So often conclusions are reached that particular children are a particular way. “She’s the pretty one and her brother is the athlete.” Or, “The oldest is the smart one, the youngest is the real beauty.” Once they are labeled a particular way, they tend to be viewed that way by so many, and they are taught to conform to those viewpoints. The problem is no child is just one thing, and by asking them to adhere to that one label, we are telling them that there is something lacking in their makeup. And, by asking them to be only a tiny portion of who they actually are, we are asking them to be somebody they are not.
And, for those children who don’t “fit in,” this is exacerbated. The conclusion is reached that they need to be taught how to behave so they can learn to function as if they were “normal” and “average” and just like everyone else. The problem is that they are not normal...
We live in turbulent times.
Much of life as we knew it is no longer. What was “normal” one year ago, no longer is … no matter who you are or how you were living. Daily life has radically changed. If you worked in an office outside your home, you probably don’t. Most kids are home bound or on restricted school schedules. Local lockdowns attempt to limit your ability to spend time outside your home or to have friends and extended family in your home. Borders between many countries are shut; quarantining for 14 days is mandatory for entry to other countries. Travel has radically changed.
These days, division, exclusion, extremism, separation and righteousness seem to predominate in all forms of media. And underlying them are fierce beliefs and the accompanying emotional charges of having the right belief and needing to be right. Outrage and panic seem to rule at times, with self-proclaimed, and in some...
On an airplane a few months ago, I sat behind a Dad and his two young children … a boy aged 6-ish and a girl aged 4-ish. He was sitting on the aisle, grim faced. As people continued to board the plane, the boy, who was seated in between his father and his sister, spoke with his Mom. “Yes, Mom, we’re on the airplane … it hasn’t taken off yet … No Mom, the door is still open! … Ok Mom, I’ll have fun! … Mom, do you want to talk to Daddy? … (The dad stared straight ahead) … Ok Mom, bye Mom I love you too Mom.” As he handed the cell phone back to his dad, he sneaked a peak at him. Dad continued to stare ahead.
He then turned to his sister, who had been silent during the phone call. She began a blow-by-blow narrative of everything she was observing out the window. “Look at that red truck … there are the suitcases … why is that man standing there? Who are all those people? When is the plane...
by Anne Maxwell, LCSW
Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
~ Albert Einstein
It has become clear to me, having worked as a psychotherapist for the past 25+ years with children, families and adults of all ages and kinds, that there are particular cultures of thinking or attitude in regard to the way people, and especially kids, should function. Those that don’t function according to the rules and regulations in play around them are labeled with ‘disabilities,’ especially in educational and medical communities.
Autism is one such definition.
I have a different way of viewing people who have been labeled with autism, and, 10 years ago, when I discovered the tools of Access Consciousness®, my practice changed, as did the children and adults I was working with... more ease, longer-lasting change, happier families.
Some questions I was invited to...
“Can you help me? My son needs to be in some therapy, like a therapy group. Can you recommend one for him?”
I was at the bank, and my favorite banker was doing some last-minute paperwork for me, before my move to another state. She knows I have worked as a child and family therapist for years, and, was lamenting the fact that I would be moving my practice out of state.
“How old is he?” I asked.
“What’s up? What’s going on that makes you look for therapy for him?” I asked.
She looked worried and slightly embarrassed.
“He won’t sleep by himself, and I’m exhausted. I stay in his bed until he falls asleep, and usually, when I get up, he wakes up and cries. If he doesn’t wake up then, he wakes up at two in the morning, screaming and crying for me. He’s a mama’s boy and he’s mad at me a lot of the...
What are children saying when they “act out”?
A mom brought her five year old son to see me. He had been getting into trouble at school and was difficult at home. They sat on the sofa … he couldn’t keep his hands off her and she was clearly irritated.
At one point, I asked him: “What do you know?” He sat bolt upright and appeared to stop breathing. His eyes locked into mine. He said: “Mikey (her boyfriend) is going to move in with us, and then he’s going to leave and Mommy’s going to cry.” She burst into tears.
A week later she called to tell me that his “naughty” behaviors had all but disappeared, and, that she had broken up with her boyfriend!
Tool: Ask a question!
The next time your child gets into...
I had a skype session recently with a 7-year old boy and his father. The boy had been getting into trouble at school and at home, and his dad was at his wits’ end! He didn’t know what to do anymore. He was exhausted.
The two of them were together in a room, sitting in chairs next to each other, behind a table. Or rather, the Dad was sitting upright in his chair and the boy was upside down in his … legs and feet waving in the air, head nowhere to be seen! The Dad said to him in a part-stern part-begging voice … “Joey, you need to sit up … you’re not being polite.”
I quickly reassured the Dad that it was fine with me for his son to choose how to sit in the session. His dad looked relieved. A little arm appeared and waved at me!
I asked Dad what was going on, and, as he told me about his son’s behaviors, the legs and arm continued to flail in the air.
Then, I asked the boy if I could ask him a...