Seeing your child suffer is one of the worst things a parent can go through. Seeing your child suffer and not knowing how you can help is even worse. Sometimes in frustration, you may even add to the pain by getting upset yourself. Why are they losing it and hitting, screaming, biting? They are older now. They are verbal or semi-verbal and can communicate? This should not be happening. That was our family, prior to noticing the different triggers that would set Michael, our son, offer to behave in an aggressive way. He will still have moments where he slaps us, pulls our hair or pushes us, but they are few and far between as his Dad and I have both learned to read his emotional antenna better.
What we have to remember as Exceptional Parents, is that our child is not their chronological age as with neuro typical children. That is not to say that they do not do some things like typical kids their age. But don’t forget. They are also catching up on milestones from babyhood, so emotional maturity and regulation need to be taught. Parents also need to make sure they are emotionally as calm and stable as they can be. If not, don’t be ashamed to seek help to manage your own anger issues. Trust me, often times parents of Exceptional Children have greater anger and frustration levels that need to be managed in order to set the right example for our kids. It’s not easy. As I’ve spoken of before, great general techniques that work with de-escalating aggression and anxiety (if we’ve missed the cues leading up to them), are the following three:
- Take several deep breaths and go to your happy place in your head: I’ve spoke about this in previous blogs, and I can’t stress enough how distancing oneself from the behavior is the best first of action. Think of a happy place that makes you feel calm. Get your strength from that place and then face the behavior in front and see it for what it is. Fear out of control. Then you can use various ways to help defuse your child’s anger: Telling them you are there, offering them a hug, or simply staying nearby until they are calmer and then asking them what they need.
- If you can, taking a “Mommy or Daddy” timeout or calm corner break to do yoga or five minute meditation: If the child wants to be left alone and is not in danger, consider stepping away and going to another room. Have a glass of water, do some stretching or even allow yourself tears if that is what you need.
- Ignore the behavior if it is not life threatening and just attention seeking: As long as they are not aggressive towards themselves or you, ignore if the child is deliberately trying to provoke you. Pay attention only to good behavior and appropriate demands for help.
Exceptional Parents, are you finding it hard to manage both your child’s emotions and yours? It is normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes. Each child is different, but for all kids aggression and anxiety go hand in hand. By being a detective and looking for clues, you will see what triggers your own child’s anxiety, and be able to find what strategies and tools help even the youngest of children slowly learn to manage big emotions. If you need further help on your journey, reach out. There are wonderful child psychologists, psycho educators and parent coaches who can help guide you on your journey. Until next time.
Tired of anxiety controlling you and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS