Anyone having fun yet? I know the people who have entered my giveaway for the Trifle Bowl are! I will be choosing a winner on THURSDAY! So, just a few more days left to enter!
I have had a few more "burning questions" trickle in, and one had to do with my post from the other day about Jaxon, my child with Autism. This one came from my friend Jessica. (I have a LOT of Jessica's in my life) She reads my blog regularly, but only comments on Facebook. She more had an inquiry about WHAT to teach your children if they are in a situation where they have to interact with someone who is different.
Well, Jessica. FABULOUS inquiry. To be honest, I am not going to pretend that I am the be all/end all on the subject, but I know what I try to teach my own kids. Believe me, it is sometimes even hard for Abby to be nice to Jaxon.. So, I feel like I totally understand both sides of the situation for the most part.
I think the main thing is: be a good example, and answer children's questions honestly, but kindly. Let's say we are in the situation and Jaxon is at the park and he decides to get aggressive with your kid. OBVIOUSLY that is NOT OKAY! And I am NOT asking for a FREE PASS, because Jaxon still needs to learn that it is NOT OKAY to be that way with other kids.
First, hear me out, and try to understand the situation from Jaxon's perspective. Jaxon may have gotten aggressive because he is being, chased, taunted, excluded, or feels trapped. Once he got trapped in a slide and instead of saying, "Hey! Let me out!" He just started to attack kids until he got out. Other people were upset and rightfully so, I made Jaxon apologize, of course, but then explained that he was trapped in the slide and wanted to get out. Instead of going straight to using words, he gets aggressive, pushing and shoving in attempts to GET OUT.
You can tell your child, it was NOT OKAY for Jaxon to push, or hurt you. But, Jaxon doesn't always know that he is supposed to use his words to get help. Or, Jaxon doesn't always know what the right choice is. Or, Jaxon sometimes doesn't know how to control his body when he gets mad.
I hope that those kinds of explanations don't EXCUSE the behavior, but rather, EXPLAIN the situation and then the child is more apt to dealing with the situation the next time they might be there with Jaxon. They may even defend him, or say, 'HEY! LET HIM OUT!' Or offer whatever kind of help he might need.
He is QUIRKY, there is no doubt. Sometimes he even acts like a cartoon character, which makes kids laugh, or try to get him to do it again. Sometimes he can just get too wound up. Maybe an explanation to your child would be. EVERYONE is different. Jaxon is different too! He likes to express himself in different ways, and it may not always be LIKE YOU.
I think in general, this is a healthy way to describe someone else. They are different, and they are not LIKE YOU. This doesn't make them, BAD, or NOT FUN, or NOT YOUR FRIEND, it means they aren't YOU. But, we can still be nice to everyone and treat them nicely, even if they don't act like you, or, don't do the same things that you do. If they don't make the right choices it is because they are LEARNING, and maybe haven't learned it as well as YOU. This would be a good opportunity to focus on YOUR child's strengths and abilities and foster the ability to be of help to kids who don't do it as well as them! Say, "Hey! Next time, why don't you tell Jaxon that he needs to be nice to his friends! And ask him if he wants to play a different game that might make him more happy! He wants to have fun, but maybe next time you can show him that being nice is MORE fun." Communication is key.
That seemed like a long drawn out post, and may be over-simplified, but I hope it helps. The best thing to do as a parent might be to think, "How would I want MY child with special needs to be treated?" You might not have a child with special needs, but I am SURE you could understand how devastating it would be if you did, and how you would try every day to help that child out.