I often talk with parents who are in fear for their child's future, concern for their behaviors, afraid of starting school, discouraged by a lack of progress, etc. As someone who deals with anxiety in myself, I too have had these same fears and concerns. If you have a child who is on the autism spectrum, you have probably done a lot of research, evaluations, and discussions on how to help them. When I started my journey with Griffin, we did or tried all the recommendations with little to no progress (and a lot of added stress) before we found the right program for our family. Once we built our team and developed a plan, we then had to make changes to our personal lives, thoughts, and beliefs to really make an impact in Griffin's life.
Change is always a little scary. The unknown can become a very stressful place, even if you know 100% that it is the right choice. Over time I have learned to love our journey, it has even become my hashtag in social media, and to embrace the changes as the come.
I was talking with my sister the other day, about our enneagrams, and she told me how she feels that she is constantly changing the "who she is" in the different phases of her life. I remember thinking "well, we all do." But as she kept talking she relayed her thoughts about how each phase in her life's journey have had big changes in her focus. This really stood out to me because I see these same changes, or fear of change, in the caregivers I work with here at the clinic. The idea of removing electronics (not having a tablet to play on throughout the day) is so scary to caregivers out of the fear that their child will meltdown, tantrum, be climbing the walls, or that mom and dad will never get a break. To focus on what is happening in the moment versus working on future skills may lead to my child never getting better or stopping their growth. That if I am "just playing" with my child they will never learn boundaries. These beliefs lead to us falling into the "same ole way" pit for ourselves and our children.
Change can be as simple as changing how we feel or believe something. If we believe our child will talk, then we can let go of the fear that they won't, and be present in our time with them versus feeling anxious and worried. If we believe our child can share their feeling with us, then we won't be pressuring them to answer our questions and instead allow them to show us their emotions as they come. If we believe that we are not "good enough" then our child will feel that and will begin to believe it as well. Instead, if we know that we are giving our child our best then our child feels that love we have for ourselves and them.
Have you ever been around someone who is consistently putting themselves down? Overtime, their words and emotions becoming draining to us. We may try to fix it and tell them how great they are, but it doesn't make them stop. In the end we will either start to avoid time with that person or we begin to believe the things their saying. We don't want our child to feel these things from us. So it is important to love ourselves and believe in ourselves so that our children will learn to love and believe in us too. As our journey continues, this helps our child learn to love and believe in themselves as well.
So change is not only necessary, it is rewarding. By allowing ourselves to give up some fears and beliefs are change enhance our journey. We learn more about ourselves and about our child. You want to see positive change for your child and therefore you have to be willing to change as well. This doesn't mean you have to change who you are, but instead allow changes to happen so that your journey continues.