To begin with…
I cannot…and would not even want to change your child!
There is no cure for Pathological Demand Avoidance…
And if that day ever did come….
If you identify with the father more than the son…I have nothing to offer you.
I saw a Facebook post yesterday from a friend, who said…no parent wants to have an autistic child. And I thought…
Now I do not judge her. She is on a different path with a child who is non-verbal and more limited.
But for me…even during the worst meltdown…I would not wish away PanKwake’s PDA.
It is her greatest gift…her biggest strength.
But like all strengths, it is also a weakness.
And my job as a parent is to help her learn to moderate the two.
Does that sound far out there to you?
Actually being militantly proud of my child’s Pathological Demand Avoidance. Seeing it as AWE-tism even.
Well, that is where we begin the journey today at…
A typical example or pattern of something; a pattern or model. More specifically…A world view underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject. (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/paradigm)
In particular a Paradigm Shift…
Fundamental change in an individual’s or a society’s view of how things work in the world. (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/paradigm-shift.html)
That is what this blog/book is all about.
Not changing your child…although they will. But CHANGING you.
Changing HOW you see your child.
Because that is the key. The difference between SURVIVING and THRIVING. The route to LIVING HAPPILY EVER AFTER WITH PATHOLOGICAL DEMAND AVOIDANCE.
You can do ALL those things that I recommended on the PDA Society website. You can practice Dr Greene’s collaborative problem solving. And it will work. I promise.
But you will still feel tired. That it is unfair you and your child have to face all this. You may even be angry. But you both will survive!
Surviving was not good enough for me. Not what I wanted for PanKwake. I wanted THRIVING and HAPPY! And in order to have that…I had to change ME! My Paradigm. I needed a SHIFT.
So let’s begin there with paradigms and change…and how we got here and how you can too!
What do you see in this picture?
Did you see an old hag? Or a beautiful young woman?
Whichever you saw…spend some time staring at it…until you see the other. The first time I did this it took me a good ten or fifteen minutes to find the young woman out of the hag. But now I have to actually look to find the hag.
That is what I am talking about…a change of how you see things.
In Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey uses an example from his life…
One Sunday morning he was on the subway. It was quiet and he was reading the newspaper. A man gets on the train with several small children. He sits down and the children begin to ‘run wild’, making lots of noise and being a general nuisance.
Covey being the bold one decided to say something to this man that was…just sitting there, doing NOTHING…while his brats (my words not his) ran amok. He was polite when he said, “Excuse me, Sir. But would you mind controlling your children?”
The man looked up at Covey as if emerging from a trance. He apologized and went on to explain that they had all just left the hospital where his wife had DIED.
Needless to say…in that moment with new insight…the whole situation changed for Covey.
He had a Paradigm Shift. He went from worrying about reading his newspaper and a quiet Sunday morning to deep empathy for this man and his children. His thought became…HOW CAN I HELP?
And that is what we are working towards. That change is the moment that things switch for you as a parent…and your child.
The moment when you can stop worrying about doing things the ‘right’ way…what people think…what ‘experts’ say…
And start seeing your child’s pain…challenges…
But that is not as easy as it sounds. Because in those moments when you are standing at the bus stop with a child in the middle of a meltdown…and everyone staring at you…JUDGING you…and your child…that is a hard thing to do.
A couple of months ago we moved into a house that is over a hundred and fifty years old. The walls are solid stone…about 18 inches thick. It is perfect for a noisy AWE-tistic child.
But it is a pain in the b^tt when it comes to re-wiring. Nonetheless, that was exactly what had to be done. Six weeks of noise and dust so thick that it looked like a small volcanic eruption…to channel grooves for the new wires through that rock.
So what? What does that have to do with Paradigm Shifts? Changing how I see my child?
Because that is what a paradigm is like…a solid stone wall…over a foot thick.
Our paradigms are set in that stone even before we realize it…without our permission…by others…parents…schools…society. We learn how to act and think automatically.
Our PDA children do NOT! And that is their gift to us…
But before we can accept it…we have to chisel through all those years of rock…chip away and crack everything we thought we knew…everything that we were ‘taught’…
Before we can rewire our brains to a new way of seeing the world…
A NEW PARADIGM!
In preparation for those first baby steps to that change, I’m giving you homework today. I want you to spend some time asking yourself the HARD questions…
- Am I happy?
- Do I like my life?
- Am I doing a job I love and am excited about?
- Do I like my family? My friends?
- Am I truly, truly happy?
We’ll start from there tomorrow…