I once dreaded the task of doing homework with my daughter because it would almost often lead to frustration and tears. What you are witnessing did not come easy, but with patience &
determination we conquered and overcame a lot of her anxieties, aggression, meltdowns, and destructive behaviors.
Luckily, I found an incredible behaviorist who opened my eyes to the reality of parenting. Not just parenting a child on the autism spectrum, but parenting in general. I will never forget the first time she explained to me how moms inadvertently out of our love for, and out of the need to nurture our children encourage and reinforce negative behaviors, either because we are embarrassed, exhausted from the meltdowns, overwhelmed or simply because the behavior has made us late for school, work, for an appointment, or a party etc. so we often leave our homes, supermarkets, toy stores or play dates with our child still in a negative state, which in essence reinforces and encourages that the negative behavior is okay. Yep, it made a lot of sense to me, so many times I left my home and places because I was embarrassed with my daughter kicking, screaming and insulting me, and I didn’t want to be late for school or work.
So what did I do? I became a good listener and learned so much about parenting, behavior, about myself, my children and autism. I made a decision to change.
It wasn’t an easy decision, I first had to come to grips with the fact that my way wasn’t working. I had to find the strength to change and embrace a new way, not an absolute way, a better way, I had to find balance, so I decided it was time to listen and follow through with the advice of my behaviorist, and our lives changed.
The process wasn’t easy to do, it put a lot of added stress on our family and on my body. The level of stress increased as I implemented the new rules, consequences and rewards, but within a few months, change started happening, and life got easier, but it came with a price, it took a toll on my health, and I wasn’t happy, I was tired and overweight, but I had no other choice, I was determined not to go backwards.
I then had to make a choice when the years of stress and poor eating habits caught up to me. I found the courage to change my lifestyle and started working on ME in the privacy of my own home. I created a better version of myself, I became healthier, stronger and more positive and our autism life became better.
My goal now, is to stop the cycle, to help other women find their balance by sharing all that I’ve learned hoping that somehow through my story, I can empower other moms to do the same.
I’m not sure where my online community will take us, but I know that at least I have created a safe haven for us moms, a place where we can surround ourselves with those on the same mission of finding balance while living with autism by creating a healthy & positive environment for us moms to learn, grow and develop long term friendships.