Ready, Set, Go-How to Teach Your Exceptional Child to Accept the Consequences of Their Actions

I am proud of Michael for so many things. He is becoming increasingly independent in dressing, eating and deciding on his likes/dislikes. His navigation skills are getting better. He is learning how to behave in stores and how money works. And at school he is reading and writing beautifully. But it is on afternoons and evenings like this when he is overstimulated, unable to regulate himself that he struggles so intensely. This time of year is always hard on him too. I feel for him, but yet I know he knows better and could do better. He says he loves no homework, but the lack of structure makes it difficult for him. He has nothing to do after school. Couple that in with a fun day today of the Santa Breakfast where he had too much food, then did not like the park he went sledding to, as well as feeling tired and boom, he had his first meltdown right after school. His challenging behavior goes from hitting us, to hitting property, to hitting his head. Then he will swear, the “f” words, the “s” word. It is continuous. It is done to drive us crazy and see how far he can push.

He has openly and happily said that at home he doesn’t have anything to lose. I corrected him on that by telling him not so. We may not have a behavior tech on staff, but if he loses all his tokens and continues, he will lose his reward and if he continues after that, he will lose his fun bedtime routine. Dad and I remaining calm, but it is difficult when he is yelling and asking us to repeat ourselves and trying to control every move we make, by following us and yelling and crying. He is fighting for himself, and the negotiating he is doing make me see the future lawyer in him. Still all jokes aside, the energy he is wasting could be put to better use, calming himself down and asking for help. Finding the right formula for the right time of year is the hard part.

Teaching our kids to de-stress and feel their anxiety before it blows out of proportion is the challenging part. It is particularly challenging when techniques that used to work don’t work anymore. I make Michael part of the solution process, though so far we have only had minimal success. I am trying to get him to be more in touch with his body, with what is happening inside before he volcanoes and I can’t stop him from hitting me, himself or property. It is not a tantrum, not a meltdown, but a little bit of both. He is enraged and I stay nearby to make sure he doesn’t do serious damage, but yet can’t touch him. That is another problem. He is on the cusp of puberty, so he is restricting my hugs and kisses, unless on his terms. It is understandable, but makes for a further stress in helping him. As with all anxiety and anger management issues, it requires lots of trial and error till as a parent you find what works for your child. We have our ups and downs, and then find our middle ground.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle the challenges of behavior in your child? What methods have worked for you? What have not? The important thing is to never give up trying to reach your child. If you make a mistake, admit it to yourself and them. But also, have them own up to their mistakes. If a child cannot take responsibility for their actions, you will not be able to reach them no matter what you do. And take heart. We all make mistakes. Tomorrow is another day. Until next time.

am a writer and parent coach at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance.” I am passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website:

One of the hardest and most stressful times of the year for special needs families is fast approaching. Are you and your exceptional family ready? Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY”

6 thoughts on “Ready, Set, Go-How to Teach Your Exceptional Child to Accept the Consequences of Their Actions

  1. Hey Joanne

    I love the way you have described the journey of your child. I also don’t whether he’d become a lawyer in future, but kids are good at negotiation. Their innocent faces and sweet voice make their point strong enough to melt someone’s heart.

    I have seen many parents who create a mental block in their kid’s mind. They don’t allow their children to explore their world. It’s important to keep a check, but not at the expense of suppressing their creativity. My parents never questioned my capability. What I have achieved today is impossible without their support. I can’t even repay their love and affection on me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Yatin, Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I don’t know what he will become in the future, but I completely agree with you that it is my job and his Dad’s to allow him to explore his potential with healthy boundaries, and without stifling his creativity. That is the fine line all parents walk, I think. Your parents sound like amazing people. I’m sure they don’t expect any repayment from you. They want what all parents want for their children; health, happiness and warm relationships now and always. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts today! Happy Holidays to you and your family.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am struggling with the same thing with my son. The anxiety and the anger have become too much a part of our daily lives. I started homeschooling him 3 years ago because of the anxiety. He is ten now and just in the last year his uncontrollable anger has become an additional problem. We have tried everything that has been recommended to us, without success. Even though we provide numerous de-stressors and strategies to calm him, he is unable to recognize the feeling is building in him until the point where it is too late to stop. We are about to begin RDI (Relationship Development Intervention). It is expensive and not covered by insurance or Medicaid (we tried). But, it is our hope that this may be the answer for us. He can’t learn if he is in a constant state of fight or flight.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your struggles Monica. As exceptional parents of our exceptional kids, we are all in the same boat. I have heard great things about RDI, and have a friend who has been doing it for years. It has helped with a lot of her sons’ issues. It is something on our bucket list, but due to cost, we are restricted at the moment. Congrats on you for homeschooling. That is not easy. I have often thought that it could help, but the truth is in any environment our kids need help learning to self- regulate and that is the challenge. My son is actually well behaved at school. He saves it for home to explode. My son is doing Cognitive Behavior Therapy with the school psychologist, and it is an adapted school which is wonderful. Still, it is not a perfect solution. We have been told by some people to consider medication in addition to CBT, but are not sure if we are going to go down that route. It is often a matter of trial and error and all our kids are unique individuals so lots of tweaking is essential. Good luck to you with the RDI, and wishing you a peaceful and happy holiday.


  3. Thank you joannegiacomini. We actually tried one anti-depressant with my son. It made things worse, not better. And, like you said, it is trial and error and I did not like the idea of treating my son like a lab rat. So, he receives CBT, and has worked with a behavioral therapist in the past. I pray that RDI will be the key. Good luck to you as well. Have a peaceful holiday and a blessed New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re welcome Monica. You too. Thank you once again for sharing your experience. As parents we know our children best and what will work. Trust your gut. Wishing you a peace holiday and blessed New Year too.


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