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So I turn from my computer, force a smile, and say “My cake is a chocolate cake with cool whip frosting and cookie crumbles on top. Tell me about your cake, A-Man.”

It’s a script, it makes him happy, it’s worth it.

But it drives me up a wall sometimes.

See, my son has a habit of using this particular script—one that requires thought and attention—when I’m in the middle of hyperfocusing on something.

It is literally painful for me to shift attention that quickly, but it’s what he needs in that moment to connect and stay regulated.

But oh man, friends… Sometimes my kid’s autism pokes my autism right in the eye.

Woman sits with face down, holding her hair. Text reads: "When my son's autism pokes my autism right in the eye"

Sometimes My Kid’s Autism Pokes My Autism Right in the Eye

Now it’s important to note before I go any deeper… This is not a post where I’m complaining about my Autistic child.

I am simply writing this because I know there are other Autistic parents out there who have needs that compete with their children’s needs on a daily basis.

And it can be really frustrating trying to walk the tightrope of meeting your children’s needs and accommodating for them while also making sure you don’t completely lose it and spiral into a meltdown yourself.


So to be crystal clear:

  • My son’s autism isn’t bad.
  • My son’s Autistic behaviors aren’t bad.
  • My autism isn’t bad.
  • My Autistic behaviors aren’t bad.

Our different Autistic behaviors simply compete against each other sometimes, and it’s hard to find that balance.

My Autistic Son and I are Opposites

The important thing to understand here is that while my son and I are both Autistic, we are complete opposites in many ways.

He’s a sensory seeker, I’m a sensory avoider.

I love to read and write, he loves to jump and play.

He loves loud scripting, I struggle with loud noises.

Because of our opposite needs, wants, and interests, we can sometimes butt heads quite a bit.

Balancing Needs in a Family is TOUGH

Here’s the thing, friend, balancing needs within a family is TOUGH.

We are a family of eight, all with our own unique sensory preferences, interests, desires, and triggers.

And there are times when those needs are in direct competition.

For example, one of us needs quiet to focus, the other needs to loudly script in order to regulate.

And oftentimes in our family, it’s my needs competing with my son A-Man’s needs. (Which I lovingly refer to as his autism poking my autism in the eye!)

3 Steps to Parenting Through Struggles

So how do I, as the parent and grown up in the situation, parent my son while I’m struggling?

How can I meet his needs when my own needs are screaming too?

Well, there are three key steps to parenting when your child’s needs compete with your own.

You have to know your triggers, you have to compromise, and you have to make a plan together.

So let’s dive into each of those steps…

#1 Know Your Triggers

The very first step here is to know your triggers, inside and out.

You can’t make a plan to calmly parent through your triggers if you don’t know what they are.

And while you may know some major triggers—perhaps you know that being hit sends you into a spiral—there are likely more triggers than you realize lurking under the surface.

Maybe it’s feeling unheard. Maybe it’s seeing your children in percieved danger. Maybe it’s sudden noises or noises outside of your control.

Whatever your triggers are, discovering them is one of the most important steps to being able to recognize why your child’s behaviors are causing you to freak out.

If you don’t already know your triggers, I highly recommend you check out this free printable guide, Signs of Being Triggered.

The free guide walks you step-by-step through recognizing the mental, emotional, physical, and verbal signs that you’re being triggered.

#2 Compromise

The second step is to compromise, and this means both you and your child.

Depending on how your child’s needs are competing with yours, there are a ton of different ways you can compromise.

You can go with the need with the biggest consequence being accommodated more.

For example, if my son needs to crash into the crashpad to regulate and avoid a meltdown, and I need it to be quiet or I’ll get annoyed, I’ll be compromising.

Or you can compromise based on practicality.

For example, when I need to be in the main area to make lunch, A-Man can be loud in their room. But if I don’t have to be in the main area, he can be loud out there while I move to my room.

But here’s the important thing to remember: As the grown-up in the situation, it is likely on you to compromise much more than your child.

#3 Make a Plan Together

Now that you know your triggers, and you’ve worked out some ideas about how to compromise with your child, it’s time to make a plan together.

Go through the compromise options and decide with your child what makes most sense.

Then communicate it in a simple, straightforward plan.

Kaylene Script: “When {trigger happens}, I will {compromise}, and you will {compromise}.”

Then practice over and over and over again.

We can’t do things in-the-moment until we’ve practiced them so often out of the moment that they’ve become second nature.

It’s so important to practice.

I also recommend creating an oops plan for what will happen if the original plan doesn’t work out.

Because trust me, no matter how beautiful your compromise plan is, sometimes it won’t work out.

Now, if you’ve read through these steps and thought…

WOAH Kaylene… HOLD THE PHONE. How the heck do I actually make a compromise that works for us both?

How in the world am I supposed to make an in-the-moment plan AND an oops plan?

How do I practice any of this out of the moment?!?!

I want you to take a deep breath. All of the how-tos would be super overwhelming in a single blog post.

That’s why I’m putting the final touches on my new program, Parenting While Triggered.

In this brand new program, I will go through step-by-step how to…

  • Fill your own cup with practical self-care strategies (no bubble baths necessary!)
  • Truly understand your unique triggers and your natural responses to those triggers.
  • Discover coping strategies that you can actually use when you’re being triggered to stay calm and in control.
  • Design an in-the-moment plan to help you continue to parent when you are triggered by your child’s behaviors.
  • Create an oops plan for those times when all heck breaks loose and you’re trying to just make it through the storm.
  • Build a reconnect plan so that you can reconnect with yourself, your children, and your family as a whole after you’re triggered.

Be sure to enter your information below if you want to be the first to know when the doors to Parenting While Triggered open!