Where is Michael? Where is my son? I have found myself thinking these words in some of his darker days when he is aggressive, impulsive and out of control. Where is the little boy who used to be so happy, so loving? He loved going out and meeting new people. He had no fears, no anxiety. Or at least it seemed that way. I think those fears were always there under the surface, but puberty and greater awareness of the world around him also brought him greater fear and anxiety. Diabetes added to that. I still see glimpses of that carefree little boy when he is having fun with close friends and with us. He responds well these days to positive reinforcement, but he is so fast and rough and all the over place. A medical professional we consulted recently agreed with me when I said, “he is all over the map.” We are trying new medication for his aggression and impulsivity. We are going to be patient with this one as well as the last one, though that one didn’t work out. It is hard, this waiting to see our little boy happy again. He needs balance, just like all of us do. And once we give his brain balance, I want to again concentrate on helping him with social skills, pursuing other hobbies that have gone dormant, and help him learn appropriate mechanisms to cope with anger and then practice those ways of coping.
Don’t get me wrong. We’ve had our good days. Then we’ve had days where we are walking on eggs shells and everything seems to set off a temper tantrum or he will test till the cows come home. I see how he is a victim of his own hormones and anxieties, but he is also trying to play Dad and I. Sometimes he wins. Sometimes we win. But I want all of us to win. It’s all a matter of both of us reaching out to one another and meeting somewhere in between so that Michael can see Mom and Dad have his best interests at heart whether he likes it or not. That is the tricky part, accepting what he does not like. This is so hard for kids with autism, ADHD or other neuro developmental disorders, but it is mandatory that they learn to accept things and go with the flow. Life is about adjusting, cooperating with others, learning how to self-regulate, and learning to see how if things don’t go the way you want, you make the best of it and move on from there. Life is also about showing love, patience and trust to those around you. Always give another chance to the person to show them you believe they can do it. This goes double for parents, though you need to show your child they can’t cross boundaries of safety with you.
Exceptional Parents, are you dealing with a very intense emotional time now with your Exceptional Child? Are they in the tween age group or the toddler one, both difficult periods? If it is the tween one, this most likely means that puberty has set in along with their other issues. It requires parents to be patient, loving, firm and have strategies of their own for managing anger and stress, no easy feat. It also means remembering that no matter how angry you get at your child, the person you love is still in there, in that body. Behaviors of all kinds are cries for help and for gaining control when kids feel powerless. There needs to be healthy boundaries set up for our children so they are not rebelling for the sake of rebelling. It’s also important for physical pain to be ruled out as a means of them rebelling. Don’t be afraid to trust your gut when your child needs additional medical and therapeutic help. Seek the same for yourself if you need it. When you do this correctly, you will begin seeing your child for who they are all around, even at their most challenging times. Then you know they and you are on the path to healing your relationship. Until next time.
Looking for support and strategies to handle special needs parenting? As a Mom to a special needs son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes as well as a parent coach, I know all about changing the way we see problems and looking at things through our children’s eyes. It’s what makes us “exceptional parents.” If you are interested in learning more about me and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.