You know your child best — but what motivates you?

You know your child best

Parents know their children best. This is why the developers of Discovering Behavioral Intervention developed each course module in partnership with parents.

You know the types of reinforcement your child gravitates to and what they avoid. You have figured out the best environment for your child to stay calm and pay attention.  You can detect when your child is tired, not feeling well, or just off — and how these things affect their learning, communication, play, appetite, and sleep.  And… you know how to motivate your child. You already know the best way to get them from Point A to Point B.  You know how to get a response, a smile, a laugh… but what motivates you?

How do parents of children with autism keep themselves going when the hills get steep?  What really works to help parents stay motivated when behaviors are challenging and the road ahead seems dauntingly long and arduous?

As a mother of two children with autism, I personally feel incredible pride every time my children are able to triumph over a difficult episode. I am so proud of them for being brave, and I am proud of myself when I am able to help them manage their autism. Every success we accomplish together to extinguish a challenging behavior or master an important skill propels me to continue to make progress and take the next step. I know that if I stay calm and follow the plan, then I can pat myself on the back for our success and move forward feeling confident. 

However if I don’t maintain my courage or follow through, or let myself feel defeated or afraid, then my confidence and motivation slips. It’s important to remind ourselves that if we slip — such as allow an old problem to resurface, give in to a tantrum, or step in to do something that our child should do on their own — that we have to accept our error, remedy it, and continue to stay consistent for the sake of our child’s progress. Remember the confidence that you feel when you succeed, and don’t let the fear of failure overcome you.  

Finding this balance isn’t easy for anyone. Sometimes a particular behavior takes so much energy to address, that I fear I am about to completely burn out. Taking the time to address these behaviors takes determination and forethought.  Sometimes I am impatient and tired — but I have to remember those feelings of confidence and success to motivate me to move forward.

Use ABA, through Discovering Behavioral Intervention, to help you find that positive motivation. For example, when you think about establishing operations for your child (see module 2, Setting Up a Motivational Situation), stop and think about how to do that for yourself as well.

In the end, getting through any difficult situation is an individual process. Being aware of what you need and what helps you is a great place to start.