Alright I know I may get some flack for this one. I am completely in the school of thought to always presume competence. I get mad when people want to baby or think my kids can not do something without knowing the whole story. We all have weaknesses. We all have limitations. That is not a bad thing. What's bad is hiding your head in the sand and ignoring ones limitations. What I say is always presume competence but do not overlook limitations. It is OK to test the limits we all test our own limits but do not push it to far.
Right now I am fighting with my ex over just this issue. He made a big stink at the end of the year that he wanted Roger more that he wanted to get to know him. That he is not really autistic that it is my bad parenting. etc... I said fine you want to see him that's great. Well it is not so great. They have been using him as a cheap babysitter. He takes him on Monday I pick him up on Friday and Roger spends the week watching two young kids anywhere from six to ten hours a day for little money considering what daycare and other private options would charge.
I found out and I spoke up. Six to ten hours a day with two young kids five days a week is a lot for any fourteen year old. I brought up do you really think your best option for childcare is a fourteen year old autistic child who has seizures? The kicker here is he thinks all Rogers dxs are wrong. I asked what if he gets overwhelmed and has a meltdown what do the little ones do? I already know the answer. Roger says they just keep picking at him. Sure Roger has awesome control over his meltdowns (this has come with age a maturity I think) but what when you and your wife are two hours away what is he supposed to do if it gets to be too much? What if he has a seizure? DO your kids know what to do?
I have tried to explain that yes Roger is perfectly capable of watching his siblings for short periods of time. Roger has also voiced that ten hours a day is too much for him. That he does not want to do it any more. His dad is you said you would so now you have too. Wait hold on a second he is telling us that it is to much and he can't and doesn't want to do it. I'm all for sticking to your word but we also need to listen to him when he tells us his limitations. When he says something is to much we need to listen and find out why? Is the time to long? are the kids not behaving? Does he just need a break during the day?
My solution for now is I signed Roger up for some camps he was interested in. Band camp, digital arts camp, a robotics camp that the school offers. We are waiting to see if we received any of the scholarships for the different camps.He also has a day surf camp in August. No way is he giving that up. He has also shown interest in going to work with husband who is a general contractor just to see what they do. Really are you going to tell your kid (who by the way you see all of a weekend every two months during the school year) no you can't go you have to babysit because I don't want to pay for daycare? Sorry but your kids are not his responsibility. They are yours and Roger never intended to give up his whole summer to watch kids. As I type this he is texting his friend in the neighborhood who just returned from vacation about hanging out this week and just being kid. Swimming, video games, sleepovers, etc... Roger is fourteen it's time for him to be fourteen. He has plenty of time to work and have adult responsibilities later.