Michael continues to amaze me both with what is stressing him out, as well as with how he is coping with stress. He made me laugh today when in his Social Skills class, the teacher asked the class how they coped with stress. They all talked about their strategies; deep breathing, swinging ,trampoline. Michael mentioned walking around the house or sometimes outside and then surprised me by telling the teachers one of my strategies: going into the bathroom, locking the door and breathing. The only thing is that Michael added his own touch. He closed the lights and lay in the dark on the floor. I remember the first time he did this. I got scared and knocked on the door to see if he was OK. He answered that he was fine, and lying on the cold floor was calming. Go figure. This is the same child who cannot lie down in a warm comfy bed alone at night, but I digress.:) He then added that Mommy does this sometimes when she is upset, then made the teachers laugh by telling them in the summer I sometimes would go take a glass of wine out to the patio to calm down. True, but I thankfully use that a lot less now that I have developed healthier coping mechanisms for anger.
Michael is learning to do this too and it is great. He is able to tell me that he is sick to his stomach with worry and I am trying to help him connect how he physically feels with how he will mentally respond. By the same token, he is helping me to see how I need to make those same connections in my body and mind. Michael has helped me fine tune my own ways of handling stress, being “off” in my own body, and what I need to change to be balanced or calm. He will say “Mommy, you are talking in your mad or scratchy voice.” Sometimes he is not reading my emotions right, but more often than not, he is right on the mark. And this is helping me to focus on how I need and want to grow to be more patient, kind and open to him, and to others around me.
Exceptional Parents, how have your coping mechanisms for stress changed over the years since having your Exceptional Children? How have you changed the way you see and handle things in your body? If it’s been awhile since you revamped this, have another look. It’s important to fine tune how you view things with how your views of the world change as you get older. Remember, let your gut inside guide you and model that calm positive energy for your children. Until next time.