When it comes to our children, we often push for the better time in a race, a better grade on a test, or better performance on that instrument. While all those goals are worthy, we need to consider the sacrifice. Is something else being neglected? Is our push towards greatness increasing character in a positive way, or is it crushing our children's spirit?
I have three children with autism. For years, they have had therapies focusing on their weaknesses. My kids need to do this or say that. Painful hours. At some point, I had to think outside the box. My kids may never be able to do things that neuro-typical kids can do, so why are we, the therapists, doctors, teachers, and family all focused on pushing for those "normal" goals? We should be looking at different solutions that my boys can use to accomplish those goals. What I mean is my boys may achieve the "normal" goal in an unusual or unorthodox way.
I looked at my sons' strengths and found many. I changed how their therapies were done. We focused on what they could do to help what they couldn't do. Their worlds changed overnight. Suddenly, they were happy. They could accomplish tasks. They were smart. They could do things!
Simply by changing focus of what they can't do to what they can do made a huge difference. No longer were my boys "incapable" or disabled. They just solved problems differently than others. They were now seen as problem solvers vs problems. Big difference.
Our children can surprise us. Capitalize on what they can do, and see just what else opens up! Our children will see themselves as doers. Our children can become self-reliant, a skill necessary for adulthood.
Whether our children have disabilities or not, our children all have the same goals of being loved, accepted, and successful. How we see them and what we tell them matters. If we constantly criticize, our children will learn to criticize. We need balance. Of course, we need to correct wrong doing, but we need to celebrate right doing.
Just how often do we parents celebrate that? We need to celebrate the positive more than correcting the negative.
Also posted in...