When “I don’t know”, is your kid’s favorite answer

“Why did you do that?”
“I don’t know!”
If you are raising a neurodiverse kid this is a familiar exchange.
Few parents know where to go from here. Fortunately, I do.
Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
Introspection doesn’t come naturally to the neurodivergent, especially when they’re living in survival mode.
Their energy is spent monitoring and reacting to the overwhelming world they live in.
You almost need to require them to introspect.
For example, say they engage in a behavior that causes harm for them or others. You ask them to explain the behavior so you understand it better and they respond with, “I don’t know”.
Your response is. “Not yet perhaps. Do you agree it would be useful to know?” (pause) Let him ponder the question and even respond.
Saying, “NO” is a choice to be helpless to change things for a better result.
Assuming his answer is, “YES,” you can explore what feeling he may have been trying to calm with the action he took.
This is the beginning of understanding the cause and effect relationship between what they feel and what they do.
Their existing way of seeing the world is, “I did it because something outside me happened.”
See the difference?
Teaching your kiddo how to introspect helps plant the seeds of self-discipline, self-control and empowerment.
Let’s work on helping your child make this important shift.

Can a single criticism crush you?

Ever felt criticized for saying something in the wrong “tone”?
In your mind you knew it wasn’t a big deal. A misunderstanding, easy enough to correct.
But seemingly out of nowhere you find yourself sobbing and feeling worthless. It’s like that one criticism reminded you of how it felt every time you were criticized. Now you’re feeling all of them.
What the hell is going on?
In a neurodivergent brain such as yours. Especially if you have ADHD or Autism Spectrum Blips running around in there. Thoughts and feelings are experienced in an all or nothing, now or not now manner.
Even though many of those criticisms happened in the past. A brain experiencing time as now or not now feels like all the emotion is happening now.
If its all being felt now its all being expressed now. Sobbing, rage, panic, with little in between.
If you wanna break free of this trap start by recognizing the all or nothing aspect of your mind is a filter that isn’t giving you the full picture.
When your mind tells you, it’s either this or that, question it. Get into the habit of pausing and generating more options on your own or ideally with others.
It’s important to learn to understand experience as a continuum. Options offers us a continuum.
With our emotions, levels of intensity and how long it takes us to calm down exist on continuums as well. Learning what this means for you improves your ability to manage your emotions instead of being drown by them.
You can think of it as installing an internal emotional brake pedal to help you navigate those sharp turns so you don’t fly off the road.
Make sense?

A skill your neurodiverse child must have

As the mother of a Neurodiverse child, one skill you want your child to have is proactivity.
It’s difficult to teach if your child struggles with task initiation, future thinking, anxiety.
Here’s the gremlin to focus on to help remove the psychological barriers to taking charge of their life.
Common statements like:
“I forgot”
“You didn’t tell me to”
“You didn’t remind me to”
“I’m too tired”
“I don’t feel good”
May be be true on occasion. They may also be code for, “I don’t wanna.”
“I don’t wanna feel the frustration of not knowing where to start.”
“I don’t wanna deal with mom’s impatience when I need to ask her multiple times to explain what she wants me to do.”
“I don’t wanna deal with the anxiety of messing up and having someone be angry with me.”
But if they said, “I don’t wanna”, in the first place it wouldn’t save them. So they need to say something else.
In time they may lose awareness of the true issue.
So you see what appears to be laziness or lack of motivation. But with an inner dialogue like that, it’s more a matter of self-preservation.
Encourage them to be honest with you. Ask them if it’s a matter of not wanting to.
If they own it, wonderful. Then we can have a conversation about overcoming specific concerns (e.g. boredom, executive function difficulty).
Through you we can help your child learn to be more compassionate and patient with themselves.
Help them become more comfortable and confident in asking for what they need.
Learn to develop reciprocal, healthy relationships.
Help you find belonging in a community of women who “get it”, and help you find peace of mind.
Where there’s a we there’s a way. Here is the way.