Changing my Attitude

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changing my attitudeHow changing my attitude was vital for turning family life around

December last year was a dark time for me. My little family were on a constant loop of illness, both the baby and the 5yo’s sleep were in dire straights, and our girl’s behaviour was at an all time low. After a disastrous Xmas Eve Hubby and I read the fantastic book 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child.

We spent the entire Xmas holiday doing everything in our power to eradicate our own negative parenting behaviours, which were without a doubt having a massive effect on the kids. After a week of being super calm and not shouting, it became the norm to be calm and not shout, and now three months later I very rarely find myself shouting.

Good Friends

At some point before all this I was with a wise friend, who told me that her daughter’s challenging behaviour has been the making of her as a mum. Her son was really placid and a super easy kid from the off, and had her girl been the same she said she wouldn’t have had an incentive to be a better mum.

Nowadays she’s as much of a self-help junkie as I am, constantly on the lookout to be better than the person she was yesterday. She is one of my main sources of inspiration, and I am truly privileged to have her in my life.

It brings tears to my eyes to think of this conversation, because my friend said to me that I must feel the same. My reply was that no I didn’t, I felt that I was at breaking point and was worried my marriage wouldn’t be strong enough to take the strain our daughter was putting on us for much longer. You’ll be fine she tried to reassure me, but I wasn’t comforted by her words.

I was in such a bad place in my own head that I wasn’t able to look at it from a different perspective. I desperately needed to start changing my attitude, and realising that I was part of the problem, but I wasn’t ready to at that point. Thankfully reading the book over Xmas opened my eyes to how damaging my own negative behaviour was to our children, and since then there
has been much positive change in our house. I feel as though we weathered a particularly bad storm, and I’m now able to look at it in a less emotionally raw way.

changing my attitudeWe still have a long way to go

Things still aren’t as rosy as you might imagine though. Our girl is a terrible sleeper, which I believe drives a lot of her poor behaviour – she is prone to over reacting and throwing strops rather than articulating her feelings. She shouts and screams in her 3yo sister’s face and often gets physical with her but cannot cope at all if littlest lady throws a punch back. All she wants is to be a big girl, but if she isn’t asleep by 6:30pm all hell breaks loose.

I don’t want to demonise her, because she has some utterly incredible qualities too. She can demonstrate such fierce love for her family that it would melt the heart of an ice queen. She will sit for hours and create intricate drawings for us, and completely under her own steam, she made and wrote Easter cards for all the neighbourhood kids.

She is a fabulous kitchen helper, and can crack eggs all by herself. Don’t get me wrong she enjoys licking the cake mixture bowl, but will also help me make savoury dishes. I could go on and on and on here, but don’t want to bore you.

Facing up to reality

I think it’s time for me to face up to reality: my girl is not like most other five and six year olds I know. As I wrote a while back over on my other blog, I truly believe that her super clean diet is the only thing saving her from an ASD diagnosis. Reprobate Mum wrote this eye opening piece for Autism Awareness Week, which has been making me think that I’ve been looking at it all wrong.

I’m starting to feel that I’ll be doing my daughter a dis-service by not seeking a diagnosis if there is one to be had, because if she is going to stay in main stream education, she is going to need all the help she can get.

Have you been down the long and treacherous road of obtaining an ASD diagnosis for your own child/ren? I’d love to hear from you with any words of wisdom!

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51 thoughts on “Changing my Attitude

  1. Thanks so much for your advice Lauren, really appreciate it. We have our first appointment with a specialist next week, so we shall see. I’m really pleased you’ve got the support you need for your son and it’s helping him xx

  2. It really was awful Jude, so distressing for us all. Thankfully Xmas day itself was lovely, and by the end of the holidays we had calmed things down and started seeing improvements. Thanks for your support, I’ll keep you posted on progress.

  3. What an honest post. I really feel for you and for everything you’ve been through. Sounds so tough, and what a day to hit rock bottom – Christmas Eve! So glad things are on the up but it sounds like you’ve still got some challenges ahead. All the best. I will be rooting for you and watching with interest. #thetruthabout

  4. I thought I had commented on this already but apparently not!
    My son has an ASD diagnosis. It took about a year from first appointment to last and it was a tough year but well worth it. My advice would be to kickstart the process and the. Just carry on as you have been, if you get a diagnosis then that’s fine, and if you don’t then at least you got everything checked out.
    Having a diagnosis can certainly help unlock a lot of support, especially educationally x

  5. You are lovely Maddy, what a beautiful thing to say. Seriously I have tears in my eyes now, I missed this comment when it originally came through. You are so kind, and supportive. Thank you, you wonderful lady xx

  6. I can really relate to what you’ve said here hon, about not enjoying her because I’ve said it myself so many times. I spend the entire day putting out ‘mummy fires’, and sometimes get to the point where it feels like there’s just nothing left. There always is though, that’s the beauty of motherhood. Tomorrow is always a new day, and challenges will only make us better mums in the long run. Hugs xx

  7. Thanks so much Louise, hugs are always welcome here 🙂 We’re at the very start of the journey, but have been to the doctors now and are waiting on the referral. Cross your fingers for us that it doesn’t take forever xx

  8. I’m totally with you on this Rachel, a mothers gut instinct is far more powerful than anything else as far as I’m concerned. Thanks so much for your lovely comment xx

  9. Tbh it’s been the opposite with me, I’ve had a gut feeling along this line for a few years but have been adamant not to label her. Things are getting worse though, and if there is support that we could be receiving but aren’t because she isn’t diagnosed then it seems silly. Of course it’s all ifs buts and maybes at the moment. Thanks for the luck, I have a feeling that I’ll need it xxx

  10. Thank you so very much for taking the time to comment Toni. I read a few of your posts and found them really helpful. I’ve now been to the doctors and am waiting on a referral, which we should be able to get under hubby’s private healthcare through work. Fingers crossed, I’ll keep you posted! And yes you are right, raising a challenging child certainly keeps life interesting xx

  11. Oh wow, that’s really interesting to hear another perspective Suzanne. I might come back and quiz you further at some point, if you don’t mind? I’m so pleased you have made progress with your teen xx

  12. Ahhh Kate, you lovely lovely lady you. I read your comment on the train to Brighton at the weekend it brought tears to my eyes! Thank you so much for your kind, thoughtful words. They really do mean a lot.

    I’m starting to completely agree with my wise friend. Challenging children are the making of us mums. And honestly, how dull would life be if the kids were all super easy?

    Big love to you hon xxx

  13. Thanks so much for dropping by. It’s been a rollercoaster that’s for sure, but doing something about it has made me feel much lighter this past week. Just waiting on a referral now…

  14. This was a really touching blog post, thank you. I feel for you. It is such a challenge and has clearly put a strain on your relationship. It will get better.

  15. I really feel for you Reneé but I think that you have adapted and responded so well to the challenges you’ve been faced with. I wish you every luck with getting any diagnosis which might lead to some answers and/or help for you all. Thanks for linking up to #thetruthabout hon X

  16. We all shout, there’s no denying that. I find that recognising when we are at fault and owning up if we’ve been a bit harsh goes a long way for the littlees xx

  17. Thanks for popping by Talya. Learning about Highly Sensitive Children is what has properly sparked off my suspicious about it being something else tbh. I saw the Dr. today and she is referring us to CAMS, so watch this space I guess!!

  18. This is such an interesting read…thanks for sharing…I think sometimes we need to hit rock bottom in order to be a better mum…I’m not on the ASD route however I had a similar epiphany when I realised that my daughter was not like many others when I realised she was a Highly Sensitive Child. Motherhood is such a learning journey for us all. #thetruehabout x

  19. Well done you – truly, you are so fab! Mummy is very shouty, then gets very upset. She tries her best not to shout, but she loves us very much and is a great mum, as are you! Thank you for liking up to #MyFavouritePost x

  20. It’s a really good read hon. We had it recommended when our eldest was a baby but didn’t read it until she was four and a half. I wish I’d read it when she was younger, prevention is better than cure and all that. Best of luck lovely xx

  21. I’m going to say something and I really want you to listen (pretty please) – YOU ARE AN AMAZING MUM.
    Really, you are. Parenting is tough, more so when you a child that is more spirited than what is presented as the ‘norm’. My daughter Elsie is the most wondrous, independent, clever, charming little girl but she’s also incredibly challenging in so many ways and like your daughter, isn’t great at sleeping. (No matter how many things we’ve tried). It’s tough isn’t it? But you are doing so brilliantly. The fact that you’ve recognised that your behaviour was being detrimental and have been improvements to it, just show what a caring, intelligent, power house of a mum you are. Well done darling. You’re both so incredibly lucky to have each other xxx


  22. In love hearing stories like this Claire, and am so pleased for your cousin. I’m such a huge believer in good nutrition being our biggest defence against absolutely anything health wise. In the very least it certainly won’t be doing us any harm will it? Thanks so much for dropping by, have a fab weekend xx

  23. I think a lot kids are quirky around Kara’s age, but once they get to Polly’s age certain behaviour should be much more obvious than it is to her… I’ll be going to the Dr’s next week to discuss it all.

  24. Thanks Jenny, it’s a roller coaster that’s for sure, and alarm bells are definitely ringing at the mo. I’ve got an appointment to talk things over with the doctor next week, so watch this space. Thanks for dropping by, and have a fab weekend hon xx

  25. Oh bless it must be tough but sounds like you are doing all the right things for her darling. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  26. Kara is proving to be more of a handful than the two boys combined. She’s prone to shouting a lot and pushing/punching her brothers on occasion too, even though most of the time she’s a very happy and peaceful girl.

    I’m sure tiredness plays a big part – she’s usually the last of the three to sleep despite being the youngest and always seems to spend a lot of the night in our bed too.

    But we’re slowly understanding what does and doesn’t work with her – fingers crossed this will stand us in good stead later.

  27. I really feel for you here – we have challenges (albeit slightly different ones) with our eldest. I think we should read that book as I’m sure our own parenting ‘habits’ don’t help.
    At the far end of the spectrum we have a cousin with Autism who is now 18. Her transformation over the last 5 years through clean eating and therapy has been truly amazing. Her Autism is quite severe but her future looks so much brighter now than we could have imagined.
    Best of luck moving forward with this.

  28. Oh Renee I really feel for you in this because the emotions you describe are ones that I had just a few years ago, about my own daughter. We sought some help to try and change our parenting techniques which, after about 6 months of flipping hard work, seems to have turned things around. She’s a different child (on the whole!) but still with the quirkiness and feisty behaviour that she is learning to channel better. It’s a long road but I know that yours might be different to ours. If you truly believe that she might need help then I would get it – I questioned this too but was steered away as she is an ‘delight’ at school. She is obviously able to choose her behaviour! Best of luck to you. x x

  29. Just found your post through #sharewithme but have seen that my blog has been mentioned in the comments. We’re currently going through the process of diagnosis of Autism for our little man. If you haven’t popped over then please do & feel free to leave me a comment/tweet/email etc if you have any questions. Just from reading your post, your little girl sounds very similar to my nephew. He’s recently been diagnosed with ADHD & ADD so I would read up on all three and ready yourself for a doctors appointment. I’ve known many people be ‘assured’ they’re children re fine even when the parents feel there is something more. The more you read up yourself, the more prepared you will be when you are ready to make the appointment. Good luck and be strong as I know how hard it is to raise an beautiful but challenging child. xx

  30. You know her best. If you think something needs exploring then you push for that. Having said that don’t get pulled down the wrong route. My 6 year old is also prone to overeacting and a sensitive boy. He doesn’t like stickers – never has done. When he was in reception his teacher tried to tell me he was autistic because he didn’t like stickers. He isn’t – he just doesn’t like stickers! Good luck xxx #sharewithme

  31. Oh Reneé I love you; you are so honest. I am not sure what to say about getting a diagnosis. It can be so hard to know what to do for the best but I can only suggest following your instinct, I truly believe we have it for a reason. x

  32. Changing your attitude is tough, and your strength and will to do it for the sake of your children is admirable. Your daughter sounds like a sweet young lady. Though she may have trouble communicating, her love for you and your family is undeniable (and I’m just going by pictures!). Hope all turns out well with whatever you decide to do.

  33. Sounds like you are doing an amazing job managing to keep a positive attitude with a lot of challenges being thrown at you. I think trying to get a diagnosis might be helpful – as you have already said, it will mean that support can be put in place at school which may be beneficial. Sending you virtual hugs and hope that the challenges get easier to manage x

  34. Do you know my son was a dream, so easy going but Princess is challenging at the moment. Diet is the root cause and we are learning to be really careful about what she eats. I worry we aren’t enjoying her because she has some strong personality traits. I think a new perspective is helpful. I’m trying to focus on the fab things about her personality, and accept that for every positive streak, there can sometimes be a negative right along side it. You and your family are strong lovely, and you will deal with what ever is in store. Thanks for sharing with #MyFavouritePost

  35. Ah this must be so hard and frustrating at the same time but it sounds like you are doing all you can. I was going to suggest going to gymbunnymummy too. I really hope you can get that diagnosis for her xx #myfavouritepost

  36. I have not been in this situation so I can’t give you advice or thoughts on getting a diagnosis. But on the question of whether to get one or not I will say take all the advice you can get but in the end trust your own maternal instinct. It rarely fails. Deep down you and only you will know what is best for your daughter and your family. I really hope you get the answers you need. x

  37. It’s a really difficult decision and not one I have been in a place to make, so I can’t really say what I would do. I suppose it’s about getting your child the help they need but also wondering if and how a diagnosis/label will shape their lives? I think getting the necessary help and support in the majority of cases is probably the best thing though.

  38. I think you are awesome Reneé. This is such a brave and honest post and I think you’re right to listen to your instincts as far as your daughter goes. I have no personal experience of getting an ASD diagnosis but I was talking to a primary school teacher friend of mine the other day who said parents often resist all sorts of diagnoses of their kids for fear of the stigma, but that actually the help the kids can get with schooling once a diagnosis is given can be fantastic. So a diagnosis could turn out to be a great thing. Good luck with it all, I think you do an amazing job as a mum! xx

  39. Hi Renee. Have you ever read Toni is currently in the process of getting an Autism diagnosis for her youngest and she writes regular updates about how it’s going. You’ll probably find some useful advice there, and she’s really lovely so I’m sure she’d answer any questions you have too.

  40. Your daughter sounds lovely! I think lot of kids are cutely quirky, but I have a feeling deep in my gut that there is something else going on with my girl… mothers instinct perhaps, who knows. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

  41. My middle daughter makes me wonder sometimes. She is nothing like my other two children. But I don’t know if that’s a “diagnosis” or just the fact that she likes being different. She is very shy and it takes her a long time to trust you in order to let you into her world. My other two invite you with open arms and laughs. She is very eccentric in the clothes she picks out and very particular about how she likes to wear her hair. She was very upset with me that I had her bangs cut …she didn’t throw a fit or anything but just simply told me in a soft spoken voice that she did not like her hair that way. She also has a great fondness for wanting to learn an instrument. Which of course I will follow through on…her birthday is coming up and we plan to get her a guitar since she has been strumming around here on her brother’s broken one. She still manages to bust out a tune with only 3 strings. It’s hard to think that our kids might be a “diagnosis” for now I plan to just let her be her.

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