So often the conclusion is reached that children who don’t “fit in” need to be taught how to behave so they can learn to function as if they were “normal” and “average” and just like everyone else. The problem is that they are not normal and average. My point of view is that by asking them to be normal and average, we are doing two things: We are telling them that there is something wrong with them, and we are asking them to become someone they are not.
So many of the parents I have known and worked with tell me they are frustrated – with the schools, with their kids, with their families, and, with themselves - for wanting the best for their kids, wanting their kids to be happy, recognizing that they are different, and, feeling at a loss as to how to help their kids … and themselves … have an easier go of life.
Here are 5 tips and tools from my therapy practice and from Access Consciousness® you can use to create more ease for you, your child and your family:
TIP #1 Trust what you know about your child.
Will you acknowledge that you know your child in ways that no one else will ever know them – no teacher, no coach, no friend, no mentor? If someone tells you something about your child that isn’t true or doesn’t read, don’t override your knowing in favor of what they are telling you.
If something that someone says or something you read or hear seems to not fit your situation, you can ask,
“Does this apply to my child?
Does this apply to me?”
You’ll know. Trust what you know. Don’t doubt yourself.
TIP #2 Stop judging.
Growing up, were you basically taught a set of rules about what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s good and what’s bad? Have you tried to create your life – and the lives of your kids – based on those rules? How’s it working?
So … what’s a judgment? A judgment is a fixed point of view about something. It makes something right or wrong, good or bad. And, nothing that doesn’t match that judgment can enter your world. The idea that somehow we have to “get it right” is one of the biggest lies we ever buy.
TIP #3 Be aware.
Being aware is being present with what is – not what others tell you should be that isn’t, not what you wish were true, not what could be – it’s being present with what is. It’s reading the cues accurately.
If your 5 year-old child’s teacher repeatedly dismisses your child, for example by refusing to look at drawings he made for her at home and brought to her at school, does she actually have your child’s back? No! If she did, she would receive his drawings with delight. Being reluctant to or refusing to acknowledge what’s actually going on is a judgment. Acknowledging what’s going on is being aware. The difference between a judgment and an awareness is there is always an energetic – or emotional - charge with a judgment.
TIP #4 Be grateful.
Be grateful for your child and for you. Gratitude can only exist without judgment. If you don’t have gratitude, you have to judge. Yes, sometimes your child can be difficult. What if there’s nothing wrong with your child – no matter the behaviors, no matter the labels, no matter what the “experts” tell you. What if your child is simply different – not right, not wrong - just different? What if you could be grateful for the labels and use them to access services for your child without your child having to become the label?
TIP #5 Ask questions.
When you find yourself stuck, don’t try to conclude anything. Ask a question instead! And, here’s the trick … if you know the answer before you ask the question, it’s not a question. It’s a statement with a question mark at the end. A real question empowers. An answer disempowers. A question is designed to give you awareness of what’s possible, without concluding or having an outcome in mind. Some of my favorite questions are:
What question can I ask that could change this?
What is this? What can I do with it? Can I change it? If so, how can I change it?
What’s right about this I’m not getting?
What am I doing that’s creating this? What is my child doing to create this?
What’s one thing I could do today to begin to change this right away?
What are they saying beyond their words?
What can I do to get around this?
What else is possible?
The more you trust yourself, the less you judge and the more questions you ask, the easier it is to be clear about what’s going on and to be present in whatever situation arises. The less emotional you are and the more clarity you have, the easier it is for you and for your child.
~ Anne Maxwell, LCSW, RPT-S, Access Consciousness Certified Facilitator ~