Michael is entering into that tween stage now. It is ackward for him as it is for all kids as he struggles to find where he can be independent and where he needs to learn to ask for help. Combine that with catching up on earlier developmental milestones from toddlerhood and preschool, and as the saying goes in the special needs community, some days you are raising your child at their chronological age, other days it is at a much younger age. And still on other days, they jump between ages. As I’ve said many times in this blog and to friends in person, life is not boring at our house.
Still this tween stage and everything that is accompanying it, has got me thinking about what tools are working for us and Michael now to meet in the middle somewhere, where he feels empowered yet has the necessary boundaries to feel calm, listen and handle anxiety and aggression. Here are some of the basic ones:
- Schedules: I both love and dread these, but creating a day and evening schedule for our family where it is written what everyone is doing at certain times, has been a life saver. At first Michael protested thinking it made him a baby, but we (along with other adults around us), showed him how we all need schedules to get organized.
- Allow Child Choice in Activities To Put Into The Day: There are no more chances as at this age Michael knows better, but allowing him input into creating schedules and other daily activities has made a difference.
- Consistency in how both parents respond: This has been the hardest to do and we have made mistakes, but Dad and I are learning to support one another no matter what and be consistent in how we discipline and approach problems with Michael.
- Praise and positive attention: Again, we all point out what our kids are doing wrong, but praising when they do things right is harder for us to remember. We are doing more of this too and catching the good moments.
- Asking child what they need-space or a hug: Sometimes kids may not know, but usually they will give signs if they need Mom or Dad close or Mom or Dad to give them space. Be receptive and flexible. Go with their flow. The professionals you work with that know you and your family will want to work with your family’s flow. Otherwise, keep looking for a better fit for your family.
Exceptional Parents, what has worked for you and your child? What is the balance your family has found to have peace in your home? Remember, it’s not one size fits all. Go with a system that is consistent, shows love and respect towards all, and remember, your child loves you even in their most difficult moments as you do them. Until next time.