How To Help Your Exceptional Child Build Life Resilience- It All Starts With You!

So this morning was one of those mornings with Michael that did not go as planned to say the least. It ended with a fight right before the bus came, no time for apologies on either end, and me sitting down to collect my harried  stressed out thoughts, and accidentally knocking over my traditional full “sigh of successful morning routine done” second cup of coffee  on to the floor with coffee and cherished cup coffee shattering everywhere. The irony was not lost on me as I selected that particular mug from the cabinet earlier that morning for its reminder to stay positive. The mug had been inscribed with “Worry Less, Smile More.” I have the whole series from a local Dollarstore and love them for their uplifting messages to me as I start my morning . What can I say? Some people have “Word of the Day” Calendars, I have coffee mugs, but I digress.

Anyway, as I sat there fuming at my son and myself for how poorly we handled our emotions, how strategies at self-control were not practiced, and how I wished I could crawl into bed with a good book and stay there, I thought of one word.   Resilience. Resilience means learning to stand strong in the face of defeat or stress or unexpected developments. It means not being afraid to get back up on the horse no matter how frustrated, angry or tired we are. I also thought that resilience is what makes or breaks all of us, child or adult, exceptional or not, and what helps us succeed in this world. I’ll never forget the words a teacher of Michael’s once told me.

“Joanne, forget academics. If he has the basics down pat, that’s all that matters. What is most important are life smarts.”

She went on to tell me that he had many life smarts, and she saw more emerging. However like Dad and I, she was worried about how he handled things like anger and frustration. Her exact words were,

“He’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t bring home that anger and frustration without knowing how to cope with it.”

She knew about his struggles at home with Dad and I, and she rightfully was concerned, as were we, about him bringing that anger home as an adult to a roommate, partner or in a group home facility, wherever he would one day reside. We knew we had to act and began working on teaching Michael resiliency along with his home team. At school he also has an amazing team that works with him. Team Michael is incredibly supportive on both fronts, and when I think I cannot do this Exceptional Mom thing anymore, I remember, I have my people.

So, this got me thinking about teaching Michael resilience in the face of things going wrong or being stressful.  How could I do that? Of course I’ve read (and been recommended) lots of great parenting books. I’ve talked to my Mom friends who are also invaluable resources. But what really stands out for me lately, is how am I showing personal resilience in my life when things don’t go my way? It depends on the day. Some days are easier than others. Days I’ve invested in more self-care and time alone to regroup have obviously made me more resilient than days I have been burning my candle at both ends. Still, resilience is a work in progress and something we always need to work on . So how can we help our child be more resilient to life’s obstacles? Here are some ways I’ve found have worked:

  1. Challenge Them With Unexpected Changes Once In A While: It’s important they learn to expect the unexpected as life is not always predictable. Just to make sure they are not completely overwhelmed though, have a predictable routine the rest of the time.
  2. Teach Them How To Use Strategies To Control Hard Emotions: Give your child options of how to calm down-deep breathing, yoga positions, fidget toys, sensory tools and for older children, a social story or visuals to help them figure out what to do.
  3. Share Your Successes and Failures With Your Child: Share your resilient and not so resilient moments with your child. Help them see what worked and what didn’t.
  4. Help Them Let Out Hard Emotions Safely: It is equally important to know when it is ok to let out hard emotions and when is the time to wait to do this. Regardless, emotions and admitting we are angry, scared or frustrated should never be pushed down, but handled in a calm, controlled way.
  5. Help Them See When Others Are Struggling and Buddy Up: It is also good if you could help your child see when family or friends are struggling and how they could remind these people to use strategies to calm down and regroup. This way your child will not feel alone.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of your resilience tricks to stay grounded? Remember, there is no wrong or right answer. The important thing is that your child learns that they are not at the mercy of their emotions, but can exhibit control with the right strategies. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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.

 

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Staying In Your Groove As An Exceptional Parent-What Makes You Tick?

What has Michael taught me over the years? Are you sitting down? This could take awhile. 🙂  For starters, he has showed me how to truly be more at ease with myself after MANY years of denying who I was. He broke me down first, as all children do, exceptional and otherwise.This breaking down was necessary for me to build my true spirit, fight for what I want, and see the things I needed to work on in order to achieve my dreams-having more patience, having more confidence, developing boundaries for myself and around others, and just plain learning how to stay in my daily groove in order to do the work I was supposed to do. This is a give and take process. Some days I am in that groove very easily. Other days I am triggered as a Mom. I now remind myself that it is ok. I am human and learning. The thing is your child will figure out what triggers you quickly and use that when they are frustrated. This is where it is important to remain calm, collected and neutral. By doing this , you will teach your child that you are the calm in the storm and that you can teach them to be that calm as well.

The thing is that it is essential for an Exceptional Parent to know what sets them off for the worse. Any kind of trigger your child or someone else provokes that upsets you will get in the way of helping yourself and your child handle their stress and anxiety level. It will also cause you to undermine yourself and question your own coping mechanisms. Stress is a part of life, personal and professional. It’s how we handle the stress and the tools we use to help ourselves grow, that will make all the difference for us and our children. When we stay in the groove, we apply tools that have worked for us in the past to calm our minds and bodies. Things like yoga, meditation, exercise, getting enough rest and having alone time, are all good tools to help us build our parenting resilience to life, and showing our child to do the same thing. Also, never stop learning and asking what you could do better as a parent and human being. That will guide you in the right direction.

Exceptional Parents, how do you stay in your groove and set the example for your Exceptional Child? It’s ok if sometimes your child is more in their groove than you are in yours. It means the lessons you taught them are working! It also means you need to give yourself some down time to come up for air, chill out, and begin again with breathing, focusing on the present moment, and staying positive that you will find a solution to help yourself and your child through the stressful moments. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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 Go Of Pride, Asking And Accepting Help For Yourself And Your Exceptional Family

I have a hard time asking for help. There, I’ve said it. Maybe there is a support group for this out there. If not, I’ve often thought how I should start one. Many women, especially exceptional Moms, have a hard time admitting the world is closing in on them. But this is normal. We all experience times when we need to reach out and ask for help or accept help in order to move forward in a healthy manner. This month I experienced this firsthand.  I developed a case of severe tendonitis. I am still healing from it, and  I am now seeing what the Universe and God have been trying to tell me since the fall. Slow down Joanne. I also had two bad muscle pulls in my legs. They didn’t slow me down as much as the tendonitis, but I was not able to do my yoga or exercise and even meditate comfortably. What did I say to myself? As soon as I heal, I will go back to exercising 3 times a week, and yoga along with my daily meditation. I need to do this to feel whole, in balance and to be my best self. What I did I do instead? Make excuses to not exercise.

Yes, I was stressed with all the issues we have been dealing with concerning Michael, even though things have been getting better. Yes, I was tired. Yes, I needed to write and was glad that I did and am glad I am still doing that. But I broke a sacred promise to myself about self-care and it showed in my patience and energy level at home. Before long, I felt overwhelmed as I could not bring myself to ask for help from family and friends.. There it is. Asking for help, and eek, accepting it. Hard concepts for me and for most women. We are so used to keeping to ourselves, fighting our kids’ battles, and fighting our own. We don’t want to appear weak. Weak doesn’t get services and help for our kids. Weak makes our child feel frightened and our family fall apart, or so we tell ourselves.  Weak means we can’t cope and we will drown. This is a fallacy.

We want to carry our family, and we often do, but at the cost of our own mental and physical well-being most of the time. So what can we do if we feel we are burning the candle at both ends? It’s one of the easiest and hardest things in the world-ask for help from those around you. Ask family and friends for physical and emotional help. Ask the Universe and God to lead you to people who can open up doors for you and your child, but most important of all, let go of the fact that you are weak if you need to ask or accept help of any kind. The strong parent does this, for themselves and their child. Don’t wait for a stressful life event to remind you of your mortality. I knew better, but still it took me getting a physical injury to be reminded of the support from family and friends that I have. Everyone has rallied around to help me and my family move forward and we are all doing fine, including me. It’s time I remember the lesson fate has been trying to teach me from the beginning-ask for help for you an your family IMMEDIATELY when you need it. Don’t wait for a stressful life events strike.

Exceptional Parents, how good are you at asking for and accepting help? Both are important in order to be reminded that you are not alone, that you are strong enough to show your child that you can support them in every way possible as you accept support when you need it, and that you will grow from the help and love around you too. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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

When To Organize And When to Be Spontaneous In Exceptional Family Life

Believe it or not, there are still times when I wonder whether it’s best to plan ahead of time with Michael or be a little more spontaneous in family life. After all, both of these  elements are important in building a well-rounded person. Though I know how important structure and predictability is to any child, especially a child with autism, learning to handle the unexpected is equally important. This could be anything from changes in plans, to disappointment to coping with overwhelming feelings. Kids need to be taught this and to practice it with their family and in other settings.

In Michael’s case, he needs more structure than anything else, but lately I have been noticing happily that he is becoming more flexible and able to understand things that are difficult, concepts that are challenging. He will also ask for clarification, and is really one to negotiate a situation to see if things can be good for him and me. It is actually kind of cute. I, for my part, am happy to see that he is starting to understand that certain ambiguity is part of life.

Things parents can begin to do to teach their child to handle adversity and challenges is to talk about challenges and how your overcame them, admit fears and that this is a normal part of life, and introduce various scenarios (role play) and ask your child how they would handle something like that happening. If a child is not there verbally, then using pictos to illustrate the situations,  having your child draw out scenarios is another. Don’t be afraid to be creative! This will help your child take more from what you are teaching.

Exceptional Parents, how do you teach your Exceptional Child about predictability and spontaneity? How successful have they been at picking up either or both concepts? I would love to hear your stories! In the end, if there are problems in comprehension, it just means you need to return to the drawing board and try something else. Remember, never underestimate your child’s intelligence or resilience. They will be successful if you set them up for success and teach them to believe in themselves as wholeheartedly as you do. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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

 

Noticing And Rewarding The Positive Moments Of Your Exceptional Child

Michael amazes me. I have said this before, but now more than ever, I see his future potential when I see the mature moments he is capable of, despite the challenges. This is something I hold on to, for when things are tough, they are tough. He has been doing so well out in public at doctor’s appointments in particular. There is a new maturity in how he handles medical information about his diabetes, his eye health and his mental health. He admits his struggles with controlling his temper, and is scared about how he loses control. Dad and I are constantly trying to help him tweak new strategies to get calm and stay that way. I am also learning how to reward the positive moments. This means verbally and with a points system where he earns a certain amount of points for a predetermined prize. Praise and time spent going places with us is one of his favorite rewards.

I have to admit that I sometimes forget about how important it is to acknowledge the positive moments. I am trying though. I truly believe that all kids want to do good, act appropriately and control their impulses. Some of them are wired differently though, so impulse and self-control are challenging.When parents don’t have the right tools to handle kids with these issues (or have those issues themselves), this can spell disaster for self-regulation in these kids. The good news is that children can be taught how to control impulses and self-regulate, even exceptional kids. It just takes A LONG time and  A LOT of patience on the part of families. But we can’t give up on them. It is especially important that when we see they are truly connecting with positive parenting changes we are putting in, tough love initiatives, and wanting to be with us even if they are the surly teenager at other times, we are certainly doing something right.

So what things should a parent watch for to reward? Here are some:

1) Your child does things without being asked: This is important as a lot of oppositional kids need to be told over and over what to do.

2) Your child wants to be with you: A lot of challenging kids will not want to listen to parents or be with them. If this changes and they want time with you, success is happening.

3) Your child is polite and respectful- manners, talking calmly and being sympathetic to you: This is awesome if they are doing this. Most challenging kids want to get a rise out of you by doing negative things. If they are instead happy to get attention by positive things it is all the better.

Exceptional Parents, how do you reward positive behavior in a challenging child? Do you sometimes forget to acknowledge it? If so, how about charting positive behavior like you do negative? This could be a great way to remind yourself (and your child) of all the time they do well and make good choices. It will help them and you not lose faith about a positive future. Until next time.

Are the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior?  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!  

 

Know Your Exceptional Child’s Anger Triggers And Your Own- How To Have A Happier Exceptional Family Life

Ah triggers. I remember the first time I heard that word in relation to Michael. I’d vaguely remembered hearing about things that trigger our emotions, but had not really paid attention to it. Then Michael began to act aggressively and it was all about figuring out what was triggering him. That word was also used when trying to figure out his anxiety triggers. Then, surprisingly, the word was directed back to Dad and I by our team in the the form of a question- what were our emotional triggers? This means basically what did Michael say or do that upset us to the point that we forgot ourselves and lost our cool? This was interesting for Dad and I to examine. After all, our kid was the one acting up. Why did we need to question our parenting or ways of handling him? Well, I can tell you why parents. Because once your child knows they can push your buttons, they will try to push them all the time or at least, much more than they are doing. That’s what was happening in our family. And still happens on occasion when Dad and I are tired, stressed, or let our guard down.

You see, it’s not that Michael wants to upset us. He is angry, lashes out, and if we don’t stay calm, firm and consistent with how we handle each incident, he will test us again with a similar incident.  He is a good kid. I was happy to hear we were not wrong about that. But with all his anxiety, impulse control and perfectionist personality, he is a very intense kid. He is hard on himself as well. Now that Dad and I are understanding how structuring the home differently than we did when he was a child is what he needs, he has begun to become more cooperative with us, less aggressive, and more respectful. When he was little I set up a sensory corner, told him when he needed to move, rest and threw him into activities. That worked until he was nine. Then he started to test the waters and his independence. Puberty was beginning. The last two years have been about gradually adjusting his own control over his life at home, along with still listening and respecting our rules as his parents, whether he likes them or not. The cornerstone of success has always been for Dad and I to stay calm, consistent and steady. When we have, good things have happened. When we haven’t, our relationship with Michael has moved backwards a step as has our own. But that has also been ok. The reason is because it has been a learning experience for us and Michael. We have told him we messed up, and now this is what is going to happen next. We usually can recover from times like these.

So what are examples of anger triggers and some ways to find solutions to them? Here are a few  I I have seen and/or personally experienced:

1)Child swearing at parent- Parent yelling back: This will only make the child want to engage you more. Stay calm. Be firm in explaining the consequences of language like that and moving on.

2) Child acting up in public– Parent negotiating with them to calm down: It’s simple. They act up. You leave. The consequence is no audience for misbehavior. With older kids, you can go over a script in the car or home: So if you do blah blah blah, what happens? And have them tell you.

3) Child not getting ready for bed or getting up on time: Parent should not yell, threaten to take away things or engage the child. In advance, the child needs to know what consequence can happen if anything like this is done.

4) Child throwing or breaking things and parent yelling or crying: As hard as it is, stay calm, look away, tell them to clean up mess and do reparations.

5) Child putting up a fuss over food: Parent should try not to make too much of a big deal. Often times when power plays arise, it’s because the child feels cornered. Now, if there are allergies or other health reasons a child has to eat a certain way then seeking your doctor’s and a nutritionist’s help is the way to go.

Common anger triggers for parents and children are tiredness, stress, loss of power or control, and inconsistent routines. This means that your best bet as an Exceptional Parent is to have adult and child strategies for how you will all handle any of the above things.

Exceptional Parents, do you know what your anger triggers are as well as your child’s? Good. Then the next step is to sit down and figure out a way to stay calm as a parent, have a consistent home routine, and teach your child how to open up about feelings without using verbal or physical aggression. It may take a while but you can do it. One day at a time. Stay positive. And remember, you love your child and they love you. Work as a team, and eventually your strong willed child will be confident and sure of themselves, not having to act out to get attention and handle frustration. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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

When Mom Gets Sick-Learning How To Stay Calm For Your Exceptional Child

I am a big believer in signs, particularly signs that come in the form of unpredictable  stressful life events. I truly believe that these events are meant to help us grow through our fears and doubts. I had two of these signs this week that made me realized my own vulnerability. It was hard. I started off the week with a bad cold, but managed to get it under control by mid-week, just in time for Halloween. I was doing a lot of back patting and congratulating myself for handling it all well- the house, work. Halloween went really well, then overnight I woke up in extreme pain. My left shoulder was throbbing. I was so tired though, that getting out of bed was out of the question. After awhile I just fell back asleep. The next morning my shoulder was throbbing duly, but I did not think anything of it. Uh oh. I must have pulled a muscle I got myself ready for work, Michael for school, and took some Advil for the pain that day.

By end of day Thursday though, I realized something was very wrong. My shoulder was throbbing intensely and it was like someone was hammering away at my entire arm. I decided to try some more powerful over the counter anti-inflammatories all to no effect. I have not ever experienced pain like I did Thursday night. I could not move my arm at all. Even when sitting and not moving it, I felt unbearable pain. I was sure I had sprained or dislocated it. Thursday night was also extremely difficult for me as I watched Michael panic seeing both of his parents pretty much out of commission. Dad has been having physical health issues which are under control, but are still challenging. I forced myself to make dinner and do dishes, as Dad was not home yet. Of course, the pain got worse.  Dad took over with Michael’s routine, but seeing us stressed and not well frightened him so there were tons of behaviors. It was a rough night for us all, to say the least. Friday I went to a walk in clinic, barely able to drive my car as I had to use only one hand. I was so scared. I remember thinking, what will happen at home if Dad can’t manage taking over with home for a few days? Will I need to take lots of time off work? I did not have a backup plan. Moms are not supposed to get injured. If they do, the whole house will fall apart. 

As it turned out, I did not sprain or dislocate anything. I have calcific tendonitis. Apparently calcium has been building up for quite some time, months now, and reached the point where it is so large that my bones are practically rubbing against each other. The universe was telling me to take care of me and slow down. That’s all I have been doing the past two days. As the anti-inflammatories are slowly starting to work to bring the pain under control, in the coming weeks I was told I would need to go to a physiotherapy clinic where exercises will be shown to help me strengthen my shoulder joint. In September I’d had two pulled muscles in my legs and kept saying to myself I needed to get back to my yoga. I did not do it. Now the universe was sending me a stronger signal to take care of my body and what I put in it. I also learned (and am continuing to learn) how important it is to stay calm emotionally around Michael. He was quite upset that Mom was not well, and scared. I have always been the physically strong one chasing after him in the park, going places with him. I had to be extra patient not only with my fear, but with his this week. It is a learning curve for both of us.

So what am I learning about how to pull it together when I get sick? Here are some takeaways:

  1. Ask for help if you can’t manage anymore. Don’t wait for pain or stress to get any worse.
  2. Admit that you are scared and learn to be a calmer sick patient. This is a challenge for a lot of Moms, but look at it as a chance to grow up and heal the frightened parts inside of you.
  3. Have your strategies to beat stress nearby and remind your child and partner of them. It’s important the whole family has their stress handling strategies nearby and admits when they are scared and angry.
  4. Don’t be afraid to indulge in some self-pity,  (set a time) but then move on. This is the hardest thing for a lot of Moms. We worry about feeling self-pity and are scared once we give in, we’ll stay there. Not necessarily. Be true to your emotions, good and bad. Give yourself a set time for self-pity, then when it’s reached, remind yourself this too shall pass and use the experience to get stronger.
  5. Remember pain helps us grow stronger. Welcome the chance to grow through fear. This is hard, especially if you are particularly pain sensitive. And even if you have a high threshold for pain (I have a pretty high or at least moderate threshold to pain), it’s ok to be upset. Just remember, this experience and how you handle it will help you get stronger. It will also help your child grow stronger as they see how you handle stress.

Exceptional Parents, how does your Exceptional Child handle it when you get sick? Are they angry or scared? How do you handle it? Remember, as long as you are being truthful with yourself about all of your feelings, positive and negative, you will get through it, and even teach your child a lesson on endurance and self-care. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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

Exceptional Halloweens and How To Make Sure Your Child Stays Safe and Calm

So over the years you could say I have learned what NOT to do on Halloween with Michael. He has, of course shown me what does not work. I have also, sometimes with planning, sometimes accidentally learned what does work to make the evening enjoyable and safe. Discussing in advance how far out and how long you will stay out walking, for example, is one important thing to do. This avoids fights and meltdowns over when to come home. Another good thing is going over the “trick or treat” script with your child as well as what is the social protocol when someone opens the door. I had forgotten to tell Michael when he was little NOT to walk into the house and start chatting. Some kids are social and don’t understand that this is not proper and could even be dangerous.

As far as what I accidentally learned though, that was more interesting. I learned, for instance, that Michael could see scary costumes and decorations and actually like them. I also learned that Michael has a lot more walking stamina so I make sure to be rested and dressed warm for our Halloween outing. I also learned that he likes to give as much as get. He really enjoys giving out the Halloween candy to the trick or treaters before heading out himself.

On that note parents, here are some things to remember when planning your Halloween outing:

  1. Make sure child knows the Halloween protocol for safety and security.
  2. Make sure you have a set start and end time to avoid meltdowns.
  3. Make sure your child knows the social rules of trick or treating.
  4. Be prepared for your child to teach you things about what they like and don’t like.
  5. If possible, invite a friend to go with your child. It’s company for them, and company for you too with another adult present. 😉

Exceptional Parents, what are your tricks of the trade for a successful and happy Exceptional Halloween? Remember, even if last year’s was a disaster, you can learn from what went wrong. You now know what NOT to do, and you can gently show your child too. The most important thing to remember is to be safe, rested and stay together. Getting an early start and finishing before everyone is too tired is also important. In the end, your instinct as a parent will help to guide you best on how to help your child have a fun time. Happy Halloween! Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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.

 

 

Recognizing Hyperactivity and Deliberate Behaviors-Clues To Look Out For

So Michael is a complex child. Figuring out what makes his tick is half the fun or stress, depending on the day, of course. He even has the experts baffled at times as to what he is doing and why. So I, as his mother, am not going to get stressed when I can’t recognize immediately if his behaviors are deliberate acting out or hyperactivity he can’t control due to his ADHD. I am learning how to slowly decipher both, thanks to becoming a better observer of Michael and also asking our team’s opinion as neutral observers of Michael. So far what I have come up with as cues for parents to look for if their child is asking out of hyperactivity or due to behaviors is as follows:

Hyperactivity:

  1. Child cannot seem to control what they are doing: Your child will look baffled and confused when you confront him/her with what they did or said. They may be touching things or people they should not touch, (i.e. body parts), vocalizing loudly, or saying things at random. They will need gentle reminders to calm down.
  2. Your child seems to cycle with intense moments then crashes exhausted or tired: This occurs when your child is running around happy but all over the place, then when they finally settle they seem to have no energy and can’t move.
  3. Your child is laughing uncontrollably and can’t seem to stop: That one is probably obvious, but sometimes people may think that it is a behavior to get your attention. This is usually not the case, and it is linked to hyperactivity or over stimulation.

Behaviors:

  1. Your child is performing a negative action and looks at me as he/she is doing it: Hands down, if your child is doing something inappropriate such as cursing, banging  or throwing something while they are in your presence, chances are this is a behavior. They want to see how far they can push you before you either cave in to their demands, react and pay attention to them or they get away with not doing a specific task.
  2. Your child is angry and starts yelling when they faced with doing something they do not like: This is usually a behavior and by acting up they hope to avoid the task.
    Sometimes kids do a mix  of both of these things, especially kids who have autism and ADHD. This is where they need the proper guidance so parents and caregivers don’t overreact to the hyperactivity and behaviors, and instead set a calm example of what it means to practice self-control and self-regulation.  Only when your child can learn to control how they handle their emotions, will they be able to have better self-control and make better choices.

Exceptional Parents, do you have a hard time differentiating between behaviors and hyperactivity in your Exceptional Child? Take heart that sometimes even the experts get stumped by our kids, due to the fact that all kids handle medications, therapy and so much of life in a different way, including kids on the spectrum. This is why it is important to really get to know your child and what makes them tick. Your team also needs to keep an open mind about this too. Never close any door that could lead to answers and help your child be their best self. And in the meantime, be there to let your child know they are loved, safe, and that you will support and help them always. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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.

Still Breathing-Weighing The Pros and Cons Of Medications For Your Exceptional Child

To say that we have been on a journey with Michael is the understatement of the year. To also say that medication have been helped and hindered this journey, is also in that same category. Still though, I have to say that I am glad we have tried all the medications we did, even the ones that did not work out. Michael is on one medication that is helping him a lot at the moment, but needs more. It is just a matter in our case and Michael’s most importantly, of finding the medication that will help all his issues- his ADHD, his OCD and his anxiety without making his aggression fly through the roof or affecting his blood sugar. We have to always consider his blood sugar due to him having Type 1 Diabetes. So far 4 of the 5 medications have helped the other issues he has faced amazingly- his ADHD, his OCD and even anxiety related to his autism. However, his aggression has always increased with all but one. Eventually, we have had to get him off all but one of the medications due to this. He was having a harder time controlling his temper and the outbursts would be longer. The one he is on is still helping a lot.

Still, even with this, I am so grateful for all the medications he has tried. No, I am not crazy. The thing is, he has learned strategies so well while on all of these medications. He has learned how to better regulate himself. He now uses a card he designed and refers to it to calm himself. His Educator has given us strategies as well to help him ask for help or attention before his emotions escalate. He was not receptive to many of these measures prior to medication being introduced. Dad said the same thing the other day to me and I agreed. He actually is more responsive now since we introduced medication, even ones that did not end up working for the long haul. The one he was on the longest really helped him the most with aggression control, but it took its toll in the end in weight gain and blood sugar regulation so we said good bye. I don’t regret that decision. There are days when I feel discouraged that we have not found the perfect medication and therapy combination, but I know we will. Michael, in spite of the challenges, is an amazing boy. He is doing well at school, socially, and is improving at home too, where he is challenged the most.  He is connecting the dots about how his behavior affects things, and is wonderfully receptive to any medication or therapy we try. He has always been a very open minded little boy. I am so glad to see that he is not giving up on fixing his issues. Dad and I are not either. We see his potential-the wonderful boy and one day man, and all he will be able to offer the world. He is seeing it too!

Finding the right medication and therapy is often a challenge for a child with ASD and ADHD. Add in other diagnoses, and the water gets ever murkier. This is why I know Dad and I need to be patient just as Michael is. We need to continue to show Michael we believe in all his potential- with cooking, people skills, music, art and life. Michael loves life, people and being at the center of life. We love having him there. It has been hard having to step back from a lot of our family activities while we get behavior issues under control, but I know we will get to the point where Michael will get back to where he was before and we will as well. He is constantly amazing me with his questions, his observations of life, and his continuous interest in what is being taught at school. Everyone loves his enthusiasm, and as long as we can get him to develop an awareness of how to handle anger and anxiety, I know we are on the right track.

Exceptional Parents, how has your Exceptional Child fared while on medication? If wonderful great! If not so wonderful, don’t despair. This may mean either medication is not right for your child, or else you may not have found the right medication. The point is you will never know what works until you try everything. Don’ t be afraid to try different types of medications and see for yourself what does or does not work. Also, don’t be afraid to try different therapies to complement the medication and vice versa. Finding the right balance is what will help your exceptional child succeed. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  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.