Teaching And Learning Life Skills-What My Exceptional Child Is Teaching Me

Sometimes there is a day when I see it all coming together and I worry less, especially lately. Yesterday, was such a day. Michael did so well. There were changes in our plans in the am. With some advance warning and options, he had a fun morning at home while I worked, and in the afternoon we adjusted the schedule slightly too. He wanted to go to some stores to buy a toy for a friend and to spend some of his holiday money on some stuff for himself. I especially liked that he was spending some of the money on a friend. His birthday has kind of gone over the top this year, which has been challenging for everyone. I also was so proud of him for how he handled paying at the cash, counting out his money, as well as understanding the concept of how much things cost. It is coming. Life skills. Independence. When he succeeds, I see his confidence blooming. For a Mom who is seeing just how anxious he is and how much stress he carries around, this is truly a victory.

Between communicating better this week, seeing how good behavior is rewarded and learning to apply basic life skills, I know how not only Michael, but all exceptional children can succeed with the right tools. He also helped me be more patient. In watching him at the stores looking for my guidance and when he made a mistake apologizing, I realized how there had been times recently when for various personal reasons I may not have been as patient and calm as I wished I had been. It’s hard. It’s especially challenging when both parent and child are tired and communication is not clear. This is when the parent, who in theory is usually the calmer one, needs to take a deep breath and get control of a situation that could become stressful. Easier said than done. Yesterday, I was exhausted. But I remembered to stay calm on the outside and inside to set the example for Michael. I remembered how I always tell him to “turn it around” so at moments when my body was crying out for coffee and quiet, I reminded myself, he is watching how you handle yourself if there are challenges. Model calm, quiet, peace and he will learn those things eventually.

Exceptional Parents, how has your Exceptional Child started growing up? This is essentially what I have been seeing with mine. They all grow up in different ways, and help us grow up too; either by guiding them and ourselves better, teaching us more patience, and reminding us that even when our kids drive us crazy we love them to pieces as they do us. They and we are doing the best that we can. Let’s do our best together by encouraging, loving and modeling calm. Until next time.

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