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© 2023 by inTune Pathways 

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Our Fixation with Behaviour

July 20, 2019

For centuries now, we humans have been fixated on children.

Namely, their behaviour and presentation.

How they look, feel, think, speak, act, eat, play and be.

And in this process, 

We’ve governed all the aspects of their little beings

And their human expression.

We’ve been encouraged to do this

Of course.

Because after all, 

The pressure to parent from that space

Is but a product of a society

Derivative of control.

But what IS control?

Google says:

“the power to influence or direct people's behaviour or the course of events”

But there seems to be an ongoing issue with our awareness of this.

Whilst we may be aware of what control is, 

We lack an understanding of it’s origin

And the many expressions it drives;

Better known as

‘Behaviour’.

Whilst we parents are encouraged to control our wild children

To govern their behaviour

We lack the understanding 

That the very behaviours in our children

We consider unacceptable

Or concerning

Or needing to be

Tamed

Are born from a lack

Of

Control.

At a superficial level, 

We know this.

We recognise it

See it

And shut it down.

Many of us panic

“Who do you think you are?”

“How dare you?”

And we even punish

When our children exercise their opinions

Or stray from toeing the line.

Why do we do this?

So they don’t ‘get out of control’.

And yet

Here WE are

Out of control

Trying to get it back

From children

Who are also

‘Out of control’

Trying to get it back.

Control is word used ever so loosely

A word that has become lost in translation.

Autistic children; for example

As soon as they are diagnosed

Often the focus

Is on not allowing them

To exercise their control

‘Need for control’

We say, 

Autistic people have a

Need for control.

But we all

Have a need for control.

What we dont see

Is that those of us who have less

Control

Are the ones that seek it

The most.

We are all fighting

For control.

But that word..

Control..

When we seek it..

The translation of ‘control’

Actually

Is our fight

Our fight to exercise

Our freedom.

Our human rights.

Our basic human rights.

As people; individuals.

Our right to choice

To exercise control

To govern ourselves

Agency

Over our own person.

When we say

“Autistic children have a need for control”

Well, yes. 

They do.

Particularly those of us

Diagnosed as children

Because God help us

When we are different

Think differently

Do differently

Feel differently

‘Be’ differently;

Born with a diverse expression.

Because it’s then

That we draw the attention to ourselves

That our parents must work harder

To have us toe the line

To keep us under control.

“Quiet hands!”

“Looking this way, look at me!”

“Sitting still”

Changing our “no” to a “yes”,

Attempting to shut down

Our autistic expression

Where it may be too loud.

Behaviour is not simply a lack of obedience

We are not animals

Behaviour is expression

An expression of an internalisation

Of who we are, how we feel, 

How much freedom and autonomy

We feel we have.

And yes, 

It begins

In childhood.

We live in an unrelenting state

As a society

Of fear

And dread

That our children will get

Out of control.

Yet we don’t even realise

That when we perceive people as

Out of control

It’s because they are.

It has been taken from them.
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Kristy Forbes
inTune Pathways
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Artist: Collin McAdoo

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