All parents want to do what is best for their child. Exceptional Parents are no different. The only thing is we sometimes struggle a little more to find a fit for what works for our child. We are also sometimes afraid if we are with other friends to admit if something is not working for our child and us. I was in that situation with Michael yesterday. We tried a new local fun center near us and Michael was not enjoying himself. It was not the baby Michael who would scream and have a tantrum. This mature Michael was able to tell me it was not working and that he was ready for lunch 3o minutes after we had arrived at 10:30 am! Not a good sign. He had a friend with him, but they did not like to play the same things. Long story short, the friend and his parents understood that we needed to cut play date short, have an early lunch (about 11:30 am) and then made plans to next time get together at each other’s houses.
I now know that fun centers are not for Michael anymore. He used to enjoy them, but now sports and outdoor play is more his thing. On a side note, after the fun center as the day turned out beautifully I took Michael to some parks near our house within walking distance. He had a blast. It was his favorite part of the day! What I learned was that it is Ok to try new things with your child, but to not be afraid to admit if it is not working. Most of our close friends have Exceptional Kids too and they get it. I was not upset that we had tried something new. Only now as I see how Michael is changing, I can also for see in some ways how things are going to go. I will tell other friends in future that if we have to leave not to feel bad. We all need to do what is best for our children.
So what are good things for most of our kids? Well, noisy environments that are unpredictable do not work for many. Some like it, but most kids like quieter, more predicable locations like parks or activities that are clearly lined out. Social interactions that occur more slowly are also easier on Exceptional Kids. I am beginning to see that Michael will sometimes think a kid is being mean if he knocks into him going up a play structure. I have had to explain that this kid is in a hurry and probably didn’t see. Or maybe Michael was not watching where he was going. I have had to speak to Michael who will insult the child and then get a hit on the arm. We don’t insult other kids. This is how we handle it. He needs to be taught social interaction and that is how we will be handling it from now on. As always, you know your child best, so don’t be afraid to adapt things for them, while being a little adventurous. After all, you won’t know until you try, right?
Exceptional Parents, when have you been surprised by what activities your Exceptional Child likes? When have you been disappointed? It’s ok. You are both learning together. Let them guide you as you guide them. Together you will find fun new activities that work for all of you as a family and for them with their friends. Until next time.