Multiracial Child with Aspergers and Cultural Issues at Home

by Phillip

I am a member of the Wounded Warrior Transition Battalion, I was injured during a training exercise and I used to be an Army medic and LPN nurse. Now however, I am unable to continue on and I stay at home and help to raise my son and daughter while I go through the retirement process so I now spend a lot of time with my children. I am also a Native American Soldier, Apache-Choctaw-Chickasaw.

I live in Hawaii with my family, and are a very multi-cultured family, just recently my son was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. We struggle everyday to try and teach him lessons in the old way and use the Apache traditions I have been brought up with however, like your family my wife is Japanese and she at times does not understand a lot of the Native American ways I was brought up with. Now that you have a little bit of the background I have two questions:

Can your parenting book assist us with the raising of our child with the Aspergers? This is the first and foremost challenge with our son. Everyday it is a challenge with him and everyday it gets harder and harder not to break down and yell and scream at him for his little idiosyncrasies we know he can not control. We search desperately for assistance but there is very little the Schools here and the State of Hawaii can offer us. Secondly there is very little that a traditional sense I can find in my own value system that I can see through the haze of everyday to use to teach him with in our Apache way.

Do you think your book will help bridge the gap that my family has between the cultures. My wife is very supportive of my traditions such as the children learning our lifestyle and culture however when I tell my son things like, "Son your eight now it is time for you to start training in hunting and the ways of the hunter and the Apache Way". She will argue with me that we do not live on a Reservation and that should not be something I try to focus on with him so much. After much arguing we always come to my walls which then are, "fine I have two options then one you allow me to teach him the Apache way or two we move back to where I learned my traditions on the reservation". Which of course we both walk away angry and shut down.

If you think this parenting book can honestly help me in these areas I would purchase your book, however if this book is simply more quotes and more things that I already know such as respect your mother and elders and hold the mothers in the highest respect ... these things are not new to a Native American. I need assistance in bridging my culture to work with my son in another way and I hope your the way.

If you think your book is not something that would help my son I wonder if you have ever considered branching out into some areas such as these issues that may face Native Communites such as mental health issues that can be addressed in a alternative method using our Native Cultural ways, i.e. ADD, Aspergers, Dysgraphia, Child Trauma PTSD Syndroms, etc.

Funny because I found your link to your site by accident as I just became the new Committee Chairperson for my son's Cub Scouts and was actually looking for a certain quote for something totally else. I being a healer too though believe that the Creator does not bring things by accident or mistake so I will leave it at that and that is all I have to say ... in my language, I'heedn. I wish many blessings on your family from the Creator.

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Jul 04, 2009
Multiracial Child with Aspergers and Cultural Disagreements at Home
by: Laura Ramirez

Thank you for your question. I understand your situation. I don't know if I mentioned this on my web site or not, but my husband is disabled and lies in chronic pain. In our family, we have a saying: "you can only go as fast as the slowest person."

Let your son's Aspergers slow you down, help you accept him as he is (even when you feel like yelling or screaming) and encourage both of you to discover how this experience can help him discover his inner strengths. This is what my parenting book is about: using native principles to help children discover their sense of integrity through the development of inner strengths, so they can bring these gifts to the world and create meaningful lives for themselves.

It is definitely not a book of Native American quotes or rehashed ideas.

Although I don't specifically address Aspergers in the book, I do teach how to use Mother Nature to teach kids the basics of human psychology. You can use this as a fun way to teach your son about the different types of people in the world. I think this is especially important for a child with Aspergers (and can also be a way to bring in the concept of a modern-day warrior. Read more about my thoughts on this below.)

Your son offers you a unique opportunity to discover who you are and what you're made of, even as you're guiding him to find his strengths and ultimately, his purpose. You talk about wanting to teach your son to hunt. I think it is important to teach survival skills, however, in the modern world, it might even be more important to teach your child to be a warrior in terms of dealing with his disorder and the people in society who are intolerant or might reject him. As you know, in the native world, those with disabilities or disorders are often the healers because their experience has given them a different (and bigger) perspective.

In terms of parenting conflicts with your wife, know that there will always be gaps of understanding when it comes to the importance of transmitting certain cultural values. There are conflicts even in marriages with people of the same culture because each parent has a different idea about how their children should be raised. As long as you can come together and act in the best interests of your child and as long as you both agree that your son needs to learn as much as possible about both his cultures, so he can
feel at home in both, then I think it will be easier for your wife to see the importance of
you teaching your son what you know and beyond that, the magic father-son bonding that will
happen because of it.

Learn more about Laura's parenting book, which won a Nautilus award for "books that promote conscious living and social change."

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