Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Talking it Out

We talk in our family a lot. We discuss everything. It's not uncommon to hear "hey, can I talk with you a minute", "kiddos, come here, Mom and Dad want to chat with you", "can we go in your room for a private discussion", etc from us or the kids. We believe communication is a big thing in families and also something that is a lost art.

This doesn't just apply to when the kids are in trouble or when one sibling is picking on another. We talk about life changes, goals, ideas, thoughts, feelings, medical things, and more. We want the kids to know they are important in our day and for us to be the natural source of support for them. Our kids know it all when it comes to the big things in life, and the small things (of course, not the private things my husband and I discuss as a married couple).

Having said that, sometimes we, as parents, choose to keep things that will directly affect our children private. Some things, even if they aren't huge, will have an affect on our kids (emotionally) that we want to prevent.

For instance, our older son HATES change. He doesn't care if that change is going to be the best thing in the world and a blast to do. Change is bad in his mind. He loves where we live, doesn't ever want to move, hates the city, and yet still longs for his old house that was smaller, older, with a small yard, average neighbors, no real friends, and on a busy, busy street simply because it's what we had when he was born and anything else is change. Change is hard for him. He's just now, over 5 years later, starting to talk about how we should live in this house forever and not buy a new one. So, this is just now beginning to be his norm. 5 years people.

Now, this isn't such an off-the-wall thing seeing as he has Autism. In fact, it's extremely common for many kids on the Autism spectrum. Just ask the OT who has had to half drag a child out of a room because moving from blocks to home or from a chair to a swing is a horrible thing because it's change. Ask the Mom who dared put pepper on a food instead of salt and "what are those black things, I am not eating that" happens at the dinner table. Ask the Dad who went down 1st street instead of how Mom always goes down Main St. and you will know all about change in the ASD world.

You can see why we are very, very selective with how we communicate change or new things to him. More specific and recent case in point, his diet. He has a very lax diet because he was so self-limiting due to his medical issues. The diet his doctors wanted him on made his issues worse so we put it off until we could build up his food options for oral intake to the point we felt safe to make the big dietary changes. We wanted him beefed up physically and with what he would take by mouth. We have reached that point. It's time to make his diet changes. His doctors agree.

We aren't telling him.

We tried to tell him about diet changes in the past and he got so anxious over changes that it was worse for him than the actual new food and eating method. We are just going to work on the wean and new foods and see what happens. We hope, by the time he figures out there have been ongoing changes, that he will be past the initial hump and will be living with them so we can say, "but you have been doing it for 3 weeks, so it's not new and you see you can do this". My husband and I talked about this and feel it's best considering his issues. His doctors feel it's the best as well.

So, communication ... it's hard. We are talkers in this family. We don't like to spring things on our kids. We like them to feel included and like a vital part of family decisions. But, as parents, sometimes you have to realize you know your child best, you know how different topics will make them react, and you have to withold information, at least for a while, to help them transition.


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