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  • Writer's pictureElisa Ferriggi

Parents are the best guides a child can have

My belief is that parents are the best people to guide their children. Parents know their children better than anyone else, their history, their edge of competence and their fears and achievements. Parents also have the most time with their child over a period of time and therefore the most opportunities to support their child’s development. When you have an autistic child, it can really challenge that belief that you are the best person to guide your child, it can make you doubt yourself, feel ill-equipped and too emotionally enmeshed. That conclusion can be due to finding yourself in ‘crisis mode’. With the right guidance, tools and strategies it can be a more enjoyable journey to watch your child’s development accelerate.

Do you recognise yourself in crisis mode?

Crisis mode is a negative un-serving obstacle, pattern or mind-set that is keeping you from moving forward. This is often the result of a compound effect; an accumulation of negative events, thoughts, stress directly and/ or indirectly related to autism, that traps you in a negative cycle. No one wants to be in crisis mode and many parents find it extremely challenging to operate in crisis mode, yet is common for parents of children with additional needs to find themselves in this position.

Recognising yourself in crisis mode could be a constant feeling of overwhelm, helplessness, desperate, frantic, given up. Perhaps you find yourself more often than not focusing on the short term immediate issues and putting out fires rather than having a long-term perspective for your child’s development. In terms of your behaviour maybe you are trying everything, jumping from one approach to the next, constantly researching and looking for answers and solutions at the detriment of your own well-being and other relationships leaving you feeling exhausted, unaccomplished and isolated. Sometimes you may be easily triggered by external stimulus maybe something someone says, a look, a form.

You may find that you dip in and out of crisis mode at various points in your parenting journey. Common examples include choosing schools, completing forms, diagnosis, multiple diagnoses, tribunals, finding appropriate support, disagreements in relationship, sleep deprivation, illness etc. Generally, we are wanting to aim to recover from crisis mode and be in it for as little time as possible.

There are various things you can do to aide your recovery from crisis that may include improvements in your mind-set, sleep, behaviour, self-care and addressing child and parental obstacles. In step 2 of the CORE Steps 12 week course we cover all of this and provide support to help you move away from crisis mode so that you can be the best guide you can be for your child; functioning from a calm point, focusing on long term goals and feeling confident in your parenting decisions. You can learn more about CORE Steps here In the meantime, what is the priority you need to focus on and the one thing you can do now to help you move away from crisis mode?

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