Would You Hire You?

Imagine you own a business. You have spent countless hours building your company, countless hours away from your family and you have invested the majority of your life’s savings.

Your are very proud of your business and work diligently to protect its integrity and longevity.

Now, imagine that your business is growing and you need to hire someone to fill a key role. And if you are the owner of a small business, or even large business some might add, every role, from top to bottom is important.

Would you hire you?

Think about this question very seriously and honestly. You know yourself better than anybody. You know your strengths, your weaknesses, your likes and your like-nots.

Are you the type of employee you would hire?

If you said yes, you would hire yourself, then you are either narcissistic or you have it all together, in which case I commend you.

But many of us would question the thought and would hesitate to hire someone like yourself to be in charge of your business. » ( Read more of Would You Hire You?… )

Adventures in the Car Line; 5 Reasons Why Your Behavior Matters

The scene was tense. Horns were blowing. People were yelling.

There sat the two rivals ready for battle. Their cars stopped, holding up traffic. Their entire torso leaned out of the car window, body parallel to the ground, arm fully extended, displaying the one finger salute.

And no, this was not taking place at a busy intersection during rush hour. This was happening at 7:30 A.M. in my child’s elementary school car line.

Really? What has made you so angry before 8 o’clock in the morning that you feel compelled to display this type of behavior in front of your children and others around you?

For those fortunate enough to have had the pleasure of navigating the school car line, you will probably agree that the experience can often be summed up with three letters…SMH!

Comprised of neighbors, fellow community members and parents of your child’s classmates, the car line should be a friendly, smooth transaction.

After all, these are folks we see everyday. Often twice a day. But many days the dropping off and picking up is far from smooth.

Enter the offenders. » ( Read more of Adventures in the Car Line; 5 Reasons Why Your Behavior Matters… )

F-Bombs and Broken Glass; I Love My High Functioning Autistic Child

For parents of a child with high functioning autism, the title of this post probably brought a smile, albeit a cringe worthy one. Tirades, profanity and broken things are usually a result of these infrequent but memorable occurrences.

Like the time my four year old son called our local congressman a (female dog) as he campaigned in our neighborhood. Yeah, that was cringe worthy.

Or the time he single-handedly took out the bread aisle at BI-LO. Yep, that qualifies as cringe worthy too.

My son is now a thirteen year old eighth grader who is not unlike most other kids his age. He has his quirks but the majority of the time everything is copacetic. All A’s and B’s, honors classes, active in sports. But that small percentage of time when things go awry causes me great concern.

Everyday he deals with high functioning autism, an autism spectrum disorder, which affects his ability to read social cues and interact in a socially acceptable way with his peers.

His spot on the autism roster has landed him in the penalty box more than once. He was disciplined in the sixth grade for misbehaving, although it took nearly two weeks for the school to meet with us regarding his offense.

And then he was treated just like every other discipline problem, with no regard given to his HFA. Unfortunately, this mode of handling his behavior issues has been a trend.

I am careful not to make excuses for his behavior. If discipline is needed, I am first in line to support the school in whatever action they choose. I only wish that they would act concerned, or like they care just a tiny bit about his HFA and how it may have impacted his behavior instead of lumping him in with everyone else.

Luckily, his sixth grade year was coming to an end when this behavior occurred, so I spent the summer looking for another school for him to attend.

During my search, I was thrilled to find an established, private Christian school that was opening a middle school. I was sold. A staff who appeared to genuinely care about him, as well as small class sizes and tuition incentives made my decision to switch schools a no brainer.

The experiment lasted one year. A few friendly texts to a classmate over the summer, a classmate who happens to be his cousin, and I was told that the school was no longer a fit for my child. Apparently, the status of his classmates parents (and their displeasure over him texting their daughter) overrode the love the school had for my child.

And while I think they did take his HFA into consideration, here I was, two weeks before the start of school with very few options. Frustrated with both public and private schools and not knowing where to turn.

I did not believe that he needed to attend a specialized school to the tune of $900 per month. I thought he would do better if he was back at a public school with big scary classes (as well as big scary classmates).

After all, his academics were not of concern, as his grades were stellar. He needed help socially. So a bigger school would potentially give him a better chance of finding his group.

I made the decision to return to his previous school and, with the exception of him sitting at lunch alone everyday, everything seems to be going well.

Now that he is thirteen and nearly 5’10” the ramifications of his actions, as well as the actions themselves, are no longer simply embarrassing and harmless. They have the potential to carry serious consequences.

I am not a doctor and I do not pretend to know everything about high functioning autism. And it is not my goal to paint my child in a negative light or make it seem as though everyday is bad. I am just speaking from the heart and from experience and I feel as though many others can relate.

As a parent, I am constantly trying to find the line between my child just being a punk teenage kid and my child dealing with high functioning autism. Without making excuses for his behavior or using his HFA as a crutch.

The even harder part of the equation is finding the most effective way to discipline him for his actions. Contrary to popular belief from my friends and family, a good old fashioned butt whooping is not always the answer. ( I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard that one.)

He sometimes appears to have a blank stare on his face while we discuss his actions and why they are wrong. Even basic violations such as stealing money from my wallet for his Xbox seem to be met with indifference. He truly does not seem to understand why this is wrong. So I proceed to discipline him anyway, the best way I know how, and hope that one day it will click.

My ten year old daughter is fully aware of how her brother is treated, so I have to be careful not to give in or compensate or she will expect the same. I also believe the special attention he receives due to his behavior frustrates her but I think she understands.

Zoloft helps to ease his anxiety and increase the calm. Keeping him well fed, as well as well rested, also helps. But sometimes the outbursts appear out of nowhere.

My anger turns to sympathy and my heart breaks as I picture my son, my sweet loving son, sitting alone during lunch at school. What am I to do?

As badly as I want to intervene I cannot and I must not. Armed with the awareness of his own social anxiety and his experience with brutal kids, he chooses to avoid any conflict and enjoy lunch by his lonesome.

But he gets up every morning, excited about his new day at school and exits the school in the afternoon with much the same attitude. So maybe me, the parent, is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

But I know that he wants friends. And it does break my heart that he does not have any close friends.

He wants what every other middle school aged teenager wants; he wants to be accepted and loved. He wants friends and to be sociable. He wants to fit in. He just has difficulty determining how to get there.

His inability to read social cues (which is a vast statement) holds him back, which is why he recently began attending a social group once a week where he can learn, in a comfortable environment of like-minded kids, how to be social.

For example, texting is okay. Relentless texting is not. Or why it is not okay to use locker room talk in front of your grandmother or parade around the house in nothing but whitey tighties! These groups will hopefully help him learn the difference.

After talking with the therapist, as well as other parents, my mind eased knowing that they are dealing with many of the same issues daily. It helps to know that you are not alone.

I love my HFA child and want to give him a life full of opportunities. I do not care if he is the student body president or the quarterback of the football team. I want him to be comfortable being him and to find his niche.

Those words that spew out of his mouth on occasion (the ones that we, as adults, would not even use around our best friends) still make me chuckle inside. And shake my head. And they remind me of his inability to grasp the social norms.

But I love him anyway and I love him for who he is. And I am learning to enjoy the ride.

 

7 Benefits of Dining Out With Your Family

Dining Out

Begin a family night tradition that brings the entire family together.

For many families, going out to eat is a regular occurrence. For others, a rarity. Regardless of which category you fall into, dining out has become big business and it is growing rapidly.

Contrary to what our parents, grandparents and others may believe, eating out has its benefits.

Dining out still carries a negative connotation, especially among some of our elders, who toss around insults about families that “eat out all of the time’ or parents who “never cook”. » ( Read more of 7 Benefits of Dining Out With Your Family… )

Six Ways That Dumping Facebook Improved My Life

facebookFor many of us the mere mention of Facebook conjures up the various memes of Robert Downey rolling his eyes. Or maybe I am the only individual who feels this way.

Regardless, I deactivated my personal Facebook account last week and I have not missed it at all.

Well, maybe a little. But not much.

For me, Facebook became that Sunday afternoon movie on TBS that is so bad you cannot turn away. The train wreck effect.

I would scroll through post after post, aimlessly looking for something without having any idea what I was looking for. » ( Read more of Six Ways That Dumping Facebook Improved My Life… )

Why I Ditched My Smartphone and Simplified My Life

meme-zombies-cell-phones

Shortness of breath. Anxiety and tightness in my chest.

Just a sampling of emotions I felt last night as I waited patiently at the counter of Metro PCS for my number to be ported.

By no means was this an easy transaction, even though I had been contemplating a switch for months.

At this very moment, I could see clearly how dependent I had become on this little device. As ridiculous as it sounds, I was experiencing the emotional and physical effects firsthand. » ( Read more of Why I Ditched My Smartphone and Simplified My Life… )