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As a parent of an autistic individual and as a parent of a highly sensitive and strong willed child, I have my fair share of parenting battles and power struggles. I’ve learned, of course, to pick my battles- especially when it comes to the strong-willed child. As we have gone through an ungrateful phase with her, I often find myself at the end of my patience.

Add in her strong-willed personality? I start to question my parenting abilities. 

There are certainly days that I’ve wanted to curl up into a ball or just call it quits on this whole parenting gig. I can’t, of course, but sometimes – it’s nice to think about. And there is nothing wrong with that.

I refuse to feel ashamed in admitting that being a mom is stressful. I refuse to admit that sometimes? I really don’t like this.

But I digress.

Back to the issue at hand, which is finding common sense discipline tips to end power struggles.

What is positive discipline?

Positive discipline chooses to focus on the positive aspects of a behavior. By using positive discipline, you are then reinforcing acceptable and appropriate ways to act. These types of discipline tactics work very well with autistic children. 

The benefits of positive discipline:

  • Teaches your child to take responsibility
  • Is respectful for both parents and children
  • Builds trust and strengthens the parent-child relationship
  • Teaches children to manage emotions
  • Helps children build problem solving skills
  • Helps build your child’s self-esteem

Often, when we think of discipline; we may think of negative consequences. 

And while there’s nothing wrong with that, you may also want to consider incorporating positive discipline into your parenting toolbox.

Is positive discipline the same as positive parenting?

Yes and no. You can use positive discipline principles alongside positive parenting approaches.

Both focus on the positive aspects of a child’s behavior and both attempt to look at what’s going on beneath the surface of the behaviors.

This applies to those disciplines tips for autistic children.

6 Common Sense Discipline Tips to Avoid or End Power Struggles

All kids are bound to test the boundaries and resist the rules. 

Parents need to be patient, persistent, and creative when it comes to responding to these challenging situations. 

My child will not do what they are told

Every day tasks (homework, chores, going to bed) can turn into the ugliest power struggle. Eventually, your child may agree but the conflict lasts long after the battle is over. One way to nip this in the bud is with establishing routines. Be mindful, however, that you will need to be just as consistent with reinforcing routines as your child is with following routines.

My child doesn’t care about getting trouble

If you are disciplining a child, you need to make sure that the consequences match the rule that is broken. Timeliness also matters. You cannot punish a child later in the day for something that occurred that morning.

My child is always lying to me

Lying might a coping mechanism for your child. They might be trying to cover up guilt or a lack of self-esteem so they can avoid criticism or punishment. You want to get to the root of the problem here so you can fully address the situation. For example, if they are lying to avoid consequences, watch for any signs of deception. If they are lying to avoid failure, help them with strategies to overcome those feelings.

My child doesn’t respect me

There are really any number of reasons as to why you might think this. Often, your child really does respect you but you also want to rule out: are your rules clear (and in writing), are they fair, and most importantly; are you reinforcing them consistently?

My child is just over dramatic

For children on the autism spectrum or for highly sensitive children, they may experience even the smallest things in a very big way. What you may be able to brush off without a care, may take your child hours to process. Try to get to the root of this so-called overreaction.

My child just refuses to listen

How do you speak to your child? Are you positive in your language or are you overly critical? Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, we as parents may say things that we just don’t mean. But, by the time those words are out of our mouths; the damage has already been done.

At the end of the day, all we can do as parents is to be consistent and prepare to make adjustments. No one ever said that parenting was going to be a walk in the park, after all.

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Digital Product Creator at Kori at Home
Kori is a late diagnosed autistic/ADHD mom. She is currently located in Albany, NY where she is raising a neurodiverse family. Her older daughter is non-speaking autistic (and also has ADHD and Anxiety) and her youngest daughter is HSP/Gifted. A blogger, podcaster, writer, product creator, and coach; Kori shares autism family life- the highs, lows, messy, and real. Kori brings her own life experiences as an autistic woman combined with her adventures in momming to bring you the day-to-day of her life at home. Kori is on a mission to empower moms of autistic children to make informed parenting decisions with confidence and conviction.

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