Q: Dear Bryn,
My name is Heather Frank, Cammy’s mom from The Rotterdam Son-Rise Program Start-Up. Cammy is almost 3 and a half, diagnosed with High Functioning Autism/Asperger’s. Thus far, we are still working in a playroom in progress. The shelves are finally up, mirror going up tomorrow and various other equipment almost ready including the two-way mirrored door. My son found the room on his own and we have no trouble going in for 2-3 hours every afternoon. We plan to change this to mornings when I return from the Maximum Impact in March, as we will try to get volunteers to work in the afternoon.
My trouble is getting my husband involved. He is very supportive of Son-Rise, and it is his research that found the medical doctor in Atlanta which we believe will work to heal all of Cammy’s physical impairments. However, he is only available to work with Cam in the morning, as he returns from work after Cammy is in bed and thus far, it is me getting out of bed to get the day started. During the weekends, he is getting more active with Cammy, but generally I give him all of the meals, all of the games, tickles, interaction with my husband along for the ride. Not only do I want them to develop more of a relationship, I need a break!
I have mentioned this a few times, but I guess I need more coaching on the best way to approach him. Any help you can give would be most helpful. Hope all is well with you and your family and looking forward to seeing you in the coming weeks in Sheffield.
A: Dear Heather,
Firstly, I am so excited to hear that we will have the chance to be with you once again in March, at the Maximum Impact Program - how exciting! This program is so powerful, and in my experience, parents return home even more empowered and excited about their programs, so we will see you very soon.
Your main question is about how to help your husband become more involved. As you might imagine, my first suggestion would be to take a moment to examine your attitude (smile). As we spoke about in The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, our attitude affects every action we take: the way you talk to your husband, make suggestions, look at him etc. It would be very useful to ask yourself some questions about this issue:
I suggest that you consider each one of these, and perhaps others, and take some time to explore your feelings, so that when you do speak with him and deal with this, you can be loving, kind and accepting. (We know this works with children...guess what? It works with big people too!)
Once you are feeling relaxed, you could also consider that your husband is absolutely doing the very best he can. You are doing the best you can, Cam is doing the best he can. We all are. Perhaps you could take some special time - in the evening, when Cam is in bed, go out to dinner - and take some time to just really share with him what you want, why and suggest that together you could possibly brainstorm ways he could become more involved. It would be very useful to ask him questions as he speaks so you can gain a better understanding of his thoughts and feelings and perhaps help him to become more comfortable with working with Cam more. You could also suggest that he do a Consultation with one of our own Son-Rise Family Trainers. We would be happy to spend some time with him on the phone and perhaps help with any questions or concerns he might have. Also, when people feel they would want their spouse to be more involved, oftentimes if they can come and attend The Son-Rise Program Start-Up , the experience really helps them to become more excited and involved in the program. Why not send him here?
You also mentioned that you want a break....then take one! This journey with your son is not a sprint, it is a marathon, and it is really important that you take care of yourself so that you have the energy for the long run. It would be useful, even if it results in less playroom hours for Cam, for you to take time for yourself. Also, getting volunteers would really help with this, in numerous ways. You would then have other people to be with him at different times so you could: nap, exercise, read, cook, shop etc. You would have a group of people who share your perspective who could offer you their support and enthusiasm at times when you may be more tired. At one time, while doing my Son-Rise Program with my daughter Jade, I became very tired....I realized, that I was not taking the time necessary to re-energize my batteries. So I took action, I changed my work schedule, I slept more, I started doing Yoga, and yes, for a period, I was in the room less than I had been. Ah...but I got my energy back and now I am in the playroom with such passion - and it was really worth taking the rest. In addition, I now make sure that I get enough sleep, eat well etc., so that I can keep my energy up! You can do it too - it’s all about being motivated. You have to be as motivated to take care of you, as you are to take care of Cam.
Most important to remember is this, you are doing the best you can. You love him. That is what is most important, more important than how many hours you do in the playroom, or what new toys you introduce ...your love for him, Heather, that is all you require.
And that you have, in abundance.
I hope this was helpful for you.
Excited to see you in March,
Bryn N. Hogan