It’s easy to get caught up in going through the motions as parents. Even if you are confident with who you are maybe you struggle with what your doing or where your going . I have had lots of conversations with different people from all different walks of life and scenarios and the question is the same.
What am I doing with my life and what should I be doing?
A lot of people put this into the box of their profession or charity work, expecting it to both define and fulfill them. Take some time to get away in a unique manner and push yourself. Once there consider what is you want to accomplish in life and how you will do it.
I don’t know what age it starts but at some point as adults we lose our sense of adventure. I am not talking about wreck-less chance taking, stay away from those people. I am talking about something that gets you out of your comfort zone and lets you disconnect. A lot of my life as a special needs parent has been about denying all of the denying. How do you do this or that with a special needs child? How do you find time, space to do… I don’t know if it’s cultural or not but a lot of people speak of busyness as a disease they caught in a foreign land instead of a self imposed affliction. I find myself doing it too even though I am aware of it and working on it. I find with a lot of parents in general there is guilt associated with what we should and shouldn’t do both with our kids and when we are away from them.
When was the last time you had an adventure?
You will find you are a better spouse, friend , parent, person after an adventure from time to time. You can’t be an absentee in life so just keep it in balance. It has greatly helped me to have a friend that has taken me on adventures, sometimes kicking and screaming. Things rarely go as planned but it’s always epic thanks Kevin I appreciate you man.
Do you have a adventure man/woman in your life?
It’s easy to get lost in all the therapies and busyness of being a parent with a special needs child. We get so busy we become human doings instead of human beings. Who am I? Am I lost? Finding moments to just be yourself especially something that pulls you out of your normal routine is a activity worth doing. This is me at LA critical mass cruising along the streets of LA. I pick somewhere way different to eat each time I am there and it’s always a adventure.
When was the last time you did something on your own?
Life shouldn’t be a checklist you trudge through it should be an adventure.
Just a few seconds before this shot he was throwing a fit about having his shoes on at the park. We say “I pick my battles” all the time but how well do we do that? I have found that being more laid back has helped turn a fit into giggling more often then not.
How good are you at picking your battles? Do you have a bad day when your child is having a bad day?
We become the solid rudder that steadies the ship if we stay positive and patient with our kids it isn’t easy but it’s always worth it. If we allow our kids moods to affect ours they in turn pick up on that and everyone’s mood is in the funk longer.
When you have a kid on the spectrum most of the attention is put on the child and rightly so to help them tackle the world with their unique challenges. One of the things we often over look as parents when we put are kids first is we also put all of our issues on our kids. With out meaning to we bring our dirty laundry for our kids to deal with.
A parent that has issues with anger shouldn’t be shocked that their special needs kid has issues with anger. A parent who is really attached to their things shouldn’t be shocked that their child wont share. It is said that children are like sponges and I feel like sometimes the special needs community thinks their kids are less “sponge” like so they feel it doesn’t affect them.
When my wife or I say something in traffic or yell too loudly he is the first to remind us he is listening. It’s hard to hear but its always good to seek wise counsel and have others to speak into our lives. For some of us that may be a community group for others counseling what ever it may be remember to tell yourself its ok to ask for help and in so doing help your child as well.
It’s hard not to get so wrapped up in my story that I forget there are other people in it. If I have a bad day with kids or feeling the rush of work, getting kids from school then to therapy. Working on my own issues and being available for my wife while helping out at church and my bicycle club, it just doesn’t feel like there is enough time in the day.
However every once in a while I am reminded that doing something good can be something simple and that it’s always worth while. My co-worker gave me a amazing Chayote squash stuffed with magic goodness. So I in turn had pho delivered to a buddy. What would it look like if we did a small positive thing for someone once a week.
What do a watering can an iPad and a autistic kid have in common…. They are all in my room lol. The saying pick your battles is often interjected in dealing with marriage in general and to a lesser extent parenting as well however for parenting a kid with ASD its a survival tool.
A battle I will always pick is being careful of non-verbal communication in front of my kids. Watching a really cool show called Reverie on NBC in the opening sequence of the first episode she talks about how much of our communication is non-verbal.
Albert Mehrabian, author of Silent Messages, conducted several studies on nonverbal communication. He found that 7% of any message is conveyed through words, 38% through certain vocal elements, and 55% through nonverbal elements (facial expressions, gestures, posture, etc). Subtracting the 7% for actual vocal content leaves one with the 93% statistic.
A few days later I had a really cool conversation with a special needs pastor who brought up a interesting point. If someone has a sense impaired their other senses are heightened so by that logic it follows that a child that has trouble communicating verbally would have a heightened sense of nonverbal communication. Our son seems to pick up on lots of subtle non-verbal ques.
How is your non-verbal body language in front of your kids and other kids with disabilities? What are some things that can help direct your body language in a more positive way.