I have been having a hard time as a parent lately struggling with balancing Michael’s ever increasing challenges and regular child neediness with my own personal challenges of stress, exhaustion and frustration. May has traditionally always been a difficult month for me and Michael. It is jam packed full of activities and both our stress levels go up. June is even crazier with the ending of the school year and summer, with all its promises and uncertainties lingering. Michael is getting better at handling what he can, but the trouble for him is controlling his anger and stress when we say things he does not like. Self-regulating is difficult. Mix that in with puberty and you’ve got quite the formula. But now that we are getting back on an even keel, what I am noticing is how once again Michael is helping me to see what I need to do better to be the best Mom and person I can be. I need to model patience, regulate myself better which means taking care of my inner and outer health better too, and of course, knowing when to say I need a break. This means some days asking someone else to babysit or stay with Michael so I can take a walk, go out for a coffee or a drive.
I have not been enjoying him so much lately because I’ve been so tired of walking on the landmines of when his neck blow up would occur. What would trigger it this time? Then I got to a point where I was also most inviting it by getting confrontational too. Tiredness and stress will do that, even to a loving parent. I started realizing that I was not taking the advice I give others on how to handle challenges with their kids. I was doing and saying everything to make it worse for me and him, and sometimes when it wasn’t even anything I said, well, I was not even trying to put out the fire. That was when I saw that this latest upheaval is meant to teach Michael and I about self-regulation, control, patience and above all, not being afraid to push for new answers when the old ones aren’t working. I am also learning about not giving up on your child or yourself. Times will be tough. You will be challenged and so will they, but it is important not to lose yourself in their problems or lose who your child is. Despite my best efforts not to, I was beginning to lose my child in behavior charts, tokens, and all kinds of new things we are implementing. Yesterday I reminded myself he is boy, a human being who is struggling, who loves us and himself, and who does not want to choose the bad course of action. He needs help, support and understanding, including when he is out of control. I need to take care of me more so that I don’t forget that. I love him always, even when I don’t like the behavior. That is what I need to remember.
Exceptional Parents, how often do you blur the lines between your child’s behavior and your child? How often do you think you resent them due to the behavior? This is normal. You are human. You need to learn to separate the behavior from the child and know that when you are triggered, that is the Universe telling you that you need to do some healing in that area. It’s ok. Heal. Ask for help. Seek support from family, friends and professionals. You are not a bad parent. You and your child are doing the best that you both can. Know that bad times will make you both stronger, and that new positive things will surely be on the horizon. Until next time.