Revisiting Masculinity: The Father’s Journey With Autism

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alex
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29 Mar 2015, 1:41 pm

http://wrongplanet.net/revisiting-mascu ... ey-autism/

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When my son was born in November 1979, I jumped for joy. When he was diagnosed with autism 4 years later, I thought my head was going to explode. I couldn’t get the word autism out of my mouth for months.

In general, it is harder for men to talk about problems than women. Women seem able to talk about problems and find comfort without needing to fix them. Of course, women do want to fix problems. As for men, when we can’t fix something, we don’t want to talk about it—and this is a factor in male depression and a problem in relationships.

As Nelson Mandela wrote, “A boy may cry; a man conceals his pain.” Boys are still taught at a young age to feel ashamed of their tender feelings, especially their gentleness, caring, vulnerability, and fear. What is acceptable is showing their tough, action-oriented side along with physical strength. All emotions save anger are to be hidden even from themselves. So what’s a man to do when his child is diagnosed? How do you handle that choked up feeling? Men tend to withdraw and cry on the inside. On the outside we may be grumpy and irritable, but on the inside we are hurting. This is part of the secret life of men raising a child with autism.


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Sweetleaf
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29 Mar 2015, 1:49 pm

This is part of why I dislike gender stereotypes/roles...


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momsparky
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29 Mar 2015, 2:35 pm

There is a local Meetup group just for Dads of kids on the spectrum; I think it's really helpful for men to find other men who have the same issues to hang out with. I know they don't do the same things my (non-gender-specific-but-mostly-Moms) group does; they tend to go grab a beer and talk about politics or sports or whatever...but just being with other parents who get it is helpful.

Meetup can be a great tool if there isn't already a system of support in place; it's inexpensive and it casts a pretty wide net. If there isn't one in your area it's easy enough to do on your own.



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29 Mar 2015, 3:08 pm

As a former autistic child, I find that attitude to be selfish and condescending. Oh, boo-hoo, woe is me, my child is defective!

Your child is not defective. Your child has built-in challenges, and needs to be supported and encouraged. The last thing your kid needs in the entire world is a parent who treats them as though they were incapable or inferior, out of a misplaced sense of guilt over having spawned a "cripple." Celebrate your child's abilities and advantages and love their potential, instead of grieving their handicaps.

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To find clues, I ask men about their warmest memories of their fathers. Almost without exception they recount doing things with their dads such as taking a ride or a walk, building or fixing stuff, going on errands, cleaning up the yard, watching TV, or throwing a ball around.

The essence of every good memory tends to be doing things together.


That, OTOH, I can endorse. focus on that.


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Orangez
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29 Mar 2015, 6:11 pm

This will never happen because, unlike females, males view each other as competition and we have an out group preference towards females. Most people like to believe this idea to be a "social construct" , however, it is biology and evolution at work, so, fighting this is not as easy as some people want to believe. Good luck in fighting your biology as the pursuit of rationality is not the pursuit of happiness.



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30 Mar 2015, 11:27 am

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unlike females, males view each other as competition


:lmao: