Mom Admits To Feeling Like A 'Failure' For Allowing Her Autistic Son To Have Too Much Screen Time

Her worries highlight just how hard it can be to parent a child with special needs.

mom and son on the floor playing on a tablet iona didishvili / Shutterstock

A mom has sparked a conversation about how difficult it can be to parent a child with special needs after admitting how often she feels frustrated.

Posting to the subreddit "r/parenting" — an online public forum where parents can share the ups and downs of raising children — the mom to a 3-year-old little boy admitted that she regrets allowing her son to spend an extreme amount of time on his tablet.


She explained that she feels like a 'failure' as a mom for letting her son have too much screen time.

In her Reddit post, she explained that her 3-year-old son is autistic, and while he's verbal, he doesn't communicate much. To occupy his time, she'd often let him use his tablet but quickly noticed that she may have made a mistake. "I’ve let his tablet babysit him," she wrote. "I've totally shafted him and I hate it so much. I should’ve been giving him so much more time and attention."

She first noticed how detrimental the tablet had become after he bit her niece and drew blood because he was aggravated at not being able to use it.


Now, she's going to start enforcing a limit on his screen time but acknowledged that the only reason she had allowed him to use it in the first place was to be able to get things done around the house and for herself. She claimed it was easier to distract him by simply putting the tablet in front of him.

mom admits to feeling like a failure for allowing her son to have too much screen timePhoto: Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

RELATED: Moms Of Autistic Children Face Backlash After Saying That Autism Is Not A 'Blessing'


"He’s constantly sensory seeking by jumping on the couch and climbing furniture, and I may as well be a single parent with the amount of help I get around the house [and] with him," she continued.

The little boy's mother pointed out that she was going to have to start coming up with different activities to do with him to supplement the time that he had spent on the tablet.

Since realizing how negative being in front of a screen was for her son, she feels like a failure as a parent and is upset that she let it get this bad without noticing it happening. 

"He’s been showing more aggression lately and I’m worried that I’ll just have to accept that. I find myself wondering if I will ever have a conversation with my boy or if his main forms of communication will always be crying and biting," she concluded.


RELATED: How I Radically Accepted My Life As The Parent Of A Child On The Autism Spectrum

It's common for parents of children with disabilities to feel overly stressed and stretched thin.

Parenting a child with special needs or disabilities, such as autism, can be an extraordinarily challenging and demanding journey. 

In fact, a study from 2019 confirmed a direct correlation between outside support for mothers of autistic children and levels of depression and anxiety. Not only are over half of these moms struggling with an overall sense of happiness, but the less help and support they have, the more likely their mental health will suffer. 

This mother in particular was able to admit her mistake in allowing her son to be on his tablet for too long and is taking active steps to improve her parenting techniques in order to give her son a more fulfilling life. Her honest and brave confession shouldn't leave any room for judgment from other people, and it certainly does not make her a bad mother.


Like any parent, whether their child has special needs or not, this mother wants the best for her child. Her concerns stem from a genuine desire for her son to lead a fulfilling and happy life, and she actively envisions and wants a future for her son where he will be able to thrive and reach his full potential. There's nothing wrong with allowing him to use his tablet, just like there's nothing wrong with her realizing that she wants to engage in more interactive activities with him too.

Rather than shaming her, the focus should be on offering empathy, resources, and practical advice to help her navigate the challenges of parenting a child with special needs.

RELATED: Mom Who Admits She 'Cannot Handle' Her Husband's Disabled Daughter Worries She's An 'Absolute Monster'


Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.