We are now having a very interesting dilemma with Michael. He has begun testing how far he can go with how he talks to his Dad and I. Some of it is funny. For instance, this morning he was trying to justify to me why I needed to buy him some squeeze toys at the Dollar Store even though he has tons and we just bought him a special mouth and face massager for school and home. He was using his wrist to hit to his child so I know he needed that to regulate. He told, “You need to buy me those toys because I have anxiety.” The other day he told me he couldn’t help being rude. He has autism. I almost laughed, but maintained my composure and reminded him autism is not an excuse for rudeness.
Other things he has started doing though, are saying mean things to Dad and I or being disrespectful. He told me the other day, I needed to go see my therapist again as I was yelling too much or being unfair. He also said I should take pills to calm down. I had of course disclosed to him that even big people need to talk to therapists sometimes, and I had brought up the fact with him he may need medication to help with his anger and aggression. To have it thrown back in my face was quite something, but it has also shown me how as parents, we need to be aware of what our kids are taking in and how they are going to use it. Exceptional Kids will surprise us with how they can twist things around as much as neuro typical can. This has taught me about having some boundaries now with Michael, while still being close enough to share things with. How can parents maintain these boundaries with their special needs kids? Here are some ways:
- Decide what you will share and no more: Have a limit of what you will share about your personal life, but not too much. That is where as a parent you may open yourself up for the child taking advantage. Be prepared for that if they are at that stage.
- Teach the child concrete ways of respecting you: I am now telling Michael how he needs to talk to me and Dad. There are no ifs, ands and buts.
- Be loving and calm: When they see that you are there for them, they will calm down and mutual respect will start to be more important than testing. Kids test too when they are scared and there is change. This week has been about a lot of changes in our house, so we are keeping that in mind.
- Model sharing and privacy: Show them the importance of privacy and sharing by what you tell and don’t tell or talk about.
- Be one step ahead: Never let yourself think that they child won’t try something new. All kids will. It’s how they see where they stand with you. So always be a step ahead.
Exceptional Parents, what has been your story with your Exceptional Kids and testing? Remember, love, patience and staying in the moment go a long way. Also, as hard as it is, don’t take what your Exceptional Kids say personally. They are still learning and need to be guided on their life journey. Until next time.
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: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.
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