him a “lesson” like you can with typical children. The lesson will not stick if it’s a behavior related to his shortcomings. All that teaches him is “Mama gets mad when I do that….or that….or that….” but it doesn’t teach him how NOT to do those things.

      I do agree with a lot of what you said, though.

    • zohrbak says:

      “Lil B CAN learn. He now reacts to things exactly the same way a 2 yr old (without his diagnosis) would. He’s just a little behind in this learning process to learn to handle his emotions. PLUS, we all lose control of our emotions sometimes, still, as adults, even without some social emotional diagnosis. Its called being HUMAN. As he gets older, he will learn how to control himself. He will have social pressures to help him learn…and those social pressures aren’t bad…they are the same ones that taught us. They are natures teaching tools. ”

      This is where I don’t think you are right, though. The nature of his problem and other kids like him is that they don’t learn from social pressures…they are only made to feel worse about their obvious differences. That’s the whole problem. He won’t get better just because he gets older. He won’t get better just because he doesn’t want to be embarrassed anymore or feel different anymore. That’s now neurotypical children learn. But not how kids affected by this disorder learn.

  3. Just Aimee says:

    I understand your point, that this wont go away.

    But he DOES learn and understand consequences. If he didn’t, he wouldnt stop what he was doing mid-stream and run when threatened that his Daddy was going to spank him. I witnessed that myself twice in a 2 hour period. (Go Dad! )

    And there are a lot of autistic people who are living successfully as adults, and have learned to be successful.

    Dan Akroyd for one. Ok, so maybe thats not the best, most inspirational example. He’s strange, a total nerd. LOL.

    Another Bad one…Adolf Hitler. 🙂

    Mozart, Beethoven, Emily Dickenson, Yeats, Einstein, Newton, Daryl Hannah, Elisabeth Hughes, Harry Truman, and Abraham Lincoln, Bob Dylan, Stephen Spielberg, Bill Gates, and even that guy on American Idol, James Durbin…. All of these adjusted, very successful people are suspected to have had or are confirmed with high functioning autism.

    They managed social skills somehow. How did Daryl Hannah get through so many interviews if she could not be taught social skills? She learned them before there were doctors in every moderate sized town to help, before there were support groups, and before the average person even heard the word autism. B can too. Your advantage is that there are behavior plans, and video and games etc directed at teaching it. (look at THIS: http://autismsocialskills.com/. Wow. An social skills class. I am wondering if this might even clarify some stuff for all the kids. LOL. )

    You are right, maybe he won’t learn these things the same way a “neurotypical” kid would, but he can learn it, and to me, it doesn’t matter how he does it, or how long it takes, or any of that. The point is he CAN. Ya know?

    If Adolf Hitler had Asbergers and took over, literally, half the world. I think B can charm at least half that many people and find success, unless he drinks all the draino.

    I know the problems are 24-7 for you. I get that. The days my kids are being difficult non-stop I go crazy….and I know for you that is constant. Its an everyday thing. I KNOW I’d get down about it too. I think you are doing an awesome job. I just want you to see what a lot of us see….the positives. I have a sneaky suspicion that in the end, he’ll be the most rewarding of all of your kids.

    Theres just so much HOPE.

    Don’t let the negativity that can be found everywhere convince you that there isn’t HOPE.

    Oh, and I saw some hissing cockroaches at the pet store. He’d love them. But honestly…they gave me the severe hee.bee jee bees -I just had a shiver THINKING of them-so I will not be bringing one to him. But if you can get passed the grossness you should get him one. LOL (They made NOISES that sounded like a combo of a dying fowl and fingernails on a chalk board. EW)

    PSS. I think I took the name out this time….used B.

    • zohrbak says:

      I meant the post to be funny. I didn’t realize that I gave the impression that I am hopeless about the situation. But it’s hard, and if I’m expressing that to the point that it makes you guys uncomfortable, I apologize. I’m not hopeless. I realize that in the long run we will all be okay. But it’s the “in the trenches” mentality that I have right now, because that’s where I am right now.

      I appreciate all of the research and interest and support you’ve shown me. But your comments on this particular post made me feel in some ways like I was being attacked. I know that wasn’t your intent, but that’s how it made me feel. I still heart you, though. ❤

  4. Miz Tiz says:

    for what it’s worth, I never once felt an “attack” alert when I was reading Just Aimee’s postings. She seemed quite encouraging to me in lots of ways. Zohrbak is sometimes too hard on herself………..that’s what I felt like I was reading. Just keep remembering what the doctor said about not taking all this so personally, that analogy to diabetes. You are doing an amazing, insightful, remarkable job of analyzing this and dealing with it in real time.

    I thought your admonition to strangers and bare acquaintances right on target. That’s certainly what I would want them to do. And I thought it was done with both a serious and humorous tone, a talent you have.

    As for Little A, she will be confused from time to time why she gets punished for something he does not. You need to include her in the loop of talking and understanding how he is *different* and why you have to do what you have to do. As she gets older, she’ll understand more. Just try to make sure she doesn’t feel you love her less than him. That would be a very natural kid reaction if she doesn’t get any explanations.

    Love you much…………….you are doing great, hang in there!

    • zohrbak says:

      I know that “attack” was big time the wrong word for what I was feeling. And I DON’T THINK that Just Aimee would every do that. I guess that I just feel very inadequate…and it’s hard for me to try to defend myself or my choice of words when everything I am feeling is a big ball of mucky goo right now. That’s all. I did get emotional though. It’s just an emotional topic for me. (You know, my life.) lol. Thanks to everyone for your continued support, advice, and perspective. I’m better now. 🙂

      • Just Aimee says:

        I’m so so sorry I made you ever feel attacked, wrong word or not. I’m guilty of that a lot. That is the reason I go to dumb classes with names like Communication with Tact & Blah Blah Blah. I’m a pusher. I know this about myself, that I can be a bit tough with people, and I know that YOU get emotional and “mucky ,gooey” about this topic and I am ASHAMED for not tempering my words, not reading through it again to show you very very clearly what my intentions were.

        Nowhere in my SOUL do I think you are inadequate.



      • zohrbak says:

        I lerve you. I like your strength and steadfastness. It’s a good thing. Just try to treat this topic less like a political debate with you-know-who. Lol

  5. Miz Tiz says:


    “It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.” — Wendell Berry

  6. We can advise you, but we cannot be you.
    We are not there dragging Little B out of the car at school, or dealing with a meltdown in a store, or trying to figure out whether Little A should be punished if Little B is not. The weight that is on your shoulders is something that most of us can only faintly comprehend, and all of us need to remember that.
    We want to help. We do. Ultimately it is up to you though to decide what may be worth trying, and to ignore the rest. Give us the benefit of believing we mean well, and hopefullly we can give you the benefit of realizing that we don’t walk in your shoes.
    Raising a special needs child is a task that would frustrate an angel, but at the same time there are blessings in moments of joy and breakthrough that the rest of the world will never know.
    Bless you for your devotion to your family.

    • zohrbak says:

      You are so eloquent and insightful. Thank you for this explanation of exactly what Aimee and I are trying to explain to each other. I promise to give you all the benefit of the doubt that you mean well, because you have all proven that to me time and time again.

      Thanks, Jodi. You put into workds what I sometimes cannot. 🙂

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