Michael is having trouble at summer camp this year. He is having problems with some of the other kids. It is an adapted camp, and it is his second year. Things went really well last year, so I figured it was a no-brainer to send him there again. But this year he is being bullied. He stayed home one day this week already, and is bargaining for staying home another day this week. There is only another week left, but for him it is a week too long. It’s not that he doesn’t enjoy some of the activities. He also has two good friends attending. But the thrill of going is gone. He actually said yesterday that he had more fun at home with me yesterday. Anyone who knows Michael knows that he loves to go places and play with other kids. It’s not that he hates his house, but finds it boring at home, as he has said multiple times. I am worried. He told me about a little boy that hits him and everyone else at camp for no reason, and about kids that grab his toys. The counselors reprimand them and put them in time out, but the behavior continues. He also keeps talking about how noisy it is. A lot of the kids scream. Being an adapted camp, here are children with all types of challenges, so he definitively is exposed to a lot. Today I am going to be speaking to the people in charge and see how we can salvage this for Michael.
On the flip side, I am trying to see how maybe this experience can teach Michael and I about resilience in the face of stress, and how to cope with difficult situations in life. I am extremely grateful that Michael can talk about how he feels. Now that he has been speaking of what is happening, he has stopped hitting his head or trying to break things. He feels bad that he worries, and this morning we had a long conversation about how a lot of people worry, even adults, and what techniques we can use to feel better. Looking at Michael has been like looking at myself in a mirror as a kid. I used to worry about everything, and particularly about the future. I am sharing with Michael now what I’ve learned over the years about worrying, and how to control anxiety in a positive way. I am also telling him that talking about stress to parents and doctors, is the best way to get help and learn ways to deal with stress. I am having to model being calm myself in the face of what is happening to Michael, hoping all the while that by sending him back to try again today, I am showing him how to be strong and not causing more pain or stress.
Exceptional Moms, how do you handle adversity in your lives? How do you teach your Exceptional Children to handle it? Can they communicate their feelings to you in verbal or nonverbal ways? It’s such a challenges being a parent, and being an Exceptional Parent is like running a marathon. You need extra fuel for that long journey, so you can show your kids how to be open, loving, honest and deal with pain and frustration along the way. It’s important to keep in mind yourself that by being open, honest, and recharging your own batteries, you can show them resilience in the best possible way. Until next time.