How Tension Feeds On Other Tensions-Learning To Untangle Exceptional Stress

Lately as a family we have been dealing with lots of stress and worry. When Michael’s father and I are calm it has not been so bad. Michael’s tension usually runs its course then dissipates. But when one of us adults feeds off that tension because we’ve had a bad day it becomes a whole other ballgame. It happened two times in the last little while that I or Michael’s father got even more upset than we already were reacting to Michael’s outbursts. Of course it ended with more stress than it needed to for everyone. But last night was a night when one of us parents, me in this case, was feeling stronger emotionally and physically than I had in a long time and was able to deal with a night of behaviors, not sleeping and unexpected other issues. I am not perfect, but am learning to navigate through Michael’s very challenging emotions as well as my own. Michael for his part isn’t trying to drive me or his father crazy. He’s a scared kid who doesn’t know what to do next. It also doesn’t help that we’ve had to contend with a change in his routine lately, a good one, homework. I think this is providing good structure in one way, but he is not used to it so the down time needed is longer. Last night I had to remove certain things from his bed routine due to rudeness and not listening. He was warned and still went ahead. In the end though, he fell asleep much later due to a shorter bed routine and not being able to shut down his stress properly. This is what we are still trying to learn to teach him. This is one of the hardest things to teach and understand for all of us.

Michael is starting to understand that me, his father and teachers are all on the same team, the team that is trying to help him sort out his stress, his learning issues and all the turmoil that goes with that. But still I hear him beating himself up, worrying that his teacher secretly does not like him. I recognize his harsh inner critic. It is the same one I grew up with. I may not have berated myself out loud like he does, but my inner voice sounded just the same. It was a hard voice to get rid of, and I didn’t have the other ensuing issues that Michael has. On evenings like last night, I feel frustrated for Michael and his father and I, but I know that we will find new tools with the professionals in our lives and answers will come in time. In the mean time, we take it day by day, try to stay calm, and not let the atmosphere of one person’s stress affect the others in the family, or at least as much as is possible. We are human after all. I know Michael’s father are doing our best to offer a united front to Michael and model to him positive ways to deal with stress. Of course, when we are taking care of ourselves it helps too. We try to give each other individual respite from being exceptional parents as well as looking for ways as a couple to have respite. That is the more challenging one, but we are starting again. Date night anyone? 🙂

In what ways does your Exceptional Child’s stress impact your levels of tension, your partner’s? It’s definitively not an easy thing to juggle, but with time, patience, and focusing on staying calm and present you can showcase a good example of calming down and dealing with stress positively for your Exceptional Child. This will help him/her and the rest of the family live peacefully and happily. Until next time.

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