DEAR ABBY: I have a child with autism. He's my world, and I love him deeply. Because he has special needs, I can't afford a babysitter, so my parents watch him all the time or I cancel whatever I need to do that day.
Because my parents are my only source of babysitting, they think they don't have to listen to me. If I tell them the time I give him his medication, so don't change it, they think he needs it earlier, and they know better than I do. I'm constantly second-guessed, and if they don't agree with my decisions, they go behind my back. If I buy my son a new toy and my dad doesn't like it, he screams at me and makes me feel 2 inches tall. He was an absent father, and my mother can't relinquish control of anything.
I'm at a loss on how to handle this because I know they want what's best for my child, but so do I. As his mother, shouldn't I be able to make that decision?
-- My child in Illinois
DEAR MY CHILD: Yes, you should be able to make decisions regarding your son and expect that they will be respected. However, your parents have you over a barrel, and they know it. You do not have to tolerate it. I suggest you contact the Autism Society (autism-society.org). When you do, you will be connected with a local branch for guidance and options.