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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Department Store Screamers: Our loveable children

For all parents including those with children on the Autism Spectrum.
  It isn't personal. It's not about you. Very rarely in life does anyone do anything TO me. People, including our children are simply doing what they do, and considering the tools they have, they are often doing a wonderful job of it. Many adults cope with pills and a variety of addictions. Now, who looks more sane, the screamer or the self appointed pharmacist? The hand flapper or the adult female who buries herself in soap operas, and the child who rocks and the man who can't beat a gambling problem? We all have done a lot of things to fit in, and most of it is unhealthy. It may be time for a good scream.
  Our Loveable Department Store Screamers:
  I didn't learn to enjoy shopping. I learned to fake it, lie to myself, stuff my feelings, that others were more important than me, to drink heavily when I couldn't stuff my feelings enough, to loathe myself for lieing to myself while I'd never lie to another. Yes, We can be molded, and we can pretend for you and please you. Eventually, I learned that I was wrong about all of that,  and I did matter, that other people's obsessions for social activities did not make them a requirement for me, and that I could no more learn to love  these activities than an NT (neurotypical/not on the Autism Spectrum) could learn to enjoy having splints under the fingernails. Repetition of both activities wont make them more pleasant, rather it can make a person withdraw and go numb. Rather than looking at why an aspie doesn't like hypothetical fingernail splints, why not ask why it is so important to us as parents that they they do?
  Yeah, I can hear the dead silence too.
    It may be more about the self image of the parents than the coping skills of the child. Blame absolutely must be dropped. There is not a more useless word in any language. No parent caused their child's Autism or any of it's various struggles. You're enough as you are for these kids, and if no one's told you today. You are admired and amazing....so is your child. Those who think otherwise aren't worth your time. Their kids screamed too, were impatient too, tore the house up too, and didn't eat, think or do what those parents wanted either. Anyone instinctually looks at a screaming or crying child. It's human to have the instinct to see if they are ok, but I had to learn that most people are concerned about themselves and their own lives, and rightfully so, that they have little time or desire to spend their precious time thinking about me, much less judging me and my screaming kid. It's still hard, but just taking that blame and judgement load off meant a lot of freedom for me.
   Once the insecurity has been dropped, try mimicking the kid. Who says they have to do it our way? Why not try it their way? If the kid rocks in the grocery cart, rock with them, if they hand flap, start flapping, if they hum, hum too, if they yell, take a breath and give it go. You just might have fun with your child....Did you HEAR that? "Fun with your child" He/she just might pay more attention to you after you take time to respect their way of doing things. They just might laugh at you, and if you're feeling free by now as you can, you just may laugh too.
  Don't miss the joy right infront of you by wasting time worrying about what other people think. Take a moment to consider your child as an adult. Do you want them to remember and possibly recount a Dad or Mom who was always fearful or upset, or do you want them to have stories of how Mom or Dad's laugh made everything better? Choose carefullly. They just may write a book about it one day.
   We have a lot of choices. I choose happiness every chance I get. I'd bet, come to think of it, that most people have had the desire to let out a good scream at a department store at least once in their adult lives. So kids are more honest about it. Pay attention, they just may be on to something. I'm not saying you should scream your lungs out, but you can at least go as loud as any annoying person you've met. (Come on. I know you know a braggart, preacher or inlaw who can belt it out.) If you want to teach kids more acceptable places and times to let off steam, do some more screaming, hand flapping or whatever appeals in the car. Do use cruise control if your driving. You just may find yourself getting into the freedom of being real. Again, "more" not instead of. When they see you cutting loose, letting the feelings go and even having a giggle over it in the car, they'll want to follow suit. And don't worry about the kids thinking you're nuts. They already do. hehe.
tina jones

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