4 Steps to Overcoming the Thought That You’re Failing Your Autistic Child

by | Feb 26, 2024

I still remember to this day, curled up in bed crying my eyes out wondering if I had, yet again, let my beautiful angel boy down.  Another day of what felt like me not knowing what to do or how to do it and feeling like a huge and complete failure.

The list of things that I felt like I wasn’t doing well was, I felt, enormous!  The list of stuff that I was getting right, felt slim……. Fed my child.  Tick!

Was I in fact failing him?  Was I letting him down?  Where could I turn to get a better understanding and better grasp on what autism was and how I was going to move forward in this journey.

Life at that point felt Grim.  Depressing.  Anxious.  It felt like my self-confidence was lurking in the toilet, my mental health was barely hanging on and yet I didn’t know how to connect with my son in order to help him learn a new skill.

What was I supposed to do?  All the thoughts came rushing into my head….. “I can’t do this.  I’m not a qualified therapist.  I need help.  I don’t want anyone to know about his autism.  They’ll judge me, they’ll judge him.”  These were the thoughts that went through my mind on a regular basis.  Cue imposter syndrome.  For those of you who don’t know what imposter syndrome is, I’ll break it down quickly for you.  Imposter syndrome is where you’re kicking all the goals but still feel like you’re not doing enough.  Achieving enough.  Is this resonating???

You see when I looked in the mirror all I saw was a tired, stressed-out shell of a version of myself.  I couldn’t see what others saw in me.

Where I saw failure, disappointment, useless, others saw determination, focus and an unwillingness to give up.

It wasn’t uncommon for me to lay in my bed, crying myself to sleep, replaying on how I could have done things so much better that day.

Amongst all of the tears and snot, I found a new strategy that helped me.  A strategy that I could apply before going to bed.  A strategy that would save me.

So here it is:

When I was laying in my bed, I would think of only the good things that happened during the day.  As soon as the negative thoughts would come in, I would swat them away, telling my brain they were no longer welcome in this space, and I would refocus on what happened that was good.

Next, I would try to feel as much gratitude as I could in my heart and in my body.  I would try to flood my nervous system with as much happiness as I could possibly muster.

Then I would say the following sentence “I did well today, now I get to rewind the clock and have a do over.  I get to start again.  I’ve been given another day with this precious child.”

And if those negative thoughts would come in my mind, I would repeat to myself that I will have another day to address what had gone wrong.  I have been granted another day to try again.


Going through this visualisation helped me to put into perspective on where I had felt I was letting my angel boy down and how I could make sense of it in my mind.

Give it a go.

But in the meantime, here are some reminders:

You are a wonderful parent.

You’re being stretched beyond your means.  Give yourself grace.

You’ll never look back and say I wish I didn’t try so hard.

Cry to let the heartache out and laugh to let the joy back in.

Your child will thank you one day that you fought so hard for them.

And when you feel like giving up and throwing in the towel, re-read this post and remind yourself of what an incredible human you are and that you’ve been given this opportunity to try again.

If this helped, I ask you to share with the parents that are feeling this way also.  Give them a helping hand up.

You are not alone

This journey was not meant to be walked alone.


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