Michael and I have had our ups and downs in recent months. Now, we are on the ups again, and even when there are difficult moments, as I’ve said in previous posts, we gain equilibrium. He is learning how to manage his emotions as I am learning to manage mine. It is normal with any child that you will have moments of connect, and moments of disconnect. It is how you learn to navigate them that will make all the difference. That is what I have discovered with Michael, and hopefully, he with me.
Michael has been learning how to handle his feelings better. How to cry, talk about his emotions, and not resort to challenging behaviors to get his needs met. Some days are easier than others. Last night was an example where he was stressed, but quickly went to his room to calm down and managed to regulate himself. I was so proud of him. Yes, there were outbursts. Yes, there were moments when he hit objects, his head and yelled at me. But I stayed calm and quietly reminded him to redirect himself. And he did! It’s a beautiful thing for a Mom to witness on a tough afternoon for her child that the lessons his school psychologist, teacher and I are helping him with, are sinking in. He was a champ.
But, if as a parent you are having trouble reconnecting with your child, what can you do? Here are some ways I have found to reconnect with my son who has autism:
- Be there physically, mentally and spiritually there for them: Simple right? Wrong. On days when work calls, another child beckons for your attention or you are just out of it yourself, this is challenging. Still, this is mandatory that your child senses you are there listening to them in body and spirit. That’s when even if they have challenges, they will get through them as they know their parents are there for them.
- Make sure you check in with “you” throughout the day: As a parent, this is crucial. When was the last time you checked in with how you are feeling emotionally, physically or spiritually? If you are burnt out, frustrated, and have not been taking care of yourself guess what, your kids extra emotional sensors will pick up on it. And you will be no good to them or you. If you are having a tough day and can’t do all your self-care things, be honest about it. Do something gentle for you so when they come home, they sense it too.
- Listen to what their interests are and go with it: This is so important. My little guy is now into making imaginary friends and houses. Go figure he wants to do crafts! At the park, he wants to race for his imaginary friends. Again, I am going with it, as it is encouraging his imagination, fine motor development and communication. Don’t tell your kid it’s weird and move on. Go with it. Remember also, it’s the weird people who get things done and move the world.
- Let them cry or yell as long as they are not destructive: This is one I have learned the hard way. I let Michael release all his emotions crying, yelling, stress, as long as he is not aggressive. Aggressive behavior is not allowed as it doesn’t help anyone. I let him release his emotions and it is truly helping him come in his own.
- Cuddle and bond in whatever way you can: Some kids get to a certain age and don’t want cuddling in the daytime, but many enjoy cuddling at night, kissing, hugging. I make sure to have this time with Michael or give him that time in some other way by talking or laughing in the day. Kids need to know you are there for them.
Exceptional Parents, how do you reconnect with your kids who have autism? How do you tell them you love them and are there for them? They know you are even if they don’t ask the question or can say the words. Say it. Hug them. Spend time with them doing what they love, and most importantly, make sure to tell them how special they are to you. They need to hear it at least once a day. I love you is so important for all of us to hear. Until next time.
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