Today, we’re doing something different because this topic is different. A video.
The video focuses on my role as coach to a mom with a neurodivergent son with a situation I have experienced as well; loss of emotional control, along with the loss of communication and connection that can follow.
The key is knowing the steps to avoid these scenarios and the tools to repair the connection if needed.
Children in general can be challenging. When a child screams, is oppositional, slams things, it's often because they don't know how to express their anger, longing, or sadness. But for those of us with neurodivergent children, that aspect can add a whole new twist to what may be just a blip on the radar to many.
In this case...
The child was out of control.
The mother lost control.
Communication and connection suffered afterward.
Rebuilding that communication and connection was made more difficult because of the child’s interpretation of the mother’s feelings as a result of cognitive inflexibility, and this upset the mother as well.
Here are a few take-a-ways:
Loss of Control or Yelling is Never the Solution
Neurodivergent or not, while it’s difficult sometimes to hold it together, we as parents need to meet our children where they are and strengthen our emotional regulation and agility.
Remember, our children have not yet mastered these skills. Balance your emotions to support your ability to deal with theirs.
It begins with us.
Listen and Respond Appropriately
By changing our language, experimenting with listening, noticing, and observing our children, we can begin to formulate appropriate approaches to these interactions and therefore offer better responses.
Repair the Damage if Needed
Children look to their parents for safety, connection, direction, information, support, and calm, even when it appears they don't. When those elements are shaken or broken, repair can be difficult.
For neurodivergent children, these moments can be internalized and used as protection, stimulation, or validation of what they already see as their shortcomings, so reconnection becomes difficult.
It's a tough hill to climb.
It may take days or weeks, but you can mend the break. Here's how:
Be observant, do your best to give the child what is need before things escalate; a snack, a nap, an energy break.
Be as consistent with daily routines as possible; life at home has not changed.
Keep tasks simple and break them down in small steps if necessary to avoid flare-ups.
Calmly and firmly stand your ground if there is push-back.
Take breaks if you need them to get balanced before interacting with your children.
Let your child know you love them, even if they say they don't believe you.
Show support of your child and their actions with words and deeds that are special for them and you.
Connect physically with a light shoulder pat or fist bump; hopefully you'll get back to hugs.
Parenting is challenging on some level for all of us, and it's important to remember you are not alone.
While not everyone is dealing with a neurodivergent child or loved one, we can all use a few conflict management resources.
Here are two you may find helpful:
Choosing Therapy Website
If you feel you need more support, reach out for a session and we can talk through what you are experiencing and how we can get you the help you need.
Whether it's working with me or another provider of your choice, it's important to learn how to handle connection and communication with your children with kid gloves.
Take care and be well,
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