Control and Choice- How Exceptional Families Can Find the Balance In Family Life


Though Michael’s control issues and aggression have gotten a lot better, Michael is still struggling for control with us. Dad and I are in the same boat as him. We are all trying to find our middle ground with staying calm, allowing choice where they can be, flexibility where it can be, and accepting things even if we don’t like them. As parents, we know that the more we yell or stress, the more our kids will react, all kids. Still, as parents it is perfectly natural to overreact when our kids push our buttons. We get angry because we know we’ve been had by little people who know us so well. Still, it just means we need to go back to the drawing board and find new ways to communicate what we expect from our children, new ways to handle when they don’t listen, and new ways to control our stress levels.

What’s been happening with Michael lately has been the need to control his environment even more. This is causing a lot of stress for all of us, but with the introduction of a schedule where we all will know what to expect, and consequences in place for actions when he doesn’t listen, I am hoping this will send the message home on what will not be tolerated. Michael is always sorry afterwards for the fights and harsh words, but we are trying to be clear and consistent in what we expect while giving him some input. That is all parents can do. We are reminding him that we are in charge and make the rules.  He may have some say in how we organize some family activities and how the evening plays out, but Mom and Dad have to set things like dinner time, homework time and bedtime. These are not easy concepts, but slowly we are getting through. We also use a rewards system with Michael getting a prized object if he is using his strategies to calm down. He is halfway to earning a Star Wars mug which he really wants.

In the end, every parent deep down knows what works for their child. Above all, it is important to remember, and we all forget this as parents, that when our children are acting out, it is due to craving attention, feeling lost and scared, and trying to regain control in a world where they feel powerless. The trick is to give them control where they can exercise it in a healthy way, and not giving them more than they could or should handle. It is all about balance. Once Exceptional families can sit down and talk about the system that works well for their families, then they will begin to slowly see positive changes.

Exceptional Parents, are you handling challenging behaviors right now with your child still adjusting to the school year? Are you finding your old strategies to stay calm are not working? It could be time for an overall of changes for everyone. Think about simplifying explanations, being consistent in what you expect from your child and letting them know that, and making sure you are taking care of your stress levels so you know your breaking point. In time, you will find the balance to more harmony in your family. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes 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:, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on


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