The most difficult thing that I think we have had to deal with in respect of my two eldest sons is teaching them how to manage their emotions in a way that still validates their feelings and yet teachers them the process and act upon them in the correct manner.
This is definitely something that has gotten harder as they have gotten older because those hormones oh man they are brutal and guys I was just not prepared… although to be fair I don’t think anybody ever is.
A child on the spectrum usually feels things in such an intense manner that it is very difficult to teach them how to not act on impulse and take a breather before they freak out on a nuclear level- when they are sad they are lower than low, when they are angry they can easily put a fist through a wall and when they are happy their joy seeps into every nook and cranny and touches every single person that they come into contact with.
Feelings are a good thing, we spend so much of our time telling our children not to do this or not to act in a certain manner we forget that what they’re feeling is raw and real and that it is ok, we forget to ask why and how, we forget that sometimes we as adults don’t know ourselves how to deal with our feelings and how hurtful it can be when someone doesn’t acknowledge your feelings and in turn validate them as real.
When we give birth we anticipate our baby’s first full night of uninterrupted sleep we expect it without realizing that we as adults more often than not do not sleep through, we go to the loo we get a snack or a drink of water a baby only knows that he/she needs you for comfort and food, love and support they need to learn just as we have.
When we see something as petty and unwarranted we tell our children that they are being silly, we tell them that something could not possibly hurt enough to warrant a 2 minute cry and a cuddle, we tell them that when they fail they need to try harder next time we do all of these things without thinking of how they feel or how it felt for us at their age. Telling them something is silly may warp their entire outlook on something, they may choose not to explore, question or attempt something again because we are their caregiver deem it to be sill or nonsense, you do not need to coddle your child by any means but to acknowledge their pain, their discomfort… their feelings is something that heavily influences how they deal with their emotions into the future.
Is this easy? Hell No? Am I just as guilty as the next person? Of course!
When you are tired, frustrated or irritated the last thing you often want to do to wait out a tantrum in order to have a discussion with your child, sometimes it literally does feel like they are making a mountain out of a mole hill when they cry for a solid 5 minutes over a minuscule scratch that hardly scratched the service… but it doesn’t change how they feel and that they feel.
Take a moment to think about the last time you felt your feelings were ignore or invalidated, or about the last adult meltdown or tantrum you had… yes we have them! Think about how your feelings and emotions were approached whilst you were growing up and how that has affected your ability to process your feelings and emotions.
I spent the better part of an hour arguing with my two sons yesterday whilst visiting my mom because one could not or would not understand how the other was feeling, my eldest was angry because he was told by a family member to call my hubby something he is not used to calling him as well as his step mother, and I completely support his feelings it is something that I have always told them as has my hubby you call them what you are comfortable with whether its mom, uncle or their name it doesn’t matter it doesn’t mean you do not respect or love that person but in Loghan’s case he has known nothing different other than what he calls my hubby since he was 2 so my hubby and I share the sentiment that if that is what he is comfortable with then that is just fine. The title used by a child can mean so much to them and I feel very strongly about introducing someone into their life and then saying well you must call them this or that because we are married or because I feel that they should, it’s not about me- that is not respect and love. My middle son feels different and if I told him to call my hubby dad which I won’t he would do it, he is wired to please, it doesn’t make it right and it is something that grates me to my core but all I can do is reiterate that it is their personal choice and that they have every right to feel the way that they do whatever way that may be.
Anyhoo I know this post is a little all over but this has continued to play on my mind and I just had to get the feelings.