FROM BECKY: As requested by a Son-Rise Program Dad. Here are some things to do when your child with autism is not getting what they want and they are whining, crying or showing unhappiness.

The example this parent gave was that when anyone else besides Mommy goes in the playroom with his child, he cries around the door and wants out.

I know this is a common thing so here are some ideas of what to do when this happens. This could also apply to other scenarios and boundaries, you set with your child such as, your child wants to empty all of your expensive body lotion down the sink, your child wants to eat a whole packet of cookies, your child wants to play with water and is spilling it all over your new carpet.

1) Know your boundaries. In The Son-Rise Program, we have certain limits and boundaries that we need to set with our children at times. These are our boundaries: The door (the playroom door is always locked. Safety (when our child isn’t safe or trying to do something unhealthy or dangerous, such as drinking toilet water or climbing on a high ledge). Destruction of property (e.g. drawing on the walls, tearing up books, etc). Get clear on what you want to keep as a boundary and what you want to allow your child to do and make sure the whole team is aware and is on the same page.

2) It’s OK to not get what you want. We know that you love and want the best for your child! Loving and wanting the best for them is not giving them what they want at all the times. They are going to experience life, and part of life’s learning is that you sometimes don’t get what you want and have to find ways to deal with that calmly and easily. By holding this belief, you will stay strong in your attitude while helping them through this learning.

3) Role Model how to be. When you are in the playroom or around the house and things don’t go your way, focus on being calm and easy to inspire them (e.g. if you didn’t win the lottery today, give yourself a cheer for trying anyway, if you in the playroom and you try to catch a ball and miss, explain that it’s OK that you dropped it and you can still be happy anyway).

4) Use Explanations. Sweetly tell your child that even if they cry, the door will not open/you will not get them more cookies,/you are going to help them down from the shelf/if they continue to rip the book, you will put it back on the shelf because books are for reading.

5) Come from a place of love! It’s OK for your child to be unhappy, it will not harm them! You are doing an amazingly loving and helpful thing for your child by demonstrating that it’s OK for them to cry, shout, whine, etc and you still love them anyway.

6) Experiment! Using the example of the door, if you have tried explaining, playing with the door, slowly offering your child other things from the shelf, etc and they continue to cry at the door. Try quietly moving to the corner of the room, with your energy and attention shifted away from them. Explain that you will be playing by yourself and they can join you when they are ready. Get yourself an activity to do (I like to draw a picture or read a book) and turn away. Give them plenty of distance as you do this and keep your energy quiet and low. The idea is not to distract them but to allow them to soothe themselves and that your own happiness is not going to be changed by them doing this.

7) Be consistent. If there is just one person that gives in the opens the door or gives them the thing they want while they are crying, then they will continue to use this to their advantage. Make sure their are no “Weakest links” in your chain.

Have fun!

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