Teaching the “Hard” Things
I remember when my son was little he was obsessed with his pacifier.
So much so that we had the little pacifier clip I attached to his shirt so he’d never lose it.
It was that valuable.
He would love it for self soothing, love it for ipad time, love it to suck on as he fell asleep
But soon, my 1 year old became 2, then 3, then 4 and I knew we were overdue in saying goodbye to the binkie (our word for it).
We tried a bunch of things…
Cutting a small hole in the tip.
Writing a letter to the binkie fairy.
Incentivizing him to stop using it in exchange for getting cool pajamas and a comforter for his big boy bed.
No matter what I tried, we were always back to using the binkie.
Then one day I got a call from school.
Cody’s teacher began..
“Everything is ok but Cody hit a child with a rock today. The child is fine but we put Cody in a timeout and we wanted to let you know what happened.”
Cody is normally my mild mannered child so to get this call was a total surprise.
When I picked up Cody I told him that we can’t ever hit our classmates and there has to be a consequence for his behavior. At that moment I knew what it had to be.
“You can not have your binkie for the next 3 days.”
Cody cried but understood in the moment that this was the sentence that was handed down.
I did intend to hand back the binkie after day 3, but then I thought for a second.. “this might be the time to say goodbye to it completely.”
I was really scared to think that, but I was motivated by being a parent that sometimes has to teach the hard things.
It was a TOUGH 3 days.
He cried every night and when day 3 came it was DECISION time.
Do I give it back or do we say goodbye for good?
In that moment I made one of the most difficult emotional decisions I can remember making as a mother, I told him on day 3 that “the Binkie Fairy came and took them all away.”
He wailed and cried. I felt horrible.
I had to leave the room and cry in the bathroom because it was so painful for me to take away something he loved so much that felt harmless.
But as 3 days turned to 5 days, then a week, he stopped asking for it, and then ….we were done with binkies for good.
What keeps most of us from teaching the “hard lessons”, is thinking that it will be so painful that we won’t survive the attempt.
The reason for this is because our human brains are wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
Taking away things that are blocking our babies from moving forward conceptually is a simple thing. But our brains don’t see it that way.
Our brains see it as a true danger to our survival.
And the longer you get accustomed to the convenience certain things bring to your life the harder it is to let them go.
It’s no wonder then you have resistance to potty training when diapers make it easier for you to move about the day.
Or how the unlimited access your child has to the iPad has become so valuable for you to get downtime and provide distraction for your child you can’t imagine withholding it.
But at the end of the day both habits are robbing you and your child of an independent connected life in this world.
I know you desperately want to get your child potty trained, communicating, and stopping their problem behaviors.
But yet nothing changes and this is why…
Your human brain doesn’t know the difference between real physical danger and the emotional pain of changing a habit.
Both feel equally scary to your brain.
So when you think about doing “hard” things your brain cant distinguish true danger from just being uncomfortable.
And your brain will say anything and everything to keep you from doing anything to change it.
But when we all signed up to parents, we didn’t just sign up for the fun stuff.
As a parent sometimes we need to teach the hard lessons as well.
And we all knew this and were committed to doing this… before the diagnosis came.
When Autism came into the picture, that all flew out the window.
Now it’s all about survival and nothing else.
You are completely capable of teaching hard things.
And your child with Autism is capable of learning them.
If you continue to let your brain convince you that the Autism Diagnosis makes it so they can’t learn, then nothing changes.
Teaching the hard things isn’t more difficult than living the life you are living now.
You’re just used to that pain of living with what you have now.
So do you want to continue living a life with no independent future in sight for you and your cub…
Do you want to teach hard lessons that have the promise of a better future?
P.S. Do you know what you “should do” to help your child potty train, communicate, and stop their problem behaviors, but struggle with seeing it through? I want to help. Book a Complimentary Consultation Call where I want to hear all about your baby, I’ll tell you about my program and we’ll see if it makes sense to work together.
P.P.S. – My Julianna is turning 11 in November. She is why Champions for Our Children exists, and I want to celebrate her with you in a BIG WAY. Keep checking your emails for a special event I’ll be hosting in the comings week, where I want to BLOW THE LID OFF of what AUTISM means for all of our kids, and teach you how to help your baby live the independent life Julianna will have.