It is funny but as a parent we can lay down the law. New rules for when our children have officially been “given the inch and taken the mile” “From now on…” is something my children hear, usually followed by the new rule and what will happen if they make a bad choice and break the rule. So for a while those rules are enforced and followed but then slowly, and almost without being noticed, the vigilance ebbs away as does the “towing of the line” and soon the situation needs addressed again.
I think this happens because LIFE happens. We can’t enforce all things all the time and even though things head back to the starting point sometimes, sometimes change does take hold and well, when that happens …that is a great thing.
So I am not a stranger to this checks and balances thing, but I think I really need to share that I am laying down the law to myself with regards to how I am growing with Elizabeth this year.
For those of you who have been following my blog, you know already that Elizabeth has SPD and dyspraxia. But for those who are new to this post, she was diagnosed at 2.5 years old and is now 17. Yes, that is 15 years into this journey. And as such, she and I and our family have been in the fight for so long, that we sometimes cannot recollect a memory that does not involve some way we adapted life to her and her disorders. This being said, sometimes I MAY feel the need to control things, I MAY feel the need to keep things in as much order as possible( for both her and us) and I MAY feel my way is THE WAY ( please read those last couple sentences as sarcastically as possible) Because YES, I am guilty of all the above. That probably was not a problem when Elizabeth was younger, still probably not a problem when she could not make decisions well, and maybe still not a problem when she asked for help.
But now it is a problem and the reason is called ” SHE IS 17 YEARS OLD” Yes that is the title I am giving this problem…to me it means that she is ONE year from being considered and adult. ONE year from voting!!!!! When said this way I am a touch floored. I guess I have been keeping my head down and working with her so hard I have not stopped to think that SHE IS 17!
Once I peeled myself off the floor, I decided to lay down my own law…. a sort of checks an balance. I told myself to think how I felt when I was 17, to remember how Emily, our oldest child, felt at `17 years old. and to PROMISE myself, to think of these things before talking to Elizabeth. Just so that I can phrase things in a way to respect her age. I don’t want her to feel like a little child being told what to do. I want her to feel that she does have a say in many things and that we can decide things together. I want her to feel she has some power and say in her life.
I am trying to remember to say phrases like ” What do you think you would like to do” “How about we try this?” or “Let’s set the timer for 30 minutes and when it goes off, what do you want to do next?”
I think it has made a huge difference in our days, and I look forward to expanding Elizabeth’s choices and options… now I pray the strength to keep it up, and not let it slowly fade away like my example at the beginning of this post.
It is easy to forget how typically developing children your child’s age may feel, what they like and decisions they get to make. Sometimes if you can think about these typical things you can see which ones you can offer to your child.
I am in no way perfect in how I deal with life with our beautiful child I wish I would have done this many years ago, but perhaps my personality hindered me or as I like to think, it happened when it was supposed to happen. In any case, I offer this out as a thought as we start our new school years. I hope everyone has had a good start to their year.
I wish you all a peaceful week and blessings.