Month: October 2017

The Spirit Of Exceptional Children Is Stronger Than Their Challenges

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Michael amazed me once more at the end of the week. We had an up and down week with his blood sugars and build up of nighttime anxiety and fears returning. We had beautiful bonding and calm daytime behavior. We also had some behaviors returning (and coming to a head on the weekend). But despite all of this, Michael’s spirit, as always, was adventurous and he surprised me by agreeing to go somewhere I was worried he would not go at all this year-catechism. He has not been interested to come to church with me in many months. It is hard for him as he can’t stay with the adults, and does not want to be in the Sunday school at the moment. There are a lot of kids there and he finds it overwhelming. We wanted him to do his Confirmation and he enjoyed his Communion preparation so I signed him up hoping for the best. We missed the first two weeks due to Michael not feeling well then me the second week, but last week he announced on the Friday afternoon that he was willing to try to go. It didn’t hurt that he got to wear his Halloween costume and would probably get a goody bag, but his real answer for going both impressed me and warmed my heart:

“I’m afraid Mommy and I want to pray to God to help me be strong. Is that a good strategy to help me with my fear?”

“You are already strong and brave honey, but asking God for help when you are scared is a wonderful strategy. I am so proud of you!”

I had almost given up that he would change his mind about attending catechism. I was thinking of going to sessions myself and teaching him at home. I was debating whether to pull out and try again next year. I didn’t know what to do. I prayed to God too for guidance. My prayers were answered. As always, Michael’s strength, positive spirit, and willingness to try new things reminded me why people besides us love him. On Sunday, we went around shopping for some extra Halloween decorations, a birthday gift for a friend, and his usual walk around his favorite mall. There we encountered the manager of one of his favorite store. She gave him a hug and insisted on buying him a small bit of candy. I assured him he could have a little bit here and there. 🙂 Then we ran into people from our church. The excitement he felt in seeing them was reflected in their eyes in seeing him. And I thought of it again. Michael is light. Pure light. He brings joy and positivity to so many people. I have made more friends out of total strangers when he is with me than at any other time. His smile and energy is infectious. And even on the days when we are having a hard time at home, I remember Michael is a beautiful little boy who shines in spite of his challenges. It’s important as his Mom that I remember that and help bring more of it out at home when he is struggling.

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Struggling and behaviors happen when our children feel unstable, fearful and uncertain. As much as our Exceptional Kids can talk, communication is still a big challenge for them, especially interpreting theirs and other people’s feelings. As I learn to read Michael better I learn to tune in to reading myself better. He has taught me that I can be having a challenging day, but it does not have to defeat me. I can still find something positive and in my fear or worry, take a risk or plunge into the unknown. There is no one braver than my child and he pushes me past my own limits daily. Just when I think there is something I can’t do, I think of Michael. He does it with ease or difficulty, but he keeps on pushing ahead, finding beauty, joy and forgiveness.

Exceptional Parents, how have your Exceptional Children surprised you in the past or present moment? Remember, never underestimate that something will not happen that your child previously said they would not do. They will surprise you! Keep in mind what they battle every day inside and outside their bodies. They are all brave little people and we need to remind ourselves that stretching past our fears will only help us show them another example of resilience. 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  living in 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 on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,  for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a  copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

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How To Practice The Art of Letting Out Exceptional Emotions

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Last night was a combination of anxiety and low blood sugar for Michael. I have to say that all things considered, he handled it beautifully. He expressed his fears of bedtime and some of the new phobias he is experiencing, and handled another night of low blood sugars (and the ensuing snacks and staying up that went with it) with maturity, calmness and a mindfulness that was incredible. I did not do as good as he, feeling very powerless over diabetes and where we could be going wrong in adjusting his blood sugars. I was short tempered with Michael urging him to hurry up his last snack (which he was eating extra slowly). I reminded him that we were all tired and needed to go to bed.  This was true, but I was more upset due to feeling out of control over managing this new diagnosis at least temporarily, and feeling a little sorry for my tired self. What I also realized when we all finally did get to bed was that I had not been practicing something I have taught Michael and usually do really well at- letting out my emotions in a healthy way.

With being at the tail end of a sinus cold and trying to help Michael manage his new anxieties with good strategies on paper and with actions, I was pushing down my own emotions of frustration, tiredness and worries about the future. I was doing this by keeping busy which is a good temporary distraction, but one that will catch up with a person. I always tell Michael not to push down emotions, but let them out. Talking to a friend, writing in my journal (either regular or gratitude), could have been immensely helpful as I worried about Michael’s high and low blood sugars, and how he would fare on his new medication. I also forgot how important practicing mindfulness is for me, for anyone. This means staying and living in the present moment. It means not worrying about the past or future, things I sometimes forget and revert back to, especially when sick and under stress. Had I realized that, I would have stepped outside myself and realized I was worrying too much, being too hard on myself, and taking it out on Michael and Dad. I did see that I was acting out of frustration, and this morning apologized to both boys telling them I would not push down any difficult emotions again.

I am the first one to give other parents advice not to worry over the past and about the future. I also tell them to express their emotions, good and bad. Don’t be afraid of them, and stay focused on the moment and what you can control. Often, when you least expect it, a solution will present itself about your child and for you. This has always happened for me, including last night. I learned that when I forget to practice mindfulness, the Universe will remind me through the people around me what to learn for the next time. Today I woke up feeling stronger, ready to learn from the experience, and humbled. My boys accepted my apologies, and we moved on from there.

Exceptional Parents, how often have you pushed down your emotions trying to do it all with worry and fear at the back of your mind? How have things turned out for you and your child when you did that? I’m sure it was not a positive experience. Today don’t beat yourself up about it. Learn instead to let out pent up emotions gradually. Remember to focus on what you can control, yourself, and make sure to take care off yourself with adequate rest and leisure. A solution will present itself when you least expect it, and you will be amazed at how living in the moment with your child (and yourself), can help with your mental health and theirs. 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  living in 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 on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,  for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a  copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

 

 

 

Strategies and Writing It All Out-Exceptional Family Ways To Help Tackle Anxiety

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There are days when as an Exceptional Mom I am exhausted and frustrated and wonder, “what am I doing wrong?” Still, there are other days like today where I say the opposite. Wow. Wow. And wow. He is getting it. He is connecting the dots of what he has to do. And though I and other people around Michael gave him options of what he could try to tackle his anxiety, he figured out the formula. The older he gets, the less I take credit for doing anything. Not that I did it before to bask in glory or to make people feel that I know all the answers. Rather it was to feel some measure of control over Michael’s anxiety an helping him through his anxiety. Then I realized I did not have to do this. It didn’t help anybody feel better, least of all Michael.

With all the hard work that psychologists and other therapists have done in helping Michael, he was the one in the end who started to put everything together. After we sat down together on Monday night and he wrote down his strategies, I knew he was headed in the right direction to tackle his anxiety. When he asked me for ideas, I gave them to him, but it was always followed with, “And what works for you honey? What do you think you’d like to try?” This was a success, because Michael has discovered trial and error in finding his equilibrium in handling anxiety. Every day he gets better. And Dad and I have learned to be gentle with him. We tell him fear is normal. Crying is normal. But remember, you know what to do to get past your fear. You are not stuck anymore. Most kids and adults with anxiety feel stuck. That is why they suffer over and over. He is learning how to get unstuck. He is learning how he does not have to suffer. I remind Michael of this now using myself as an example.

I used to suffer horrible anxiety. And I thought that I had no choice but to replay my loop of anxiety day in, day out. It began to be my MO. I could not identify with myself outside off my fears. Therapy helped. Meditation and prayer helped. I learned to forgive myself. I learned to move forward with my thinking and look at mistakes as stepping stones to getting healthier and stronger. I have tried to show Michael this too, and continue to give him options and choices to feel an act with more compassion towards himself. I think it is working. He is connecting all the dots and seeing how much power he really has. He is also learning to love himself as we love him. This makes my heart swell with joy, and helps me see how patience and reminders day in day out can pay off for all our kids, including our exceptional ones.

Exceptional Parents, what strategies do your Exceptional Children use when they are stressed? Do they know they can write them down on a piece of paper and how many options they have? If they don’t, tell them. Show them examples and help them see how much power they really have over their anxiety. 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  living in 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 on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,  for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a  copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

The Importance Of Being Present For Your Exceptional Child

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So today was one of those days that Michael really needed me to listen, to drop everything and just listen. It was a pleasure as he was calm and affectionate. Inquisitive and thoughtful. Scared and profound. There are other days when he is confrontational and negative. Those are the harder days to stay present for him in the moment. I still do it, but it is challenging unless I have been practicing really good self-care and am really rested. Balance for our kids is so important as well as routine. Since diabetes has joined autism we really see the need for balance and staying present now more than ever. I always tell people that I truly believe and try to learn from what life is teaching me and members of my family in each and every moment. Even in negative moments when we make mistakes, we could look back and see that we are being shown how to learn patience, forgiveness, our own strength or how to become stronger. Everything happens for a reason.

Michael is dealing with a lot at the moment and is doing an amazing job handling it all. Still, he has his moments. His anxiety, his need to control things and learn to let go, are challenges. We hope that now with medication added to his strategy this, this will help him be more at ease in his mind and body. Dad and I are ready to move forward with whatever is most helpful for Michael as always. He continues to impress me with his questions, his actions, his thoughts on his life now and the changes that have come on. I learn about these feelings during our talks together. This is an important time when we could bond, open up, and learn about give and take, share love, and slow time down. This is something so important. It sends the message to our children that “they” not their diagnoses matter first above everything else.

Exceptional Parents, are you making time to be present for your Exceptional Child? It’s not easy at all to do this, but it is an art. Find pockets of time-snack time, dinner time, right before bed to talk, exchange information, share a laugh. This will go farther in bringing you and your child closer than anything else. It will also show your child how much they matter to you for being them, special through and through. When they feel this way, they will begin to do even more amazing things. 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  living in 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 on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,  for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a  copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

Taking the Plunge-Excitement and Fear Of Anti-Anxiety Medication

 

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So we did it. We took the plunge. Dad and I decided to try Michael on a new anti-anxiety medication that our pediatrician prescribed. We started on Saturday night. Of course, it is still early so any kind of “good” thing we are seeing is probably placebo effect, as they say, but we are optimistic.  We were told that any kind of changes, good or bad, would probably only make themselves visible after about 2-4 weeks. We are still a long way away from that. Still, I remain hopeful, but also am waiting on pins and needles like so many other parents do. After all, when an adult themselves tries a medication they can feel its effects on their body and brain. When a parent is observing their child, it is different. We cannot know what is going on in our child’s brain. It can be a little scary, particularly for those of us not medically trained. I am glad we have taken this plunge though. It is something we have wanted to try for awhile, though we were not sure. We had a lot of mixed opinions, both professional and personal. In the end, we listened to our parental guts .

There is no one who knows your child better than you do. You will see right away if you made the correct decision or not. And you can always fix something and make changes. I remind myself of this if I feel I took a wrong turn as a parent. Sometimes we need to take calculated risks. We obviously make sure that there is justifiable reason to try certain things. We need to look at our child-how they are feeling, acting, their quality of life. We need to look at the same things for ourselves. To medicate or not is far from an easy decision. It is one fraught with controversy. I have heard parents have all out brawls due to medicating or not medicating. It is almost as controversial as vaccines in the autism community. But you know what, in the end it comes down to one thing- your child’s health. You know what you have tried to help them. Some things may have worked. Some not. Some, like medication, you may be wondering about. No one can tell you what will work for YOUR child whether you choose to medicate or not. I am a firm believer that a parent knows their child best, and if they look and listen to all the input around them, they will make the right choice for their child in the end.

Exceptional Parents, have you ever been at a crossroads with making a decision about your child? Listen to various viewpoints. Read and ask questions, but remember, in the end, trust what your heart tells you. No one knows your child like you do. And no one else loves your child and wants what is best for them like you do. No matter what, you will make the decision that is best for your child in the end. Remember, trial and error means that sometimes you will make a mistake. If so, you will find a way to fix it, and your child will be no worse for the wear. They will sense that their parent loves them more than anything is willing to try whatever it takes to give them more tools in their arsenal. 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  living in 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 on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,  for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a  copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

 

 

 

 

Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First- A Lesson Learned By This Exceptional Mom

I knew as soon as the words “Put your own oxygen mask on first,” appeared in my head that it was the Universe telling me I’d messed up. I was frustrated, angry, patience gone. Michael was testing me from the minute I got up in the morning. He was “off.” We’ve all had those days, right? Things are just not working well. We are tired, sick, not feeling like ourselves. As I mentioned yesterday, I have been under the weather this week with a cold, and was still feeling sick myself today. By evening I was better, but the toll of the day, emotions riding high, a trip to the pediatrician to make sure we were both up to date on Michael’s health changes, as well as new health requests  for Michael, (more on that Monday), and well, I’d had it. But I’d pretty much had it when I woke up this morning. I did what I always tell other Moms not to do. What I tell Dad not to do. I woke up feeling negative, stressed, worried about the day and gave into that worry.

The morning insulin injection is always the toughest. Michael stalls and there is usually the pressure to make sure he does it in time, eats right away, and gets ready for the bus on time. Then it’s me running to get out the door and to work, though luckily I usually have at least fifteen to twenty minutes after his bus leaves to do that. On days like today, when he and I were home due to a doctor’s appointment, there is a different pressure for Michael. I think it is the pressure of a different schedule and the stress that produces. From the second we could not get a proper blood glucose reading due to not getting enough blood on the sample strip (sorry for the gore), both Michael’s and my nerves started deteriorating. It pretty much went down hill from there. We managed to get ready and get to the doctor’s office on time, but then the wait for the doctor caused super hyperactivity in the examination room that more stress built up. Coming home I gave in to not sending him into school as it would have only been for an hour and a half of work, and the afternoon was stressful with him not knowing how to keep busy while I had so much catch up with being sick this week. When I did talk to him he was confrontational and wanted to go out while not understanding that I had things to finish up before. With all the anger, tears and confrontation, I did not take him anywhere. We hung out in the backyard together, then I went inside to do my meditation and yoga. Michael came in shortly after, and then we did his evening injection and had dinner.

I realized that not doing my meditation and yoga this morning was a major way I did not put my oxygen mask on. Why? I was waiting stressed to get Michael calmly into the day. That was not possible though. How could I do this, when I was not calm? And then, when was I going to realize that I could guide and show Michael where his tools were, but that it was he who would decide how his day would go and which tools to use? I had to stop trying to take care of what I could not control, and control what I can, which were my emotions and thoughts. The evening flared up briefly again until Dad and I redirected Michael to strategies and told him that to live at home he needed to follow rules of respect and politeness. I think we got through to him, but most importantly Dad and I were reminded of how important taking care of our masks were. When we didn’t, we were that much more stressed and it was harder on us and the family.

Exceptional Parents, have you been putting your needs first? Don’t be embarrassed if the answer is no. We’ve all been guilty of that. Don’t beat yourself up. Start fresh the next day with doing something special just for you. It could be anything-big or small. The important thing is to show yourself self-care and self-love. Make sure your partner is doing the same thing. You and your child will feel that positive strength and it will be a talisman against any of the stress you and your child are feeling. 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  living in 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 on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,  for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a  copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

 

Handling Ups and Downs With Your Exceptional Child When You Are Sick

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So it’s not the end of the world. I caught a sinus cold and have been feeling under the weather since Tuesday. I tried with all my might to deny that it was a cold saying to myself it was late season allergies, but I knew deep down inside. I hate being sick. Most of us do, I think. I am lucky that when I do get a cold it usually does not progress to worse. I do my best to use my usual remedy of day and night cold medicine, lots of liquids and resting when I can, in between work and motherhood.

However, the hard part of being sick as a Mom is when your child is having ups and downs and you are not at your strongest to deal with them. We’ve had a few moments with Michael this week where he was stressing, crying, yelling and I was pretty close to doing that myself. I have been feeling so tired, particularly at the hardest time of the day for most people- late afternoon-early evening. This is when I come home from work and Michael comes home from school. We are both usually tired to begin with, but when one of us is tired and has body aches, a sore throat combined with sneezing and coughing, well, it’s not fun. I always think of that old saying, “Moms can’t get sick.” It’s true only it’s not. We get sick, but we still need to function for the rest of the world even when we want our own Mommies to help us feel better.

So this week I’ve had to handle some difficult emotions and some anxiety with Michael when I was not at my strongest. It was challenging, but I realized that I could manage very well if I did one thing as Moms we tend to forget to do-ask for help. This is something all women have a hard time with, but it is so important that we pace ourselves all the time. Probably part of what got me sick was pushing myself a little too hard on the work and home fronts. I was reminded of how asking for more help around the house from Dad, Michael and in general taking on less and sleeping more, can make a world of difference.

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Not surprisingly when I asked for help and began taking little breaks when I could this week, I was better equipped to ride out some sugar highs Michael was experiencing, some anxiety about things happening at school, and better able to continue to place limits on inappropriate behavior at home and reinforce positive behavior when it happened. Recognizing my own limits when I am not feeling well, has helped me to better understand Michael’s limits when he is feeling out of sorts emotionally or when he could be coming down with a virus. I have been trying to find the positive in being sick this week. It has shown me the importance of rest, physical and mental. It has shown me the importance of slowing down. It has shown me what I need to keep and what I need to cut out of my daily routine to stay healthy. It is also teaching me patience with myself so that I could continue to have more patience with Michael, weeding out testing from real fears, and the importance of both of those things happening and how it is affecting his development.

Exceptional Parents, how do you both take care of you when you are sick and take care off your Exceptional Child? It’s not easy. But the worst thing you can do is be hard on yourself. Remember, this is your chance to practice self-care so that you can be at your best to help your child and feel back to your old self in no time. Your child will also learn respect for you as you respect yourself and respect for their own health and well-being. And before you know it, you’ll be back to your old energy level. 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  living in 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 on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,  for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a  copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

 

Seeing The Big Picture in Your Child’s Negative Behavior

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Today I had one of those challenging days that made me turn to the heavens and say, “I know you are still laughing when I asked all those years ago to use me for a greater purpose.” Yes, I uttered those very words at a time in my life when I felt bored with my job, bored with my life. I felt like I had no purpose and though I was healthy, making a good salary, had a home, family and friends, felt that there had to be something else to life besides this. About three years after I wished that, Michael came into my life like a tornado. I’ve talked before how as a new Mom I wanted to do everything perfectly. My life finally had meaning for me, and dang it, if I wasn’t going to screw it up by not being the perfect Mom.   I had to be. Well, as Michael got older, like a lot of other new Moms,  I blamed myself when his development veered off the so-called “normal” track. In time I would learn all about autism, as now I am learning all about diabetes, but boy, what a long time it took me to understand all the moods, fights, tears, stresses and strains. What a long time it took me to understand that it was not all my fault.

I’ve talked about this in other blogs. I’ve particularly talked about how hard it has been to stay calm when Michael has pushed my buttons as a parent, doing everything physically and psychologically to test me and break me. And no, it is not because he is evil like I once thought in my angry confused state. It is because he is crying out for help.  It sounds hard to believe that when a child is being rude, disrespectful, aggressive or all of the above, they are actually hurting, scared, tired, confused or all of the above. But it is all true. I saw it with my own eyes today. I knew the day would end with stress when Michael burst into our bedroom at 6 am after falling asleep after 9:30. He was excited to play his new XBox before doing his morning injections and getting ready for school. Dad and I had told him if he insisted to not go back to bed, he would be tired and would need to go to bed earlier this evening. He had scoffed and disagreed. Sure enough coming home this afternoon, his tolerance for learning was not high. He was cranky, arguing with me about everything, and ended the evening with stalling at every turn, talking back, in turn forcing us to cut his bedtime routine short of everything but his evening injection and tuck in.

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Dad and I both cooled down in our respective corners while Michael cooled down in his, and in the end I had my suspicions confirmed. Michael admitted, “You’re right Mommy. I am tired. I need to go to bed.” It was so hard to sit through cursing, mocking, rudeness, but I knew in my heart of hearts he was crying out for attention. Earlier in the evening he said he was afraid to go to bed. He blamed a video he had seen weeks ago. I know that is only part of it. I think the monsters are closer to home. The monsters are his diabetes and anger. Learning to control them is challenging. And though Dad and I don’t want to scare him, we have told him how important it is that he keeps his temper in check now more than ever. We told him if his blood sugar goes up too high, he could end up in hospital. He is beginning to realize the importance of his health. We are reminding him of the wonderful strategies he developed with his educator. Now, he has to learn to use them. I was reminded tonight how important me staying calm was to the outcome of Michael calming down. I am learning how to see the bigger picture while not taking his anger personally. He is lashing out in the only way he knows how. With firm boundaries, love and consistent consequences he will learn to behave appropriately and reign himself in. Dad and I have to learn to be there for him when he is ready to move forward and apologize showing him we love him even when we don’t like his behavior.

Exceptional Parents, do you have a hard time seeing the bigger picture when your Exceptional Child lashes out? It is so hard. Some days are also easier than others to stay calm. It’s important to remember that we show our child how to treat us indirectly or not. If we are firm, consistent yet loving overall, they will learn they cannot push our buttons for long. If we constantly react to the bad and not praise the good, they may also not feel that they can do anything worthwhile. Show your child you love and are there for them when they start to use good ways to handle their anger. Show them you believe in them to make the best choices. And don’t beat yourself up as a parent. You are doing the best that you can. Your love for your child will carry you through everything. 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  living in 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 on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,  for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a  copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

 

Clearing the Air and Meeting Needs- Our Exceptional Family Making Peace With Our New Life

This afternoon I let out a deep breath that I didn’t know I had been holding. I think I had been holding on to this breath since September,  but particularly the last two weeks as our family went through a very tough two weeks coming to terms with personal and family stress. We had not had any time to turn off any of our stressors, so our whole family was on high alert. I remembered  the social worker at the hospital telling me that a lot of family with a diabetic  child end up developing PTSD (Post Traumatic  Stress Disorder) and to remember to take time out to care for myself and my partner to care for himself. When I told her about how both of us suffered from anxiety, and were pretty intense already and had strategies in place to manage our stress most of the time, she told me that it was good. We would probably fare better than most, as we were realistic about our strengths and limits. Still, the last two weeks I really felt like I was experiencing PTSD and wondered to myself, how could I bounce back from this?

That was when I decided to control what I could control. I reminded myself to only do what was necessary to survive. The rest would wait until I felt stronger again in my own skin. I would meditate and do yoga no matter where I squeezed it in. I would write and attend my writers’ meeting. I would make sure to sleep enough. I would make time to talk to my partner even if just five minutes a day. I would connect to other people even when my body wanted to run away. I would reach out to others knowing that that is the best way to get better-let others know you are out there. And then I prayed. I asked God for strength. I asked the Universe to lead me to the right people to help me, to help Michael, to help Dad, to help us all. I realized that even on our worst days, many things still worked out for the best. Beautiful things happened to me during the day with the kids I work with. Michael got an award at school for his bravery in handling his new diagnosis. Dad got some personal appreciation at his job and a friend reached out. Good is out there. We only have to look for it and believe things will get better.

What was harder to do was stay optimistic through all Michael’s tantrums and testing the last two weeks. The aggression was gone, but the attitude and disrespect was there. This weekend when I decided to calmly address his feelings and mine while he pulled out his strategies and we talked about using them, I was reminded that he was also acting out due to feeling powerless. So this weekend Dad and I responded with giving him some power with conditions, explaining what we expected and letting him handle the consequences of those actions, good or bad. And it worked. The weekend was a success! It reminded me of what weekends were like prior to diabetes coming into our life. I reminded me we could find our way as a family again. It reminded me to have hope. I had been scared to hope that things would improve until the winter. I was wrong. One baby step at a time with self care, respect for others, and using positive strategies and we are all getting back on track. Dad and I even managed a short in house date night yesterday!

Exceptional Parents, how often are you stuck in your family life with worry, stress and problems? How often have you lost hope that things will improve? If you have, remember you are not alone. Take things one step at a time. Eliminate anything but the essentials, and remember to put people, sleep and health above everything else. Also remember to trust that you know your body, your child and how your family needs to proceed better than anyone else. Things will improve. Don’t forget to celebrate the little joys even during the hard times. Your family is not exceptional for nothing. You will come through it. Until next time.

Do You Really See Me? Why Our Exceptional Kids Act Out

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Living in a world that is hard on the body and brain is not easy for exceptional kids, any exceptional kids. It takes its toll on their physical and mental selves, and sometimes when parents’ nerves are frayed from the daily struggle of life, they do not get much sympathy. A word, a facial expression, a tone of voice can be misinterpreted. Our kids have challenges interpreting social cues. This happens so much with Michael, particularly lately when he is feeling stressed. He will think I am angry or upset, when really I am tired. I will have to tell him or he will escalate in anger thinking I am angry. He is getting better at asking me if I am mad before jumping to conclusions. That is a good thing now, but it can still be hit and miss.

I have noticed that most of the time when he is feeling irritated or jumping to conclusions is when he is feeling lonely. He will get upset that I am not showing him attention or seem distracted, because he is feeling lost and does not know the next steps to take. Sometimes Michael may even take my genuine business for not wanting to be with him or help him out. I have had to explain that no, that is no the case. He is the most important thing in my life, but that I have other things I may have to attend to that are important as he loves his father and I, but has his things.

Self-esteem and self-worth are tied up in one for our kids. It is so important as parents that we show them how we value them as whole individuals, inside and out, no matter what else is going on. Obviously, we do not tolerate rude behavior. We need to teach them boundaries. But the most important thing to remember, is that we show them that they are worthy to us, and teach them to value us and others around them the same way. We show them how to show love and how to give love. We remind them with tough love that they have strategies to calm down with, as well as good and bad choices. We encourage them to choose the good ones. Mostly, we remind them that we are there always.

Exceptional Parents, how do you interact with your Exceptional Child? Do you really see them and do you know that that is all they want when they are acting out? Remember, they may not know how to get your attention for love in any other way. That is why regular bonding, talking and showing them interest will go a long way to having them see your love of them for who they are. It will also diminish the behaviors in most cases. Until next time.