Navigating Anxiety, Rules and Establishing Boundaries-Essentials for Exceptional Parents and Their Children

I felt like a terrible mother yesterday morning.  I heard the  thump thump thumping of little feet running in the hallway as I was pouring my cup of coffee. I felt, as I did some other times this happened, like a terrible mother for feeling not joy, but dread that Michael was up. Then I realized it was not dread. I love my child. I am so grateful he is healthy, able to get up on his own and sleeping the night, especially given his early history with sleeping. That is when I realized what I was feeling  was actually anxiety. I was anxious that we would get into some long fight due to it being early still and Michael being out of his routine getting up at this hour. I also saw my work morning going down the toilet.  That was our old pattern though. I reminded myself that things had been changing between us as I adjusted to Michael’s new preoccupations of buying toys with chore money and organizing when he would do those chores. I also was learning to let go of my own fears of losing my temper and seeing unpredictability with Michael as something to challenge us both to get stronger. He was upset that he couldn’t clean the carpet this morning after sweeping the floor and doing some dishes. He was a little man on a mission and in his real time the chores had to be done then. Once I explained he could do one chore a day to earn his eventual toy, he was fine. It took awhile for us to get there though, but when we did he played, I worked, we had breakfast,waited for the bus, and had a good sendoff to school.

When Michael gets up it is rare he is not UP instantly. I think I can count on two hands the times he has actually acted like a teenager stereotype and been quiet in the am. I liked those morning as I am not a morning person. I need a minimum of twenty minutes for my coffee to kick in as well as my lemon water, and I love doing my meditation and yoga before he is awake so I am ready for his sweet, intelligent, but nervous energy. You see, I also have a nervous and anxious temperament. But what I have learned in the past three years is to control what I can; my own emotions, morning routine etc. and fitness schedule so I can handle the uncontrollable things around me better. Michael is a nervous kid and needs constant reassurance of answers, schedules, and such.  I am so proud of his academic accomplishments, the questions he asks me, and his general attempts to learn better social skills which I know are challenging for him. As most parents with exceptional children will tell you, I don’t know how he does it in a world that is not always friendly to his senses, but he succeeds and does well. I think as his Mom, I am also learning how to do well in reading him better. It is not always easy. He throws his Dad and I emotional curve balls as do all children I’m sure, but with Michael you need to be ready. He is sharp, swift and will not hesitate to ask questions until he gets answers.

Exceptional Parents, are there times you are exhausted by your children the second they get up in the morning,but are embarrassed to admit it? Do you feel like a bad parent or failure? You are not. You are human. You love them as they love you, and by gently insisting on your own boundaries, you are taking care of your own health for you and your child’s healthy relationship development. You will start to see how much calmer you are when you have your routine and boundaries. You will also teach your child to create his/her boundaries at the same time. This will help you both navigate anxiety a lot better. Until next time.

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey?  I am a writer and parent coach who is 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 Session, see my website:

Feeling like hibernating with winter and your anxiety? Looking for new tools to handle anxious thought and patterns? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY”


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