Sometimes it’s hard to ask parents to give their children (whether autistic or not) full control all the time. The only time you shouldn’t is when safety is an issue. Be a “yes” parent.
The first thing the comes in mind is, “Won’t my child grow up to be spoiled?” Or “Why should I give my special child privileges when I want to discipline all my kids?”
But think of it this way. You, as a parent…when you ask your child to stop running around and the child does not follow, don’t you feel that you are not in control? If it happens too frequently, how do you feel? Contrast that to having a great kid who always complies. When you say “stop” your child stops. When you ask your child to wait, he waits. I’m sure if your child is like the later example, it makes you feel like you are such a great parent and it helps you strive to become an even better parent…because you feel IN CONTROL. But if your child is like the former…initially, scolding could be a quick fix, as it becomes more frequent, how will it affect your confidence in parenting?
So when you give your child full control, he will feel that confidence. Having confidence in all situations allows him to strive to do better. Consider how many times a day a child with autism is asked to stop or is told, “no.” A lot of times kids in the spectrum are NOT in control of their situations…so what happens to their self esteem? Each time “no” or “stop” or “don’t” are uttered, the child’s confidence is shaken and it most probably results to tantrums which are really a waste of time that could have been spent learning. Would it have made a difference if “yes” was the chosen answer?
Tips on how to be a “yes” parent:
1) If your answer is really “no”, try to say it in a “yes” way. Example:
Child: I want to eat ice cream.
Mom who wants healthy food into the tummy first: Yes! I’d love to give you ice cream, come on, lets eat the banana then we’ll go get the ice cream (and keep your promise).
2) How to ask your child to wait, if he cannot understand the concept of waiting:
Child: Mom, I want you to read this book [and I want your attention] now!
Mom who is really busy: Yes! That’s a great idea! As soon as I finish washing these dishes, I will be right there.
Remember, saying “yes” when you are inclined to say “no” should not be a lie. Be truthful like telling your child the cup is half full instead of half empty. And always keep your promises.
3) Make your home a “yes” home by removing any unsafe gadgets from reach…including the permanent markers ;-). Some refer to this as autism proofing your home.
4) Let go of your urges. Choose, “yes, you can make confetti” and cleaning up your child’s mess after. Rather than “no, I don’t want to clean up your mess. But you lose time with your child’s tantrum or lower your child’s self esteem or hinder the possibility of building relationship with your child.
Even if a child is tantruming, still say “yes” and give him what he wants but in a very slow manner. This sends the message that he is still in control. His is trying his best to communicate and mom recognizes that. However, this form of communication is not as effective as asking nicely. Asking nicely gets mom to move fast but asking with a tantrums moves mom slowly.
Hope these Son-Rise tips help!
Since learning Son-Rise, I have been a “yes” mom for all my kids , even my youngest neurotypical child, Ian. He passed his terrible 2s (until 3s) stage always being given what he wants (material and emotional attention). Now that his confidence has been built up, he is more willing to give up things and give way to his older brother with autism.
Nathan too, is not as rigid compared with other kids with autism. Many times he will be willing to give up things or routines because he has always been given control and confidence.
I Love Son-Rise!