Saturday, 01 December 2012
As parents we want to be seen, recognized, valued, and we want people to care about us. We want to be treated kindly. We want professionals to know we want to comply but sometimes our negative feelings are overwhelming and they take hold of us and we are no longer our true selves.
We are dealing with loss, sadness, sorrow, anger, frustration, and disappointment, and at the same time, the underlying feeling of total exhaustion. We do not get weekends off or any day off for that matter. We have no time to refuel or re-energize. We don’t want to hear how bad our kids are doing and we don’t want to add any additional work or stress. We can hardy manage with what we have. Our minds take hold and we think about the future and how much longer can we stay on this path without having a total meltdown.
Many of us have other children and the demands of just running a household can be challenging enough. But when you add a special needs child to everything else, often it becomes too much to handle.
I have a client who has a ten-year-old daughter with autism. Her approach to teachers and counselors is to bully them and threaten them in order to make them do what she wants. She is loud, pushy, and often obnoxious. She admits to being all that, but she also says it works.
Yes, I told her that it might have looked as if it was working for her now but to trust me that it is not working at all. No one wants or likes to be treated that way. She said she did not care as long as she was getting what she wanted for her daughter. I asked her what kind of example is she showing her child.
These professionals may do what you say but if they find you irritating, annoying, and bullying it is all going to backfire on you and your child. You will be worse off than when you began.
Why do I know this so well, because I was just like my client when my son was young? I attended meetings with a chip on my shoulder. I was rude, easily irritated, angry, and tired. Then I realized that the people in the meetings were taking their cues from me not from my son. That changed everything. I knew I would have to change my ways to get services for my child and I did.
I left all my negative feelings outside the door before entering the meeting. I made it a game and told myself that I could pick up my negative feelings after the meeting was over. I never wanted to pick them back up because I saw the positive results I was getting by being kind and compliant. That did not mean that I had to be quiet and always agree. Not at all, my new approach was calm, kind, gentle, and thoughtful. I began to stand out from the other moms and dads and I was receiving services that other parents were not. It was working and to be honest, I felt so much better after the meetings ended and I began to like who I was again. I had found my old true self.
From that day forward I continued with a more positive outlook and gentle demeanor. I knew that I was going to be on this road for a very long time and any way I could make it better or easier I was in favor of doing just that, and I have ever since.
This positive approach continues to work for us today and Brandon is thirty-nine years old. With services being almost non-existent in so many areas for our children and adults we cannot afford to miss any opportunity to gain access to them. I suggest you give it a try and see what you think.