by Marcia Hinds – Megan and Ryan’s Mom
Don’t let your mission to help your child, get in the way of what you need to do to keep your marriage working. All children do better with a loving and intact home. My husband has told me the dads he has spoken with often say their wives are great mothers, yet expressed considerable pain over not being shown love, affection or anything else.
I was one of those moms. I hope you don’t treat your husband the same way I did. I was so overwhelmed by all I needed to do to help Ryan, that I most times made the mistake of relegating Frank’s importance to that of a piece of furniture. I was on a mission to save my kid and made the mistake of not giving my husband the attention he needed and deserved.
I never even considered that Frank also wanted what was best for our children, because I was too busy disagreeing with him about everything. I just wanted him out of my way, so I could fix the kid. Our spouses want to feel appreciated and loved more than anything. I should have known that and used what my husband loved to increase the kind of behavior I needed from him. If I had, there would have been a lot less arguing.
The same behavioral therapy I used with Ryan works on husbands too. I could have ignored what Frank did wrong, but I usually didn’t. Instead I criticized and lectured on what he needed to be doing to help our son. When he interacted with Ryan in a positive way, I should have immediately reinforced my husband’s behavior. To increase positive behavior in husbands and kids we need to reinforce the behavior we want to see more of. I should have immediately commented about what a great dad he was. And further reinforced his behavior by following it up with a full-body hug. That would have worked better than arguing or ignoring my husband all the time. The lack of attention and fighting interfered with what needed to be done to help Ryan.
I should have treated Frank the same way I wanted to be treated. If we took the time to reminisce about what made us fall in love in the first place, it would have changed everything. We needed to talk about and remember what we liked about each other, before we were entrenched in autism hell. I should have treated him like I did when he was my boyfriend and I was still trying to impress him. I should have done a lot of things differently then, but I didn’t. That was a huge mistake.
I wish I would have realized then how respect and affection is a huge priority for our husbands. If you change the way you treat your significant other, in a few short weeks you will see the man who once your world was tripping over himself to do all he can to support your efforts. By changing my behavior, I could have made Frank a part of our team and part of the solution. I could have made him an ally, instead of a person standing in my way.
The bottom line is that our fighting interfered with helping Ryan. Because of the fighting, our typical daughter didn’t have the loving atmosphere that all kids need to feel secure. My message to my husband should have been we are in this together as equals. That is what was needed to help our marriage survive the autism diagnosis. Because of the stress an autism diagnosis brings, many marriages don’t make it. We were almost one of the casualties. Fortunately, my husband never gave up on me or our kids, no matter how many times I pushed him away.
NOTE FROM MARCIA HINDS – Megan and Ryan’s mom :
Ryan became an aerospace engineer, because he received proper medical treatment combined with behavioral, and educational interventions. To preview my book, “I Know You’re In There – winning our war against autism” click on http://a.co/a5GWrpM
Contact info for Marcia: