I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was shortly after my daughter Julianna was officially diagnosed with Autism, and at the time we weren’t seeing a lot of progress with Early Intervention.
We had to get a few things, so I took her to Target with me. We were going through the aisles getting the things we needed. She was absolutely fine.
Then all of the sudden out of nowhere she bursts into tears. She started screaming and flipping out, trying to eject herself out of the cart. She started hitting me. I didn’t know what to do. I was mortified. Her screams got louder and so did my anxiety. I could feel the eyes of other shoppers on us, so and I just grabbed her and BOLTED.
I left the half full cart in the middle of the store and ran out with her in my arms.
When we were in the car on the way home, we were both crying so hard. I was traumatized for days after that experience.
Has something like that ever happened to you?
In my group coaching program, a similar experience happened with a Mother I work with, and before I could coach her through it, I had such a relatable flood of emotions come over me as if I was reliving that day in Target. I SO GET IT. Even though those days are behind me, I can still feel it with you. Once this feeling past for me, I shared with her some ways for us to mentally and emotionally deal with situations like this as they pop up.
See …Thing is, how we perceive the tantrum has everything to do with what is going on in our mind.
If this were my son (who is neurotypical) and he had the tantrum that day I would’ve just thought “there’s Cody having a tantrum” and let it brush off my shoulder, BUT because it was my daughter who was diagnosed with Autism, the tantrum had such a more profound meaning in the moment.
In the moment, my thoughts made it mean it was more than a tantrum.
It was a reminder of her diagnosis…
That her “normal” future I had wanted for her was slipping away..
That something was wrong with her…
That she may never be “fixed” …
When I coached my client I reminded her that our thoughts have so much control over the emotions that we feel in all aspects of our life, but especially around the diagnosis.
Thing is, if we’re feeling like how I felt in Target that day then we’re unproductive. We can’t support our children, we can’t be an active part in making the right decisions for their future.
Why? Because for me, I was too busy swirling in terrible thoughts, and clouded by the story of what I was making those collection of thoughts mean. I was not present, I was not showing up, I was feeling sorry for myself.
My reaction to what happened in Target that day was triggered by a thought I had about Julianna’s behavior AND her having Autism. That debilitated me for days after.
What if it were just my 2 year old daughter having a tantrum in Target? No different than my neurotypical son at that age having a tantrum?
The stories we create in our minds are as big as we make it.
It’s our CHOICE on where we want to let our thoughts take us.
Will it spiral us?
Will we let it mean she had a tantrum as this broken Autistic Child
Is she just a toddler having a bad day?
I CHOOSE to think the latter because I’d rather have my sanity and peace, rather than spiral in an internal war that progressively gets WORSE over time, and takes away my ability to take care of my kids.
Mama, if you don’t make progress in your thoughts I GUARANTEE YOU that your child won’t make progress in their therapies.
If we have “stinking thinking” it will impact the progress with your child. I see it all the time with the mothers I coach. We have to control our thoughts to control the outcome for our kids.
Till next time.
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