Day: February 13, 2017

5 Ways To Build Self-Esteem in Our Exceptional Children And Ourselves As Parents

Lately I have been a little disturbed by what Michael has been saying. While he has been challenging at times not making the best behavior choices, I have been hearing the words after we reprimand him gently;

“I know I’m not a good boy. I’m a bad boy.”

I don’t know where he is getting this language. I know at school they focus on the behavior, not the child. At home it is the same thing. Still, I hear the echoes of low self-esteem in the background. It is the echo from my own childhood where I never thought I was good enough or worthy. I still don’t know where those feelings came from. It took me almost thirty years to truly learn to love myself as I am today, flaws and all, even with the whole world telling me I was good and kind and decent. As a parent and one of an exceptional child who has extremely high anxiety, my heart breaks for him. All Dad and I can do is continue to correct his language. “You made a bad choice. You are a good boy.” My parents did not use this language with me, not because they did not show me they loved me in other ways. They did not know the words to use. I learned them at an older age.

It is so important we teach our kids self-love. This is not from the “I’m amazing and need to win at everything and never fail or else I can complain about it” school of thought we sometimes see in our world today. Some people mistakenly think kids are not allowed to be told what to do. It is the end of the world if they get a bad grade etc. No, these all build character and resilience in children. What we need to teach is self-love and accepting yourself for who you are completely, warts and all. Especially with children who have autism and other challenges, they need to know and be taught how to value themselves in a harshly competitive world that may not know how to teach them. Here are some ways I am working with Michael to teach him self-love:

  1. Teach the language of self-love: First, we need to show them the language to use. “I  made a bad choice. It is ok. I will learn from it.” NOT “I am bad.”
  2. Model positive self-talk ourselves: When our children hear us being gentle with ourselves, they will learn to do the same. If you make a mistake, cut yourself some slack. You can even make a joke if it is something small.
  3. Catch the good moments: How many of us only comment on the bad, parents, teachers, kids themselves? It is human nature. Catch them doing good things. Praise those things, not over the top. Just a “good job. I’m proud of you,” will do. Think how you feel to be appreciated.
  4. Let them choose tasks which they like: Every day at home or school, kids need to do tasks which they enjoy and are good at. This will balance out the challenging ones, and as much as possible, finding some way they can personalize these tasks can help too.
  5. Teach them how to give back and help others: Empathy is so important and is a hard skill to teach to children who have a hard time relating to other people due to how they are wired. Find ways to build in helping others, from giving to charity, volunteering time, including a lonely friend at school into games.

Exceptional Parents, what have you tried to help your Exceptional Child learn to love themselves and the world more? It’s not easy raising children. They make us ask the hard questions, and unless we are letting them raise us and our awareness at the same time, we will run into problems. Always go with the particular flow of your child. You know them best. And don’t be afraid to try new things to help them see how special they are. We all have something to contribute to the world. Until next time.

SPECIAL OFFER: February is the month of love. We show love to our children, partners and friends But what about to ourselves as parents? Do you know how to practice self-care and truly love the amazing parent and person you are? If you need support in this area of your life, until Feb. 28th I am offering a FREE ONE HOUR one on one coaching session, as well as a second one hour one on one coaching session at 50% off regular price. Give yourself the gift of self-love, and learn some great tools to begin to put your needs first so you can parent in balance. Contact me at joanne@exceptionalparenting.com or 514-827-17175 to book your Skype session

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: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

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Winter Carnival and Burning Off Excess Energy

It’s that time of the year when most of us are knee deep in winter. Some of us love it, others wish it would just go away. Even our kids who love winter will sometimes become tired of it, but most of the time burning off excess energy in the snow is just what they (and we) need so that they could learn better. Exceptional Kids are no different. Yes, they have sensory issues which may make playing outside challenging (extra clothing, cold, winter, texture of snow etc) or they may love it so much that they don’t want to come back inside. Regardless though, it is a great way to jump start their little systems to learn better and handle things like stress better. This week has been carnival week for week at school, and I have seen him in a better place emotionally, albeit a little more on the tired side. We are working on getting him to bed earlier at night which is challenging, but I have notice him more relaxed with handling stress than during a week with less physical activity.

Over the weekend I took him to a local carnival in our neighborhood and noticed the same thing. The movement helped him with listening and having less behavior issues. Why not take advantage of the beauty of winter, playing in the snow, making snowmen, sledding? Ok, I know most of us adults dread the clearing of snow, the traffic going to work or running errands etc. but look up at what it could offer our kids and let’s use it to their advantage. What are some games that can help your Exceptional Kids burn off steam? Here are a few:

  1. Making snow castles: This could be as simple as putting a sand bucket on the snow and pressing down. Works on fine motor skill and is fun!
  2. Snow angels: A lot of kids who are hyposensitive would LOVE the idea of lying down in snow and moving vigorously. It will give their bodies the feedback they need, as well as a beautiful work of art in the snow at the end, their angel!
  3. Sledding: At first parents could pull them in the sled and once they are comfortable, they could start sledding down small hills.
  4. Snowman building: This is a tricky one for kids with attention issues and fine motor difficulties. But with an adult’s help this could be a great bonding experience. Social skills and talking could be practiced along with physical skills of building
  5. Ice sculpture: Michael LOVED chipping away at the snow with a pick. This would be for older children who can be trusted with a sharp pick. He was told he could build or destroy. He chose to destroy parts of an ice sculpture already up at our carnival and enjoyed the motion of picking away at the ice and forming something else.

These are just basic examples of what kids can do outside. It’s a great way to stimulate early learning and help them balance body and mind. This is especially helpful for those learners who learn better with movement.

Exceptional Parents, what do you find help your Exceptional Children learn best? What tricks do you use? The important thing is, as always, to go with the flow for your child, and to make sure that they have healthy ways to regulate their bodies and minds. Once you have the formula down, it will be amazing to see how kids will respond to learning in new environments. Until next time.

SPECIAL OFFER: February is the month of love. We show love to our children, partners and friends But what about to ourselves as parents? Do you know how to practice self-care and truly love the amazing parent and person you are? If you need support in this area of your life, until Feb. 28th I am offering a FREE ONE HOUR one on one coaching session, as well as a second one hour one on one coaching session at 50% off regular price. Give yourself the gift of self-love, and learn some great tools to begin to put your needs first so you can parent in balance. Contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com or 514-827-7175 to book your Skype session. www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com