How? By being an example. Did you know that? I didn’t. But I did notice that professionals took my advice when they worked with my son, insights born to me in during some of the more intense moments of parenting my special needs son.
I thought about that and also some of the negative feedback I received from other professionals. One school psychiatrist told me that my seven year son would not benefit knowing I would always be there to rescue him. It was it was a bad thing for me to do because my son would never learn to figure out solutions to his own problems.
I responded by answering, “I ‘m glad he feels that way.” He sat looking at me with a surprised expression on his face. I continued, “I want him to know I’m there to backup him up if he gets into difficulty. Otherwise how else will he feel secure enough to try new things? He already has great difficulty with change as it is, so I’m glad this helps him feel secure! I’m happy that you noticed it as well. That means he thinks’ asking for help is ok.”
The tone of the conversation changed after I said that. My son came home and asked me to tell him what I said. The school’s attitude had toward him changed after the conversation.
There have been many other occasions like that. And do you know what happened? As my son got older he began to assert himself! Sure he made mistakes, but he refined his understanding of respectful negation, and was soon able to successfully navigate through more and more difficult situations!
Now as a young adult he debates with me when he feels that I have been unfair. His skill in dealing with authority figures is amazing. Now we are able to discuss his needed consequences for his behaviors in a calm manor. He is required to research and read about the subject and provide sources. He is becoming quite skilled. So much so that I joke with him and tell him his work is impressive and that he could make a career out of it! He scowls and with concrete certainty declares, “No way Mom!” I smile sweetly and reply “Ok son, ok.”
Organizations that help a parent advocate.