Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

Learning How to Talk to My Child

Thanksgiving Day Griffin and I went over to Griffin's teacher's house for dinner. It was a great day, Griffin played so nicely with the toys and watched a movie quietly while I got to actually have some adult conversation. At dinner Griffin sat between Kathleen and me and ate his little pizza that she had made for him because she knew that it was his favorite. The evening went rather smoothly with Griffin responding to Kathleen much better than he does to me which of course is no surprise because that's what kids do isn't it? They always behave much better with other people than they do for mommy. It's just too easy to push mommy's buttons because they know exactly where they are.

As we were getting ready to go I had asked Griffin if he would help me clean up the toys and Kathleen stood there watching as I was trying in vain to get Griffin to help. Kathleen asked Griffin if he would like to have Ernie, he said "yes", so then she said, " you clean up the toys and you can have Ernie." I am watching in awe of how easy she made it seem and after the toys were cleaned up she gave him Ernie. Then I asked Griffin if he wanted to go outside to which he replied "no". I tried to get Griffin to put on his coat and hat to get ready to go outside but once again failed miserably .

Kathleen finally let me know what I was doing to cause Griffin to be uncooperative. I was asking him to do things rather than telling him to do them. I immediately understood that she was right and that I had been giving him choices that he ultimately replied in the negative to instead of telling him and giving him no choice in the matter. It made me remember what my friend Sue had once told me as she recounted being a nurse, she said that when dealing with a patient the nurse doesn't ask if it's "okay" to put in a feeding tube or an iv because it is something that must be done and with Griffin it is no different. I must tell him what has to be done.

Here I am 41 yrs. old and feeling like a little first grader who was just scolded by the teacher(lol) but in a good way. I was glad that Kathleen corrected me because she was right. I have got to learn to talk to my child as if he were ............a child, one who needs direction and boundaries. It occurred to me that I just needed to be more direct and confident not only with my parenting skills but in general.

It all made sense to me and I stood there and laughed kind of because I was slightly embarrassed but also because I felt silly that I didn't know how to talk to my own child. I guess that we lean new things each day that help us to be better parents and who better to learn it from than a teacher? Aren't they just wonderful?


Kristina Chew said...

Kathleen's a great teacher, indeed! (When Charlie was around the same age, he had a Miss Kathy who was phenomenal.) "Do you need to use the bathroom?" always gets a "no" from Charlie (even if he actually has to), but "let's go to the bathroom"--a disguised order--works well.
I also try to tell Charlie something positive to do (and get praised for), rather than telling him "not" to do something, and thereby drawing more attention to what he shouldn't be doing.
Sounds like it was a good pizza-instead-of-turkey Thanksgiving!

Tina said...

I agree Lora, teachers are wonderful. They have the magic touch! I don't know how they do it, but they do. Mom you are doing a wonderful job with Griffin! He sure is a smart little guy! Cute too!

mommyguilt said...

That's awesome. It's amazing how sometimes it seems as though they know our kids better than us and at others like they know NOTHING about our kids. I like her idea of not giving the options, but a matter of fact...that this particular thing gets done.