Dark Nights of the Soul And Exceptional Growth-How To Advocate For Yourself And Your Child


It is rare I don’t post a blog daily. Very rare. But this has been an unusually stressful week. Michael’s aggressive behavior has steadily been going up over the course of the last six months, and this week things have come to a head on the new behavior plan. The thing is, it is more than any of us expected. It has been hard. Extremely hard on all of us. There has been screaming, tears, and aggression. I have questioned myself as has Dad, where are we going wrong as parents? What needs are not being met? Why is Michael going up against his better interest and not using the tools he has been given, and helped create with his school psychologist? Kids with autism are complex. There is so much going on. I still have to remind myself sometimes that though he is so smart and articulate, there is much he does not understand. There is much he does intentionally to hurt us when he is in pain, but there is much he does not get, even after multiple explanations. Dad and I know this, but it does not make it easy when your child insults and hits you. I have hurled insults back in weak moments. I am not proud of myself. I have always apologized and told him I wasn’t using my strategies to calm down when I said them. He has reminded me he is strong and that I am strong and that we will get stronger together.

I have tried to reinforce he is good, but sometimes makes bad choices. He simply does not know how to use the tools at his disposal. He said to me the other day, “Do it for me. You need to do the calming strategies and I will follow what you are doing Mommy.” I keep telling him no. I can remind him what and where they are. I can show him how to start. But he needs to continue and finish. He is trying to have me enable him. I think it has been fear of growing up as much as the behavior is partly due to puberty. A lot of our fights have centered around him still being a baby and not needing to listen and follow instructions. We have calmly tried to redirect him. Ah, the joys of parenting, and particularly exceptional parenting. Your child exposes you, good or bad, for what you are and helps you become a better version of you if you let them.

More people are being added to “Team Michael”. More to come on it next week. He needs it. We need it. I have reached out to friends, family.  Dad and I need to go out more at night and recharge our batteries. I am soon going away on my yearly spa trek with a dear friend. Parents are not perfect and that is ok. I wanted to share this post especially for other exceptional parents out there who are scared of their child’s aggression and don’t know where to turn. Call up your local hospital or health care center. Tell family and friends. Seek support. Your child is calling out for help. They do not want to live life aggressively anymore than you do. You are their advocate, but first start by being your own. Get support for you. Get sleep. Take a break from your child. Reach out. Help is there. Don’t be ashamed. Your child will only grow stronger from your strength.

Exceptional Parents, how many of you have had some dark nights of the soul with your child? Remember, behavior is a way for your child to communicate. It’s their way of expressing fear, anger, and resentment gone out of control. Once you are able to read the hidden message, they will once again see you as their ally as you always were. Until then, breathe, sleep and be good to yourself. You are doing the best you can, and things will get better. Until next time.

Feeling out of control and ready to explode? Looking for new parenting strategies? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING ANXIETY” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

2 thoughts on “Dark Nights of the Soul And Exceptional Growth-How To Advocate For Yourself And Your Child

  1. Hi Joanne…your frustrations rang a bell with me. I did not have an autistic child but I did have an 8 year old that was hospitalized for 2 months on the psychiatric ward of the MCH. She was diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder whatever that means. All I know is that she became impossible to live with…aggressive, violent, disrespectful, just scary. I blamed myself and the professionals did too…they felt she misbehaved and acted as a barometer of my own struggles with bipolar disorder. I felt so terrible and the head of psychiatry felt there was nothing they could do for her. It was the darkest time of my life. I got very little support from family and friends who did not understand what she was doing to our family and thought we were overreacting. We got no guidance from the people in charge who felt her behaviour was a result of bad parenting. Fortunately, a sane person suggested art therapy for her. It saved her and us but it took more than a year before we saw results. Thank goodness for this therapist. To this day we do not know what instigated this behaviour. Like you, I remember the fear, the anger and frustration. We could not leave her with anyone including our parents because she was so incorrigible. I cried myself to sleep many nights. Ian and I argued and fought over how to deal with this. It nearly tore us apart. Unlike autism there was finally some light at the end of the tunnel so I don’t presume to really know what you’re living. I have worked with autistic children and have often been on the receiving end of their aggression getting hit and stepped on. I really felt for their parents too. I any type of parenting has its struggles and exceptional parenting is indeed very wearisome. You have my utmost support and admiration. Parents of the children I worked with talked to me a lot and I was always so amazed by their amazing courage and resilience. But sometimes It’s ok to just say SHIT…Fuck this condition and you will still be an awesome parent. You are just a human being after all. I’m glad you’re reaching out to your network of support. You need it. Have a great spa day. You deserve every minute of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your words, story and struggle with your family! You are an amazing Mom and person, and I so appreciate your support. I am happy things worked out in the end for everyone. We have our good and bad days too, and I know things will get better. We are mobilizing new people on the team which I hope will help. I was thinking of pursuing art therapy actually, as Michael is interested in painting and sculpture. That is something to think about. And I will enjoy the spa day when I go. 🙂 Thanks again for sharing and supporting.


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