With all this nighttime anxiety lately I am happy to see a positive spiritual development occurring. Michael has become quite attached to the rosary he got at his last catechism workshop. He is using it as a sort of talisman against the monsters that are in his room at night. He also has taken a renewed interest in the dream catcher I had hanging by his bedside. I am trying to have him use both as talismans against the things he fears. We also read a good “Monster Social Story” every night, written by his Psycho Educator. In it, we go over his strategies to deal with the monsters, monster spray, the picture on the wall (a picture of him with his Dad and I) centered on construction paper. What is written on the paper is “Monsters Keep Out.” And of course, he has his assortment of pillows, figurines, a little lantern that sheds some light in the room and Barney, his go to when life gets challenging. I know with time, and as his confidence gets stronger in himself, he will see that he can conquer the monsters. This is hard for any child, but a lot of exceptional children have particular challenges in the sleep arena, Michael being the norm here.
Self-regulating is hard, that is, controlling how we handle stress in our lives, daily and nightly. It is hard for most adults to do. I used to be one of those adults, but over the years I have found ways to deal with stress naturally and how to turn off my brain at night. Not always an easy thing to do. Seeing Michael struggle with regulating his daytime and nighttime stress was also eye opening for me. I learned that by helping myself, I could slowly help my little boy get a handle on how he deals with stress in his life, even if it is only one day at a time. This is a tough problem to deal with, and one that many people struggle with all their lives. I hope I can help Michael find a way to calm himself before he reaches adulthood.
Exceptional Parents, what talismans and help do you use to quiet the minds of your Exceptional Children? It’s tough when there is so much anxiety involved, but we also can’t keep rescuing them from their demons. Being there for them to hold and comfort is one thing, but strong boundaries are also important and help to show them what they need to grow up and into themselves. Seek support, remember to stay as calm as you can when they rage, pray for patience, and know that as they begin to weather the small storms of life they will be able to tackle the bigger issues of their life. Until next time.