“Why did you do that?”
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.”
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.