The last two days have been about Michael yelling that I do not hear him and answer him. This is sometimes true. As parents, we sometimes don’t hear everything our kids are telling us. We are busy working, cleaning, or just plain distracted. With a child who has lots of anxiety however, this can be really taken to heart. Last night at bedtime Michael had a blowout. He was talking to me from his room while I was on the couch (we have a bungalow so everything is on the main floor). I heard snippets of how he was not tired and would probably fall asleep at eleven o’clock (I knew not as he had been yawning like crazy during his bedtime routine), but I had not heard the other things he was saying. I was finishing up a writing job and the dishwasher was making a lot of noise. I told Michael to come out to the living room and calmly tell me what was wrong, but he still became frustrated yelling why did I have to work, he did not like it, he did not like me etc. Suffice it to say, when he did fall asleep about fifteen minutes later after Dad went into his room and told him to calm down, it was quite a relief for all of us.
It got me thinking about a lot of fights we have been having lately. Michael’s perception is similar to ours. Dad and I too feel that we are not being heard by Michael. Sometimes it is true. He is refusing to listen. Other times, it is our misunderstanding. What makes it extra hard is that exceptional kids’ anxiety is higher than your average child’s. It makes their life more difficult and their parents. It means all parties have to check their temper at the door, have strategies to handle anger, and really work at seeing the other person’s perspective. Michael is getting better at doing this with us as we are with him. It is not always easy though, and there are times I wish I had done better. Still, Michael’s echo that “you are always working,” “put your phone away,” “listen to me Mommy.” There are some grains of truth in it. Sometimes he is the one interrupting me and not respecting my work space and boundaries. Other times, I am realizing I need to be a lot more clear about when I will give him quality time, and when he is on his own. We are using schedules again and this is helping tremendously. Still, as a parent it is important to remember to really listen to our kids and model how we do that to people we love as we expect from them.
Exceptional Parents, how do your Exceptional Children act when you do not listen to them? How do you feel when they are not listening to you? It’s important to really learn to be patient with our kids and then we can teach them to be patient with us. As long as we are all learning to respect when the other one is talking and what they are saying, we will gradually develop a better way to truly be heard with our children. Until next time.