I went to a parent education and training meeting last week that was…awesome. Normally there are 6 families (usually it’s just the moms as the dads are at home taking care of the kids) but that night there was just me and one other mom along with the trainer and the district special ed person. The topic for the evening was reinforcement and I had a chance to really think about how I reinforce the Roc’s good and bad behaviors, how I need to change, and what I need to do more of – positive reinforcement. We talked about the different types of reinforcement and how to apply them when dealing with our children and during those times we are trying to teach a new skill. Being that it was such a small group of us, we definitely went off on a few tangents, all in regards to our children and motherhood.
The trainer has three young children, and while she does not have any children on the spectrum, she works with kids on the spectrum. So she knows the struggles we face, she reminded us that all children are hard, and she told us that her oldest child is “spirited” and they often butt heads. While we were discussing…she veered off onto the subject of real life, her real life. How she teaches us strategies to deal more effectively with our children, but sometimes she does not practice what she preaches with her own children. She finds herself stressed at the end of the work day, wanting to move the evening on, get the routines done, dinner, homework, bedtime, so she can have a glass of wine on the couch before collapsing into sleep only to do it all over again the next day. She talked about the guilt, we all talked about the guilt we feel over the way things can go at times, and how sometimes we feel that our children and our spouses are not getting the best of us. About how that is not the way we envisioned our lives and ourselves as mothers.
She grabbed her daily planner and told us about something that she just started doing. Her 4 quotes to live by. She has them on post-it notes where she can see them in her house and they are inside her planner. They are her reminders, and as she listed them they resonated with me and the other autism mommy in the room. We all started writing them down. Maybe they will speak to you too.
1. The Best Of Me.
2. Connect More, Criticize Less
3. Manage My Expectations
4. My need to love him must overshadow my urge to control him