Autism and Boundaries The Confidence Code for Moms to Combat Chaos

Hi Moms! Setting boundaries can be really complicated, but they are necessary. Your mind might be flooded with past experiences of getting unsolicited advice from a well-meaning person, the stares and judgment during a meltdown in the public place, or the family member, who says, “Oh, let them” because they aren’t aware of the consequences it might have for an autistic child. 

Is it possible to confidently navigate these situations and maintain our own sanity while keeping our child safe?

In this episode, I explore your options when it comes to boundaries. 

Find the full transcript for this episode at https://thrivingmomsofautistics.com/83

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When Setting Boundaries Feels Impossible for Moms of Autistics Here are some real life examples of such events that moms commonly experience. 

When a non-verbal child gets overwhelmed in crowds and a child keeps pushing them to play with them, how do they let you know what they need? It is hard for all of us to deal with someone, who won’t take “no” for an answer or doesn’t understand that the child cannot verbally communicate.

Navigating public or family holidays when your child is sensitive to loud noises, especially July Fourth. Some people shrug it off and don’t want to listen. 

I live in a city neighborhood that is extremely loud. I deal with this frustration daily. There are fireworks, loud music, sirens, yelling, gun fire, etc. 

We plan for sirens, barking, construction noises, but it is frustrating when others refuse to modify their music or follow the law in general. 

As a mom, I have been teaching others about how noise impacts autistics. Unfortunately, we are dealing with people who lack concern for other human beings. That is why they are engaging in these behaviors to begin with. Moving to the country is not an option for us right now, but it is something that we are working toward. 

Moms often feel powerless in many of these situations. 

Moms Sometimes Don’t Set Boundaries for the Very Reasons They Should be Setting Boundaries

Here are some examples of what keep us from boundary setting:

  1. People pleasing – Confrontation can be hard, especially in social situations. 
  2. Unfair Judgment 
  3. Unsolicited Advice
  4. Pressure to Conform
  5. Refusal to Understand
  6. Feeling Overwhelmed 

How Autism Moms Can Gain Back Power During These Common Challenges and Strengthen the Boundaries They Set

When you set boundaries with others, you need to do the following:

  1. Know your audience – You know when someone is likely to hear your message or not. If they aren’t, you are welcome to simply state, “The music is pretty loud. Davey needs some quiet time right now. Thank you for understanding.” 

They will choose to help or not. Accept their decision and move on. You might need to use another intervention. You are your child’s advocate first!

  1. Don’t intervene until you are calm. Be calm and firm in your approach. As they say, “You catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar!”
  2. If you are feeling uncertain about your approach, practice first. You can role-play with someone. Additional insight is often helpful. Some say, “Two heads are better than one!” 
  3. Be assertive! That is not the same as being aggressive. Aggression is not helpful. Being assertive is advocating for your child. My son knows that he is autistic, but I usually advocate one to one with the person when he is not there. He doesn’t need to watch me explain autism to others. So, I am mindful of that. 

If you ask the autistic community, most will tell you at this point in time that they prefer the term autistic. Otherwise, “with autism” implies something is wrong with them and they need to be fixed.” 

It’s a neurological condition where you experience the world differently. Those experiences are not all bad. 

The issue that we run into when boundaries need to be set is that others don’t always understand autism. The child doesn’t choose to have a meltdown. Their mind and body are experiencing the world differently. 

In the next week, consider those times you wish you had intervened or set some boundaries. How might you do things differently next time? 

I hope this helped today!

I look forward to our time together next week!