Managing Stress for Autism Parents | Reducing Stress Advice


All parents in the autism world deal with
tons of stress. It can be very overwhelming. A lot of times can be difficult to find ways
to reduce stress in our lives. I know I’ve been there and I’m still there as both a parent
and as a professional. So today we’re going to talk about reducing stress. Hi, I’m Dr.
Mary Barbera, autism mom, board certified behavior analyst, online course creator, and
bestselling author of The Verbal Behavior Approach. Each week I provide you with some
of my ideas about turning autism around so if you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube channel,
you can do that now. Today I’m sharing a small excerpt from a recent podcast episode with
developmental pediatrician, Dr. James Coplan. He gives wise advice for both parents and
professionals and ideas on how we can all reduce stress in our lives.
So are there, what are the key advice, pieces of advice, strategies you can give to, uh,
reduce stress in the adults lives and, and, um, anything for parents or professionals
or the same advice for either. So I read a, um, you have a video blog by Lori Unumb if
I’m pronouncing her name right, Unumb. She came on my podcast I forget what but like
you are very um, high powered achieving person dynamic person. And she said, look, we finally
got used to the fact that we’re just not going to be perfect if our kids’ clothes don’t match
one day. That’s okay. It’s all right. And I can also speak from personal experience
having had the opposite experience in my family of origin where everything had to be just
so, and in fact in the long run that was more destructive to my sister’s development and
to all of our mental health then than just saying, you know, life isn’t perfect.
It’s okay. And I think parents need to guard against, there are folks out in the autism
world who are fear mongers and they, they sense that they can capitalize on parents’
anxiety as a way of, um, making a quick dollar to be very blunt about it. And they still
engage in fear-mongering. If you don’t do this, your child is doomed kind of an approach.
And it, the problem is it’s a Greek chorus and there are these people over here saying
it. These people over there saying it and these people over there saying it and parents
were thrown into a panic even more so than they need to be. Um, so you, this is not,
your child is not a little bottle with nitroglycerin and if you handle it wrong, it’s going to
explode it and everything is lost. It’s not like that. Children are very resilient.
Even kids on the spectrum are resilient. Parenting is trial and error. If you’re, if you’re the
parents of a one and only typically developing child and you’re learning as you go, your
kid is resilient and they’re going to withstand most of your gaps without a long term consequence.
And this is not a do or die situation. Um, and in fact being a little bit unwound is
good. Um, bear in mind that the reverse genetics is a chance that as the parent of a kid on
the spectrum, you may have more than a touch of anxiety or perfectionism yourself. Get
in touch with that, learn how to let that go. Exercise, do yoga, meet with friends,
whatever it is. Um, I had a very good colleague, um, who wants a a, said Ruby Salazar, she
was a, a therapist who said this, your child with disability is a member of your family
but your child’s disabilities should not become the center of your family.
And I think those are words to take to heart. Um, if I could say anything, if I could go
back 60 years and talk to my father, you know, you were talking on your 20 years later blog
post, what would you say to your younger self? That’s what I would go back and say to my
dad, of course I can’t, but that’s what I would say is it’s okay if you didn’t get
the clothes done today, it’s okay. Um, and you’ve got to pick which hill you’re gonna
die on, so to speak. And most things aren’t worth it. Um, and if you only, and I had a
mother tell me this, if I only get 95% of the things on my checklist done tonight, that’s
okay. And this was another mom, you know, the rock kind of lifted off her shoulders.
And she actually also said, and if there’s some days, and this was a kid who had CP,
he had drooling then she said, and I didn’t want to touch his poopy diaper and I didn’t
want to touch his drool. And I looked in the mirror at first I thought, what kind of a
terrible mother am I? And then I realize all those feelings are okay, all those feelings
are okay. You can see her just sit up in her chair. And all of that is okay. Those feelings
are okay and be kind to yourself. And then the next day you pick up the cudgel and you
start again. And it’s, it’s all right. Take a deep breath. And you said something on your
blog posts, which is how I also closed my book with the very same line. It’s not a sprint,
it’s a marathon. And you’ve got to pace yourself and save some of your energy for the next
month. And I actually say it’s a marathon on a roller
coaster because a lot of times it’s not a straight course. And ups and downs and lots
of taking 2 steps forward, 1 step back and a lot of it is trial and error and you’re,
it’s going to constantly be changing what you need to do. And, and I wouldn’t get too
focused, like you said, don’t get too focused on where your child’s at on the spectrum,
I mean he’s a person with strengths and weaknesses and um, we just have wanted just continually
like Lucas, you know, I, my goal is that he reach his fullest potential and he continued
to reach his fullest potential. It’s not a finite thing. Uh, he’s only in his early twenties,
so that bar has to stay high. So he remains reaching his fullest potential, whatever comes
down the pike. And, um, we talked, you know, be as independent, as safe as possible and
as happy as possible. And that really is the goal I think for, for all our kids, whether
they have autism or not. I hope you enjoyed this short snippet from
the podcast. If you want more content, check out the podcast at marybarbera.com/podcast.
Wherever you’re watching this, I’d love it if you would leave me a comment, give me a
thumbs up, share this video with others who may benefit, and for more information, you
can attend a free online workshop marybarbera.com /workshop and I’ll see you right here next
week.

4 thoughts on “Managing Stress for Autism Parents | Reducing Stress Advice

  1. Thank you Mary for sharing this video. My son is 21 and we sure have made a ton of mistakes, but keep trying. As far as handling mis-matched dressing, just buy stuff that goes together across the board, πŸ˜„. Just a thought. Thanks again.

  2. Couldn’t sleep due to some feedback from my son’s school. Listening to this helped put my mind at ease a bit. Thank you!

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