Parenting Styles to Avoid When Raising a Child With Autism

Raising a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder involves many challenges, because your child may not often communicate, play, or behave like their neurotypical peers. Sometimes, these behaviors can confuse or overwhelm parents, but parents can bring out strengths and abilities you may not even have realized your child possessed. It doesn’t always come naturally, though, and there are certain parenting styles you’ll need to consider avoiding especially when parenting a child with ASD. 

  • Helicopter parenting can stunt a child’s development. This is true for any child, but it’s especially important not to constantly hover over children with ASD because when you do, you prevent them from achieving independence and self-determination. It’s important to allow your child to experience the challenge of trying new things, enjoy success, learn from others, and learn from failure. If your child presents with behaviors that pose a safety risk however, then close supervision or safety precautions are often warranted.  
  • Competitive parenting can affect both you and your child negatively. When you feel like you’re competing with other parents, it can cause you to develop a feeling that your child and your parenting are not up to par. When you feel this way, it may impact you and your child’s self-image. 
  • Free-range parenting is inappropriate for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Children with ASD need higher levels of focused parental engagement, with parents who help them learn how to socialize, converse, pretend, ask questions, investigate the world, and build other important skills.  
  • Perfectionist parenting creates unrealistic expectations. Some children might thrive under “tiger” parenting, but those children do not often have ASD. While it’s important to have high ideals for your child, it’s also crucial that you don’t set your sights on goals that will only frustrate and upset both of you. 
  • Permissive parenting can cause serious problems in the long run. While you shouldn’t set your expectations too high, you also need to make sure you don’t set the bar too low. Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder need to experience the feeling of confidence that comes with accomplishment.  
  • Frenetic parenting can overwhelm your childSchool, therapy, and other activities are important in helping your child learn and grow, but too much packed into the schedule can leave no room for practicing new skills and interacting with others. Children with ASD are still children and need time to play and rest. When you’re scheduling activities, make sure to work in some calm, unfocused parent and child time.  

If your child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, STAR of CA is here to offer support. Founded in 2006, we provide behavioral and psychological services to people with ASD and related disorders in a nurturing environment that offers support for the entire family. We love what we do, and are devoted to improving lives through focused, caring services. You can contact us through our website or by calling 805.644.7827. 

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