Navigating Tween Rebellion, Puberty And Anxiety Thrown In the Mix- How This Exceptional Mom Survives

Humor. The other day I was talking to a friend and she expressed her admiration for me and Dad and how we held our relationship together after the stress of exceptional parenting and other life challenges. I thanked her, but told her my secret to holding it all together was one thing, humor. Laugh your head off at the little things  you do, your partner does, and your kid or kids do. And I can tell you there will be lots to laugh at, even when you have your tough parenting days, and we all know when those happen that we are in the midst of them.

Lately, Michael’s rapidly intensifying teenage hood combined with anxiety, ASD rigidities, ADHD hyperactivity and food management due to his diabetes, has kind of left me feeling, well, a little on edge and shell shocked shall we say. Even my meditation has not been the same and that is not good. “And it’s not even happening to me,” as an amazing exceptional Mom and special needs advocate once said, while telling of her own experience in handling her son’s anxiety and other health issues. I always feel humbled remembering those words. And not because I don’t have trials and tribulations as Michael’s Mom and Dad as his Dad, but because as hard as it is for us, it is even harder for him. He is living it. He is surviving it. And every time we fail ourselves we fail him. This does not mean that a bad night here or there obliterates all the good a parent does for their child. If that were that case, I would have failed Michael A LONG time ago. I have now learned to breathe, see my mistakes, take responsibility, and then teach Michael that he needs to do the same thing. It’s not easy. It’s also not easy to learn to laugh after a tough experience, but this is  the way to survival for you and your Exceptional Child. Humor goes a long way.

Without divulging too much of Michael’s privacy, let’s just say that Michael has learned recently about his sexuality and how good it feels to be in tune with a certain part of his body. This is creating all kinds of havoc with his sleep and morning routine. No jokes please. I know it is funny, and I try to laugh in the midst of the fighting to get up and get ready or go to sleep on time, but it is not. While it is normal to be experiencing puberty in this way, due to Michael’s understanding of his body (or different way of understanding) and still following his usual routine, we’ve run into some snags. With the help of our team and me looking truthfully at what is going on and not laughing or screaming, we are making inroads to understanding each other and coming to a consensus. Every time I think about it, “I thought puberty would hit at 13. I thought I had two more years to just handle his special needs stuff and diabetes, now this,” I remember he is handling it all. Laugh at the little things Joanne. And the bigger things that are troubling him and yourself, get help from your team. Ask your Mom friends. Ask co-workers who’ve lived through and survived their kids’ puberty, and see the light at the end of the tunnel for Michael and you. It is a challenging time for everyone.

Exceptional Parents, where are you on your Exceptional Child’s developmental stage? Are you in babyhood, childhood or venturing into adolescence ? How do you survive the stages and stay sane for your own sake, your child’s, and the rest of your family’s? I can tell you that humor will and should be at the top of your list to handling any kind of stress. It will help you from taking yourself and your emotions too seriously. On another note though, self-care in the form of time alone, exercise and meditation and/or prayer, can help with your spiritual balance too. Finally, pursuing a hobby or passion outside of being someone’s partner, mother or family member, will do so much for your soul and self-esteem that nothing else will quite match it. In the end, taking care of the important things in yours and your child’s life will make all the difference. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive! 

 

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Finding the Balance Between Mother And Nurse To Your Exceptional Child

We are all nurses and caregivers to our children, whether they are exceptional or not. The title pretty much belongs to all parents, Moms in particular, who are usually jokingly referred to as the chauffeur, cleaning lady, teacher, parent and nurse/caregiver. But all of this takes on a whole new level for most Exceptional Parents whose kids have other underlying physical and psychological health issues. Everything from keeping track of medication, various doctors appointments outside of the usual yearly checkup, dental and eye checkup visit, as well as therapy visits for speech, occupational, physiotherapy and psychology/psychiatry can take its tole. In this role, parents (again usually Moms, though sometimes Dads too or a mix of the two), are always the expert and advocate of their child and the ones at all meetings and tabulating data and charts before said meetings. All in all, it can be utterly exhausting, and you wonder when you get to build a regular parent/child relationship with your child where you hope to gradually transfer over some of the physical and mental health care decisions to your child when they are older. It’s a long road, and one not entirely possible for some families to eventually do. Still, it’s important that parents remember that though you take care of your child medically, you are still their mother. This means as their mother, to the best of your capacity in that role, you help forge self-reliance, independence and advocacy so that they can do the best possible to take care of themselves one day.

I’ve had a lot of difficult conversations with Michael lately as has Dad about his diabetes. Michael has been resentful of the fact he can’t eat like his friends at one moment, then will go to the other extreme, as happened the other morning, and be super critical of my meal choices for him. In those moments I sigh with frustration at the unfairness of his rigidity in thinking I am making a mistake and causing his sugars to rise (sometimes this is true, sometimes it is not as I and Dad are still in the early phases of learning about carb counting and making the right balance of food choices etc.).  I have actually cursed diabetes out loud and the extra burden it has put on Michael and on Dad and I as parents. Don’t get me wrong.  I do not want any pity. No Exceptional Parent does. None of us want to know that we are heroes. We are not. We are simply parents doing what parents do, loving and taking care of our child the best we can. Our kids too are doing the best they can. I will take praise for Michael too as do most of my friends for their kids, as our kids do overcome so many challenges navigating a world that is foreign to them. But even our kids are kids at the heart of it all, and just want to belong, have friends, and be the best they can be.

So my point about finding the balance in being a mother and nurse is this; make your peace with where you are with your child in any given moment. If it’s a moment where you are resenting the nurse role, have yourself a good cry, throw some pillows around and ask another adult to step in and take over so you can have a break. If it’s a moment where you are feeling strong, remember to bond with them in the same way you did BEFORE you knew they had a diagnosis of any kind. Remember, first and foremost above everything else, they are your child. They have their own likes and dislikes. They have their own personality. They are their own little person with talents and struggles, just like you. Bring out their best. Show them how much you love them no matter what they do, because as your child, they are loved because of that. Take time to play, talk, and laugh together. As they get older this may get challenging, but carve out time alone together- at meals times, in the car on the way to activities, or just on the fly. You will find the balance in the same way you did when you were taking care of a newborn long ago. You will learn to multitask and prioritize what is important.

Exceptional Parents, how do you balance mother and nurse roles for your Exceptional Child? Do you take time for you and a personal life in there as well? It’s important to not only have some alone time away from parenting when you have a complex care needs child, but you also need to make time for being together with your partner, other family members and friends. When you have time away from your child, you will come back refreshed, come back full circle, and be able to have a clear definition of what being a well-rounded Exceptional Mom is like. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive! 

Anger, Anxiety And Needing Control-How Your Child Will Help You Find Your Balance

I have often found that when I have been most challenged by something Michael has done, it has been because he has triggered some of my past hurts and stresses. This is why it is important for all of us parents to know where our strengths and weaknesses lie and find a way to seek the balance in our lives, where we hone the strengths and work on the weaknesses. Michael and I are more alike in temperament than different. This has been both a blessing and a curse, but I have to say, it has helped me understand Michael’s anxiety more than ever before. I have also learned that in order to support him the best I can, I need to get a hold of my own anger and anxiety. Though I have done great work in this area, I am seeing it is a never ending process of rediscovering yourself, healing old hurts, and letting your child guide you to the next place in your personal development as you guide them.

I am a true believer that exceptional children, all children, raise us as much as we raise them. It is not always easy to accept this in them or ourselves, but necessary in order for us to move forward on our personal journey as exceptional parents and human beings, and help our child do the same. Yes, we are all here for a reason, our kids and us, and it is important to find what that reason is. Everyone has a talent, an energy, something beautiful they bring to the world. As your child’s parent, it is your job to help your child find what their gift is while finding your own if you haven’t found it. This sounds like a tall order. But the thing is, I also believe that our kids are here for a reason for us, as their parents, and for the world .They are here to open people’s eyes to a world where not everyone thinks or acts the same or needs to be the same. They are here to teach tolerance and respect for difference. They are here to usher in new ways of thinking, being and doing. They are here to bring their gift to the world, just as everyone else is.

Our kids, through the therapies and strategies we teach them about self-control, anger, and anxiety, help us realize too what we need to fix in our own lives and in the world. I know many parents who have become stronger, more resilient and more knowledgeable about themselves and the world around them due to helping their child navigate things. This is not about romanticizing our children’s challenges or ours. Sure, there are times we want to take burdens off of them. But, you know what they say. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Your child learning to manage their anger and using their strategies, often helps most of us parents see better ways we can cope with anxiety and anger too.

Exceptional Parents, how well do you balance anxiety, anger and needing control with your child? In the end, all that matters is that you and your child begin to understand how to communicate with one another in a positive way and bring that forward into the world. The rest will fall into place. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive! 

 

How To Empower Your Exceptional Child To Use Their Strategies

The other day after a particularly challenging morning with Michael where we both seemed equally frustrated by one another. I sat back, and before I finished my second cup of coffee, I did what I tell others to do. Close your eyes and breathe. Breathe out all the stress, anger and misunderstandings. Of course, before that I cursed like a sailor after the bus pulled away from the curb and said all the things I did not say in front of Michael. Soon I’ll vent to my cat, but she’s new to the family and I don’t want to scare her off. 🙂 But seriously, what it came down to in the end, was that Michael, though getting better, is still having a hard time finding the right time to use strategies to calm down BEFORE he tells me or Dad how he is feelings. It is on these mornings or evenings when all h@&^ breaks loose and he says things he regrets a nanosecond later. I usually do the same thing, and then regret. Why couldn’t I hold my sh*$ together better? Well, the other day I did, though I was firm with Michael and called him out on not using his strategies. And you know what he said? It broke my heart because it was true;

“Mommy, I know I forgot, but I have been getting better. I did so well the other day and you didn’t tell me you were happy with me. You’re always mad at me!”

He was right. I’ve been a little guilty of the glass half empty lately, though this week I have been trying and succeeding in encouraging and praising more good behavior and reminding Michael gently to use strategies RIGHT AWAY when he gets upset, and not afterwards. I also had a lighting bolt moment (God/Universe inspired), when in half anger/half positivity I wrote out for him on a piece of paper what using his strategies would do for him and our family. In this paper was the reassurances he kept seeking, several times daily, as to what his future held. I stipulated how we all needed to feel safe in our home (no abuse to or from anybody no matter how angry), no physical contact unless permission was given by ALL of us, how we all loved each other and we needed to show it by respect, using ways to calm down before we talked about things that made us angry, and how Michael’s team were part of our family, to support us, make us stronger as individuals and as a family. The last two days Michael has really started internalizing this message. When he has not respected these conditions, I have called him on it. I encouraged him also to remind Dad and I of times when we did not use strategies. If we all remind each other then only good things will come of it, for all of us.

The amazing thing is I have seen Michael’s maturity go up in a dramatic way. As he has seen how we mean business for everyone and how we are also adhering to respecting HIS tween boundaries, he needs to respect ours as his parents and the adults in charge. Today he was getting angry and in my space, when he all of a sudden realized and said, “Sorry Mommy.” He backed away and started breathing to control his temper, and then told me calmly how he was feeling. Another time today he became angry and said some hurtful things. Afterwards, he told me that he needed to remember to have his fidget toys nearby. Squeezing them helped him focus and calm down before acting. Finally, he has become more compassionate. The other day he asked how I was feeling . When I say goodnight sleep well, he’ll wish me a good night too and sleep well. It’s amazing how empowering a child with turning to strategies can help them see anger and stress in a new way.

Exceptional Parents, what strategies do you and your Exceptional Child have for handling anger and frustration? As long as there are boundaries, self-respect, as well as mutual respect towards all family members even when angry, you are on the right track to showing your Exceptional Child a positive way to let their strategies help them manage anger and anxiety better. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive! 

 

My Exceptional New Year’s Resolutions And The Challenges in Keeping Them

Stay calm and be the example. Pick your battles when he pushes your buttons. Be forgiving and understand why things are hard.

These are some of the things I have been struggling with since making some informal New Year’s resolutions. No, I don’t believe in making any really specific ones anymore, whether as a parent or individual, but this year I really wanted to move forward in my personal growth while helping Michael move forward in his. I am truly seeing each day, for better or worse, how Michael is raising me to be an Exceptional Parent. Things have been getting better, a lot better at home between Michael, Dad and I. Still, raging teenage hormones, frustration over a disease that he did not ask for (diabetes) and managing his ADHD and autism, makes it challenging for Michael to self-regulate around us, and for us to self-regulate around him. I was doing well the first few days into January, and most of the time now, still consider I am moving forward in a positive direction. For instance, when Michael deliberately tries to trigger me, most of the time I stay calm, breathe and answer him directly and simply that his behavior is unacceptable. Then there are the other times when I stand outside myself, a spiritual entity, watching me unravel a little as Michael is rude, hyper or aggressive. The difference now though, is that I see the crazy woman losing it and immediately show her compassion a few seconds later. I used to berate her and put her down before. I also own it to Michael reminding him how although he was out of line, I made a mistake yelling back or losing my cool by raising my voice, or storming out of the room. I no longer feel guilty. I see I am human and learning. And I am beginning to see that our mistakes really make us stronger and wiser.

In the last three days particularly, I have grown more confident just before I am about to lose it and have, surprise, NOT lost it. Yes! I know I am not out of the woods, but the thing is Michael and I are a lot more alike in temperament than I’d like to admit. No, I am not aggressive to people or trigger them deliberately. Then again, I don’t have Michael’s challenges, just anxiety and old self-esteem baggage I am still working my way through. Getting better all the time. Hey, I fight for the underdog. I see them as the top dogs who don’t see their potential. That is why I  finally see who I am and what I must do to answer my personal calling and help other kids and parents answer theirs. But back to the similar character thing. I also like things predictable as Michael does. I like being in control, way too much. And it’s only as I began to let go of trying to control people and situations that my life, and the lives of those around me, have gotten better and more peaceful. When I find myself going back to my old ways- getting stressed about change, worrying about what others think, questioning myself, I silently remind myself what Michael has taught me even as he struggles with it-be yourself, own it, live your dreams, dare to be original and to heck with what others say, as Dr. Seuss himself said, “Those who care don’t matter, and those who matter don’t care.” Wise words by a wise writer. 🙂

So I am learning so far in 2019. that change is scarier and more exciting than ever for me. I am learning that YES I am truly changing for the better, but there are days when I want to hide and get angry that I fail little self-control tests and lose it as a Mom. Then I say, life is a journey lived with each breath. Each day I take new steps towards the parent I am still becoming as Michael takes towards the adolescent he is becoming. I have more compassion for parents than ever before, and remember no judging others. It’s that whole he is without sin thing. We’re all in this Exceptional Parenting thing together, and need to build bridges, not walls with each other.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of your New Year’s resolutions a week in? Are you having trouble living up to them? Remember, you and your child like every human being, are works in progress. Celebrate the little victories and don’t despair the failures. They will help you become stronger and move towards the parent and person you want to become. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive! 

 

 

How To Have An Exceptional Holiday And Open Yourself Up to Another New Year

Happy New Year 2019 to all the amazing Exceptional Families out there! This is one of the hardest times of the year for us and our kids, yet can also be one of the most joyful on the other end. I have lived both the highs and the lows, as have most Exceptional Parents. My trick in increasing the highs has been finding a combination of three things: 1) planned out cherished family traditions, 2) alone adult time with Dad and other adults in the family, and 3) self care and alone time for me BEFORE and DURING the holiday season. How the heck do I do this, you may ask? It takes juggling, trial and error, and most importantly, listening to your own personal gut on what you need to be the best you can be.

For example, this year I did something I never have done before. I always make sure to get some alone time during the busy holiday season of visiting family, going places alone with Michael and family time spent at home or out together. This comes in the form of a Hamamm and massage I do the first week back to school/work. Well, this year my body and spirit were both telling me to do these two things before and during the holiday season, respectively. I went to the Hamamm for an energizing body recharge with a friend before Christmas, and then in the middle between Christmas and the New Year, realized I needed that one hour massage now more than a week or two later when I would usually go. What a difference it made to my spirit to have indulged in both of these activities in the hectic holiday season. It gave me the energy and patience to handle some of the more hectic days home together. As a matter of fact, my gift from me to me this year was a spa gift card as a reminder that self-care is the gift that keeps on giving and helps me do the important work of raising Michael and growing myself into the person I am meant to become while doing the work I am meant to be doing.

Another change I made was booking a night out with a friend to see a movie. Again recharging those batteries during a hectic time when routines are out the window.  Michael has been doing extremely well this holiday season, but there have still been rough patches. They do not seem so insurmountable when I am taking care of me and my health. I also made sure to squeeze in a little two hour date with Dad to catch up. It’s been a stressful time for both of us in 2018, and I feel like with the start of 2019, we both need to prioritize individual as well as couple time. I have enjoyed the time alone I’ve spent with Michael shopping, talking and driving. It’s because I am learning from the mistakes I made burning myself out in the past, that I am applying new self-care, couple-care and family care to our family in 2019. It’s so important to have balance-mental, physical, and spiritual in order to find ourselves again. It’s so important that we teach our children to find this balance and teach our partners that we need this and that they do too. Dad and I have more tweaking to do in 2019, but we are slowly making inroads in this direction.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of your goals for 2019 in your families? I’m sure most of you have it all planned out for your kiddos, but what about goals for you as a parent? Is self-care as high as therapy for your child? Are you making sure to prioritize your relationships? Are you organizing your family and personal life to compliment each other? If so, great. You are on the right track to making 2019 rock. Remember, your amazing child needs their amazing parent to be happy and healthy in all ways. Do the changes you need to keep your whole family balanced and happy in 2019. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive! 

Holiday Madness Descending- How To Cope In Your Exceptional Family

‘Tis the season for fun, family, festivities and sensory overload. Yep, it’s the holidays, and as much as Exceptional Families love the holidays like Neuro Typical Families do, our kids usually have a harder time. It’s not that they don’t enjoy the family gatherings, gifts or other traditions that go with it. It’s usually all of the above combined that will send most Exceptional Kids (and their parents), over the edge into over stimulation and meltdown mode. So, as an Exceptional Family, what can you do to help your Exceptional Child cope better with the holidays? Here are some ideas:

  1. Structure what you can: I know, the holidays are all about unwinding and NOT structuring, but our kids need some kind of structure in order to function in the way they are used to functioning in day to day life. Make the structure natural for home life, but give them some sort of idea as to what will be expected of them.
  2. Prepare them for the craziness: Talk to your kids either verbally or with pictos, about what the holiday entails. This means discussing what is expected of each of us by family, friends, and with other traditions so that will know what is happening.
  3. Form your own family traditions: This hard been a hard one for me. I was always a stickler for doing everything the same way I or Dad was brought up. However, we learned with an Exceptional Child we would need to adjust our way of thinking so everyone would have a good holiday. Now my main concerns are health, happiness and fun all around. As long as those conditions are met, I know we are on the right path. This means allowing down time for our child as well as time spent with family and friends.
  4. Set aside down time as a nuclear family: I am a firm believer in ‘safe days’, that is, days where there is not too much stimulation from family or friends, so that the day runs smoothly and Michael feels calm (as do Dad and I). Let’s face it, every parent worries when their Exceptional Child is having a hard time, so if we learn to give time for our child to stim, regulate, and do what he needs to do, everything else will fall into place.
  5.  Take time for yourselves individually: It’s important that Exceptional Moms and Dads take time for themselves to recharge their batteries before doing anything else as individuals. It’s only when we feel calm and centered, that we can pass that message on to our children.
    Exceptional Parents,  how do you cope with the holidays in positive frame of mind?  It’s important that no matter what, you learn how to regulate your behavior and your family’s and remember that everyone being comfortable is the best way to go. Happy Holidays! Until next time.

Feeling overwhelmed as an Exceptional Parent? Don’t know where to turn for tips, and ways to survive and thrive during the whole journey? You are not alone. I have walked and continue to walk this path myself. As a writer, speaker, parent coach and Mom to a son with Autism, ADHD, and Type 1 Diabetes,  I can help you through all the twists and turns that parenting an exceptional child require, while keeping your sense of humor intact, your sense of self and relationships intact, and helping you see that not only are you raising your exceptional child, but they are raising you to be the best human being you can be. You are each other’s advocates for a better world. For more information on my coaching packages, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.  

Beautiful Moments of Purity in Exceptional Parenting And How To Savor Them

When they say you blink and your child is no longer the little boy or girl that they once were, they are not kidding. I used to think that this would not apply to Michael as he was different from the beginning with his challenges, but this could not be further from the truth. Michael, the little boy, began to disappear two years ago, right around the time that puberty started to kick in. Type 1 Diabetes followed in its wake, and the little boy he was had to grow up real fast. He did, and so did his Mama. I had to be strong for him, as I knew he would have his moments when he would be scared, as is normal for any kid going through big changes.

Now, in the wake of the cute little boy who used to think his Mom and Dad could do no wrong was this surly little teenager who, yes, was rebelling. I was both relieved and worried. How did I parent this new creature? As I said in a previous post, I thought I had until thirteen or fourteen to worry about puberty and rebellion. Still, I adjusted to the “new Michael.” He’s actually pretty cool. I dig his music, a lot of the pop rock, rap and hip hop that I like. We have had interesting conversations about religion, life and other subjects under the sun. But the other afternoon something else extraordinary happened. I had a glimpse in the the “old Michael” and a flashback to a time of innocence when he was small.

It happened when he came to spontaneously give me a hug and smelled my neck. My throat constricted for a second. I thought I was going to cry. You see, Michael used to do this when he was a baby and I was cuddling him in my arms or when I was comforting him if he was scared. It took me back  to all those years when he was little and I was his world. In that moment, I missed the little man that was my Michael, but was reminded that deep down inside that little boy was still there, and would always be there needing my support, love and strength to continue to help him grow into the incredible little man he is becoming.

I have never been one to mourn time passing with Michael. I used to be shocked when other Moms around me would say things like, “I’m so sad, my baby is growing up. He’ll be a teenager soon.” etc.  I was so happy that Michael was progressing, pushing away from me towards independence. With each day, I become less worried about him coping in the world due to this, though he needs to be able to regulate anxiety and anger. But this small gesture, him smelling my neck, led me to feel as well that I missed my little boy, the one who hugged me deeply, sat on my lap and loved to have me read stories to him or read to me, the one who sought my opinion over his friends’ all the time. I know it is normal that he is pushing away on these fronts, but until this moment occurred I had thought I had lost my little boy forever. Worse, I did not even know I was missing him. Then, I realized that I was missing that little guy and it was normal to be. I also realized that the little boy would always be in there. I also realized I needed to enjoy those moments as I do his moments of independence. My little and big boy both need me and that is fine.

Exceptional Parents, have you ever caught glimpses of your Exceptional Child’s past innocence and realized how much you missed it even as they have progressed? It is a mix of emotions that then occur, and both are correct to feel. The important thing is to enjoy every time and age with your Exceptional Child, and know that no matter what, they will always remember the precious moments they share with you and what those moments mean. Until next time .

Feeling overwhelmed as an Exceptional Parent? Don’t know where to turn for tips, and ways to survive and thrive during the whole journey? You are not alone. I have walked and continue to walk this path myself. As a writer, speaker, parent coach and Mom to a son with Autism, ADHD, and Type 1 Diabetes,  I can help you through all the twists and turns that parenting an exceptional child require, while keeping your sense of humor intact, your sense of self and relationships intact, and helping you see that not only are you raising your exceptional child, but they are raising you to be the best human being you can be. You are each other’s advocates for a better world. For more information on my coaching packages, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.  

 

Exceptional Tween Frienships-What I Thought I’d Never Have To Face

When I found out Michael had autism everything I had thought his life would be became one big question mark. Many other parents have shared this same insight on finding out that their child is different. They mourn the child that he/she will never be, what they will (or may) never do, and they worry about the missed milestones. You know what though? This isn’t always the case. Sometimes your Exceptional Child will surprise you and actually do the milestones then surpass them. Yes, you heard me correctly! Let’s take peer groups. Just like most special needs kids are not supposed to be interested in socializing (Michael SO is), many also do not care about peer groups. Michael SO cares. He is like a neuro typical peer copying for better or worse what his friends do. I feel both blessed by his need to fit in and worried about it, as any parent would be. Though it is great he wants to be accepted by his friends we also want him to learn to think for himself. This is easier said than done for a child who has a limited grasp of social skills and norms of society through his neurologically different way of seeing the world. It also means he will be slower to learn to think for himself, but then I am celebrating the fact that he is able to argue with us about thinking for himself. And argue he does these days. 😉

For sure these are all victories and milestones I was not sure we would be facing with a son who has autism. Now as he is moving into puberty, all the sexual and romantic feelings towards women have started emerging. Again, it is in his way, as only it would be, but these were things I was not sure Michael would ever experience. Sometimes kids on the spectrum have no interest in these things. It has provided us with additional challenges on how to parent Michael, but Dad and I are up for that challenge and know that with the great tools we have found, we will be in a position to help Michael through it.

The thing is, that sometimes it so hard navigating this seesaw of exceptional brains and neuro typical brain thinking that Michael is capable of. It certainly keeps me and Dad on our toes, but can be stressful too. Thank goodness we have a community to share this with, and of course a great kid who, in the end, is just himself and does not fit into any category, nor should he. This goes for any other child really.

Exceptional Parents, how often have your Exceptional Children surprised you by what they have shown you they can do or are capable of? Remember, a textbook definition of autism is just that, a generalization. Always expect the unexpected from your child. It will happen in good and bad ways. Don’t worry about the bad. There you will find the strategies to help them. As far as the good, enjoy it. This will help them grow confidently into who you know they can become. Until next time.

Feeling overwhelmed as an Exceptional Parent? Don’t know where to turn for tips, and ways to survive and thrive during the whole journey? You are not alone. I have walked and continue to walk this path myself. As a writer, speaker, parent coach and Mom to a son with Autism, ADHD, and Type 1 Diabetes,  I can help you through all the twists and turns that parenting an exceptional child require, while keeping your sense of humor intact, your sense of self and relationships intact, and helping you see that not only are you raising your exceptional child, but they are raising you to be the best human being you can be. You are each other’s advocates for a better world. For more information on my coaching packages, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

My Child Was Me-Coming To The Realization of Your Own Exceptional Strengths and Weaknesses

 

Michael is being too hard on himself and hates when people make mistakes. Michael has a hard time controlling his fear and anger. Michael is scared. Wow. Michael is me. Or at least was me when I was a little girl. Albeit, a more intense ASD/ADHD version of me, but me nonetheless. While he expresses his fear of failure and anger by not stopping to think or regulate, I did it by pushing my fears inside and having crying spells at eleven years old. Still, it is the same. Self-regulation was something it took me to adulthood to learn how to use. On the days when I become discouraged with Michael,  I think why can’t he control his anger better? Why is he scared, he has the tools to handle this? I remember at 11 the dark times I went through. I started thinking back to those times last year when Michael turned 11. It may have been the first time I actually began to hear the negative self-talk beginning in my head. At first, I ignored it and pushed it down. During my tweens and  teens though with hormones and self-esteem issues, it was difficult. Thank goodness I had an understanding mother who repeatedly told me, “these years will be the hardest. You will find yourself in adulthood.” She was right! It happened, though it took me to my mid thirties until I was finally at peace with myself.

I’m trying to remember this now as I navigate extreme tween puberty with Michael where he ranges from annoyed, to condescending, to aggressive, then  to weepy and back again to the happy little boy he used to be. Friends and girls are at the top of the list.  Sexuality, music, video games, and swearing to be cool figure in there too. If this is tween puberty what will the rest of teen puberty look like I think. Eek!  But seriously, I am starting to not only have sympathy for Michael dealing with all of this AND his different brain, but seeing how even though it was not to the same intensity, there is not a whole lot of difference between my tween/teen experience and Michael’s. It’s hard for a lot of Exceptional Parents to handle. My child really does not fall far from the tree, so how can I judge him/her when I struggled in many of the same ways as he does now? I see and hear myself doing many of the same things right, (and some wrong) like my Mom did. No parent is perfect, after all. But then I think, compassion for Michael starts with compassion for me. When I pull my emotional self (inner and outer) together, I can parent him all that much better and set a good example for how to handle things in a healthier way. I don’t want him to be the scared, frustrated, type A kid who is afraid to speak his mind.  I want him to learn calming strategies before his thirties, or else he is  just running from himself as I did for so many years. I wanted to be everyone but me. This is never a good thing, because who we each are is a beautiful thing as we are all individuals with our own special gifts to offer the world.

I’ve come a long way as a woman and as a Mom. I want to be able to help Michael into adulthood avoid some of the pain of not being in touch with himself, and for the rest, being the soft cushion where he can rest his head when he is scared and overwhelmed. I think I am still that for him, at least most of the time. 🙂

Exceptional Parents, how like or unlike you is your Exceptional Child? A friend once told me it is good that I see so much of me in Michael. She was right, though it took me awhile to appreciate this fact. You see, recognizing where your child needs help is great if you’ve already tackled it yourself. If you have not come to terms with parts of yourself that need healing though, this is much more challenging. Don’t worry though. Take heart. You are an adult now and can work on healing your own inner self. Therapy, meditation, exercise, and any type of self-care will help you get in touch with your inner being, in order to heal you and help your child through their own challenges. Until next time.

Feeling overwhelmed as an Exceptional Parent? Don’t know where to turn for tips, and ways to survive and thrive during the whole journey? You are not alone. I have walked and continue to walk this path myself. As a writer, speaker, parent coach and Mom to a son with Autism, ADHD, and Type 1 Diabetes,  I can help you through all the twists and turns that parenting an exceptional child require, while keeping your sense of humor intact, your sense of self and relationships intact, and helping you see that not only are you raising your exceptional child, but they are raising you to be the best human being you can be. You are each other’s advocates for a better world. For more information on my coaching packages, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.