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The episode was as much about parents managing their own emotions as it was about trying to manage their volatile children.
Finally, she stomped in from the other room and switched off the TV midgame. Not surprisingly, Max got angry, throwing pillows at her and ultimately calling her a bitch. In fact, given that Max hurt his cousin Jabar in a fit of rage in a episode, one might have expected a much more explosive meltdown.
Kristina, desperate to regain her authority, declared that Max would not be going on the trip but would stay home with her and infant sister Nora. But when he upped the ante, preparing dinner and even touching her on the shoulder, these rare, unexpected gestures clearly shook her resolve.
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Roy Q. And so sometimes we blurt out punishments in a reaction that punishes us, too. Think it would probably be easier on your Aspie kid to just stay home?
Provoke a tantrum by acting exactly the way all those expensive professionals tell you not to! Parents were sympathetic to Kristina for a variety of reasons. Sometimes as parents we get wedded to the punishment, and not the reason for the punishment—for all. Her scenes with Max were incredibly touching. The mom of an year-old who received his AS diagnosis at 8 found the Max-Kristina storyline unsatisfying.
Maybe in five or ten years. Flying out to meet the family was even less realistic, in her book.
Behaviorists would agree with this mom that reconsidering the punishment, however tempting, would be a mistake. Once caregivers announce a consequence, they must follow through. To waffle will only send mixed als, basically telling kids that mom and dad are indecisive—and therefore easy to manipulate.
But posted house rules would have given her and Adam a go-to list of expected behaviors and consequences that Max understood. In this situation, Kristina would have known how to handle the noncompliance and cursing. Such plans empower parents to be calmer more of the time.
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The whole thing reeked of fantasy; all the autism families I know find family gatherings bordering on torture. Another mom to a year-old Aspie, agreed. I think she wanted something immediate so she could follow through right then, rather than take a chance on forgetting the punishment like Max said she did before. Here Adam gets props for compromising to stay on the same with Kristina, Parenting for those with children on the spectrum and with other diagnoses causing disruptive behavior.
We’re supposed to love our mothers — but what if they don’t really love us?
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Beth Arky. Beth Arky is a freelance writer and editor covering parenting, health and children's learning and developmental issues, including autism.
'my mom is a bitch'
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