It might be difficult to really fight less with your kid. But I have discovered that the less I argue, the less I want to, and then I’m a little more patient. And then THEY argue less. Weird, or at least not what I expected.
Then there’s the whole issue of how to know which battles are the right ones. Special needs kids, particularly kids on the spectrum, have so many different challenges, even in the same hour. It’s so hard to know when to back off, and when to stick to your guns.
So here’s my little story sharing - both my kids have their own little lists of challenges (as I’m sure yours do too). My little guy has his feeding issues, his speech development, his lego meltdowns,. And small stuff, like how to get him to keep his clothes on during the day or keep his hands off his underwear. And my teen has this massive list of things like bedtime, computer use, meals, health, anxiety, school, exercise, etc. I couldn’t work on all of them or argue with him about everything even if I wanted to.
As I’ve been trying to address some of my teens challenges, I learned the hard way that I was adding too much. I was fighting too many battles. The battle with his sleep continues to be the most important one for us. So it means that for now he uses the computer too much, doesn’t do as much school as I want, eats less healthy and never rides his bike. But when I tried weeks ago to add just one other battle, I started losing the sleep part. He was just not able to handle working on 2 at the same time. And neither was I.
Honestly, the stress of arguing with him about so many things makes all my coping skills go out the window. And I know I’m a better parent than that. Plus there’s the other kid to care for with his own stuff, and a business to run, and a “fort to hold down”.
So, one focus. One thing I am sticking with. One ‘battle’.
I find too that it’s kind of the same as trying to multitask at work. If you try to do too many projects at once, they each take longer than if you would focus for 20 minute on one task. And the work suffers. And you get stressed out. Not very good for productivity.
And not very good for parenting either.
Here’s my little piece of advice. (And yes, I did this too, and keep reviewing it.)
Sit down, and make a quick list of all the things you find yourself arguing about with your kid. All the battles. How many of them are crucial to their survival, or yours? And how many battles are you losing? I highly recommend making the list a little shorter, at least for now. Make fewer demands, but the ones you make, stick with them. And make fewer demands of yourself too. Relax your inner task master. I guarantee you will have more success, and less stress.