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.