I frequently struggle with feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, and that I don’t deserve what I have (which, maybe I don’t? What upper-middle-class American really does deserve all they have?). It’s taken me some time to be able to reflect on this aspect of my upbringing and begin to understand and grow from it. At the Baby Groot hug Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL shirt Furthermore, I will do this end of the day, all parents make mistakes- I know I make mistakes in raising my children which they’ll probably have to deal with when they become adults. But if you want my advice, based on my experiences: Parents- dont devalue your children. They need to know that they bring value to the world and their fellow humankind in whatever way they are. There are many more ways to be a worthy person than by simply adhering to standards that define a “good husband” or a “good wife.” They need to know that their dreams are legitimate and that they deserve whatever they work to achieve. But please, teach every child that they have value. I was not taught this about myself, so it’s so important for me to teach my own kids this now. Raising my autistic daughter taught me many strategies that I used with my non disabled kids and with my middle school students as a teacher. Rule number one is not to take what they say or do personally. Kids express frustration and anger and sadness and other strong feelings through their behavior and you are the adult and need to react in a logical, rational way without feeling anger and embarrassment for yourself. Focus on the behavior. You can’t tell your kids often enough that you love them but their behavior is unacceptable. Then rule two is to constantly do what the pros called “preference assessment.” What do they care about or want? Use that to get the behavior your want. We used to joke that the toys went into time out, not the kids, because that’s what worked. With my disabled daughter we used tiny food rewards in the early years, then transitioned to small toys or privileges that had to be earned by getting through a period of time with appropriate behavior. We took a daughter who was aggressive toward others, self injurious and bolted away from us and she’s now well behaved with an ability to go out into the community that I would never have guessed.