#71 | Strategic Life Creators Series #2: Get On The Same Page With Your Parenting Partner in One Conversation

autistic domains feel learning love parents thinking thought May 24, 2022

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Today's video is about getting aligned with your parenting partner in one conversation. Do you wish that you and your parenting conversation were lined up as a unified force to get the energy right with the way that you help your autistic young adult Take adulting actions so that they create a life they love that works for your whole family?

That's what we're going to discuss today. It's the second part of the series on strategic life creation. 

Here's what I find when I go to many of the Facebook pages that support families, supporting with adults who have autism.

It's just that they're an adolescent, they're at odds, or they've been living separately or they just you know, don't have an alignment in the way that they think about their autistic young adult and what their futures got to be like, and what they'd like for them to create.

That's what I'd like to suggest today is that we work on that piece of our lives that's under our control: getting aligned.

So how do we get on the same page? Well, I suggest that we follow the advice of the folks that wrote the book, THE ONE THING, Gary Keller.

Gary advocates that we find the 80/20 in our lives, like what are the 20% of things that produce 80% of the results, and then focus even more than on what's the 20% within that 80/20 to really narrow what our focus and energy on to one thing so we can get more leverage.

We can channel our energy in that direction better. We just get more clarity on the actions that we need to be taking. If we decide on what the one thing is. Alright, so how do we do that with our autistic adults? How do we encourage them to think themselves about what is the one thing that they need to do to create a life that they love that works?

Let's first do it ourselves. And then by learning that we can figure out how to teach it how to coach our kids so that they do the same thing. So here's my advice.

We focus on their strengths and what they want.

Because who's going to actually create the solution to this challenge that our autistic and adult has? It's not us.

  • If they're challenged at work, we can't go to work like we used to go to school and advocate that they get the accommodations that would really be nice for them to have.
  • If it's in a relationship that they're in. We can't interfere there. They'll kick us right out.
  • If it's about any other topic, usually at this point, our young adults are starting into that cognitive development phase where they really want to make their own decisions and okay, maybe they've lagged their peers by a few years. That makes perfect sense because of the autistic brain that they have that's on alert all the time looking for what's wrong with themselves and what's wrong with where their lives are. And so they miss some opportunities to learn so their skills lag. That makes sense to me.

And now luck Yes. Now that they've graduated from high school, they're acting actually a little bit more like we expected them to act in high school with more arguments.

They just are rejecting our concepts and our ideas one after the other. They just are not interested.

So how do we get the focus away from us and what we're doing wrong in our parenting, which they love to point out, and back on them. Something they can control: their actions, their thoughts, their emotions and their own actions.

So I suggest that we do an assessment ourselves, first of what we believe they do well, and what needs improvement.

Now, if you have a parenting partner, who is not willing to do this work, why don't you do it? And then you can present it to them and say, How does this sound to you? What makes sense to you? And do you have something to add?

I love it when we do that because then we have an even clearer picture of what the situation is what's going on with our autistic young adult.

And the way that we do that is we take those 10 domains domains that we talked about in the previous video, and we actually list them out.

So I can see that I have not put a list here for you but if you go to the previous now let me just list them out just to make it easier for all of us. Because I just want you to have a format that you can use right away. So I think yeah, okay.

  • So we start with their energy domain, which includes their finance, because that's just stored energy, their food which matters how much energy we get, their health that's mental and their health that's physical.
  • We will move on to their work, which includes how well they maintain their space, what kind of jobs they have, and how well they keep up with all of their things that support them, which includes their computers, their clothes, our cell phones, and lots of other things to begin with Cs for some reason,
  • Love, you know, is what they're learning about. Their relationships and then the virtues, what's most important to them? How do they know what matters to them? That's the virtues. So how well have they identified those things?

So if you go through each one of these 10 domains, and look at what they are doing well, and what can they do better? Then you'll have a full picture that you can share with your parenting partner and see, hey, do these line up with you?

You'll want your autistic and adult to do the same exercise and that was in the previous episode where we asked them to do the life audit.

And, you know, just keep in mind that we can't push them because it's like pushing on a rope. It's not going to get us any closer to the point where we want to be.

When we take their list and our list and see where the overlap is, maybe we can agree on what the one thing is.

And if we can't, take a deep breath and be patient, because they're going to work on what's most important to them first. They're not going to work on what's most important to you. But what's most important to them, that's what they're going to do first.

We just need to maintain our curiosity about why that's important to them. You need to dig as deep. Just listen, and listen to their thinking and see what we can find out about what it is that gives them the payoff. The more they perceive the payoff for this one thing that they are interested in.

And here's how you do that. You decide to reflect when listening. You decide that you are going to be their coach and a good coach listens. A lot more than once.

  • It seems like you feel uncomfortable because you're not sure what the next steps are.
  • It seems like you feel confused because there are so many choices and they do have a lot more choices than we used to.
  • It seems like you feel self critical because you compare yourselves to your peers and find yourself lacking.
  • It seems like...

These kinds of reflections really help them do their own thinking. And that's the critical part of it because you've got to see your own thinking, to be able to understand the emotions it's creating in the actions, that it flavors so that the results are produced that tied to that thought, always it's just one of those things. That is always true.

This inner process of reflecting includes we need to take the information in, we need to sort it out, and we need to sum it up and give it back to them.

We don't repeat what they said. Because that could be perceived as mocking. We sum it up and we come up with original words, less than 15 of them, that create that reflection, that package of what they're thinking, and say, "Is that right?" 

Be what ready to have them say no, that's not accurate at all. Because our kids really appreciate precise language that they may say, "That's not right."

And we say, "Okay, what part of it isn't right?"

If you write it down, you can actually parse which word needs to be changed a little bit and then you'll find them go right into their thinking. This is what we want to encourage. This is the magic juice. This is the metacognition, this is them thinking about their thinking.

The more often we get them to do this, the more practice they get, the more prepared they're going to be to tackle anything that comes their way for the rest of their lives, and even when we're gone. So I'm just convinced of this.

What we're trying to do is really open up the window of learning by making us be the person that they come to to consult with.

We've talked about our roles of encouraging, warning and being consulted.

Consulting to me is the same thing as coaching. What we're trying to do is create a safe space for them to do this so that they feel seen and soothed and secure in our presence.

So we normalize the fact that these are questions that a lot of humans ask and this is part of being human. We understand that this kind of feedback you're getting is uncomfortable, but it's where we learn. We have our mistakes. We have things that you know that people perceive are failures, but maybe there's something in that there's a golden couple of nuggets in there that can help us learn what we need to do differently going forward.

Our parent and our young adult relationship is responsive to them. It's authentic, it's consistent. It's committed. We are gonna be here.

Ohana means our family and family means no one ever gets left behind or forgotten.

We're here to help you figure out what works for you. And it may not be the same thing that worked for me. I totally get that. Let's figure out the solution that works for you.

And to do that. we we use the collaborative proactive solutions process by Dr. Ross Greene.

  • Here's the facts. You said that you wanted to work on this, or this is what's been happening lately, somehow get to the data that we can all agree on. And when we start with agreement, then we can move forward the next step.
  • We figure out what their thinking is. That's their STEAR Map that's theirs, the situation, the thoughts, the emotions, the actions and the results. The situation is always outside of their control, but everything else is inside and within our control. If you've watched any of my other videos, you've seen me talk about really have to use that STEAR Map to figure out what our mindsets are, and then find the next steps together. So we look at their steer map first that's I'm listening and listening, empathy, and you may get the point where how much do I have to listen? The answer is, until it's enough. Until they feel like they have been heard. There isn't an arbitrary limit to this process. And for those of you who, like me have some more extroverted than others. It can take a while. And yet we have to recognize that they are giving us a gift to better understand what's going on in their minds. It is so precious because then we can really connect with them on a deeper level. It says we are linked and aligned in trying to create a life you love and a life we love that works for all of us.

That alignment is going to just enhance every relationship, the relationship that you have with your autistic and adult and by practicing that with you, then they will be more capable of creating those kinds of relationships with others.

That is the magic sauce because no one succeeds alone. People skills have to be developed with our kids and it has to be taught. It isn't something that they're going to pick up intuitively. I mean, what have they picked up intuitively? Not so much. And particularly in the social skills area, it has been a challenge for them so they're uncomfortable about it, so they probably avoid it. This is why we need to model and practice these skills together.

And if we go back to Stephen Covey, thank goodness he wrote his thoughts down because this is one of my favorite ones.

The more genuine the involvement, the more sincere and sustained the participation in analyzing solving problems, the greater the release of everyone's creativity and of their commitment to what they create.

This is what we're trying to do. Stephen was trying to make this a point in the business environment. And I think it applies equally as well to those of us who love our autistic young adults down to their toes.

So let me just summarize.

  1. You create a list either with your parenting partner or you create it and then present it to them and ask them for their improvement ideas and additions that they want to be included their concerns of what the strengths are and what needs to be improved in each of the 10 domains.
  2. You ask your autistic young adult to do the same thing. Maybe it's gonna take a while for that to happen. But even though maybe you just start with one part, whatever it is what's most important to them needs to be on the table.
  3. You find where the two lists overlap agree on the one thing you're going to work on.
  4. Then use this collaborative problem solving process to create a solution that really works for everyone because you have truly listened to each other.

You're modeling the way to solve to proactively and collaboratively solve problems, which is going to be a golden skill for them as they work and love in their lives.

I know this is going to work because I've been watching it work. Thank goodness inside of my family and with my clients as well.

If you'd like a transcript of this video, please visit me at LynnCdavison.com/blog. There's no required opt in.

I will put a link to my QuickStart to STEAR Mapping and that does require an opt in and I would appreciate you sharing your contact information with me so that I can share more goodies that are specific to how can we help our autistic and adults take adulting actions to create a life they love that works for the entire family.

Bye for now.