My husband Bill and I have always been on the same page when it came to our children, most of the time anyway. I have two girls that are 26 and 21, and Bill has a boy 25 and a girl 23, all from our previous marriage. We have been together since they were 7, 6, 4, and 2. We had our ups and downs dealing with our ex's and learning how to be step-parents at first, but we came together and we raised some pretty darn good kids! Two are in college one just graduated with her Masters and the boy is a police officer.
We had Sierra when the youngest of the other children was 18 and just heading off to college. I am not going to get into why it took so long for us to have children together, but I always wanted more and waited a long time to have Sierra. She has been very special to us since before she was born, and then we were blessed once more with Hannah who is 8 months old right now.
Here is the problem, Bill has babied Sierra since the day she was born and it got worse when we found out she had autism. He had not done that with the other children and we have always prided ourselves in raising independent children, but I cannot get the point across that you have to work harder to achieve that with Sierra. Bill agrees with me when I tell him that, but his actions say something else. If I had left it up to him Sierra would still be in diapers, we would still be rocking her to sleep, she would still be drinking from a bottle, and she would still be in a crib. He just gives in as soon as she starts to protest! Autistic or not, you don't just let them do what they want.
I admit that I have been guilty of babying her more than the other kids too, it's hard not to sometimes, but I am very persistent in making sure that she keeps moving forward. If I let her, she would not move up to the next age appropriate behavior. Most kids want to be a big kid and want to do it themselves, so they move themselves up to the next level. Sierra, because of her autism and her need for routine, will not want to change her routine to move up. I think it is a detriment to the child if the parent lets them continue to act like a baby when they are not. It is bad for their self esteem and tells them that you don't believe that they can do it. When Sierra learns the task at hand she beams with pride, but it takes a lot of patience and praise to get her there!
I would say to Bill "let her do it by herself, she knows how to do it" but I catch him actually asking her if she wants him to do it for her! Then I have a battle with her to get her to start doing it by herself again. I don't know how to get him to realize what he is doing and that he is making my job that much harder. Bill is a wonderful husband and a great dad and I know he is not the first father to spoil their little girl but I feel like I am climbing up a steep hill.
I just thought that I would write about this because I know there are a many parents with the same problem, in fact many parents with autistic children end up divorced. We are no where near divorce but Bill if you read this, I love you but STOP babying Sierra!