What Michael and I Both Learned About Vulnerability and Dealing With Conflict

It’s been a tough adjustment for Michael and I so far this summer. Add on two bad sinus colds, tension at work, and well, you have a formula for one stressed out Mom and one stressed out kid at each others’ throats. Michael’s temper tantrums were matched to my yelling at him to listen, and so we finished the end of last week with a bang. Sunday night his father and I sat down and had a long talk. We talked about what special needs parents talk about when the kids are asleep, strategies that we needed to start incorporating to help Michael express his vulnerability and anger in a productive way, and for us to be able to manage his and our temperaments accordingly. First things first, we agreed we all needed to sleep more, especially due to two out of the three of us being sick with bad colds. Nothing like the body feeling low to make your patience wear even more thin. Second, we went over my favorite psychologist, Dr Neufeld’s theory of “collecting your children” and how to bond with them. Michael’s Dad made amazing progress in this area lately, so it was my turn to do the same with Michael. And three, we agreed that we needed to have a family meeting and talk to Michael about how things needed to change, rules needed to be followed, and how we would all agree on what would be happening. This went well, and I have to say that we started the week yesterday on the right track emotionally. I also have been “collecting” Michael and it has made a huge difference to both of us. Our bond is strong again.

To think a week ago I was feeling so low physically, emotionally and spiritually. I was even upset that I let Michael see me crying after a particularly frustrating afternoon at work and with him. But then I realized this was my chance to show him how to handle frustration and anger in a more productive way than screaming or hitting someone or something. Crying was so therapeutic for me, as it is for most people. Michael asked me why I was upset, and I told him. We also had a long talk about how it’s important to let out bad feelings, and then the evening went in a positive direction. Michael, his father and I sat outside at our patio table talking. Then Michael played a little bit in the yard while his Dad and I had a glass of wine, much needed for both of us.

What techniques have any of you Exceptional Moms used for dealing with conflict appropriately? Have you ever cried or showed fear or sadness in front of your children? What we often think are moments of failure as Moms are often the moments where we teach the most to our Exceptional Children, and learn the most from ourselves. So pat yourselves on the back for being human, give yourselves a break for a mistake or two, and remember that in the end it’s learning from our mistakes that help us grow as human beings and show our children that growth is possible. Until next time.

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