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I am Filled With Anger!

No having a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder is not fair and after diagnosis we can feel angry about it.  This is usually the next step after denial.

As a parent’s denial fades, anger arises that his or her child’s condition may not improve significantly.  The emotion of anger could cause the parent to blame the doctor for making the diagnosis, blame your wife or ourselves for doing something “wrong” during the pregnancy.  Some people go through a spiritual crisis and feel that they have caused this to happen because they may not have prayed enough.  People can be angry towards everyone for this new journey which makes it had for all involved to cope.  Sadly some people let the anger control them and they turn to physical means of showing this anger.

The anger will not last and there has to become the time when you need to let the anger go.  It is hard but the more we stay angry the less we are able to function properly.  It will also hinder the relationship with your child.  Do not give up on your child because they need you to help them have a bright future.

If you are reading this and are in this stage of anger and you want to talk to someone who is outside the picture, please email me on Rebecca@coachingforlifetimechange.com.au as I am more than happy to be that ear.  Any dads who are reading this and are stuck in the place please reach out through email as I am more than happy to listen.

 

I Don’t Have Time For Self Care

I hear a lot that people do not have time and I usually say in reply “make the time.”  See self care as an appointment that you don’t ever cancel.  I am not telling you to do 30 minutes each day but at a minimum 5 minutes.

Imagine the cost to your health and to your family if you run yourself in the ground.  As the saying goes “you can’t burn ends of the candle.”  Our bodies have a way of making us stop when it has reached the point of no return.  We are either sick, depressed and not able to function.  By taking 5 minutes for yourself each day will help stop you from falling sick which will financially cost you more than 5, 10, 15 minutes to look after you.

If you also put you at the bottom of the list and hit the wall, what good are you to your family? Mums and dads all need a break each day for themselves.

Why Do I Feel Selfish For Doing Self Care Activities?

This is one of the most common thoughts when people think about self care is that I am being selfish.  But let me tell you right now is that this is the biggest myth ever when it comes to self care.

If I asked the majority of mums and dads who is their biggest priority within their family, most would say “the children of course.”  But why is your children their biggest priority?  What about you and everything you do?  You may be running a job, looking after children with special needs, you may be on the road to recovery but I always say to my clients is what about you?  The answer to that is usually there is not enough time, I do something once a month.
I am sorry that is not enough?  If you have read my personal story, I have had all the excuses why I couldn’t do daily self care activities.  I looked after my mum who was unwell, I as a workaholic, I survived major depression and postnatal depression and I have two children with autism.  I spent approximately 7 months in a mother/baby unit and a psych ward after my second child was born and it was there that I really learnt that not putting myself first and taking time each day for some self care, I was not going to beat the depression and what is worse I will be no good for my girls.
I am not sitting here saying that I am perfect at doing self care everyday so this month is going to help me as well make sure that self care activities occur everyday.
Do you know that research states that everyone should take a short break every 90 minutes to be productive? If your partner is at work encourage them to take time out often for a small break.

How to Help a Child with Autism During the Christmas Period

Amaze (Autism Victoria) in their monthly magazine The Spectrum Volume 9, Number 4, Summer Edition 2013-14, they have written a wonder article about how to reduce the anxiety and stress for ASD children.

Strategies that they have suggested are:

  • Talk about the holiday period and what that means for your child and family.
  • Minimise change as children are finishing schools for the year and will be heading into longer holidays.
  • Continue to continue to use positive behavioural strategies.
  • Make a visual calendar/timetable for them to follow.
  • Talk about any changes.
  • Keep routine as much as possible
  • Create photos albums of people who they will see at functions.

These could be some really important for children with autism.

Parents Are Always Learning

Do mums and dads have all the answers in regards to parenting?  Hell No!  As a child care and special needs professional, constantly I am reminded that no matter how much information I know, my girls are always teaching me something new.

We hear a lot around mums groups that ‘things get easier’ but I always question do they?  I over heard a conversation between family members with one member stating all the facts about how having little ones are so much harder than ones who are older.  The other families were simply listening to the other family and their troubles.  I do not believe that it gets any easier as mums and dads face different issues and challenges.

We never have all the answers as mums and dads and we should always embrace the continual learning.  We should not feel any guilt that we do not have all the answers but feel kindness towards ourselves for not having the answers and seeking help to find those answers.

So Proud of My Girl

Grace calisthenics awards I am so proud of my big girls Grace.  She simply amazes me on how far she has come.  After she was diagnosed with autism, we did wonder what the future will hold for her.  But my goodness with all the wonderful help we have received from therapists, her kindergarten teachers at Keilor Park Preschool and at Keilor Heights Primary school it has proven how essential it is to get all the help you can.

She started calisthenics at Kendara Calisthenics this year and to watch her grow has been amazing.  She is enthusiastic each week and really tries her best.  We had her final concert a week ago and she won the tinnies group annual award for all her hard work.

 

Steve and I realise that Grace will always try her best and she will always have such supportive people around her.  Even Emma was simply so excited for her big sister which is simply beautiful and I do hope that they will always be excited about each others achievements.

Relationships at Breaking Point for Families With Children with Special Needs

Special Needs Logo.2   In Monday 11th Melbourne Herald-Sun, there is a sad article about families who are at breaking apart point with children with special needs.  Children with special needs do get lots of assistance with early intervention before the age of 7.  However between the ages of 7-18 there is little support out there for this age group.  The situation is becoming just so bad that parents are being forced to the point where they have little choice but to give the child up into State care.

Reading this article bought tears to my eyes, to think the situation is coming to that.  Yes, the economy is tough at this moment and it is hard to fund all areas in desperate need.  Nevertheless, there is so much wasting of money especially within Government agencies, that this “wasted” money could be used to assist families who have children with special needs.  Maybe the politicians should really think before their next pay rise, could this money be spent in better areas to help families with special needs to remain a family unit?

We are blessed that we have two girls with high functioning autism, who therapy does cost a lot of money, but it is no where near as much as a family with a child who has a severe special need.

Here at Coaching for Lifetime Change we can assist you in creating a thriving family relationship and help mums not get to the stage where they have to choose to give their child up for State care.  Nevertheless, there needs to be more being done to improve resources within the community to also ease the burden these poor families are faced with.  If you want to know more about our services please click on the link http://coachingforlifetimechange.com.au/surviving-to-thriving-for-mums-with-special-needs-children/

Challenges Faced By Dads

Why dads leaveMeryn G Callender in her book Why Dads Leave provides readers with so much insight on the journey men go through when becoming parents.  Most of the focus leading up to the birth is on the mother as they are carrying the child.  However, why is there limited focus on dads and their journey to fatherhood?

Fatherhood, much more than motherhood, is a cultural invention. Its meaning is shaped by a culture that conditioning a man into certain ways of acting and perceiving himself. It may be said that fathers are made, not born.” (Why Dads Leave)

Men are all of a sudden, just like mums, into a new role which could be quite overwhelming for a new dad.  Many men tend to find the transitioning to parenthood extremely challenging if they were denied the presence of an emotionally available father when they were growing up.  So therefore a lot of men rely on what they see culturally on how to become a father.  We have shows like the Brady Bunch which depicts what a perfect father should act like.  Then within each cultural group, the notion of father is depicted to being the bread winner, protector of his family, the disciplinarian, the one who rough plays and does horsey rides.

More and more men want to be more hands on with their children and at the same time can be quite conflicted if they were not shown in their early years, let alone go against a cultural depiction of fatherhood.  We all got to remember transition to parenthood is extremely difficult for both mums and dads in their own unique way.

 

It’s Not Easy Looking After a Loved One With Mental Illness

I count myself lucky that I understand what my gorgeous husband is going through with his depression as I have been there myself and probably had a tougher battle. But that does not make his journey any less important as my own.

But for someone who has never had an episode of depression or any mental illness, the understanding of what the person is going through must be unbelievably hard.  It is impossible to understand the darkness that surrounds the person and the effort that is required to do simple daily tasks.  You can not simply snap out of it!  You can’t simply take a pill and all is fantastic!  I know for me the voices that were in my head and the horrible things they were telling me was beyond anyone’s imagination.  The work in blocking out these voices which definitely were not telling me what was reality was so draining that all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and hide.

Nevertheless, it is now my turn to look after my husband. I try my best to create a “bubble” around me to protect my inner self against the lack of connection that I feel, little remarks that can be made and the silence that can surround the air. Thank god we have two children to make up for the noise.  The hardest thing I find is when I give him a hug as for me that is an important way that I fulfil my need for connection and he does not put his arms around me, it does hurt.  But then I also find that I tend to seek more cuddles from the girls to meet the need of connection that I am missing.

What keeps me going is that when he finds the words to communicate how he is feeling, it releases some of the pressure that is evolving around the house.  By simply listening to him helps him find a bit of clarity and it is amazing listening to him acknowledge what is lacking in his life.  I know he will get through it just like I did and it may be hard to imagine but it is making us stronger as a couple and a family.  We have already crossed so many hurdles over the last 6 years and they did not defeat us so I know this also will not defeat us.

But it is not easy for support people because there is little support out there and I want to change that for as many people as I can possibly help.  We do not need to have the solution but we do need to listen.

How do you fulfil the need for connection?

depression

Mothers Guilt

There is an interesting article in Melbourne’s Child (June 2013) based on mothers guilt.  The author is saying that there is no room for mothers’ to feel guilty and I heartily agree.

Before a child is even conceived there is guilt put on the couple if conceiving has become a long journey.  Instant thoughts are what is wrong with me? We must be doing something wrong? Then of course there is the guilt of how you gave birth for instance cesarean, natural births with/without drugs.

After the baby is born women feel guilty if there isn’t that instant bond, they do not breastfeed, they don’t play enough with their child, if they immunise/not immunise their child.  The list is endless. We have so much information about what is right/wrong for your child, that parent’s are under so much pressure to get it right all the time.

But Michaela Fox hit the nail on the head with the this quote:

‘We need to stop accepting guilt as part of motherhood. Every mother has different skills and approaches to mothering; there is no single right way. We need to trust our instincts more and listen to others less.”

We know our child best!

 

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