Sunday, January 22, 2017

The United Front

We have a "typical" daughter.  That is to say she is bullheaded, willful, and maddening!  She is also kind, artistic, and beautiful.  How she gets all of this into 4 feet of girl body I'll never figure out.  Right now, at age 7, she is fairly certain that the world is round and it evolves around her wherever she goes.  When she wants something she isn't beyond trying the old method of "divide and conquer".  Unless we provide a united front we have no chance!

Presenting a united front is an extremely important element in managing a special needs situation.  Everyone has to be on the same page.  Notice I didn't say everyone has to agree with each other.  You don't have to reach 100% agreement to be effective.  In fact, having two separate points of view is a GREAT thing so long as you can reach a compromise on a solution.

Here are some tips I would recommend based on my experience:

1.  Establish WHO is the ultimate keeper(s) of the gate.  Outside opinion is extremely helpful and I believe the more trusted opinions you get, the better.  But there has to be clearly identified captains.  Robin and I had no problem listening to doctors and taking advice from friends and family, but we knew that ultimately we had to decide what was best for Tyler and the family unit.  We had built relationships where this was respected which just made everything more effective.  If you have someone who is not willing to respect that boundary you have to make this clear.

2.  The captains must be able to work together.  Compromise is SO important.  There cannot be concern about who is right and who is wrong.  Every effort needs to be made to find a cohesive solution.  There is no place for EGO here.

3.  Decide beforehand what the solution is going to be and then apply that solution.  When it appears there is agreement beforehand, it portrays more strength

4.  Do not undermine the team or allow the team to be undermined.  When you make a decision together, carry it out together

5.  Whether the course of action works out perfectly, or crashes and burns, do not worry about assigning blame, or claiming credit.  Win as a team, lose as a team, learn as a team. 

6.  Finally, support the team with everything you have.  Commit fully to being the best captain you can be.  Try your best to leave selfish emotions on the shelf

The core of having special needs is that the person needs someone to make decisions for them that they cannot make for themselves.  Its a tremendous responsibility that must be done with honesty, integrity, and selflessness.  

Stand together and stand strong.   Tom

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