Tuesday, April 10, 2012

If I Could have just ONE do-over in my Parenting...

My son turned 10 last month, double digits! Naturally, I've done alot of contemplating, considering mistakes I've made as well as enjoying the results of all the positive impact I've had on my son's life.

I guess, as with all things in life, you have to accept the good with the bad, suck it up, and own your mistakes.

But if could have just ONE do-over in my parenting, just one chance to do it all again but knowing what I know now, it would be this very relevant piece of advice to fellow-parents everywhere: LEARN TO KEEP CALM AT ALL TIMES. STAY IN CONTROL. TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO CONTROL HIS EMOTIONS BY YOUR OWN EXAMPLE.

If only it were that easy. Even now, after years of trying to put this into practice, its still hard. When my son is spitting at me, cussing me, physically attacking me, or behaving in destructive, aggressive ways, how easy do you think it is to STAY CALM?

My natural instinct when being attacked by someone is not to stay calm. I feel threatened, I feel adrenaline, I feel concerned and cornered and I think its alot of living in "fight-or-flight" mode. It does things to the mind, it wears down your emotions, and often leaves you feeling helpless.

But then I wonder, if I'm feeling threatened, frightened, cornered, ... what must it feel like to an autistic child, who comprehends things so differently than I do? If its hard for me to stay calm, when I'm feeling uncomfortable, might not my son, although he is the one instigating the aggression, feel even more helpless and out-of-control, than even I do?

I know that the only way I am going to be able to teach my son how to handle his emotions, is by showing him, over and over again.

Every time he becomes aggressive or over-reacts due to his perception of the situation, I know this is a given opportunity to teach by my own example..."Look. Mom's upset. You're screaming and lashing out and Mom feels threatened. But Mom's staying calm. Mom's quiet. Mom's in control of her voice, her words, herself. Julian's turn."

Easier said than done? Yep. But I'm determined. I want my child to overcome these horrific struggles with his emotions, his reactions. And if God believes I can impact my son's life with positivity and make that difference, then who am I to doubt the responsibility God has placed in my hands?


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Helpful info about Autism from the National Autism Society