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“Where there is anger, there is always pain underneath.” ~Eckhart Tolle As a special-needs parent, it feels that I am in constant anger and fight mode. I am fighting with my children on the home front. I am fighting for their right to get access to services. I am fighting for their acceptance. I am fighting for my children to help them make progress. To be in constant fight mode can be overwhelming and exhausting. In my weakness, I let my emotions get the best of me. I lose my temper with my loved ones. The One Thing I Regret Saying to My Daughter A particular incident that took place many years ago stands out in my mind to this date. The principal of my daughter’s school told me she was causing lots of problems there. Her behavior was disturbing her classmates, and many parents had complaints about it. “We feel that this school is not suitable for her and it would be best to find her another school,” said the principal. I fought with the school to let her stay. This was the third school we had to fight for her acceptance. I felt that I was coming to another dead end. After that meeting, I headed home and was greeted with an onslaught of screaming and shouting children. Adding to that chaos, my daughter with autism poured out the contents of every toiletry bottle she could find into the bathtub. It is incredible how much children can do given one minute unsupervised. At that very moment, I snapped and yelled. “What is wrong with you? What is wrong with you?” “Why are you always wrecking the house?” “Why can’t I have a moment of peace without you causing any trouble?” “I did not sign up for this!” “I don’t want you!” My daughter with little communication skills stood frozen. I saw fear in her eyes. She felt every ounce of anger I had in me then. Why Yelling Further Delays a Child’s Development When children misbehave, yelling at them seems like a natural response. We feel that when we yell at them, we get their attention, we are disciplining them. None of us likes to be yelled at. When we yell at our children, they are more likely to shut down instead of listening. That is not a good way to communicate. For children on the spectrum, yelling can be particularly detrimental, as it may result in them retreating into their own world and not engaging with other people even more. The more we connect and engage with them, the more they can thrive and grow. Hence, yelling can never be a means to “discipline” them regardless of how stressful and frustrated we may feel at that moment. Not Yelling—Easier Said Than Done Trust me. No one understands this more than I do. When you are stressed and frustrated, releasing all that pent-up emotion seems like the only solution. [...]