There are good days. There are bad days. Then there are the days that are a mix of both. Michael gives me many of these. He will amaze me with his bravery. Tonight at his evening injection, he agreed to try another area to have his insulin injection, one that had previously scared him. He did this after an evening of testing, aggression and refusing to do what we told him to do without a fight or resistance. I had one of those, “what the heck?” moments of how can he find following simple politeness so hard to do, yet surprise me with doing something so difficult with ease? It made me smile in spite of the frustration of earlier in the evening when everything was a literal and figurative battle. After when he is calm, has had his moment to read his strategies and see that he was wrong not to listen, I hear the familar,
“Mommy, I need help with my strategies. I need you to do them for me. It is too hard. I don’t know how.”
To some degree this is true. Michael has difficulty with impulse control, and self-regulation as well as thinking things through before acting. I do see that I need to be there in the “in-between” phase helping Michael learn to stop, reflect and make a good choice, but yet he has to want to. What happens now is that the regret comes way after he pays for the negative consequences of his actions in a cool down period in this room, losing privileges and other fun things. I want this to stop and for him to be able to put the breaks on before. This is our challenge. So, how as a parent can I, can any of us, help our child when they are struggling either before or after they have made a choice to stay positive? Here are 5 ways:
- Take a deep calming breath: Parents, if you are not reflecting calm and join their chaos, no one will be the winner. Listen to their panic and be the voice of confidence that brings them back.
- Remember it takes time to get results: This is a tough one. We see the strategies educators, psychologists, doctors and every therapist under the sun has offered and assume that our child will get it and apply it quickly. It is not that easy unfortunately. They need reminders, us to catch them in the early stages of losing their cool, and then support afterwards to go over where they went wrong.
- They love you and you love them: In the heat of your child’s anger and yours, you will forget this, particularly if they are screaming hateful things at you and those you love. This is a cry for help. This is pure frustration boiling over. As a parent, you need not take it personally. It will pass, they will be sorry, and you start again.
- See that their rage is bigger than them and scary for them: Again, this is hard. Children seem so powerful during their tantrums, meltdowns that we think they are in control. They are not. They are losing control of themselves and are more frightened than we are. Try and bring them back safely and if it is too late, let them get the anger out in a safe place then after talk with them after doing things better in the future.
- Remember that there is always hope and never give up: It’s important to remember that your child needs you to believe they can change and to give them that push of encouragement. They need positive reinforcement, praise and set boundaries as well as expectations. They need to know that they should never give up on themselves either. They are winners and can go as far as they so desire to.
Exceptional Parents, are you finding it hard to stay positive through your Exceptional Child’s behaviors? Have you tried strategies, medications and interventions that didn’t work even though they seemed promising? Are some working only some of the time? Remember, give things a chance to work. Try different variations, experiment. Trust that your child is doing the best that they can as are you. Reach out and look for new strategies, ideas. Most importantly know you are being the best parent you can be as your child is being the best child they can be. Together with time, you will both grow stronger and more positive by believing in each other. 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.