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Monthly Archives: December 2012

When you take on the enormous responsibility of having a child, your buttons are going to be pushed.  You are going to get upset with your kids from time-to-time.  This is OK, even desirable perhaps.  Just because frustration and anger with your kids is unavoidable doesn’t mean it’s healthy to vent on them.  Anger is a tricky emotion; and also an informative one.  Anger is a very powerful warning sign that something needs to change in your relationship.  Before you can expect your child to manage his/her emotions effectively, you must be sure you can handle your own.

Maintaining Your Emotional Calm

Anger control is not automatic.  Understanding the factors that contribute to angry episodes lessens the likelihood outbursts will occur.

Step One:  Know Thyself

The first step in gaining control over anger is understanding what makes you more vulnerable to anger.  For many of us, hunger and lack of sleep are two variables that lead to irritability.  As parents, we are used to reading our child’s behavioral signals that indicate lack of sleep and hunger, but we frequently forget that we parents are human too.  We need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others.

Reminder:   Make sure you are well fed and well rested when interacting with your child.

Step Two:  Minimize Stress

You have heard the expression “Stress at works leads to kicking the dog at home.”  There is truth to this.  It is absolutely imperative that you are aware of your own stress level.  When you are under stress at work or at home, watch out for the danger signs of overreacting to common frustrations with your child.  Like dogs, children can be easy targets during these times.

Reminder:   Do what it takes to lower your own stress level!

Step Three:  Let Your Child Know When You Are Stressed

Don’t hesitate to let your child know how you are feeling.


“Hey, I am in a REALLY bad mood today.”  “I need you to know I didn’t sleep well last night.  I’ll need you to be quieter today than usual.”

Children intuitively understand when they need to handle you with kid gloves.

Continue reading “Parenting: What Does Knowing Myself Have to Do With It?”

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Dear Cathi,

My daughter, Emily, is an eight-year-old second grader who was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS). I’ve always known that Emily is a unique little girl, but I had no idea she might be on the spectrum. I was thrilled that Emily was reading by age four, but curious that she only read material about “bees.” She has virtually no interest in making friends and prefers to stay at home on the computer or with her face in a book (about bees, of course!). When my husband and I learned of her diagnosis, we wasted no time in researching local services for Emily and have already signed her up for pragmatic speech therapy, social skills training, occupational therapy, and after-school tutoring. We both feel very strongly that the more we can give Emily in the way of services, the more quickly Emily will develop socially, emotionally, and intellectually. However, we are concerned that all of this outside therapy will negatively impact Emily’s self-esteem . We don’t want Emily to think that we bring her to all of these appointments because there is something ‘wrong’ with her. We want her to know that we love her just the way she is. How can we help her understand that we’re trying to give her tools so she can succeed and be happy in life, and in the process develop a positive sense of herself as she develops and grows?


Emily’s Concerned Parents


Dear Concerned Parents,

Being a parent is an enormous responsibility. Being the parent of an Asperger’s child is not only an enormous responsibility, but also one that requires you to develop a whole new set of parenting strategies and techniques that will, in all honesty, feel unfamiliar to you at first. The old tried and true methods that were so successful with neurotypical siblings need to be replaced with a new set of parenting skills based on an understanding of and respect for the very different thinking patterns, perspectives and learning styles that are part and parcel of the Asperger’s child.

Continue reading “Dear Cathi: Boosting The Asperger’s Child’s Self-Esteem”

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