Communication is something tough for all Exceptional Children, including the super verbal ones like Michael. And now that he is entering puberty, yikes. Out come the metaphorical claws and holding back. He has openly said that he is keeping details of his day from me. He has openly told me not to touch him. He is not a baby. He does not want my hugs like before. And he does not want to play certain things. ” I am a big boy now.” He’ll tell me. I’m proud of his growing up, but this combined with his smart mouth where he’ll utter things like he is the boss and in charge, and well, I love my child but there are days I don’t like him. There are days I say the wrong thing too. He is already making sure he gets ALL his birthday presents he had asked for. We told him he will get most, and he cannot be looking at getting everything. That is not possible for any kid. I got so angry to that I called him a spoiled brat. I felt so ashamed once the words were out of my mouth. He was pushing his luck, testing his boundaries, but is not spoiled. Yes, we give him things, but not oodles. It was my anger at him pushing me more away and yet demanding more from me with questions, challenging my authority, and complaining that we had to stay home yesterday afternoon due to freezing rain. At bedtime, he asked me if I meant the comment I said or did I say it in anger. He says a lot of bad things to me in anger, which he apologizes for. Dad and I are always reminding him to think before he speaks and to use better language. I admitted that I failed on these accounts that evening myself.
We also had a fight at bedtime with stalling, but then lying down next to him for those ten minutes he opened up and apologized for everything. I accepted and told him I loved him. Another time I was lying there wondering if I was staying too long next to him after a very challenging evening where we’d had several face offs. We’d made up and it was quiet. I was just about to leave when he shared something with me a classmate had done.
“He threw a computer Mommy. ”
“Oh my. Were you scared Michael?”
“NO, but I did jump. Then the teacher took him to the psychologist’s office and it was ok in the class.”
I would not have had the privilege of hearing this had I not been in his room at 9:15 pm that night. It showed my how exceptional kids open up at the strangest times and in the strangest ways to their parents sometimes. It also reminded me how in spite of how much he is testing and wearing me down lately, I must be firm, clear on what I expect, but also show him how important he is to me and how much I love him. Yesterday afternoon I had to work for a few hours. He asked Dad to wait for me to start the movie that he wanted to watch. He really wanted to watch it as a family. Usually for the logistics, Dad will be with him while I work and vice versa. Other than church or visiting family, we are not often in the same room. We are trying to remedy that now.
Exceptional Parents, how do you get your Exceptional Children to share things with you? I think the first thing to do is just be present for them, physically, mentally and spiritually. Show them and tell them every day how much you love them. Make them feel special because they are even when they drive you crazy. Love is about being there through it all. Make sure they know you are. Until next time.
I 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: http://www.exceptionalparenting.net.
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