Focus on Positives

Progress is sometimes so slow we don’t even see it.  Sometimes it is huge and it just jumps out at you.  Sometimes it is things other parents take for granted and sometimes it really goes unnoticed or unappreciated.  And I hate when that happens.  I hated when I would argue with the teachers about the progress he had made but they would just focus on what he wasn’t doing.  Sounds familiar to the situation I’ve had at work recently but I am dealing with that and can’t really go there but just in general this drives me nuts.

I took my son to the doctor today and again his weight issue came up.  For background information he used to be underweight.  Probably many parents reading this can relate to that.  We could all write books on the food issues that our kids have.  I remember just thinking “whatever just let him eat whatever he wants”.  He clearly needed the calories.  Then he hit puberty, got tall and became overweight.  Now we have to get rid of the bad habits.  If I could go back I honestly don’t know if I would do it any different.  Maybe but well here we are.

A year ago they discussed his weight issue with him and pop and soon after he started drinking water and only water.  I may have even blogged about it at the time.  But that one I remember for sure.  Today they discussed chicken nuggets.  We discussed how grilled chicken was so much better.  We discussed fat content in general and especially fried foods.  The doctor offered nutritionist if needed but we didn’t ask for those services.  I know what he needs to eat, it wasn’t me that needed to hear it.

We had planned to go out to dinner after the doctor appointment but I asked if he wanted to go out for chicken nuggets or strips or whatever or go home for grilled chicken.  Yes, I gave him the choice.  He said he wanted to go home for grilled chicken.  Inside I cheered.

On the way home we also discussed our plans to go on our annual trip to look at a Christmas display tomorrow.  Here is where I wrote about last year’s trip.  Sheldon and I decided that 3 PM was a good time to go.  I thought back to last year and thought that was what time we ended up going last year after sitting around and waiting for him to be ready.  In my head I thought well my husband and I could go have brunch together or something.  Because as I told a friend of mine recently sometimes that is the trade off- when they are young you rarely get date night, everything is “family time” and then they become teenagers and you wish for more family time.

Anyhow I thought this was all great.  Making a big food change and planning appropriately for tomorrow.  Awesome.

Then I called my  husband (after dropping my son off thankfully).  I got lectured about how he needs to do more than just switch to grilled chicken.  I got lectured about all the other changes he needs to make.  I said that I knew and I would try buying some other minor switches that I knew he would be okay with.  For example he will eat pretzels instead of doritos but he isn’t going to start eating apples.  I knew I could make some other switches that would be acceptable.  But we wouldn’t be able to completely change all of his diet.  I certainly didn’t need lectured.  It seriously started to remind me of work.  Instead of wow that was great I am hearing all the things I should have done differently.  Really?

Then I told him we were leaving at 3.  I got lectured about how this is too late.  I was like I am not sure why we arguing about food and what time we are leaving tomorrow but I am getting off the phone.  I was done.  I knew I was going to yell at him.  I felt so deflated and sad.  Yeah that feeling sounds familiar.

I know myself and I do not do well in the negatives.  I want to hear positive feedback.  I will always strive to do my best but positive feedback please.  I know my son is the same way.

My husband called back and apologize. He said he would focus on the fact that he agreed to go and agreed to a time.  He said he would focus on the positives.  I thanked him for that and for apologizing.  But I am still sad.

Please focus on the positives.  It is such a better environment.  Especially for those of us (probably all aspies & auties) that really want to do the right thing.  Tell us what we did right.  It is so hard to hear what we did wrong or what else we could have done.  Why didn’t you do…  “Why did you only move one mountain, not two?”  How about saying “that is awesome you moved one mountain.”  Because lots of times what is small to someone else is really a mountain to us.



  1. First of all, congratulations on both fronts with your son. 🙂 Yummy for grilled chicken – that’s actually a staple in my diet. Add a little rice, broccoli, and soy sauce, and you have a meal with multiple food groups!

    Food is super hard for me. I’m underweight, and so the whole “change what I eat” thing isn’t as big of an issue, but I have been trying to eat healthier, and so I have a couple of suggestions for you/your son:

    Plan out a week of meals. They don’t have to be fancy, but have them planned. First of all, you can discuss “healthy vs. not-so-healthy” foods, and work together to find thing you know he can eat. Then you can also talk about trying new healthier snacks. It’s a lot easier to make these transitions gradually – for me, if I just switch my food, I stop eating. That’s really not good. Since foods are a sensory issue for me, that’s the biggest issue. Talk about trying new things, one at a time. Don’t force things, but tell him you can work together and try one new healthy food per week. If he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t have to eat more, but he should at least try it. Who knows, he might decide that sliced peppers with hummus is a good snack. (I shudder at the thought, but you never know). And really, the biggest thing is that this is a lifestyle change that your son should be making for the rest of his life – this means that he should (to the best of his ability) be in control – it’s not just you feeding him, it’s you helping to teach him how to feed himself healthy for the rest of his life. Don’t force things too quickly, but do help him understand WHY. And who knows, maybe a nutritionist would be a great resource – they seem to know lots and lots of good ways to go for healthier foods. 🙂

  2. Thanks E! Those are really good suggestions. Especially trying a new thing each week. You are exactly right – it needs to be on his terms or it won’t work.

    I guess I should have clarified why we didn’t involve a nutritionist. You are right- they are a great resource but I just recently had to change all of my eating habits due to health issues so I did see a nutritionist. I am not big for change but we learned what changes we could make that resulted in low fat but good tasting food. Plus he doesn’t like new people but he really likes this doctor so he was open to hearing what he had to say. I am hoping he will make changes on his terms.

    He has already agreed to switch out doritos for pretzels (a food he likes but not preffered) and vanilla wafers instead of brownies. Not huge switches but less fat & calories will make a difference. You are so right it needs to be on his terms. He is currently motivated so hoping he will take our suggestions on what foods to eat. Hoping that making minor adjustments will make a huge impact 🙂 It did with my diet.

    • That makes sense re: nutritionist. I have one other suggestion – perhaps both you and he can each pick one new food for him to try each week… give him some more control. He can run his food by you to make sure it’s healthy (or he could even look it up online) and that way its even more in his control, and he’ll also be learning about food for himself, too. As a victim of food-related parental abuse, the only real suggestion I have is don’t fight him on it, and simply encourage and praise good changes. You never know, it might go really really well 🙂

  3. It is difficult when an exceptional child is in general Ed. The general Ed teachers mainly focus on what the end game needs to be instead of the growth. As a teacher myself and a mom with an aspie child, I wish more teachers had empathy training so they could better understand what the exceptional child experiences. Then and only then, would they focus on the growth the child has made.
    It is up to the parents to place pressure on districts to train all teachers to be more compassionate and understanding with respect to all types of learners.

  4. See if you can get him to exercise some too. Sorry if that sounds rude, but I think that could help since it doesn’t sound like he leaves the house much now. It’s good that he is motivated.

    • That wasn’t rude- at least not by my standards but I am often told I am too direct. 🙂
      But yes he needs to exercise- I agree. We have been working on getting him out of the house more and when we do get him out we try to go to more than one place. And my husband is trying desperately to find an interest to get him out of the house regularly and also moving around and socializing. I am not sure I agree with the current idea but we will see if it works.

      • I’m lucky, I eat mostly junk but I’ve always been really skinny. I do a lot of walking though and I played sports when I was younger. Lord knows socializing more often wouldn’t be a bad thing for me. The only time I’m really doing that is at work- with animals and adults. Believe it or not, I really enjoy working with adults, they’re generally more accepting and less confusing for me =).

      • 🙂 my son prefers adults too. I was same way and I am okay with him socializing with only adults if that is his preference. I should have clarified that my husband is trying to get him out with adults, his small group of friends. The teenage scene is just so, I’m not sure what words to use. I never fit in or understood their motives I am okay with my son skipping that nonsense. Not sure it would teach him anything valuable.

      • No it probably wouldn’t. A small group of friends is better than nothing. My “circle” is virtually nonexistent, I have two good friends, but they both live out of state now and I only actually get to see one. It gets a bit boring at times, no denying that, but the high school social scene is vastly overrated if you ask me.

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