With your summer all wrapped up, I hope you’re off to a strong fall. Speaking of fall – I couldn’t resist – are you or your family struggling? Struggling is part of being human – you’re not alone. Do you crave strategies to move past your challenges? Of course you do so let’s start with a quick definition.
What’s your #1 struggle right now?
*Never getting it all done?
*Pesky thoughts nagging at you – are you doing enough?
*Living in fight or flight stress?
*Repeat offenders – facing the same problems over and over again?
*Wishing there was another way – but not being able to see it?
What if there’s a solution right there in the struggle? It’s completely possible and just waiting for you. I say, whatever your struggle, let’s discover the way out.
You may be thinking, that’s great for other people, but not me and my family. Raising kids is no joke. It’s hard work. It involves all the things. Raising a kid on the spectrum is all the things on steroids! I’ve come to know this full on truth from every “steroid living” parent and youth.
Since they were little, you’ve been inundated with every conceivable intervention, strategy, advice, philosophy, educational approach and on it goes. They’ve been your lifeline and your achilles heel. Since we know society is on information overload it only makes sense that you, “steroid parent,”have been taxed beyond measure. I’m not pedaling snake oil or quick fixes. I don’t pretend to know what your days really look like and feel like day – after – day.
What I’m offering is a slight shift. A click on your mental and heart dial. If you’re open to a shift in your perspective, it can hold the potential for a whole new way. It’s ironic this shifting perspective deal. You know how challenging it is for your beloved child on the spectrum to shift perspective. You know the huge strain that creates. You even know how to shift around their lack of shifting.
In some ways this ability has saved your sanity. In other ways it’s been unknowingly perpetuating your frustration. You’ve learned to anticipate the needs, reactions, and overall experience within seconds. With this, you’ve got to be exhausted. It’s draining to have to figure it all out – all the time. That creates pressure. And nobody has their full set of resources (their best thinking) available while living in constant pressure.
Yet, this pressure is not imagined. Nope. You know it’s far too real…what can you do? Just like you honed the ability to figure out all the things to currently function…what if you begin to consider honing a new ability to figure out the root cause.
I know, I know it’s Aspergers. And any other diagnosis involved. And the sleepless nights. And that is all absolutely true.
It’s just not the full complete picture.
It’s the adaptations to the picture that are also in play. These are harder to see in the steroid fog. There is a root issue beyond the label just waiting to be discovered. A human issue. We humans are plagued with things that either offer connection or disconnection.
Shifting to consider the issue at hand through a different lens is a great place to start. Rather than thinking ‘well, they have Aspergers so of course this task, issue is hard’ how about giving bundling a try instead…
Think about bundling as the grouping of all the things into one category. Your brain will definitely thank you. The human brain is simply amazing and full of wonder. Without bundling, it can also easily scatter in all the exhausting directions.
Instead of busily tracking all the symptoms – all the difficulties – you have the opportunity to group into two categories: connection or disconnection.
Let’s define connection as a helpful, linking relationship. This applies to all concepts, tasks, social interactions, and even the relationship with yourself.
Let’s define disconnection as an unhelpful, detached or fragmented relationship. This involves the same arena as connection.
Think of the productivity level you could achieve with just two categories to track. If you’re like every other human I know, you want to immediately apply this to someone else. In your case, your child on the spectrum. And we’ll get to that.
But first, let’s ask yourself a few questions.
*What does connection mean to you?
*What does it look like for you? for your family?
*What builds connection in you?
*What drives disconnection in you?
*What relationship or aspect of life do you feel the most connected? disconnected?
These may seem like easy questions. Easy to ask; harder to honestly answer. Take a few minutes to really ponder. For example, how connected are you to your emotions? As in, awareness, acknowledgement, and acceptance of those feelings. I know you navigate their emotions all the live long day. How about yours?
You know what you don’t like about how they handle theirs. Do you know, as in really know, what you do want them to be able to do instead?
As we’re going beyond the labels, let’s go beyond the surface.
The fruit of either connection or disconnection are seen on the surface, but they have their roots in the deeper places. And that is where the real gems lie. Yes, I know you’re already pressed for time and energy. What I’m offering is a different way to spend your time and energy.
This isn’t an indictment of your current way. It’s an invitation for something more well, connected. And connection breeds understanding. More peace, energy and what you actually desire is waiting for you with a perspective shift.
The questions that begin to flow sound like: Is this promoting connection or disconnection? Why is this disconnection occurring? How can we intentionally encourage connection?
The diagnosis gives information to help with understanding, but it doesn’t necessarily offer a way out. Shifting how you see can be your way out. It may sound like the same stress with a different name, but it’s really quite different. It doesn’t magically change your situation, yet it has the power to change you – how you see, think, feel, and operate on the daily. It’s a gift in that way. An interesting one for sure – not one you’d put on your Christmas list, but one you’ve been given all the same.
Your journey is amplified – the human experience is super highlighted in the extremes of “steroid living.” Because of this, you have many more opportunities to shift. The more you practice shifting the better you become. It builds a connected momentum that enables you to literally be different no matter the circumstances.
The more you deeply connect with yourself, your mission as a parent, and all that means to you the more you can:
*Put your struggle on notice – it no longer owns you
*Begin to know what you actually think and feel – beyond the labels
*Make decisions that are in alignment with who you are and what you value
You can absolutely cultivate more connection and I’m excited for you to see what impact that shift makes for you and your family.
If you found any part of this process challenging…
And you’d like to see how we can work together to create a framework that works best for you, contact us.
by: Sharon Neill, MA/Mission Driven Consulting
After decades of hard work on social development, Sharon has come to recognize patterns and themes driving disconnection with self and others. Getting to the root is what it’s all about. Her diverse background with all things special needs includes early interventionist, case manager, foster home developer, trainer, teacher, consultant, and coach. Her mission is to build mission focused leaders for organizations who serve families. missiondriven123.com