Tara Kennedy-Kline
It’s one of those Mondays…about an hour into the new work week and already I have had to reschedule a meeting, cancel an order, find a new trucking company, I’ve lost my temper (twice), and spilled my coffee…

As mop off my desk on the verge of tears, I decide that this day is shot and my only option is to go back to bed, sleep off my funk, and hopefully wake up on the “right side” when I start over.

I begin to daydream of burying myself under the covers when I hear my 10 year old son having a meltdown in the other room, so I go to investigate.

Of course, what I find is the typical end of summer scene for moms of siblings all over the planet…my oldest has been teasing his little brother with everything from the TV remote to the kitten, his breakfast and apparently, underwear! I walk in to the chaos with the grace of an angry bull and send each of them to their own corners where I can interrogate them separately in order to ascertain the “truth” of what happened.

Max (the oldest) is of course completely innocent based on the mere fact that he is older and was doing whatever he thought was best for his younger brother…and I should appreciate his desire to “help me” while I was having a bad morning.

Alex (My aspie) is totally out of control, but completely logical as he throws the remote in the direction of Max’s head while telling his brother “it makes me angry when you change the channel and touch my food!”

Hmm, both have valid arguments, where to start?

Violence gets the attention first so I ask Max to leave because he is the catalyst at the moment.

In typical family situations, once the irritant has been removed, the chaos usually resolves itself…but if you’ve ever spent time with an Aspergian, you know that “typical” is not all that common and de-escalation can take a Really. Long. Time… Too often when our children get out of control, our first reaction is to scold them or chastise them for their bad behavior but for kids like Alex, that reprimand is just one more reminder of their difficulty to “be normal” which typically results in an even bigger, angrier reaction.

Too often when our children get out of control, our first reaction is to scold them or chastise them for their bad behavior but for kids like Alex, that reprimand is just one more reminder of their difficulty to “be normal” which typically results in an even bigger, angrier reaction.

Thankfully our family has been through some amazing trainings and have learned some useful techniques along the way; one of them being this really cool process called “errorless compliance”. The process involves praising him for doing what we ask, even if the request is as simple as asking him to put his head on the floor as he is actively lying down, or asking him to punch as hard as he can while he is actively hitting the couch.

By changing his focus and letting him realize success, we help him to understand that when he is calm and he is following directions, he is in control and things more easily flow in the direction he would be happy with.

We use this process when Alex is so escalated that we can’t even get him to see straight, not to mention listen to us, and we need to help him relax so we can communicate.
I know it sounds a bit silly…but when a child like Alex is completely overwhelmed and at the height of frustration, the most calming thing we can do for him is to inundate him with success.

Once Alex and I had worked through his frustration, I came back to my office and noticed my desk was still covered with cold coffee. With a fresh perspective, I finished mopping my desk. I then sat down and in the spirit of “errorless compliance” I made a new to-do list for my day.

1. Break up Kid fight
2. Spend 20 minutes with Alex
3. Clean desk
4. Make to-do list for the day
5. Spend 20 minutes with Max
6. Make coffee
7. Write blog…

WOW! 5 things checked off my list already! This is going to be an amazingly successful day! And I didn’t even have to go back to bed…

So the lesson my kids taught me today is this: The next time you are feeling stressed, frustrated, defeated or just plain sucky…give yourself a well deserved do over. Make a new to-do list, and on the first five tasks, be sure failure is NOT an option.
Siobhan Shaw
Today I read a blog where the person writing blamed others for not paying attention to her son. I responded - "Please consider taking all that love you have for Hayden and spreading it outward to all those whom you come in contact with. Spread it like peanut butter – thick!

When you spread discontent with people and who they are you will find it becomes exaggerated, and more and more common in your life. Every where you look you will find people ignoring you, giving more love to others, paying more attention to others but know that this is the way it is. It is what you are giving attention to. It sours everything you do. It becomes like a bad taste in your mouth. You have to look inward and ask why it bothers you. That is a process and not one you may or should find the answer to right away but the answer is in you and not the result of anyone else’s actions.

All you can do to shift things to something resembling what you feel and think life should be like, is to accept people are doing what they do. No more, no less. They do what they do. By focusing on something someone is doing or not doing it highlights it only to you. Only you feel the hurt and that hurt is self-inflicted.

For you, for me, for each person in this world, life is what we make it. No more, no less. We cannot expect others to do what we expect them to. We must love what they do as that is what they do. Spreading love is like spreading peanut butter on two slices of bread. It makes the two sides stick together and it’s tough to pull them apart. So go make a life sandwich and enjoy the great taste it leaves in your mouth."
Tara Kennedy-Kline
There was a time in my life when I believed there was just too much to bear.

I had created a closet full of skeletons and hid them away. I spent every day in panic and depression with regular anxiety attacks. And then, because of a necessary credit check, the closet door was about to be opened and it was all going to coming spilling into the world.

I called at least 4 psychologists in my area but all of them were too busy. I recall speaking to a homeopathic counselor as a last resort. Her suggestion was to get a tanning club membership; she said the sunlight would cheer me up. That actually did work for a period, but my dog eventually got tired of me following him around to sit in his sunny spots.

Another Doctor thought it would be more effective to medicate me rather than listen to me. His plan was lithium…”Don’t they make batteries out of that stuff?! No thanks! I’ll pass!”

I remember the turning point for me as if it was yesterday. I was getting dressed (so it must have been late afternoon) I had spent the first part of the day obsessing over the debt I owed and how I wasn’t earning enough to pay it off, how I was sure my husband would leave me when he found out, how I had alienated most of my friends because I had become a complaining ego maniac. All the thoughts and beliefs that kept me stuck in my hole of sadness played like a broken record, repeating and screaming in my head.

I was standing in my closet crying. I don’t know exactly why, I suppose it was the overwhelm of my life and the fear of what was to come. “I can’t do this anymore!” I yelled out loud as if someone could hear me other than the walls. ” Please help me…I don’t know what else to do!”

I just stood in my little space staring at the things on my dresser and then I noticed a bracelet sitting there. It looked like one of the woven friendship bracelets I had made in school, but it had 4 lettered beads in it. WWJD. It wasn’t very pretty really, so I didn’t wear it except for the day it was given to me at a fundraiser by some old grungy Harley guy who came up to my booth and handed it to me. Now that I think about it…he was pretty happy!

As I stared at the bracelet, I tried to remember what the letters stood for. Wacky, Wild, Jesus Dude…I knew that was wrong, but it made me laugh anyway.

W…where, what…was…would: “What Would Jesus Do!?”

I let the words land for a minute as I thought about what was really going on in my life. My problems seemed mighty small in that moment.

Given what I had heard of the stories…what would he do?

“Bare the Burden and Make it Right.” The words blasted in my head as if someone were yelling into a megaphone. I had never heard that before…but the statement was so definite and powerful it made me cry…HARD!

I cried for a long time and when I stopped, my whole body felt as though I had been through a washing machine. I felt lighter and breathed deeper. And I felt like I had a purpose.

I didn’t tell anyone else about what happened that day…but from that event on, every time I felt panicked or a negative thought came to mind, I would clear it by thinking “Bare the burden and make it right”. This became my first affirmation.

After that day, I began to notice that instead of obsessing over problems, I was focused on creating the solution to them. My story went from devastation and depression to determination and diligence.

Doors began to open for me and more importantly, I got my friends and my life back.
I would notice and create hundreds of affirmations in the years to follow, but one will always be my challis, my trident. If something lands in my path that seems insurmountable…I look at it dead on and say “I can bare this burden and make it right.”
Tara Kennedy-Kline
Today is 11/11/11. Some people see it as a day of saddness...some see it as a curse. Others see Veteran's Day and a very few see it as a new beginning...a day of renewal and light.

I choose to see two of the four there: Veteran's Day and Renewal. Why? Because both of those choices force me to be thankful and to look for the positive in the day.

I found a long time ago, that much like the game punchbuggy (where you look for the Beetles on the road and punch the person next to you when you see one) Even if we think something is rare or no longer exists (as in my beliefs about the number of Volkwagon Beetles on the road today) when we start to focus on that thing, we begin to notice more and more of it popping up or into our field of vision.

When I applied that same principle to focusing on the things I am thankful for, or the "good stuff" in my life, I began to experience alot more GOOD STUFF! I stopped wallowing in what was wrong with my life and sang the praises of and gave thanks for all that I had to be Thankful for! I began to notice my mood getting better, my family getting happier and my home getting warmer.

All it took was a shift in my "filter" to change the way I see the world and the way the world sees me.

So today, I challenge you to choose what this day will represent for you...right now! If you choose change and Thanks, then take a look around you...pick out 11 things you are thankful for today. It truly makes no difference who you are, or what your current situation...if you make the choice to focus on the good, you will change the way you see your life and the world around you and that's how YOU will bring more of that "good stuff" into your life...

Tara Kennedy-Kline, Author
Stop Raising Einstein, Discover the Unique Brilliance in Your Child...and You!
Tara Kennedy-Kline
Last evening, while my husband and I were talking about people we know and what we noticed about their parenting styles (c'mon...you know you do it too) I realized something...

Parenting is a skill, much like an art or a language, that must be learned and taught throughout life and through the generations.

Much like cooking or playing an instrument or speaking a second language...some of us are born with mentors who are proficient (or even somewhat gifted) in that skill and teach and tutor us through our life. If,however, we are not born to a mentor but still want to learn, it becomes completely necessary for us to seek out a person to teach us.

The first example that came into my head was: If I wanted to speak French, I could not look to my parents to teach me because they don't speak French! I would have to find a class or a tutor to teach me. And even then, if I wanted to become great (or fluent)I would need to continue to take classes and surround myself with others who spoke French fluently so I could model them.
Parenting should be treated with that same level of purpose and desire for knowledge and learning to become great.

If every parent embraced the reality that not everyone is born with the inherant ability to be a great parent, nor is everyone born with great parents to guide them...then perhaps we could release the stigma of "parenting classes" and allow them to be as common as learning to play the piano or cook like a master chef...Wow! What if that happened?

So, My third realization of 2012 is: I have a lot to learn as a parent, many of my friends could use some classes in parenting, and I want to raise my children to be great parents. I expect my children to enroll in some form of higher education at some point in their lives just as their father and I did...I realize there is no school to pursue a MGP ("Masters in Great Parenting") So if I am going to start the movement to change the impression of Parenting classes, I am going to have to be the first to sign up and be loud and proud about what I learn and practice, practice, practice!

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