Michael has never been much of a solo sleeper. Self-soothing is still something that comes with difficulty for him, hence our current sleep issues. One part of Michael’s “Exceptional Team” are the wonderful Psycho Educators who have been working with us to try and get him sleeping fully independently for the whole night in his own bed. The process of tackling challenging behaviors at home means dealing with the issue of Michael’s fears at night time. He thinks there are monsters in his room that will hurt him if I or his father are not there. We will be continuing with a new sleep program that will be helping Michael, while we wait to see who will be the next individual to come and help us with the challenging daytime behaviors of listening to us and following rules.
Today was a tough day for Michael and I. Evening went well only because he was exhausted from the emotions of the day, and I used some Melatonin to get him back on track. I was reassured by the child psychiatrist we saw that it was perfectly safe, as long as it was occasional only and he was really off track. Trust me, lately he’s been REALLY off track with sleep. This is the only the second time I’ve used this, as I know a drug is not the long term solution. And I know that when he starts sleeping better, he’ll handle everything else better too.
It’s been a challenge this week with my Exceptional Boy to say the least. There’s been so much anger, anxiety. I think it’s been the increased academic demands, and I’ve been noticing how as we’ve let him have more choice at home, it has led to him feeling more lost in some ways. Not what we wanted. Before, Michael was a great happy little boy, but very rigid in a lot of his ways of doing things. Now, we no longer have rigidity. He goes a lot more with the flow, but the price we’ve paid is that he tries to negotiate everything and every situation to get his way and make his rules. He doesn’t want to follow our rules, and when we tell him he has to, out comes the aggression. This has been my dilemma. As always, Michael has been my teacher, showing me for better or worse what I had to learn to deal with in my personality (having a hard time being strict with him) with balancing the order in the house with nurturing love. I’ve gone either too much one way, or too way another, and that combined with autism and Michael’s particular character has brought us to where we are now. We are a family having to set boundaries, respect everyone’s needs and wishes, and show love and nurturing at the same time. Michael is quick to anger, but quick to forgive. Me too, but I’ve been showing him that though we are on this journey together, he needs to understand that aggression in any form, verbal, physical or psychological will not be tolerate by anyone. We are growing and learning together.
What challenges do you and your Exceptional Child/dren face at home, at other places? What behavior plan/s do you put in place to deal with daytime and nighttime issues? It’s important to remember that we always learn from each other, parents and children, and that we not be afraid to take a step back and admit when we have made a mistake as parents, and show our children how they can do the same. We all learn from our mistakes and that is how we can grow as Exceptional Families and be happier and healthier. Until next time.