Autumn is the time to put on the teflon suit

By Karen DeBolt | 15th Sep 2010 | Filed under Parenting, Reflections, Relationships, Techniques

Autumn is in the air. This is one of my favorite times of the year. I grew up in an area where we only had two seasons, so I really treasure this time of year. The crisp air, the smell of burning leaves, and the gorgeous foliage put a smile on my face. Of course, this is also the beginning of a new school year which brings with it many hopes that things will go better this year and worries that the phone will ring with the school’s number on my caller ID. I know many of you have those same hopes and fears.

Luckily for me, my son has the same teachers this year for the most part, so I know what to expect and have a good working relationship with them which is a relief. One of the things that I have had to learn over the years is that I cannot allow myself or other people to put my son’s challenging behaviors on me. I have had to put on my teflon suit and deal with frustrated teachers, scolding principals, and  well meaning school counselors that don’t understand what I have been through with my son or how much effort I put into parenting him. How could they know?

So how can you put on your teflon suit?

Here are some ideas to help you to communicate with the other people in your child’s life who
are also struggling with his behavior.

  1. Avoid getting defensive, remind yourself that they do not know you well, so take their comments with a grain of salt.
  2. Provide them with some empathy for their frustrations. I find that this will completely disarm a lot of difficult conversations.
  3. Ask the other person what they would recommend that you do. (I did this one time and found out that the teacher did not know that we were in counseling even though I was sure that we had talked about it in the IEP. Once she knew, she understood better how hard we were working on things and became very helpful.)

Of course, none of this will work, if you are also blaming yourself for your child’s behavior. This will make those judgmental comments more likely to stick. Your child’s behavior is not your fault! That is not to say that there is nothing left to learn–there’s always more to learn.

If you feel confident about yourself, it will be easier to let those jabs slide right off.

Have you felt the need for a Teflon suit? Found a good tip for coping? Please comment below!

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