Every once in a while every Exceptional Parent gets a day, a night, or a few consecutive days and nights of challenges from their Exceptional Child, where they are pretty much crying out, why, why, why, is this happening? My child was fine, now they are giving me behavior after behavior. They are challenging everything I say or do. They are setting out to be difficult, it seems. Parents, there is always a logical explanation even when we are too tired or frustrated to see it. I have just personally come through a series of days like this with Michael. I blame it on several factors. One of these was the weather. It pretty much rained the whole long weekend and rain and Michael’s moods have never mixed well. It limits him doing anything outside in the fresh air. Being an active kid, this makes staying home and keeping busy even harder.
The second factor was him still being in the process of adjusting to his diabetes and managing sugar highs and lows. This weekend there were a lot of highs. I don’t know if it was due to anxiety about not being outside, not having the routine of school and fears about some new nighttime stresses that have come up (or in spite of them), or maybe it was the fact that a new activity was started this week and though he was looking forward to it, this also was new and a little scary. The third factor was his preteen angst and rebellion to be more like his friends. This has been a biggie. It started way before he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and felt bad taht this singled him out from his class buddies. The peer group has assumed an all out importance, and as parents we are battling it now. I think part of the reason he is even staying away from church is that his buddies don’t go. The tween years are hard on all kids. Add in a mix of autism, diabetes, and anxiety, and any kid, and thier parent, would have challenges with behavior, temperament and such.
Still, I was pretty much in stress mode all weekend long handling one challenge after another with Michael. Family outings were sacrificed, couple time with my partner, and writing time for me. It was not easy. So what helped me survive and help Michael and my partner, through this tough weekend besides wine you may ask? LOL. A few things worked. A few didn’t. Here are my survival tips for Exceptional Families on those challenging long weekends:
- Have a plan on paper: Yes, it’s like a battle plan. Lay it out for your child, other children and partner. This is how we are going to proceed. Yes, your child may rage against this. Explain that they can help plan it with you, but a plan needs to be there so that peace can reign. Then do it.
- Cry and take time alone to recharge: Let it out Moms and Dads when it is safe to do so. Let out your emotions through tears, a journal, a walk. You will be recharging your battery and emptying yourself of pity so you can better help your child.
- Give your child tools to empower them: When your child is calm, give them tools to empower them. If they like social stories, let them choose stories that help explain difficult emotions. If they need to have a place to vent, help them make an “Anger Box” to write and share difficult feelings that they can write down and express with you. If they need a sensory corner, make one with pillows, a tunnels some squeeze toys that they can use to regulate.
- Reach out for professional help for your child: Does your child have therapists, a team at school? If not, can your local health center or pediatrician refer you for psychological resources to help your child? Follow up on it. Also, do some research on your own via reputable internet sites, as well as through other families and what has worked for them.
- Take it one day at time and know tomorrow is a fresh start: I saved the hardest tip for last. This is so hard when you’ve had a series of rough days as an exceptional parent. However, it is SO important to never give up on your child progressing and learning from their mistakes. You are their best advocate. If you don’t fight for them, who will? If your partner and yourself are both burned out, seek individual and couple counseling. You need it to be the strong parents your child needs. Also, get some weekday or weekend help for your child in the form of a mother’s/father’s helper who can take them out while you recharge. This is good for them (change of scenery and person) and good for you.
Exceptional Parents, have you ever felt like giving up on Exceptional Parenting and that you weren’t the parent your Exceptional Child needed or wanted? Did it ever seem too hard or overwhelming? You are joined in this by all parents at one point or another. Remember, stay in the moment. Do the best you can. If uncertain, reach out to your community, and breathe, and communicate with the Universe asking for answers. You will find your direction and things will turn around for the better before you know it. Have faith. You are never alone. 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: 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.