September 05, 2014

Fixing Behaviours

Oh boy, I get a lot of juicy post ideas from some of the parenting groups I'm on.

One was about her ASD son doing a specific behaviour. He's young and when she asked why he does it, he said it's because he likes it. She then asked the community, "how do I stop it?"

Well, the first question out of my mouth was, "if he says he likes it, why do you want to stop it?"

To which she replied, "good question! Maybe other people won't like it. It doesn't actually bother me when I think about it."

So what's the problem?

Here we have a trap a lot of parents fall into:
child is doing something different from others, therefore it must be stopped!
There's this whole school of thought about fixing behaviours.

But guess what? You don't have to like every single thing your child does. Do you know why? Because they're not mini YOU. They are their own person and they get to have different likes and dislikes. I bet they don't like everything about you either. Tough.

You also are not required to control every single little thing they do. You don't. You have your own life to live and you should value your time. Micromanaging your kid's behaviours probably isn't the best use of your time, especially when it doesn't actually harm anyone.

So my solution for the above mother: talk to him! Tell him you understand he likes doing this thing, but that not everyone will appreciate it. So he should only do this thing he likes with other people who like it. This way you are explaining to him how to respect other people's space/needs without actually stopping or shaming his enjoyment in said activity.

Again, as long as he is not hurting anyone, including himself, and he truly is enjoy it, then why not let him enjoy his life?

Besides, what else is childhood for if it's not for exploration and discovery? It won't be long until he's into something else. Not every behaviour needs to be "fixed."

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