Exceptional Kids like Michael usually have a lot of anxiety. This is hard on them and on their families. It’s so tempting for a lot of parents to try and skate around the anxiety, try to keep it at bay, and do what they can to keep their kids happy. Unfortunately it’s not realistic. All kids will experience anxiety, stress, unhappiness, and all other sorts of negative things and will have to have ways to cope. Otherwise, life will not be a pleasant experience. But how could parents find that balance between coping with anxiety and their child being happy? Here are some ways that are working for our family:
1) Be honest that life is scary: It’s ok to be honest about life’s ups and downs with your child. Actually, it’s recommended. They will find out sooner rather than later.
2) Show them how to tackle anxiety: Next, have some strategies ready to help your child navigate anxiety- deep breathing, yoga poses, walking, drawing out their fears and talking to you, are good ones.
3) Don’t try to cheer them up- let them cry: This was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn as a Mom-that it was not my responsibility to make Michael happy 100% of the time. And also that crying was therapeutic for him as it is for all children. He had to bring himself out of his funk and crying was a great way to release his emotions so he could get there.
4) Ask for help: If you are having a hard time managing your child’s anxiety and stress, ask for help- behavioral, medical, help from teachers and family and friends. Ask them what worked for them with their children. Don’t suffer in silence.
5) Let them learn by their mistakes: I remember my own father telling my Mom that it was ok to let me fall down and pick myself up. That’s how kids learn, and that is what she did. I had a hard time watching Michael make mistakes, but the older he got, the more I learned it was not only normal but necessary to let him learn by recovering from his failures. This is what would build his true resilience and it has.
Exceptional Parents, do you find yourself trying to fix all the hurts that your Exceptional Child experiences in their life? Do you feel guilty if you can’t? This is all normal, but remember, we are simply their guides to a life that they are creating, just as our parents were for us as children. It’s important we expose them to challenges, fun, and push them to be their best. It’s also important we let them choose what they do when it is possible, and give them the tools they need to succeed in life, but let them use which ones work and which do not. If a parent is doing their job, the child will find their way. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.