My daughter said she wants to live with me forever. When she was young, I told her she could live with me for as long as she needed to.
She tells me she is terrified of living without me – that she does not know how she will manage.
While she was not ready to leave the house at 18, my wish is one day, with the right supports, she will have the confidence to live a life apart from me.
She started on this road – when she moved out (with her Grandma) to attend College. While she is still with a relative, she did take a step moving away from me, which I had hoped would help her confidence. College did not work out, and she is back home.
Another breakthrough was her agreeing that should she receive funding from Development Services Ontario for housing, she would be willing to look at moving into a semi-independent situation. While this could be years away, at least she is beginning to dream of some form of independence.
For many of our children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder we should not push for independence. We should strive for interdependence. We need to raise our children normalizing and modelling how to ask for and how to accept or receive help. After all, who really lives a completely independent life. We rely on or access others for almost every aspect of our lives. It may seem obvious to us, but it isn’t always for our children.
Confidence builds with small steps. We want our kids to be successful. Success grows confidence. Reduce your expectations and set your kids up to succeed. Not saying they shouldn’t learn how to accept defeat and failures and setbacks, but those should occur naturally. We need to build their resilience so they will have confidence.
My daughter is now 22. She still isn’t ready to move out, but that’s okay. And we are still working on building her confidence. Her grandmother takes the old fashioned approach and I think that does a lot of damage and harm to her self confidence. I spend a lot of time trying to boost her back up.
COVID has in some ways made her seem more reliant on me again. One positive this year has been we found a virtual support worker who connects with her twice a week. Now they have established some trust and a relationship we are going to start working on life skills and building up that esteem and confidence.
I will admit I didn’t think she would still be at home at 22. But I would rather her be at home and safe if she doesn’t have the skills yet to navigate the world or until we can find the appropriate supportive environment for her to succeed and be safe. Day 64 of 99 Days to FASDay: Daily Life Skills looked at social skills and FASD and Day 67-73 of 99 Days to FASDay: Supporting Adults with FASD looked at what is needed to support adults.
One of my dreams, if my daughter does not want to move out, would be to start a tiny home village where caregivers and their kids could live together and we would have supports available for all of us. I’m not getting any younger and I want my daughter safe when I’m not here and being part of a community would be ideal. My fear is we will continue to be alone.
So this wish is still in progress, but I believe it is one that can come true.