We all have the underlying drive as human beings to control our own lives. So what if we reframed “controlling behavior” in children and chose to address the underlying drive or need for control? What if we stopped trying to battle, punish, or give consequences for “controlling behavior” and instead, celebrated it!?
Consider the word “control.” We think of it as negative and manipulative. But the human drive for control is about a drive and need for independence and choices. We all wish to have control over our own lives. Let’s properly support and guide our children with and without autism to direct that drive into meaningful and personal decision making!
You are the guide. If your child is trying to control, you have the power to redirect that drive for independence and control into things that are meaningful and life long. You may need to guide your child’s independence by first sharing control (often this is physical hand over hand)… then slowly transfer responsibility to your child so that they can say they did it themselves!
Be sure to provide/allow choices in as many situations as possible. What they will wear, where they will sit at the dinner table, how they want to cut their food, what shoe they want to put on first can all be choices that celebrate their need for control… dream up choices all over the place!
You as your child’s guide have the power to redirect a need for control into meaningful, useful control over one’s future and development. Reframe how you think about “control” and you will successfully satisfy your child’s drive so that they don’t have to fight for it.