Raising and dealing with a teenager is a challenging task for any parent; if your teen also has autism, it is more than likely that you will need a host of tips that are practical. As with any teenager, a lot of patience and understanding is necessary in order to get through the unique challenges that come along with dealing with this stage of life. Your son or daughter will need you to walk them through many life skills and testaments so that they can grow emotionally and physically in a productive way.
For any teenager, parents will need to set some rules regarding what is acceptable behavior and what is unacceptable. This is tricky because parents want to afford their teens and young adults with some autonomy; however they cannot be allowed to run haywire either. Your autistic son or daughter will already have some targeted behavioral issues that may be unique and therefore dealing with them may require some alternative strategies.
The art of balancing independence and having to follow rules for teens that are autistic will be magnified but it will benefit parents to take precaution and establish disciplinary measures for your autistic teen. They will likely act out and not entirely understand that some of the things they want to do are not a good idea or solid choices. It is probable that you as a parent will encounter a lot of resistance or temper tantrums along the way.
The key is to allow your autistic teenager to be defiant in some areas and then to pull in their reins in other areas. The phrase ‘choosing your battles’ is entirely relevant with autistic teenagers so save the arguments for things that will endanger their health and well being or harm others in some way, and let them stay up for the late show on a school night as a reward or treat.
Regardless of what functioning level they are at, teenagers need to understand that their choices will vastly impact their lives and that sometimes those choices have consequences. While raising your autistic teenager it is vital to their development that you allow them to have choices and then support them regardless of how they turn out. This will teach them that they have some control over their lives, and also that we must reap what we sow in some circumstances.