Michael has been having a harder and harder time self-regulating lately. I’m not sure if this is due to more demands being placed on him at school, the medication he is on, puberty and new anxieties or all of the above. Regardless, it has been challenging for me as his mother and caregiver to find ways to help him practice self-regulation as well as handle emotional upheavals. I have not always taken the high road due to personal exhaustion, frustration and fear. What is happening in my little guy’s mind and how can I help him fix it? I have long learned that I cannot fix it. That is his job. But watching one strategy after another fail for him (or him not thinking to use it), and I can’t help but wonder, am I missing something and if so what?
After another very challenging weekend, I went searching for answers last night. Yes, some of the strategies we have used in the past are working again- Wilbargher Protocol, Qigong Massage, praising and rewarding the good, along with set rewards for good behavior. But other techniques are not working as well. This is why even with great strategies available online, parents always have to fine tune and move forward trying new interventions. I read what professionals and other parents have said are working for aggression, anxiety and oppositional behavior in their children, and got some more ideas. I was also reminded how important it is to empower myself so I can then continue to empower Michael that he can try new things. After a particularly rough evening last week, when we both were angry and frustrated, I heard Michael’s say in a low voice, “Don’t give up on me Mommy.” I hadn’t said anything out loud, but my body language must have looked defeated. And truthfully, inside I felt so overwhelmed at that moment. I usually have great ideas and insight to give other parents and kids, but with my own son seem to be either coming on too strong or making him feel like I don’t want to help him. This is the farthest thing from the truth. I have just been feeling like a broken record repeating that he has to find strategies that work, reminding him what to do, when he does not do the work.
I get it. He has a hard time with strategies. His anxiety is through the roof. This is why getting him back into yoga, watching a great website that a friend told me that has yoga and meditation videos for kids, and trying to learn to identify when his feelings hit the roof before lashing out, have been my way of teaching Michael to be his own little detective. I think today we made headway as he caught himself two times before losing his temper and even though the other times I had to prompt or remind him of using a strategy, he cued in right away and did. It is hard work, but I can see that once the groundwork will be laid Michael will be on his way to managing his emotions better and more easily. Most importantly of all, in taking care of my own personal health, I am learning how to be compassionate again towards myself and Michael and not give up even in those very challenging moments. If not me, then who will help Michael learn to help himself?
Exceptional Parents, how are you showing your child to be their own best detective? Are they good at managing their emotions, stresses and strains? If not, eliminate what isn’t working and go with what is. Don’t be afraid to step into the unknown and try something new, whatever it is. If something doesn’t seem right in an approach, with your child’s mental or physical health, reach out to the medical and therapy team. Ask questions. Raise your concerns and share what you know with them. Trust what information you uncover and what will fit with your child. Remember, no one knows them better than you. 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.