How Anxiety and Anger Go Hand In Hand For Your Exceptional Child- 5 Signs To Look Out For

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An ongoing battle and heartbreak for me has been seeing Michael struggle with anxiety since babyhood. An even bigger heartbreak recently with the onset of puberty, probably diabetes and who knows what else, is see how Michael’s anxiety has progressed to anger and how his anger and frustration is really fueled by his anxiety. The last two nights at bedtime I have had to physically walk out of his room and not say a proper good night because his anxiety at stalling, getting me to stay, and arguing with me if I love him or why am I mad, has gotten so bad. He has been dragging out his bedtime thirty minutes later for the last few nights, and it is all due to anxiety. I think we need to remove some things from his bedtime routine that could be causing over stimulation like some IPAD time, but it seems that everything is setting him off. What’s a parent to do? I have thought that the only thing I can do is allow for more time for him to unwind without technology, but it is more than that. I need to be able to give him room to tell me all that is bothering him in the day and help him find strategies to work through all the pent up emotions. I have learned a lot on our journey so far and from the professionals we have worked with and are working with so am happy to share them with you all.

So, what are the signs a parent could look for to see if their child’s anger is due to anxiety? Here are 5:

  1. Are they angry about things they can’t control? This is a surefire one. When you need control at all times, that is a sure sign of intense anxiety.
  2.  Are they pushing you away one moment and clinging to you the next? Another sign is the on/off child who switches emotions like car gears. That is a sign they are emotionally unregulated or have trouble with self-regulation.
  3. They are challenging you on everything: Yep. The child who fights with you over the smallest details, is a worrier and neurotic to the point that they need to learn strategies to calm down. And if they have ones that aren’t working, need to learn new ones.
  4. Do they threaten you then apologize? Again, this is all about not being able to self-regulate. It is so hard to hear terrible words coming out of your child’s mouth, but until they learn ways to cope with stress in a calm way, this is how they will handle anxiety- with anger and lashing out.
  5. They need constant reassurance: Kids who need to constantly be praised, kept busy, stimulated and can’t do it for themselves, have major issues with anxiety. CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) and medication together can often be beneficial. We have done both and it has helped a lot. However, now more of each is necessary and new ways of explaining to our child how his body and brain work together.

Exceptional Parents, are you struggling with an angry anxious Exceptional Child? Are you trying to remember the last time you had a fun day or evening without having difficulty? It is so hard seeing our children suffer, and knowing that we can’t fix it as their caregivers. However, we can give them one thing to start-love and acceptance,  and label what they have as anxiety and teach them that they can find tools to empower themselves. We can also assemble a team of professionals to guide them and us on their journey of wellness. They need to know they have control where it counts, and that they can fix the problems with the right kind of help. As an Exceptional Parent, you also need to make sure you have help for you should you need it. Counseling, parent coaching and regular breaks for you, will make you that much more able to parent compassionately and lovingly. Until next time.

 

 

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Exceptional Perceptions of Things-How Our Kids See Our Hurts And the Importance of Healing Them

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“Mommy, why have you been angry in the mornings since October? You are such a Grinch.”

That was my greeting the other morning from Michael. I almost laughed, but also felt discouraged. That was the last thing I was trying to come across as, but when your child is not getting up on time in the morning, then moving super slow when he is, followed by back talk and testing, well, let me tell you parents, you’d be grinches too. I took a deep breath and answered him;

“Michael, the mornings I have been grouchy were because you did not listen, often missed the school bus and I had to drive you in, and were not using your strategies to stay calm and relaxed.”

There was a pause and then he answered.

“Oh, I’m sorry Mommy. I miss you. I miss you sitting with me when I do my homework.”

I had to stop the tears coming to my eyes. In the last four months, most of our interactions have been very tense and on Michael’s part, aggressive. This was a glimpse of the child I knew was in there, but was trapped by the anxiety and fears that he could not control. I would listen briefly about his day, but usually he would get upset at me for something swear, threaten or do something inappropriate. I would give a consequence and tell him to go to his room or the couch to calm down and then it would be time for his dinner injections, dinner itself and then cleanup while he did homework.

“I would love to sit with you Michael, but when you saw bad words, are aggressive towards me, I will not stay with you. You need to remember to use your strategies.”

With the new medication Michael is on I have seen a big improvement, though he definitively needs a larger dose. He will actually stop himself most times from impulsively swearing at me or threatening and say, “I’m sorry Mommy. What strategy should I use?” We are still working on that one. But it is getting better. And though he does not like to lose privileges, he is beginning to understand that inappropriate behavior has inappropriate consequences.

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Last night was a perfect example how he greeted me at the door with a bad attitude and lost a first fun activity. Then, when I reminded him what else was at stake, time with me and IPAD he changed his attitude and we had a great evening. I made sure to spend lots of time with him as did Dad, and we praised the great homework he did and the fact that he transitioned to his bedtime routine with no issues. I also told him how proud of him I was.

“Really Mommy?”

“Of course Michael. You know how smart you are and how many talents you have, but you need to learn to control your emotions. That is what will help you be successful.”

“Ok Mommy, but will you help me find them?”

“Yes, Michael. All of us on team Michael are helping you.”

He likes when I use the terms “Team Michael” to refer to his team at his adapted school, as well as his pediatrician, psychiatrist and educator who are part of our home team. I feel blessed to have them as support for Michael and us. In the end, it’s all about bringing forth the amazing human being Michael is and what he has to offer, minus the behaviors and anxiety which are holding him back now from so much.

Exceptional Parents, when was the last time you really looked at your child even when they were acting out and thought this is not who they really are? It’s hard. We see the behavior. It’s scary. And we think our child is this monster. They are not. They are victims of their behavior.  And they trigger our own feelings of helplessness, anger and anxiety. They need to be taught to manage their inner monsters. For some behavioral modifications alone are enough. For others, medical and behavioral interventions are necessary. No matter what, at the center of all initiatives  to helping your child succeed at life is to never forget that you love them more than anything and that they are incredible little people who will do great things. Give them the chance by getting them the help to be their best selves.  And as parents, we too need to heal and handle our own inner monsters to be our best selves too. Our kids help us see where to heal. Then it’s up to us to take the next step to do that for us and for them. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

 

Seeing The Purpose Of Behavior- What Do They Serve?

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Ah behaviors. Every parent of every exceptional child has and will experience these things and be thrown for a loop with them. Sometimes it is as clear as day why the child is acting up in a rude or aggressive way. Other times it seems to come out of the blue. Of course, there is always a reason, only as parents we cannot see it. Things with Michael have been getting a little bit better. He is calmer and is trying to manage his big  emotions. Even with that, there were days when he would act up in a verbally aggressive way or escalate with anxiety really quickly, and at first glance I did not know why. Only after he apologized and had calmed down enough, did he tell me, “I miss you Mommy. I want to spend time with you. OR “Do you want to bake with me, OR “Why don’t you want to take me places like last year?” That is when I began to see that some of the behaviors were due to loneliness and not being able to occupy himself alone. When I began planning out mother/son fun activities things started getting better. I also started noticing that at other times, he seemed tired, was coming down with a virus, or was stressed about an upcoming activity. All of these things would cause some sort of  behavioral reaction and things to begin to escalate.

It took me a while to see the signs though. Sometimes as parents we are so busy that we do not connect the dots of our children’s behavior to them desiring attention. It’s the old “bad attention is better than no attention at all.” We know our kids are testing us, but don’t take it to the next step, investigating why. This is where it is important to start noting when and where kids are acting up. What is going on in their life to be causing stress, and what could be changed or altered to help them feel comfortable, calm and in control reasonably? Many times working with a behavioral technician or psychologist as well as a parent coach is a parent’s best option. But before they do any of this, be a detective for your child and spot signs that could be showing you why they are off. In Michael’s case, I know he really misses the one on one time with me and the changes that getting older has brought-more homework, responsibility. I am working hard with him to build a schedule where he has control, flexibility, yet needs to understand the responsibilities his parents have too. As well, he needs to learn to occupy himself, something we are also in the process of teaching him.

Exceptional Parents, what kinds of behaviors do your kids exhibit and how do you navigate them? Remember, the important thing is to look for little signs that things could be off and figure out why. Finding a good support team is mandatory as you learn to read your child, but there is no substitute in the end for trusting your instinct about your child and what could be wrong. Voice these concerns to professionals by all means, but also remember to chart your own observations and see what pattern is emerging so you can figure out how best to help your child through their difficult moments. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

How Practicing Abundance And Keeping A Gratitude Journal Makes You An Exceptional Mom and Human Being

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I have just begun reading from the beginning an amazing book called, “Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy” by Sarah Ban Breathnach, I had received it as a gift from a dear friend in the summer whose instructions were, “read from the date I give it to you, and then start on the 1st of January from the beginning.” Wow! The book has pretty much resonated page for page for me and what has been happening in my life throughout 2017 and now early 2018. Today’s excerpt was about gratitude and keeping a gratitude journal. I have talked to Michael so many times about being grateful for blessings, and even talked about writing down positive things. He is not yet the place to keep a journal, but for me as an exceptional mom, I realize this is the best time to get back to keeping a daily journal where I chronicle my blessings. Today so many beautiful things happened that I can’t wait to fill in the pages. And even on days that are tough, as the author says, there are always things to be grateful for and about.

Things have been gradually getting better with Michael, but I realized the other day that even when things were tough, our whole family still had so much to be grateful for; loving family, friends, a supportive therapy team,  work colleagues, and a world ready to help Michael be all he can be. So many people, besides us, are rooting for our little boy. It’s time we show him, even in the tough times, that we believe he can achieve whatever he is meant to achieve, but that he needs to learn to appreciate what he has. And what better way to do that than by his parents practicing abundance in the form of gratitude. If I am appreciative of all I have as a human being I can more easily show that to my child, right? And it’s amazing how appreciating the little things translates into getting bigger and bigger abundance and blessings. Life is amazing if we are not afraid to open ourselves up to it.

Exceptional Parents, do you keep a gratitude journal? Do you thank the universe for all you and your family have even in the tough times? It’s an important lesson for your child to learn. When they are grateful for the little things and overcoming little obstacles, bigger obstacles are overcome too. Remember, you are their model for the real world. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

 

Old Haunts The Exceptional Way- How The Familiar Becomes New Again And Helps Families Grow

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It was a beautiful sight in our kitchen on Saturday afternoon. There was Michael stirring together all the ingredients for a batch of lemon sugar cookies.  I looked at him, the child who has been having a hard time concentrating on any activity for a set time and saw the focus he was showing in baking. He has that same focus when he navigates on Google Maps and looks up directions. After a very difficult month of December, it was beautiful to see Michael having a peaceful Saturday with no fighting or conflicts. It also helped me see that with his attention and behavior struggles lately in many activities where he did not have issues, here was one he could still focus well on and I would see my gifted child who, like all of us, was good at the things he was so passionate about. We passed the rest of the afternoon baking, and as at other times, he handled only having one cookie really well. Diabetes has changed some things, but we always stressed portion control before, and it seems to be paying off now.  I was a proud Momma to see how well Michael worked and talked with me. We also went for a short walk in the afternoon. Mom was having a little cabin fever after a winter storm had finally wound down, and Michael wanted to join me.

Both these activities were typical fun activities for Michael before diabetes and more serious aggression set in. It was so nice to see these “old activities” become new again. Seeing Michael concentration with baking and enjoying our walks again, as well as seeing him navigating on line and off, gave me a lot of hope. We are in the first days of a new medication so it is best possible it is helping Michael channel his calmer relaxed focused side. I can only hope. One day at a time. All I know is that seeing my child calm and content has been wonderful. We have a great time behind Michael, but it would not be as effective if Michael was not such a terrific kid who loves life, people, learning and adventure. He helps me revisit old favorite activities like our baking and walks, and makes them new again. It’s amazing how kids can do that.

Exceptional Parents, has your Exceptional Child ever helped you revisit old fun activities and made them new to you? Have they helped you see the world in a new and fun way? If not, it’s ok. You may have missed it during all the hard work you are doing as a parent to keep them fed, clothed, well and healthy. But it’s never too late to go along on an adventure with your child. Watch them when they are doing something they love. Participate with them. Let them lead you by the hand. You won’t regret the adventure you will have. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

 

Are You In There?- Finding Your Real Child in the Middle Of Their Behaviors

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Where is Michael? Where is my son? I have found myself thinking these words in some of his darker days when he is aggressive, impulsive and out of control. Where is the little boy who used to be so happy, so loving? He loved going out and meeting new people. He had no fears, no anxiety. Or at least it seemed that way. I think those fears were always there under the surface, but puberty and greater awareness of the world around him also brought him greater fear and anxiety. Diabetes added to that. I still see glimpses of that carefree little boy when he is having fun with close friends and with us. He responds well these days to positive reinforcement, but he is so fast and rough and all the over place. A medical professional we consulted recently agreed with me when I said, “he is all over the map.”  We are trying new medication for his aggression and impulsivity. We are going to be patient with this one as well as the last one, though that one didn’t work out. It is hard, this waiting to see our little boy happy again. He needs balance, just like all of us do. And once we give his brain balance, I want to again concentrate on helping him with social skills, pursuing other hobbies that have gone dormant, and help him learn appropriate mechanisms to cope with anger and then practice those ways of coping.

Don’t get me wrong. We’ve had our good days. Then we’ve had days where we are walking on eggs shells and everything seems to set off a temper tantrum or he will test till the cows come home. I see how he is a victim of his own hormones and anxieties, but he is also trying to play Dad and I. Sometimes he wins. Sometimes we win. But I want all of us to win. It’s all a matter of both of us reaching out to one another and meeting somewhere in between so that Michael can see Mom and Dad have his best interests at heart whether he likes it or not. That is the tricky part, accepting what he does not like. This is so hard for kids with autism, ADHD or other neuro developmental disorders, but it is mandatory that they learn to accept things and go with the flow. Life is about adjusting, cooperating with others, learning how to self-regulate, and learning to see how if things don’t go the way you want, you make the best of it and move on from there. Life is also about showing love, patience and trust to those around you. Always give another chance to the person to show them you believe they can do it. This goes double for parents, though you need to show your child they can’t cross boundaries of safety with you.

Exceptional Parents, are you dealing with a very intense emotional time now with your Exceptional Child? Are they in the tween age group or the toddler one, both difficult periods? If it is the tween one, this most likely means that puberty has set in along with their other issues. It requires parents to be patient, loving, firm and have strategies of their own for managing anger and stress, no easy feat. It also means remembering that no matter how angry you get at your child, the person you love is still in there, in that body. Behaviors of all kinds are cries for help and for gaining control when kids feel powerless. There needs to be healthy boundaries set up for our children so they are not rebelling for the sake of rebelling. It’s also important for physical pain to be ruled out as a means of them rebelling. Don’t be afraid to trust your gut when your child needs additional medical and therapeutic help. Seek the same for yourself if you need it. When you do this correctly, you will begin seeing your child for who they are all around, even at their most challenging times. Then you know they and you are on the path to healing your relationship. Until next time.

Looking for support and strategies to handle special needs parenting? As a Mom to a special needs son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes as well as a parent coach, I know all about changing the way we see problems and looking at things through our children’s eyes. It’s what makes us “exceptional parents.” If you are interested in learning more about me and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

 

5 Ways Multiple Diagnoses Can Help Parents Grow Stronger

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I had a lot of time to think over the holidays about how hard it is to raise an exceptional child, for both parents and the children themselves. All parties love each other, but due to different brains and priorities they will see things differently. Sometimes one or both of these parties forget this and conflicts arise. In the end though, parents and children know that the love is there. It’s important to remind ourselves of that so that we can focus on growing from the difficult moments. Michael is an amazing kid who has taught me so much about my own strengths and weaknesses. He has taught me what I need to change in my life to function as a healthier human being. Ironically, it is usually the same things I teach him to embrace to function as a healthier human being. I have also learned how raising Michael, though causing rifts between Dad and I due to stress and family conflict over the years, always in the end brings us closer as a couple. This is not diminishing the pain we have faced in our struggles individually or as a parents, but as a couple, we have learned to carve out couple time more creatively, solo time as self-preservation, and we have learned to laugh about life’s other absurdities, at least most of the time.

It has not always been easy, but as we joke, we are in it for the long haul, that is, we want our relationship to last, our marriage to be stronger, and us as individuals to learn to grow and develop into cool directions as individuals. We also want to be able to pass this along to Michael, that whole life is a journey thing.  I have actually been thinking that though our life is not as easy one, nor any exceptional family’s,  it has actually made us stronger as a family and I feel that there are good things that having a child with multiple diagnoses has taught Dad and I. Here are 5 things:

1) It makes you to work on yourself to be healthier: Having a child who is exceptional makes you realize that you need to find ways to bring out your own personal inner strength, both for your child’s sake and all the other relationships in your life. Taking care of yourself makes you stronger to withstand all of life’s storms.

2) It helps your prioritize the right people and things: You know your energy and attention will need to be focused extra on your child, so you don’t hyper focus on unimportant people and things. You focus on what brings you joy and peace so that you can transmit that to your child.

3) You learn to think about intelligence outside the box: When your child has a different brain due to autism or another neuro developmental ,you will forever look at intelligence as very vast. When they have several diagnoses under the autism umbrella, you begin to see how varied our kids are and learn that a combination of methods work best to help them learn and you as their parents to learn with them.

4) You work on your relationship and make it work or decide that you will be better off alone: Of course every parent wants to make their primary relationship with their child’s other parent work out, but they learn that if they can’t share parenting styles and do it amicably under one roof, they can do it more effectively under two roofs and that is ok too.

5) You learn that life throws unexpected things at you to make you grow: Finally, parents can grow stronger if they don’t think of their child’s difference as a disability or punishment, but rather as a challenge sent to help everyone grow and open up other people’s eyes to the fact that everyone sees the world differently.

Exceptional Parents, how do you think your relationship has fared since your child came into your life? It is definitively not easy raising an exceptional child, but parents can learn that by tuning into their own strengths and turning to each other for support and guidance, they will find lots of power in that. With that power, they can transform their relationship and their child’s outlook on the world. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

 

 

Letting Your Exceptional Child Be Your Teacher When The Day Goes Differently

 

 

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So today was one of those days that did not go anything like I had thought or planned. Michael was not feeling well so he stayed home, which meant I stayed home from work and things did not go as they were scheduled to go on the first day back to work/school. But I did other things. I cleaned. I did some freelance writing work. I talked with my child. When I saw that he was feeling better by the afternoon and he asked me if he could help me cook I agreed. And Michael did a fantastic job. He cooked under my supervision asking me for certain spices that he had seen on a recipe show online. We talked. I enjoyed seeing him do something he loved-cooking. The focus was there. I had some moments today when I was feeling worried, particularly about the weather though I got to enjoy it from the comforts of my home, but looking at Michael and seeing how he was feeling healthy and calm, something that he has not been for awhile, made me realize that I needed to continue to stay calm too. I needed to continue to set a positive example for Michael about what it is like to live in the moment, and laugh in the face of the unpredictability of how things go sometimes. I also let Michael set the pace of the day-computer time, talking, cooking and it was a mellow day. We had some good times over the holidays, but not nearly as relaxed ironically enough. Sometimes the orchestrated days, play dates and planned family outings do not go the way a day that is unplanned can go. A parent can see their child’s character truly shine through and take the lead.

Our children teach us new things every day. They teach us through their joy, their anger, their laughter, their pain. It’s up to us to follow them, and let them show us how we can learn new things if once in a while we admit we may not know it all as parents. We teach our kids how to do so many things, but they also teach us to live, love and believe that sometimes we may not have all the answers and need to ask questions. We need to remember that sometimes the teacher is the one learning and that is perfect. For all we teach our children they also teach us many things about ourselves- patience, humility, laughter, happiness, how we handle risk and fear. And while we share with them our life experience, they can share with us their innocence and belief that the world has many faces and directions. They can help us see that there are many sides to people, to events, to opportunities.

Exceptional Parents, with all the challenges you face raising your Exceptional Children, do you sometimes miss the magical moments when they teach you about life? It’s ok.  Just remember every unpredictable turn, every spontaneous action is a chance to learn what life looks like through your child’s eyes, and what life can look like through your eyes if you give it a chance. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Happy New Year and Things I Learned NOT To Do In 2018

Happy New Year Exceptional Families! I hope your holidays were happy, healthy, safe and joyful, at least to some degree. In Exceptional Families we often have so many ups and downs, it is hard to know where one ends and one begins. Our holiday, much like last year, was filled with many ups and downs. Once Dad and I sat back and evaluated things though, we did what all parents in our situation do. We looked back, learned from what we did wrong, and looked at what we did right. First things first, I preached so much about self-care to others, but did not practice much of it before the holidays began. I was tired on Christmas morning due to the usual end of school/vacation anxiety Michael exhibits along with holiday hyperactivity combined with the mental health issues Michael is grappling with. Whew! Then I wondered why I had a good long cry on Christmas Eve after Michael finally fell asleep way after 10:00 pm and was wiped on Christmas night when our long day began at 5:00 and ended at 10:00 pm. I was so tired I was barely seeing straight. Dad was too. And we knew Michael would be up early, would be out of routine, so next year we know how important resting up for the holidays will be for us.

On the positive side, Michael had many good moments at both sides of the family’s homes. It was far from perfect, but I look back and see that in spite of his clear anxiety, difficulty controlling emotions and organizing himself, underneath all the acronyms that may soon join autism is the sweet little boy that I love. On December 26th and 27th we sledded before the deep freeze. We enjoyed celebrating his birthday and he used some money and gift cards he received from family to buy board games. I saw his intelligence when he played with me and was reminded of his amazing navigation skills when we drove around the neighborhood together over last week and the week before. Then there were the play dates with friends where he did so well. He said and did many kind things over the break, told me he misses cooking and baking with me (we did a bit before the holidays began), and asked “Mommy, why are you so grumpy in the morning?”  I had been unintentionally waking up every morning after Christmas in fear on pins and needles thinking what is he going to do next? How will I handle his verbal aggression, threats towards us, his screaming, any of his new behaviors? It was like living with a time bomb. That is when I realized that if I stayed calm it would help us all. I began to finally practice self-care. I prioritized long baths in the early evening, went to a Hamamm with a friend, and went back to daily yoga and meditation. My head started to clear. I started to see my own anger and feelings of fear as legitimate and started healing me so I could help Michael get calm and heal. Dad and I even squeezed in a date night and had many conversations about him practicing better self-care and how he would be better equipped to handle Michael’s outbursts if he remembered as terrible as they are, they are a cry for help.

That’s it people. When our kids are not well-physically, psychologically and spiritually they lash out. They lash out at those they love most. They say the most horrible things if they are not well. Kids with exceptional brains are wired differently. They don’t read emotional cues the same way. They don’t process body language the same way. They have delays and it is reflected in how they handle anger. I know this , yet as a Mom I get emotionally hurt when Michael says terrible things. I am learning though, and am here to remind all of you, that you can’t take what your kids say to heart. They are not themselves when they are saying awful things. That is where support for the family comes in through parents coaches, psychologists, and other health care professionals that can give the whole family what they need to get through the rough patches, structure a healthier home routine for all, and move forward in a positive way together. Our family is doing this. 2018 will be our year to do better individually so that as a family we can thrive.

So what were the things I learned NOT to do in 2018? Here is a list of 5:

  1. Neglect my own spirit: Never abandon things that keep you whole physically, emotionally and spiritually. They are the glue that will hold you together in tough times. For me it’s meditation, yoga, reading and writing. For you it may be something different.
  2. Not call family, friends or go out : Call up friends, therapists, family. You need to remember you are not alone when you feel like you most are.
  3. Think that one mistake means I have failed as a Mom: As a parent you will fail with your child many times. It is not the end. It is the beginning of learning so you become stronger and better. Now I try and remember when I mess up, now I know better for next time.
  4. Don’t look into respite or update list of babysitters: You must have an outlet and a safe person and place for your child to go and you to recharge. Look into respite and babysitters who can help you and your child take a family break and come back stronger.
  5. Believe that hard times mean I am not the right person to raise my son: Yes, those thoughts passed through my mind in some of the more challenging moments of 2017. That is when I realized how tired I am as a parent and human being and how I needed to do things to have hope again. I created a Vision Board all around two words-happiness and abundance. Hope is what many people saw from it.

 

Exceptional Parents, what did you learn not to do in 2018? What are some of the things you did right? Remember, we are always learning. That is what life is about. The important thing is to move forward and remember at the base of all the pain and struggle is love for your child. Happiness will be yours and theirs if you forge ahead learning from the past and making positive strides in the future. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

 

 

Handling the Holidays- 5 Ways To Deal With The Upheaval that Holiday Schedules Bring To Exceptional Families

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Christmas is almost here. The time of year that is so special for most families, even among the chaos of  preparations for the big day with family and friends. It is stressful for most families, but parents of exceptional kids often had it harder. Their kids just feel things more intently and do not always adjust to the changes in the scheduling with ease as a parent would hope. So, how can an exceptional family help the holiday season go more smoothly? Here are some tips that have worked for our family over the years:

5 Ways to Deal With The Upheaval That Holiday Schedules Bring To Exceptional Families:

1) Have an outline or plan for the holidays in advance: I know this goes against spontaneity with other family members, but if you can, try to have a plan in advance for how you will be handling the holidays with celebrating so that your exceptional child can prepare for any stresses up ahead (and so can you). This includes holiday preparations and who you will be seeing etc.

2) Plan out play dates or get away as a family: I cannot stress this enough. Some of the holiday needs to be structured with either play dates or family time away so that the child moves away from the home front and repetitive activities. You would do this with a neuro typical child. Do not behave differently because this is an exceptional child. They need to experience all sorts of things.

3) Make some Mom/Dad time away and some solo time whenever possible: If you can take some couple time away during the holidays and some separate Mom/Dad time away during the break, it will benefit you, your partner and your child by recharging your book in advance for activities that will recharge your child.

4) Get physical as a family and alone: Getting active with sledding , skating, walking and any other physical activities is a great way to make sure that kids and adults are active, having fun together, and moving towards a healthier way of living.

5) Have a plan for meltdown days: It’s important to also have a backup plan for those days when kids (and sometimes their exceptional parents) are having a hard day and need time to decompress and unwind if they are tired, frustrated, or overwhelmed. Meltdown days do not pick a convenient moment often, and when they happen we need to ride them out as calmly as we can. Find a spot where your child can pull themselves together and remind them of whatever strategies worked in the past. Chances are this will help them be successful.

Exceptional Parents, what are your holiday secrets to keeping sanity in your family? How do you survive the initial onslaught of holiday madness? It is probably by having a plan of action in place that works for you and your family. For some, it may be toning down on the socializing. For others, upping it. Regardless, go with your child’s cues, your own family structure, and make sure that the whole family feels comfortable no matter what happens, that the holidays are all about love, connecting and relaxing. Enjoy yours with family and friends. Wishing you all peace, love, joy and health in your celebrations whatever way you celebrate! Until the New Year. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.