Positive Growth Mindset Tips for Parents

If you have a child with autism, some days are harder than others. And sometimes we let the hard days and the stress take over. We may have a difficult time thinking of the positives or having a growth mindset. 

I recently spoke with parent coach Len Arcuri and he discussed with me how important it is to have a growth mindset and how this can benefit you and your child. Today I want to share with you part of the conversation, but to listen to the full conversation on the podcast, you can go to marybarbera.com/47.

Growth Mindset Tips for Parents

I asked him about particular struggles for parents of kids with autism. What were some overall themes or stress points he saw?

Len Arcuri says that the first theme they see often is mindset. How parents develop what the problem is and how they feel about the journey. Every journey is unique, and it lasts as long as it needs to last, but the important part is how they feel while going about their day-to-day lives. 

“If the mindset isn’t one of a growth mindset. One of, I’m going to do what I can, I’m going to try, I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to constantly learn. Versus a fixed mindset, like there’s really not much I can do. That’s where you start getting into a victim mentality,” said Arcuri. For his clients, they all show up to some degree with some growth mindset, they know that they can do something and they’re seeking help.

“I think the key thing is that everyone’s growth mindset, wherever it is, can always be further grown and developed. And so we try to meet them where they are to help them kind of get the growth mindset as big as it can be,” he said.

Finding a Positive Parenting Mindset

If you truly have a positive growth mindset, according to Arcuri, you will do the interventions or therapy. With a positive mindset for autism, you can never really make a mistake because every “failure” is just another opportunity. This ensures you have the resiliency to stay the course. No matter what you’re doing, you’re going to have your ups and downs. It’s all about how you continue to get up and persevere.

And while there’s a lot of clear action steps you can take to make things better, there isn’t a lot of control over the actual outcome of anything. On the drive home from the hospital, when Lucas got his diagnosis I was crying in the passenger seat. My husband kept saying things like he’ll never get married. He’ll never go to college. My whole mind was blown. 

I was married, I had a master’s degree in nursing administration, and I lived in the suburbs. I had two healthy kids. Of course, they would grow up and go to college. They would both get married. But I was also thinking how do we know Spencer’s not going to have an accident or have some issues?

But I ended up realizing I shouldn’t have expectations. I have no control over how my life is going to turn out. Once you draw the autism card, your name is still in the lottery for a bunch of other stuff to come down the pike. Family members still get cancer and other typically developing kids have issues and you might go bankrupt or whatever. More stuff is going to happen. 

I mean, yes, I think Lucas’s life would be easier if he didn’t have moderate to severe autism.  I think my life would be easier as he now needs care. And that’s why my goal is to turn autism around and have each child reach their fullest potential. Be as safe, as independent, and as happy as possible.

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Resilience in Parenting

There’s such a thing as hope and resiliency and getting each child and adult to their fullest potential. And so let’s just move forward and have that abundance mindset. Be resilient no matter how your child does because, in the end, you have little control over it.  

Len Arcuri says that what you can control is internally how you’re showing up, what you’re choosing to believe. But you have to want it.

“For people who work with us, to be a fit, they need to know, number one, that their child can get better. You know, forget about recovery and all that. Can their child get better, stronger, happier? There’s an opportunity for growth,” says Arcuri.

“And then the second question is, do they feel as a parent that they can get better? Become a better problem solver. If they have limiting beliefs that are holding them back, do they have an opportunity to break through some of those? Can they get better just in trusting their intuition? This is all internal work. If they have that desire for that awareness, that they can get better, their child can get better and they’re willing to do inconvenient stuff. If those three are in alignment, the amazing thing is there’s so much they can do to just start to feel better, to feel more optimistic. And for that to come from within, not from something that someone else is telling them, they can do so, so much more.”

Staying Positive and Turning Autism Around

If you’re a parent or early intervention professional working with young children showing signs of autism, or if you’re a parent or professional helping older children with moderate to severe autism, you’ll definitely want to pre-order my new Turn Autism Around book today.  You’ll get early access to exclusive bonus content that will help you right away.  For all the details go to turnautismaround.com.

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Transcript

If you have a child with autism, some days are harder than others. And sometimes we let the hard days and the stress take over and we may have a difficult time thinking of the positives. Hi, I’m Dr. Mary Barbera, autism mom, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, and bestselling author. Each week I provide you with some of my ideas about turning autism around so if you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube channel, you can do that now. Today I’m interviewing parent coach Len Arcuri and he discusses how important it is to have a growth mindset and how this can benefit you and your child. To hear the whole podcast interview, you can go to marybarbera.com/47 or click the card on the screen right now. And what are some of the, um, struggles specifically for parents of kids with autism? What are some of the overall themes you see? Or I know each, each coaching session and each coaching client would be different, but just in terms of helping the parents and professionals that are listening, um, what are, what are some of the stress points and things?

Uh, well, yeah, there are definitely some themes and we’ve kind of created our coaching around those themes, but the first one is that starting out at the gate is the mindset. So what and I guess to take a step back, it depends on how you develop what the problem is. The problem that we’re trying to help people with is how the parents are feeling throughout the journey. Cause everyone’s got their own unique journey. It’s going to last however long it lasts, but it’s all about how they’re feeling while every day doing what can help and being with their child. So if the mindset isn’t one of a growth mindset of one of, Hey, I’m going to do what I can, I’m going to try, I’m going to make mistakes.

I’m going to constantly learn, you know, versus a fixed mindset that, you know, Hey, there’s really not much I can do. And then that’s where you maybe start getting into a victim mentality. So for our clients, they all show up to some degree with some growth mindset, they know that they can do things.

That’s why they’re on the call with us. They’re seeking help. Um, but the, I think the key thing is that everyone’s growth mindset, wherever it is can always be further grown and developed. And so we try to meet them where they are to, to help them kind of get the growth mindset as big as it can be.

Because if you truly have a growth mindset, as you’re doing interventions, or as you’re trying to help your child and bringing them to therapy, if you have that mindset, then you can never really make a mistake. You can’t fail because every failure is just a learning opportunity. So that’s, the mindset is key just to get momentum at, out of the gate.

And it’s also key to ensure that you have resiliency. To stay the course, because no matter what you’re doing, you’re going to have your ups and downs and it’s, you know, it’s how do you continue to get up and continue to persevere?  Right, and while there’s a lot of clear action steps, you can take to make things better, you know, there isn’t a lot of control over the, over the actual, you know, outcome of, of anything. And it’s like, you know, on the drive home from the hospital, when Lucas got his diagnosis, you know, he’s in the back seat, completely silent, I’m crying in the passenger seat. My husband’s saying things like he’ll never get married.

He’ll never, you know, um, go to college and all these ex you know, my, my whole mind was blown. Like I thought, I was married. I had a master’s degree in nursing administration. I lived in the suburbs. I had two healthy kids. They of course, would grow up. They would go to college. They would both get married. And like, as he’s saying this, I’m like,how do we know Spencer’s not going to have an accident, God forbid, or have some issues.

And like my hope, you know, I’m like your brother, your 40 year old brother, never went to college or never was married. Like, like all of a sudden, my whole expectations, when you said the developmental pediatrician said, you know, um, just lower your expectations. My whole expectations of my whole life just suddenly went like, wait a second, I shouldn’t have expectations. I have no control over how my life is going to turn out or what kind of, I also say that, um, you’re, you know, once you get, once you draw the line autism card, your names still in the lottery for a bunch of other stuff to come down the pike to like, you know, family members still get cancer and other typically developing kids have issues and you might go bankrupt or whatever.

More stuff is going to happen. And so that’s why I really like your, your whole philosophy of bringing hope and resiliency. So it doesn’t matter. I mean, yes, I think Lucas’s life would be easier if he didn’t have moderate to severe autism.  I think my life is, you know, he needs, he needs care. Um, and that’s why my goal is to turn autism around and have each child reach their fullest potential, be as safe, as independent and as happy as possible.

Like that’s the goal it’s like, people are like, well, what do you mean by turn autism around? There’s no such thing as recovery. There’s a such thing as hope and resiliency and getting each child to their fullest potential and each adult. And so like, let’s just move forward and have that growth, abundance mindset that, hey, I’m going to figure out what I can.

I’m going to, you know, basically be resilient, no matter if, how your child does because you, in the end, have little control over it. That’s right. That’s right. And, and what you can control is internally how you’re showing up, what you’re choosing to believe. And again, that’s, the excitement is that’s all totally within someone’s control, but they have to want it, you know?

So when we think of our, people who work with us, they need to, for them to be a fit, they need to know, number one, that their child can get better. You know, forget about recovery and all that, just can, can their child get better? Can they get stronger? Can they get happier? There’s an opportunity for growth.

And then the second question is, do they feel as a parent that they can get better? Become a better problem solver become, you know, better from a, um, you know, if they have limiting beliefs that are holding them back, do they have an opportunity to kind of break through some of those? That can free up a lot of energy.  Can they get better at self-care, which you’ve talked about.

Can they get better just in trusting their intuition? This is all internal work. And some, and just people, if they have that desire for that awareness, that they can get better, their child can get better and they’re willing to do inconvenient stuff. Which it’s amazing how many people are just so afraid of things that take effort.

If those three are in alignment, then there’s the amazing thing is there’s so much they can do to just start to feel better, to feel more optimistic. And for that to come from within, not from something that someone else is telling them, and from that position, they can do so, so much more. If you’re a parent or early intervention professional, working with young children, showing signs of autism, or if you’re a parent or professional helping older children with moderate to severe autism, you’ll definitely want to, pre-order my new Turn Autism Around book today.  You’ll get early access to exclusive bonus content that will help you right away.  For all the details go to turnautismaround.com.

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