How to handle change when your child can’t

Learn how to make change more manageable and tackle ineffective methods by addressing your own barriers. Empower yourself with understanding the effects of stress on you and your neurodivergent child, regaining safety and trust in connection.

Be honest. How hard is change for you?

Whether those methods are behavior-based models that tell you to look at what your child is doing wrong or professionals emailing you a list of everything your child did that day that he shouldn’t have. How’s that for some early morning reading?

We like what we like, and when we've invested time, energy, and other resources into methods that come up short, it's hard to let those go.

Even though you know what you're doing right now isn't working, you're stuck and concerned that, if you say to yourself, “What I'm doing is not working for me or my child,” you've automatically failed.

So, you go the social media route and ask if others are experiencing the same troubles.

People rally with you and tell you how bad they’ve had it too…and then offer a surface-level solution that leaves you even more confused.

Overcoming barriers to change.

It’s like being in a hamster wheel, thinking that this time will be different.
Let this time actually be different. Begin by confronting your own barriers to change.

Barriers in terms of your own fears and anxieties of what could go wrong. Barriers in terms of your parenting style. While managing these obstacles, you can also find the benefit of change. Of breaking out of the social norm and being unapologetic.

You can alter your mindset in terms of how you approach a tough moment – based on how your child has viewed that moment.

How can you make change more manageable? You start small.

You forgo those goals that were written into an abstract plan by someone who thinks the same 5 things work for every single child.

And then, you listen. Listen to what your child is showing you and telling you. Watch how your child shows up when they’re in a place that honors their strengths and supports them in time of need.

You also take the route of empowering yourself with an understanding of what stress does to the brain and the body.

The body embodies stressors and reacts. The brain experiences those stressors and makes sure to remind the body to arm itself in case danger comes lurking around the corner.

This danger is subjective to the person experiencing it. For your child, danger can be another child wanting their toy, an adult constantly bombarding them with demands, a person in power (like an educator) putting them in “time-out,” or maybe it is every time they are told “no.” 

With repeated experiences, these situations become constant reminders of what your child cannot do. These reminders are also in place for the brain to realize that safety doesn’t exist. 

When safety is taken away and trust is broken, the result is a loss of balance.

Where do you start? You start by rebuilding trust.

Your child needs to know that you are not demanding compliance, and instead, you are offering compassion.

They need to know this over and over again so that they believe you and let their guard down.

You will then recreate safety in connection.

More related articles

Navigating disappointment: Support your child through struggles
Read More
Beyond the "if": Communicate intentions without ultimatums
Read More
Understanding dysregulation: A parent's guide
Read More
1 2 3 6

Learn to navigate challenges with resilience and grace

subscribe to our newsletter