How do you do with other points of view?

Raising teenagers is hard enough. I have the privilege of raising boys on the autism spectrum. Even if this doesn’t apply to you stay with me. 

It’s difficult for my boys to consider ideas that aren’t their own. I hear ya, I too know many adults with this challenge who AREN’T on the autism spectrum.

Being stuck in your own head is like living life with a mental straightjacket. You want to break free but the more you struggle the tighter the jacket gets.

What’s the solution? Realize there is no jacket, other than the one you create. 

Case in point. My 16-year-old overdoes it with the video games (DUH! What teenager doesn’t?)  So I decided to establish a criterion requiring him to balance his video game play with personal development. 

I started him with one of my favorites, Mindset by Carol Dweck. 

He shared the revelation he read that it’s possible to see experiences as obstacles (fixed) or opportunities (growth). Of course you already know this, as do I. I’ve been explaining this to him and his brothers for years. 

For some reason, it clicked when he began reading this book. 

As much as you may fancy yourself the primary purveyor of wisdom for those you wish to influence. You may consider that desire as a form of limited thinking and a challenge with getting outside a bias toward your own thinking. 

I’m guilty of this on occasion as well. 

If you have a similar lust for learning and seek new ideas through books, podcasts, blog posts etc. It may make sharing your thoughts more effective if you direct your child, friend or colleague to the same source you discovered. 

That third party validation is often more convincing than hearing it from you all the time. But don’t trust me, I’m just the messenger 😉 

Tips for establishing a new habit

Routine is one of the foundations of your daily life. Habits (the things you repeatedly do with little or no variation) can become a mindless way of moving through life. You’re not a robot, are you?

Then a moment of insight leads you to the realization you no longer find value in what you’ve always done. You decide you want a new way to do things with better results. 

What better means is up to you. Once you decide what it is then you must take new action to start a new habit to create change. Waiting, procrastinating only keeps things the same.

Here are some steps to give you a framework for getting things moving.  

1. DECIDE you must start the new behavior. 
2. SCHEDULE it so nothing else can get in the way  
3. You don’t need to FEEL like doing it every day in order to do it. 
4. RECORD your progress to remind you you’re moving forward.  
5. ACKNOWLEDGE your effort as well as your wins. Showing up every day is 90% of the process. 

These steps can make your efforts more deliberate and purposeful. Recording your results is a daily reminder you’re moving forward in life. 

A mind that makes progress is aware of the change it can create in the world.

Saving my son from himself for a second time

My 19-year-old son Zach attempted suicide for the second time yesterday. Why am I posting about this? Because I know many parents have experienced this and feel ashamed as though it’s a reflection of their failure as a parent and a person.
 
Something like this is horrible to try and go through alone and my support system has been AMAZING in the past 24 hours.
 
Those familiar with the situation know Zach lives with Asperger’s, ADHD, Dyslexia and severe depression. His thinking is very rigid which has made tradition therapy ineffective as he refuses to budge from his negative beliefs.
 
We’ve done all we can on an outpatient basis and even inpatient. It’s clear now something more long-term is needed and things are in motion to make it happen.
 
One thing I’ve learned through raising Zach and his brothers (all with Asperger’s and ADHD) is our kids seem to experience more anxiety than we did as children. The onslaught of information and the bombardment of 24 hour video entertainment overloads their nervous system and they have a hard time learning how to calm down. That’s a conversation in itself.
 
It’s sad to say that we saw this second attempt coming and tried to prevent it. I won’t go into the specifics but fortunately, his mother discovered him yesterday morning and called 911.
 
He’s unresponsive to all but pain and shouting his name in response to which he opens his eyes. They’re monitoring his breathing and giving him what he needs to clear out his system.
 
Zach is a wonderful, loving young man who is suffering deeply and we will continue to work until we find the tools to help him find his happy again.
 
We’re doing well here. Unfortunately, we’ve done this once before and as I said, we felt this coming. We don’t need anything at this point but should that change I’ll be sure to ask.
 
I share this primarily for you. Help your child without embarrassment or shame. We don’t don’t have crystal balls or magic wands as parents, but we do have each other. Reach out, let us in and we’ll get through this together.

My kid won’t clean up their messes! What do I do?

I was asked, “My son with Asperger’s has an extremely hard time staying on task. To the point where he thinks we are trying to be mean to him by telling him to do the same thing over and over again. When really we just want his help around the house and to teach him responsibility. So when it comes to cleaning up his own messes, his toys all over the house, what is a tool I could implement to help bring his attention back?”

Below is my response to help point things in a better direction. 

EPISODE 10: How to champion your strengths with ADHD or Asperger’s – an interview with Benjamin Bodnar

To truly champion the strengths that will allow you to succeed while living with an LD diagnosis, you must first free yourself of all resistance to the diagnosis. 

Facing the diagnosis of a learning disability such as dyslexia, ADHD, autism, and many other conditions, can be one of the most harrowing events of parenthood. Parents who must endure this difficult revelation must, therefore, be treated with the utmost compassion and patience as they process the information and begin to plan for the lifelong ramifications of their child’s condition. However, even parents who have the full support and empathy of their immediate families, as well as the guidance of the social and educational communities, sometimes struggle to cope effectively with their child’s reality and engage in recalcitrant behavior with respect to the diagnosis.

This parental resistance can emanate from multiple sources, but the principal influences causing parents’ discomfort with active management and intervention are:

1) fear of social isolation of both the LD individual,

2) fear of stigmatization of the LD individual’s family in their social and professional communities,

3) pride in the parents’ own academic achievements and abilities and resulting disbelief in the birth of a child unlikely to replicate those feats,

4) financial implications of addressing a learning disability, and

5) unwillingness to devote the additional time required to cooperate with the external sources of support. In these unfortunate scenarios, the learning disabled child or young adult is greatly imperiled as he or she is endangered of progressing through education and life without the single most crucial support structure necessary to develop into a functional adult.

Learning disabled individuals who do not have the backing of their own homes are very unlikely to compensate even with expert support from his or her social and school environments, rendering these other secondary support structures largely ineffectual.

It is therefore of great importance that learning disabled individuals and the community of stakeholders around them develop methods and protocols to engage recalcitrant parents in addressing special educational needs in non-stigmatizing ways that reassure the parents that LD management techniques are trustworthy and beneficial to the child or young adult’s long-term prosperity.

Topics we cover in this episode include: 

1) How LD individuals, especially those of adult or near adult age, can be effective self-advocates in the face of denial, gaslighting, and invalidation relating to the diagnosis and its implications, and how we can instill a sense of pride in these individuals,

2) How recalcitrant parents can be taught the numerous upsides not only of effective intervention but of the disability itself, namely, that attending their child’s learning differences are highly useful attributes in school and business (which are also highly regarded in the social circles that may be the chief factor fueling their resistance to acknowledgement) and that the differences are things of which the parents themselves can be proud,

3) How we can impress upon parents the benefits of proper management, up to and including financial and social benefits resulting from greater prospects for the child with intervention as proactive as possible, and

4) How we need a compassionate but firm approach that teaches parents and other caregivers that being true to oneself and to their loved one with an LD is a path to prosperity while playing a contrived role is one destined for frustration for both them and the LD individual.

Contact Benjamin Bodner through 

jobsfordyslexics.org

You MUST be motivated to read this

I’m just not motivated enough?

I’ve lost my motivation?

What the hell is motivation anyway?

One definition of motivation refers to factors that activate, direct, and sustain goal-directed behavior.

Motivation is a drive to act in a focused way until you achieve a desired result.

  • Avoid hitting a pedestrian.
  • To make a specific amount of money each month.
  • To win the attention of a certain someone.
  • To change your feelings from helpless to hero. 

But before you can act you must first believe that YOUR actions can influence the outcome you want.

It begins with the realization or decision that NOT having what you want is so unacceptable that the mere idea of not taking action is unacceptable to you.

Next, you must believe that your present situation CAN change, that YOU can change it and that you MUST change it.

With those beliefs in place, your next step is to take your first, focused, goal-directed action. Then keep doing it until you get what you want.

But what do you do when you, “Just aren’t motivated enough” or “Have lost your motivation?”

Neither of those problems really exist. What they mean is, you don’t believe things MUST change. Your current situation isn’t uncomfortable enough for you to act.

Secondly, a loss of motivation is the result of a shitty feedback loop. You’ve lost touch with the belief that you CAN change it. Likely because you’re beginning to lose patience, become discouraged and have allowed doubt to set in.

How do you get your motivation mojo back?

Review your motivation recipe to see what’s out of place:

  1. Do I know (clearly) what I want?
  2. Have I decided my present situation is unacceptable, MUST change and that what I want is the remedy?
  3. Do I believe my present situation CAN change, that I can change it, that I MUST change it?
  4. Have I chosen my first action?
  5. Upon taking my first action, what results did I get?
  6. What did I learn to ensure my next action will move me forward, etc, etc.
  7. Do I have an accountability partner to help me remain focused and prevent me from giving in to doubt? Have I utilized this person?

Pretty straightforward huh? Pretty basic, right? Right, because you have to start somewhere, get the ball rolling. 

Begin with this, ask me questions. Tomorrow will keep moving forward.

Thanks for being you,

Brian

P.S. I’ll be adding this series of articles and videos (from Facebook) to the FREE section of http://ResilienceWarriors.solutions for your convenience. It will save you a lot of time when reviewing this information. 

Do you know a Gladys?

A reason, a season or a lifetime, the length of time a person who impacts your life stays until their purpose is fulfilled.

Today I met Gladys. She’s a volunteer at the hospital I’ll be going to for surgery this Friday to repair a double hernia. 

I had a pre op Doctor visit this morning and it was the responsibility of Gladys to escort me to the Doctor’s office.

She must be in her 80’s and from my height looked to be about 3 ft tall. But she was larger than life.

She was feisty as hell and talked smack to the other volunteers who got a kick out of her.

She had to slow down to keep up with me as I hobbled alongside her with my cane.

She kept offering to get me a wheelchair cause of the distance we’d be walking. She probably could’ve just slung me over her shoulders and done a fireman’s carry.

It’s easy to forget your worries when in the presence of someone like Gladys.

The reason I met Gladys? To remind me it isn’t your age, nor your height, nor your stature that makes you stand out. It is your spirit.
 
Thanks for being you,
 
Brian