Image is a word meme with text in a white circle on a sandy background. Reads : we do things differently at my place, but I wouldn't have it any other way - Amy Bean FB/RespectfullyConnected

Culture Shock

Not long ago I had been battling anger, frustration and sadness at being on the outer. I have been exasperated that people can’t just accept my family, our choices and our life as being different.

Insulted by the need to question our lives, when I don’t question theirs.
The reason why I was so hurt, angry and tired of having the same conversations over and over again. Explaining the same things.
Justifying our choices.
I just wanted people to accept us.
Our choices.
Us.
To understand that all decisions made in our house are for us to be the best, happiest family we can be.
To just say “that’s great, I’m glad you have found something that works for you guys”.

Have you ever felt like you just don’t fit in? Because your family is different to most;
Aren’t the norm, the majority and the mainstream?
I feel like my entire parenting experience I have always been on outer. The co sleeping, breastfeeding, respectful parenting meant for limited like-minded people.
Believing in nuerodiverisity and acceptance for our Autistic child, so that we can support him to develop his best self, has been met with a lot of surprise.

Choosing to unschool after 2 attempts at kinder failed our Autistic child has been the thing that has been met with the most shock. And questioning. And emailing. And concern. And interference. Suggestions of other schooling ideas. Encouraging us to look at special schools.  It hurt, the lack of support.
The pushing of us, to do something other than what we were doing. That we had decided. That we were happy with. That we felt was right.
Nothing made the decision harder than having people not see that we had made a decision based on our experiences, knowledge of our child, the options and had collated that to make our choice.
For us;
Our family.

We wanted our child to be comfortable, to flourish, to learn in an environment that nurtured him.
No one ever asks about why we choose to do that. The focus is on socialising, is it legal, will they ever go to school, how will I cope without kids at school, why don’t we look at a special school?… It goes on and on.

I had to stop being so angry no one cared about all the research we have done. That they don’t ask about why we don’t believe mainstream school is for our child. What our experiences have been. Why we don’t believe in special schools being an option.

I have realised to stop being angry I had to look at what was triggering my anger. It’s core was the lack of acceptance of my family. That people questioning and not supporting our choices angered me because I wanted the support. The acceptance.
I couldn’t continue being so hurt and having my confidence shattered. I was scared of taking this big leap and people’s questions were rocking my belief in what we were doing, even though I knew the alternatives weren’t right.

Once I started to see my reasons for my anger and address my fears and soothe myself I rebuilt my confidence.
Then I needed to start looking at how people react or respond to things I do that aren’t the norm and develop an understanding that allowed me not to be constantly defensive.
I had to look at people’s reactions from a different perspective. Why are people so? Because it’s not their reality. And I realised it’s a type of culture shock.

We all live our own lives and it can be so surprising looking at how others do things.
The culture at home can be vastly different, and when we see that, it can be a culture shock. We can be surprised and think “how do they do that?”
It’s this type of culture shock I feel like I experience with other people. And at the moment framing people’s reactions this way has helped me with feeling so misunderstood.
And it’s helped me react in a kinder, more self assured way.
“Yeah we do things differently at my place, but I wouldn’t have it any other way”

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