So yesterday felt like the first day of the rest of my life, as the saying goes, or at least, the rest of my exceptional parenting life. Things have been rough with Michael for awhile, though of course we’ve had our good moments. It occurred to me that some of the wonderful professionals we’ve recently started working with on “Team Michael” are right. We had lost Michael’s respect somewhere along the way. He was testing us and we responded with fear due to the escalating aggression, a perfecttly normal reaction, but one which as parents we needed to steel ourselves against. You see, all those years ago an early speech therapist had warned us that when Michael caught up with his milestones it would be incredible, but that we might experience such a speedy catch up, that we would be dealing with two and three year old behaviors in a much older child. Bingo! That has been what has been occurring along with, GASP, regular puberty. God help me. But at least now, Dad and I know what we are dealing with.
We are also seeing Michael seeing as we put up healthy boundaries with us (no chances for hitting, swearing, breaking things), and giving him praise when he does regulate with words NOT things, we are seeing a big improvement. We are also seeing him try and abuse our good will, such as buying more “down time”, more food, making excuses for why he did not listen (stress at teacher giving homework etc.) but we are standing firm. And this is good. It is good for Michael. It is good for us. Last night after a particularly good day and night, I praised Michael’s listening and usage of strategies when he did not like something I had said earlier in the evening. When I told him how happy I was to be able to have cuddle time with him at bedtime due to listening and no aggression, Michael responded with:
“I am happy too Mommy. I miss you. I’m sorry for not listening. I will find a new tool that will remind me to use my new strategies.”
I could not have been prouder. You see, he knows like all of us, what to do AFTER the anger has set in. Beforehand, a pre-strategy is what our challenge is. We tried counting (no go) We tried a mantra (no go). We are hoping that with new input from new members of “Team Michael” as well as Michael’s personal brainstorming, we will learn more of what Michael needs to help keep him motivate to listen. He is very much an action/consequence kid. We want to make it worth his while, so we can continue to teach empathy, love and respect. Like all kids, he has so much to offer. We want to go back to having him offer it to the world.
Exceptional Parents, how are your re-finding your confidence as an “Exceptional Parent”? What techniques/strategies have helped you personally overcome challenges in yourself and with your child? Remember, if the team you have in place is struggling, do not hesitate to seek new team members. Trust your instincts on this. Go with your child’s interest as well. Art and Musical Therapists are able to reach a lot of children, as are Psycho Educators and Psychologists. But also consider consulting a Parent Coach or Educator that can work with you and your partner. The support you will get as the adults in charge will be invaluable to you and your child’s happiness and success. Until next time
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.
For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.