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When My Son With Autism Told Me He No Longer Wants to Be a Dad When He Grows Up

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Our eldest son on the autism spectrum used to say when he grew up he’d like to be a dad — possibly combined with a part-time job as a either a dentist or super villain.

Relationships hang around in the back of your mind when you have an autistic child. Will they, won’t they? Every person with autism is different, and what they want out of their life and how they interact with people and the world is different too.

The thoughts about our son being in a romantic relationship, becoming a dad and the difficulties he may face with this came to my mind again when a few days ago he declared he didn’t want to be a dad anymore. I wondered why. Why doesn’t he want to a dad anymore?

“What if (the child) makes me angry?”

“And I’m not good at homework and I have to be able to help them… What if I can’t?”

What more can I say? My son continues to astound me. He’s only 8 years old, and he deals with ADHD, anxiety and a few other bits and pieces. He knows this. Sometimes he’s happy with it, sometimes it frustrates him and sometimes he shows an extraordinary amount of empathy and care that melts my heart or brings a tear to my eyes. He has many qualities I think would be great in a father.

But son, with this single comment, you proved you couldn’t be a better dad. Here is the truth:

Every parent gets angry at some point.

Every parent wonders if they are good enough.

And this is when we are old enough to be parents. At 8 years old, you have years to work on these. But more than that, your doubts make me think you would be a fantastic father.  Your sister may walk around with a doll, but that doesn’t mean she’d make a better parent. What you are concerned about could not make you more parent-like.

My son may have struggles ahead with his own feelings, his friendships, his affections. As his parents, we will be here to help him through these times. We hope to help him achieve whatever it is he really wants to do. As always, I’m ever so proud of you, son.

Follow this journey at

Originally published: August 10, 2016
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