Michael is going through another phase of exploration now, with making pretend friends out of crafts materials. As with anything he does, he does it with an intensity that is hard to sometimes understand for me. This is mixed in with his little mini rebellions of not wanting to listen to things I am saying that he does not like lately. Last evening was a tough evening for both of us. We manage to turn around things around after school, but were not lucky at bedtime. He just couldn’t stop talking about the next phase of his plans for his craft creations, and was asking me about things he wanted me to be doing with him on the upcoming PED DAY. My crime was telling him that we would talk about it the next day as it was bedtime and if he wanted his story and massage we needed to get a move on. The process had already been moving too slowly. Maybe it was that. Maybe he was tired. Regardless, things went from tense to tantrum very quickly. I finally had to leave and have Dad take over.
This is not the first time this has happened in the last little while. It is becoming increasingly hard for Michael to listen and I am still trying to find the reasons behind this breakdown in communication. We have done some beautiful bonding in the last month. I am doing my best to be there and present for Michael; in the morning, at snack time, at dinner time, and at night time when he lets me. This new phase is challenging for me too. It is accompanied with hitting and a new one, hair pulling, if he is upset. I reiterate that there is no hitting, pulling or screaming. He needs to calm down and use his words. At school he is wonderful. His skills are increasing and he has lots of friends. Still, he seems strained and going through the motions. We are looking for ways to bring the joy back for him, for us. It is hard.
I have joined him in his craft building, and, as with everything Michael is interested in, am taking an interest myself in it to show him support. He has surprised me by asking for Leggos and wanting to try building with them. This gives me hope after Dad and I figure out just why listening to something reasonable is so hard for him lately; put on your winter jacket, get ready for bed. etc. I take it one day at a time, and know like with the other phases Michael has gone through, we will figure out new tools to handle this one.
Exceptional Parents, what tools do you use to help your child when they are going through another challenging stage? What tools do you use to help yourself? I think it all starts with love, love yourself enough to show respect for you and your boundaries, and then teach your child that they need to have that same respect for themselves and for you as their parent. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different things to reach them, and have patience. It will all work out and you will reach them in whatever new phase you are in. Until next time.
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