Saving my son from himself for a second time
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
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:
- Do I know (clearly) what I want?
- Have I decided my present situation is unacceptable, MUST change and that what I want is the remedy?
- Do I believe my present situation CAN change, that I can change it, that I MUST change it?
- Have I chosen my first action?
- Upon taking my first action, what results did I get?
- What did I learn to ensure my next action will move me forward, etc, etc.
- 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,
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.
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 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.
When your best parenting fails
Yesterday was a very emotional day, which culminated in sending my oldest Zach to live with his mother.
Zach will always be my hero. I’ve watched him struggle and grow through years of public school missteps and outright failures at the hands of willfully ignorant administrators who ignored or minimized his Asperger’s and ADHD.
Zach soared in high school and it looked like the sky was the limit after graduation. That was until depression took hold. My caring, optimistic son became distant and mentally self-destructive.
As a young man with Asperger’s, he’s subject to black and white thinking, inflexibility and social anxiety.
After his mother left us when he was 11, I became a single parent to he and his brothers for a time. Unbeknownst to me, and possibly him. He developed a belief that no one had the right to parent him but me. He also decided he had no mother, couldn’t trust a woman to be his mother because his own mother left. Beliefs he holds to this day.
Because of this, he began lashing out at every woman who tried to guide him. This brings us to today some 8 years later.
I’ve used my best tools to help Zach let go of these toxic beliefs. As much suffering as they cause him, he believes they protect him from even greater suffering.
Unfortunately, these beliefs result in such abusive behavior toward others, women, that want nothing more than to guide him and see him do well. That having him in our home on a daily basis was no longer a healthy arrangement.
As of yesterday Zach now lives with his mother. There are still many hard feeling there but he and I both see this as an opportunity for the two of them to explore and heal their relationship.
One thing I learned long ago, that in order to replace a toxic pattern with a healthier one, you need to change people, places, and things. We couldn’t do that here. Zach needed a new environment to work on himself and he agreed.
Fortunately, this doesn’t change anything between he and I. I’m still his biggest supporter, and a very proud Dad.
I hope to talk with him daily and guide him as he makes peace with and eventually changes the beliefs that have protected him emotionally all these years but have done so at a high price.
Along with his therapist and his mother, we’ll support Zach in becoming the best adult he can be.
What’s this mean for you? If you find yourself in a similar situation with a child and are struggling to make a similar decision. It may be helpful for you to remember, that as hard as it is to do. It isn’t a rejection, it isn’t a punishment to entrust your child to others in their time of need.
It’s an opportunity to introduce some fresh eyes, in the hope of fostering new growth. Its an act of faith, unlike anything you’ve likely done before. Let me tell you, it makes for one hell of a long night.
No matter how knowledgeable you believe yourself to be. You’re still biased toward your own perspective. When it comes to your own child, sometimes the greatest act of love is to ask for help when you run out of answers.
I miss him already, but I know where to find him. He knows that as long as I’m breathing, I’ll always be there for him.
Thanks for being you,
P.S. I’ve added a lot of FREE Resources to http://ResilienceWarriors.solutions so you can get support without having to invest in anything. Remember, I’m here to help.
Please see me and not my wheelchair
Socially awkward? Use it to your advantage.
Social awkwardness can be a common experience for people living with disabilities. Especially if you’re very self-conscious.
Many years ago I was diagnosed with Asperger’s, just like my three sons. But I’ve worked so hard over the years to become so proficient in social strategies that today I no longer fit the diagnostic criteria.
I remember the days when I pissed people off by saying the wrong things, was accused of insensitivity because of my blunt honesty and the list goes on. I was so hungry for belonging that I stopped at nothing until I achieved it.
Unfortunately, until you have the skills you need, you could end up trying so hard and feel so afraid you’ll look bad in front of others that you become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This topic came up in one of my group coaching calls yesterday. I’ll give you a synopsis of what I taught my clients.
People judge! That’s a reality. No matter how open minded you believe yourself to be, your mind likes to label and categorize. It’s your awareness of and acceptance of this fact that determines how much it influences you. If you deny that it does it’ll sabotage your relationships.
So what the hell do you do when you’re afraid of being judged by people who will likely judge you anyway?
You use a strategy a refer to as “Social Disclaimers.” This means you explain the rhyme and reason for a social quirk their likely to encounter while interacting with you and why it’s to their advantage to roll with it.
The anatomy of a social disclaimer is:
1) Describe the quirk
2) The problem it solves for you
3) The need it meets for them
Here are a few examples:
1) Eye Contact – “I just want you to know I may look away while you’re talking to me, that’s so I can tune in better to what you’re saying because I really want to hear you.
2) Monologuing – “If I ever get long-winded when I’m talking about something, please interrupt me I’m totally cool with it. I also want to hear your thoughts too.”
3) Boredom – “I sometimes forgot others aren’t as interested in certain things as I am. So if you ever get bored please ask to change the subject. It’s not all about me.”
4) Foot in mouth disease – “Sometimes things sound better in my head than they do when they come out of my mouth. If I ever say anything that upsets you tell me right away so I can clarify. I care about your feelings so I want to eliminate any misunderstandings between us.”
These are just examples and they’re more art than science. The key isn’t to memorize them but to develop your own based on beliefs that this kind of disclosure is necessary for healthy relationships.
There are likely many old ideas, habits and experiences you’ll have to work through before you find the confidence to use these strategies comfortably and consistently. That’s why this subject comes up on my group coaching calls. Because you don’t have to figure this out alone.
More people than you realize are living the same struggle and are getting the support they need to be more socially successful. I can help you too. Learn more at http://ResilienceWarriors.solutions
Thanks for being you,
How to be a man, being disabled
“What does masculinity mean to you?”
That’s a question I was asked when speaking to my new friend, Barton Cutter. He lives with cerebral palsy, is married, just adopted a puppy and is an all-around great guy.
I felt an immediate shift in my emotions, a guardedness because this is an issue for me.
My health decline has been pretty fast and has moved faster than my acceptance.
Two years ago I was walking nature trails with my family and walking hand in hand with my wife. Much of my identity as a man and a father was wrapped up in what I do with and for my family.
I could protect them from danger, run around on the playground, rough and tumble etc. The culturally preferred role of Dad was something I aspired to and something I saw advocated for in a few of the Facebook groups I belong to.
Bigger biceps meant you were more manly. I’m not knocking fitness, I’m advocating for a broader definition of masculinity.
It’s been a significant kick in the pride to go from long walks to long naps because climbing a flight of stairs is now tiring.
What you may lack in physical muscle, can be more than compensated for in the building of emotional, psychological and spiritual muscle. Resilience, attitude, and mindfulness are skills that become stronger in you, beyond your biceps.
For the record, I’m still working on sorting out what being a man means to me with all the changes I’m going through. But I want to share what I’ve already discovered.
I’m shifting from an emphasis on what people see to one in which how a person feels with me is the priority. Face it, if a person can’t see you (physically) then what experience do they have of you? They experience your heart, soul, your presence, your compassion.
Who you are, is best demonstrated by how you show up. Do you say, “You won’t believe the morning I’ve had” and make it about you? Do you show up with a smile and ask, “How’s everyone’s morning going?”
How present, attentive are you while with another person? Are you truly paying attention?
The strength of your presence is what makes you a man in that moment.
Finally, it is critically important to strengthen your dignity. Your sense of self-respect.
Whether you stand, walk or crawl. With a sense of your own worth, it’s much easier to stand tall (figuratively), speak with conviction and feel strong.
What has ultimately changed isn’t your worth as a man, but in the way you need to BE in the world.
Every day I have the privilege of helping others stand a little taller while living with their disabilities. They strengthen their dignity, courage, and resilience through my Resilience Warriors Program. Check it out here http://ResilienceWarriors.solutions
Thanks for being you,