“Autism parenting certainly does not come with an instruction manual. However, being able to support your own attitudinal experience along the way will make your journey a whole lot sweeter. One way to support yourself and your child along the way is to focus more on what you can control and worry less about what you cannot control.
“Two examples of things you can NOT control:
- “Your child’s behavior.
- “Other people’s judgments of you and/or your child on the autism spectrum.
“Two examples of things you CAN control:
- “Your reactions and responses to your child’s behavior.
- “What you do with your attitude around those who judge you, your child, or your parenting style.
“With limited time and resources, spending time and energy worrying about the things you cannot control can be draining. Pour your time and energy into things you can control regarding your child. When you spend more time and energy on what you can control and what you want, those things will grow. You are your child’s best resource, the one who loves them the most and wants the best for them. You also probably spend the most time with your child. Therefore, you are your child’s most influential role model and advocate.
“Here’s how to focus more on things you can control from the Autism Treatment Center of America using some of The Son-Rise Program Principles:
“When your child behaves in a way that is challenging – such as having a meltdown or pushing back on a boundary you have set with them. You can’t press a ‘STOP’ button on these behaviors, but you can focus on being calm yourself. When you are calm, you can role model how to be calm to your child. Staying comfortable and easy in your attitude will be the best way to support your child. You can more efficiently help them through this challenge when calm and relaxed. You can keep calm by telling yourself things that will empower you instead of telling yourself something that creates more stress. For example, during a meltdown, try telling yourself: “My child is doing the best they can,” ”My calmness is the key to helping my child,” or “I cannot control my child’s behavior, but I can control my attitude around this behavior.”
“During a control battle around a boundary, you have set with your child: They may ‘push back’ to try and gain a sense of autonomy. They are doing what they know to feel in control in an unpredictable world. Try letting go of your own “inner battle” by staying comfortable and open. The thoughts you have about what’s happening determine what your attitude is. Tell yourself, ’My child is trying to protect themselves right now,’ and ’My being easy and comfortable will help them lower their stress levels.’ This will make you a powerful role model for your child. The calmer you are, the less your child will push back.
“When other people seem to judge you or your child – such as a family member questioning your parenting or someone staring at you judgmentally when your child is Stimming in public. As your child’s parent, you are with your child day in and day out. The family member or staring stranger is not with your child day in and day out. That means that your child’s experience of how you handle things is much more significant than other people’s opinions. Your child will look toward you to know how to cope with life experiences. When you are comfortable and loving in the face of them Stimming in public, you will demonstrate to your child that you embrace them just as they are. This is an example of inclusion. You can also move through this situation with a level head, reserving your energy for other essential ways to support your child.
“What you focus on grows, what you think about expands, and what you dwell upon determines your destiny.”
— Robin S. Sharma –
Becky Damgaard, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher