13 Sep Be careful what you say
What we say matters. Our energy matters. The way we behave around our children matters.
Your child is listening to what you are saying when you are having a conversation in front of him, or even when you are in the next room. Your words affect him. Even if he has nothing to say, he is listening. Please remember that all ears are listening when you are having a conversation with a therapist or teacher in front of him.
Twenty years ago, when I was an intern, a teacher said to me, “The number one lesson that I want you to learn is…just because a child doesn’t speak, it does not mean that he has nothing to say.”
This had a profound impact on me. I continue to think about this statement years later. As a teacher, as an educational consultant, as an advocate for those who do not speak, and as a momma, I have added some life lessons to this thought along the way. Not only do our children have tons to say, even if they are non-verbal, but they understand so much more than we realize. They pick up on our energy. They can FEEL when we are disappointed, frustrated, angry, and happy. Our behavior affects our children, so it’s important that we are mindful.
It’s okay to have a bad day, a difficult moment, and to feel sadness. It’s how we handle these emotions, how we talk to and about our children, and how we express our feelings, that matters. Our children are constantly watching us, listening to us, and feeling our feelings.
So if you are feeling frustrated when your child isn’t listening, or you are overwhelmed by all of the demands that you are experiencing, be careful what you say. Be aware of how you are acting, and remember that your child is looking to you to help him understand how to handle emotions.
If the classroom teacher or one of your child’s therapists needs to speak with you about challenging behaviors, please encourage her to do so privately and not in front of your child.
How we act towards our children matters. What we say matters. We are their biggest teachers. This post comes from a place of love, experience, and wanting the best for all of our children.
For more support and practical strategies, please check out our online program, The Autism Solutions Blueprint.