Fixing the Unfixable — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Fixing the Unfixable

by Kimberly


Apparently I have given the child the impression that this is what I am capable of. It was quite false of me to give her the impression that I can fix everything, and I am paying for it big time.

After lots and lots of temper-driven exchanges (and we both have hot tempers…sigh.) I stepped back and recognized the trend. Something will happen that I can’t fix:

  • She can’t go to the birthday party because she was sick the day before.
  • Her siblings are invited to something and she is not.
  • Plans are unexpectedly changed in a way that I have no control over.
  • Someone else lets their child have a snack that I do not allow.

She gets upset and starts to complain. I try to explain (generally ineffective) and she gets more upset. I explain more, threaten or cajole depending on my mood. She gets more upset and eventually grabs, hits, kicks, or throws something. Then I lose it. Nothing but fresh air and time get us back on an even keel…until the next time life is not fair.

Life is not fair, and it’s a hard lesson for anyone. For a child with language delays that particularly affect logic (cause…effect) and poor emotional regulation it’s a recipe for disaster. In processing all of this I have realized that I have contributed to the problem, especially for the last three years. I have worked behind the scenes (out of her ear and eye shot) to fix things. I have kept information from her until I was sure it was set in stone. I have missed sleep to arrange miracles, and I have in general made her life not easy, but “well-arranged.” Now, I am tired, and there are way too many factors that I just cannot control anymore. Real life is invading, and so, my task now becomes to teach this child that life is not fair. She can’t always have things her way, and even when it isn’t easy we will have to work together to make out as well as we can.

I have already recruited her to this process. Having finally recognized the trend, I picked a calm moment and apologized for being so angry with her lately, and then told her I needed her to help me. In the next “Life is not fair” moment I caught it early and told her this was one of those times I needed her to help. She was still not happy, but it did not escalate, and we awkwardly found a workable solution. Oh I hope I can continue to work on this with her in a calm way. It is so important. I certainly welcome your ideas if you have faced a similar challenge.

Email Author    |    Website About Kimberly

Kimberly is the mother of three wonderful children: an eight-year-old who is somewhere on the autism spectrum, and twin four-year-olds who are just very busy little people. We live on routine with a side of novelty.

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1 Mary S June 29, 2012 at 3:48 pm

On the days when you feel that you are all alone and no one knows what it feels like to be in this situation,stop and remember,YOU ARE NOT ALONE.There are a lot of us out here that go through the same things on a daily basis.I have two children,one has Aspergers,one is PPD NOS with a severe anxiety disorder and some days,I just want to bang my head against the wall because it seems like that will get me as close to a solution as any thing else I am doing.When I am losing it constantly,I know I need to sit down,take a deep breath and find some different ways to deal with our problems.Writing problems and possible solutions down seems to help.Showing them the book and asking for their help to find a solution sometimes helps because it allows them to feel they have some control over the situation,where before they felt they had none.I’ve been dealing with this for 18 years and I’ve wished so many times,kids came with a owners manual.My Dad said raising kids is like being a mechanic,you very seldom fix anything on the first try.My thoughts and prayers are with you and all the other parents out there dealing with those special children.

2 KDL July 2, 2012 at 4:14 am

Thanks, Mary. Interestingly my tactic seems to have broken the cycle for the moment. We’ve had several relatively calm days. Your encouragment hit the spot, and your Dad is right. I generally have to mess up a few times before I get on the right track again. Thanks for proving that people really can keep doing this for the long haul. I am overwhelmed by your kindness.

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