I have been thinking a lot lately about the impact of what I say. This applies all the time; when talking to anyone. As Jasan gets older, I realize how influential I am to him specifically. It feels like a huge responsibility. I don’t want to screw him up. At the same time, what an honor! There is a little human on this planet that lives and swears by mostly everything I say. I guess I am quite important. 🙂
This really came to mind on a morning when Jasan came to my bed after he woke up. (He is my alarm clock on non-alarm clock days!) We had a little family argument the night before, and he was very concerned about it. He shed a few tears and just really wanted everything to be ok. I told him, as I was putting him to bed that evening, “Everything will always be ok. Let’s just all sleep and we will feel better in the morning.”
The first thing he said to me as he climbed into my bed that morning was, “Mama, I don’t want to be mean. I want to be a good guy. I feel much better. Are you ok now?” Which I replied, “Yes. I am ok! And just so you know, you are NEVER a bad guy. We all can have bad moments, but you are not a bad person. EVER.”
We laid there in silence, all snuggly, and I thought about how sweet that was. He really absorbed what I said and verbalized it back to me. Umprompted and on his own. WOW! He is growing up. This type of interaction would not have happened last year.
I read this recently, “Give your child the benefit of the doubt when their behavior seems unwarranted. Their immaturity leads them to perceive and respond to the world around them much differently than you.”
THIS COULD NOT BE MORE TRUE; with all children, but especially with our autistic kids.
Some more goodies from this article:
How we learn to respond or react to life is driven by our interactions with others. And the patterns which are set up in early childhood form the basis of our future relationships – including the one we have with ourselves.
As we mature, we collect, sort, and file away our emotional experiences as reference points.
A foundation of self-regulation, resiliency, and attachment is built – memory after memory – shaping our perspective, beliefs, self-concept, and outlook.
Everything can be completely changed – mood, behaviors, emotional intelligence, the ability to give and receive empathy, cognitive processing, and even our immune function, by altering how we experience our primary relationships and close attachments.
Choose to give your child quality feedback about how to respond to the world.
Conscious parenting deepens your child’s trust in the world and secures your influence as something to be regarded as safe and reliable. This cultivates the environment your child needs to develop and thrive – mentally, physically, and emotionally.
Fill the hearts and minds of your children with acceptance, understanding, and confidence. Try these three conscious parenting tips to start building a more influential relationship with your child.
CHECK YOUR LANGUAGE – is it harsh, sarcastic, cruel, degrading, impatient, insensitive, or otherwise disconnecting in tone or attitude – verbally or nonverbally, or is it kind, respectful, encouraging, and confident?
CHECK YOUR EXPECTATIONS – is your request developmentally appropriate? How can you help your child? Can you control the environment to meet your needs w/out your child’s help?
CHECK YOUR SELF-REGULATION – is your manner calm and confident? Are your limits set with kindness regardless of how your child reacts? Can you remain composed and non-argumentative even when your child is not?
Here are a few more points to consider:
13 PRINCIPLES OF CONSCIOUS PARENTING
(by Alfie Kohn)
- Be reflective.
- Reconsider your requests.
- Stay focused on your long-term goals.
- Put your relationship first.
- Change how you see, not just how you act.
- Be authentic.
- Talk less, ask more.
- Be mindful of your child’s age.
- Attribute to children the best possible motive consistent with the facts.
- Don’t stick to no’s unnecessarily.
- Don’t be rigid.
- Don’t be in a hurry.
I have discovered many things about myself since becoming a mom, and I have to say, one of the most important for me is DON’T BE IN A HURRY. Jasan (and I assume most autistic children) do not handle transitions easily. He is learning as he grows how to cope, but it has been key for me to HAVE PATIENCE. If I rush the process, it makes the whole experience a million times worse.
I like to think of conscious parenting as really learning my child and responding appropriately to what he needs. It requires looking a little deeper and taking more time. It is also a process of going more within myself and changing my default habits. Default is not better.