Friday, August 30, 2013

Autism Answer: Watch Behaviors for Ideas, not to Judge Yourself!

Sometimes it's hard not to use our children's behaviors as a tool for measuring our own parenting. I've heard myself wonder: If my son is "petting" girls because they are soft, what am I doing wrong as a mom? If my other son comes home past curfew and more than a little bit drunk, where did I mess up?

But it's so important to remember not to do this! When we see our kids behaviors as a direct link to our parenting, we almost always overreact and will become easily overwhelmed. Also, we accidentally don't hold them responsible for their own actions. We might tell them we do, but if we don't really believe it, they can tell!

So, when my son is "petting" the pretty girls that visit his brothers, it IS my job to teach him that he's being inappropriate (over and over and over...tee hee!), and when my other son comes home after drinking with his friends it IS my job to take away his phone and keep him home for a weekend or two, but never was it my job to make sure these things didn't happen. I didn't do these things, they did.

It's necessary to pay attention to our children's behaviors, and to talk about them and teach to them and ask questions about them and make clear, concrete rules about them. Let's just try not to judge ourselves harshly because of them.

Parenting is not controlling what our kids think and do; it's being willing to listen and guess and teach and step-up and love and make mistakes and try again. 

It's really complex and challenging, but it's also really really wonderful!!

Hugs, smiles and love!!!