The ex and I divorced 4 years ago, and in that time, The Boy has been on the receiving end of many empty and broken promises. These range from “I’ll call you on Thursday,” (empty) to “I’m not going to be picking him up for his week with me,” (broken). As you can imagine, this would devastate any kid, but to a kid with autism, who is reliant on schedules, timers, and routine, it can be catastrophic.
This was actually a common theme before the divorce, so I am used to it, but The Boy was 6 when we divorced, and has learned only by experiencing it so often over the past four years. He still enjoys talking to his dad, and still enjoys visits to his dad’s when they occur, but the empty promises wreak much less havoc now. There are still tears, and “Why isn’t he coming to pick me up?” but he now knows his dad has a tendency to break promises, and he’s starting to understand that it’s something we can’t do anything about.
The only thing I can do is to make sure I don’t break my promises to The Boy. It’s very important to me that he knows he can rely on me, and he does because I’m consistent. There are times I know he thinks I’m the meanest mom in the world, but he knows I love him, I will never leave him, and he can always count on me.