PARENTING THE EXTRODINARY
Fools do rush in, but will it get you what you want?
Will it create effective understanding and change?
There is a grey area. You know, that place where we are strong, assertive advocates for our kids, not aggressive, angry and threatening.
The quote “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” is a great idiom, which means that the foolish or angry tend to do things that more sensible people stay away from because the angry do not usually understand how the bigger picture will be affected.
As a Mama Bear myself I am cautioning you about rushing in when you are angry, not because I think Mama Bears are foolish, but because we are game changers.
I get it, your kid, your Extraordinary Kid, is treated badly, sometimes repeatedly, and Mama Bear comes out like a hurricane, ready to tear apart anything that looks like a threat in an attempt to protect her kid.
I have totally been there.
I would be surprised if any parent of an Extraordinary Kid said that they haven’t been there. I would also like to acknowledge that there are plenty of Papa Bears willing to do the same…
BUT sometimes sending Mama Bear to the IEP meeting or to meet with the soccer coach while she is riled up and ready to fight is the opposite of what needs to happen.
Let me explain.
First, I am operating under the assumption that most people who aren’t doing right by our kids, whether they are teachers, therapist, coaches or spouses, are NOT doing it out of cruelty or meanness.
They are doing it out of ignorance.
Note that ignorance (in our culture) has two meanings.
First is the literal meaning as described in Webster’s Dictionary: The state or fact of being ignorant: lack of knowledge, education, or awareness.
Second is the slang meaning (which is not literal) as described in the Urban Dictionary: Stupid or lacking intellectual ability.
We are going to work under the assumption of the true literal definition which, if I must be practical, is where some people in the above-mentioned categories (teachers, therapist, coaches, or spouses) may fall, as well could any of us. They are not stupid or lacking in intellectual ability. They are in the state of being ignorant: lacking knowledge, education, or awareness.
Let’s face it, when it comes to our Extraordinary Kids (which includes everything from High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s to Giftedness and ADHD), there is so much misinformation and outdated understanding, that it is no surprise that our kids end up misunderstood and mistreated.
The problem begins with information and understanding, and the solution is information and understanding.
Did you catch that?
"The solution is information and understanding."
Too often our kids are treated as ‘Behavioral Problems’, and yet, there is no evidence, clinical or otherwise, that shows that any of the above-mentioned extraordinary differences are rooted in behavioral understanding. And yet, that is how many people treat our kids. Like they are behavior problems, and if they just get punished when they don’t behave, then they will learn to behave. The fact that they can’t is often confused with they won’t.
To prove it, when your kid is calm and relaxed, just ask them any question regarding right and wrong, and I would bet they will give you the correct answer. “Is it okay for Suzy to kick Libby if Libby takes the ball Suzy is playing with?” Assuming your kid is not a toddler and hasn’t recently been in this situation (under the duress of unknown circumstances), your kid will say something like “No, Suzy should ask for it back or tell the teacher.” Because your kid, in most cases, knows right from wrong.
It’s the ability to see ‘the right thing’ through when there are lagging skills for dealing with anxiety, stress, confusion, or frustration, or when they are pushed past their limits that it becomes a problem.
Our children are not suffering from a behavioral problem. They are, as Dr. Ross Greene, a pioneer in child psychology and behavior has stated, struggling with “lagging skills and unsolved problems”.
Unfortunately, that is not how most people see our kids. They see a behavior problem that they feel must be treated with therapy, rewards and punishments and horrifically biased misinformed labels like ODD or, worse, they are outrageously lacking current information on what Autism or Giftedness (or the list goes on) is.
So, what’s a Mama Bear to do?
Well first, get some support. A friend who doesn’t judge, an online support group, or a good therapist who understands your kid’s struggle is an excellent way to vent your anger or frustration. At the very least journal until your hand hurts and your mind is free of the need to go rushing in.
We must vent in order to get our anger down to a level where we can think clearly, because if we don’t, we risk destroying any possibility of informing, teaching, and improving the people who can change our kids’ world.
Think about it, could you learn a new language if the person teaching you was screaming, yelling, or threatening you? Would you be open to new information if they threatened to get you fired or break up meaningful relationships?
We can’t teach or learn under anger. Instead, when we are angry, we become defensive, aggressive, abusive, or all of the above. Do we want the people who deal with our kids to be defensive, aggressive, or abusive?
Now that you understand why Mama Bear needs to vent and cool off, what is the SOLUTION?
The solution is… information and understanding.
But, before you can teach information and understanding, you will first have to make sure you are informed and understand… and you can articulate that information and understanding to others.
How do we explain it to others and get them on board with what works?
In my next blog “Why Behavior Problems Don’t Exist”, I will share how to explain the root cause of a child’s behavior and get people to understand WHY behavioral methods don’t work, and why developing lagging skills and getting to the unsolved problems does work.
Until then, breathe, put the claws away, and know that Mama Bear is still going in for the fight with thoughtful, well-articulated, credible information and facts.
‘Cause this Mama Bear will dazzle them with nothing less than intelligence and insight!’
No claws necessary…
No fools rushing in…
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Hi! I’m Yvette Marie a Thought Wrangler (an intellectual nomad looking for understanding and hope in all things). I created this blog space because I believe Flexibility and Flow in Neurodiversity is not only possible, but necessary for living a full life of health and wellness.