Monday, April 1, 2013

What to Do When the Obvious is Not Obvious


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Daddy is an avid biker.  Fifty miles is considered a moderate ride.  One hundred hilly miles are exhilarating.  (A sickness, I believe!)  His averages speed is faster than I like to coast.  (I'm serious!)

And because biking is such a huge part of our lives, we enjoy family bike rides.  With Peanut in a WeeRide Kangaroo Child Bike Seat (Love, Love, Love!), we each get on a bike and travel the trails.  We have done more than one family bike ride totaling over ten miles and hope to do many more this summer. 

Yesterday, the weather warmed up enough for us to take a ride.  My family of six. Together. In the beautiful outdoors.  I was living the dream.

But as often happens, my dream was suddenly disturbed by the choices of one of my children.  

Time and time again, we told Bubs to stay on the right side of the trail.  Over and over, we told him to stay with us.  Each time, the commands were ignored.

As a mom who expects immediately obedience, the behavior was leading to definite consequences.

About half way through our ride, I called Bubs over and said, "You can either ride your bike with respect for others or you can lose the biking privilege." 

In listening to his reply I realized something very important.  What I considered obvious bike etiquette was not obvious to my eight-year-old.  Passing on the right.  Giving those around you plenty of space.  Staying on the right side of the path.  Things that my other children almost instinctively knew to do.

And that in a nutshell is our life with Bubs.  Teaching him things that seem obvious to the rest of us. 

So, for the next thirty minutes of our bike ride, we practiced passing each other.  Then, I biked within inches of him and he realized that it made him uncomfortable.  In turn, he understood why he couldn't do that to others.  We talked about providing plenty of room before returning to your lane after passing someone.  Over and over we discussed and demonstrated why each point was important.

Some children with Sensory Processing Disorder and Autism do not catch on to the obvious.  They don't read the signals from the world.  They don't step in line with how everyone else is doing something.

Had I gone with my reaction, I would have disciplined Bubs over something he didn't understand.  Praise God that I heard the Holy Spirit and stopped to train him.  And I pray that the next time I get frustrated that the Holy Spirit will pull me back and examine whether I have trained him so that he can be successful.

Other posts concerning training:
Train, Train, Train Again - a post how Bubs and I worked on pulling up his covers.
Train vs. Discipline 

What do you believe is the difference between training and discipline?

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The Our Out-of-Sync Life blog focuses on encouraging women to deepen their spiritual life, simplify daily tasks, and impress Jesus on the children around them.