So many times I have asked myself after a fight with Michael, where did I go wrong understanding him? Yes, though there have been times when I was completely in the right and he was being stubborn and not wanting to listen, there were other times when I had not been clear, he had not been clear, and we had a misunderstanding of where the other one was coming from. I have been particularly seeing these kinds of things happening lately and realizing that being verbally clear about my expectations from the beginning is what will help us both avoid fights in the long run. One re-occurring fight has been the morning routine. With several episodes of low blood sugar where Michael had to go to bed later, and a medication whose side effect is drowsiness, it is not really a big shock that he has had a harder time getting up in the morning. Still, getting him to “catch up” on other nights when he can has not been successful. It’s all been part of the whole rigidity he gets into with his routine. Then let’s not forget those night fears that are still there. I always feel bad that I am yelling at him to get up, make the bus, or if he misses it, stressed that I need to drive him into school. But it occurred to me the other morning, that I needed to be clear to Michael why I was the, as he called me, “Grouchy Mommy” at 7:30 am and 4:30 pm.
When I shared with Michael how I didn’t want to be this Mommy and I know he wanted to listen better, (as he had expressed to me that he wanted to be able to get up and be ready on time), I asked him what we could do together to fix things. It was amazing how we were able to come up with a plan. I told him that he needed to shorten his bed routine and be in bed earlier if he wanted to be rested, and that I would help him succeed with gentle reminders. I also wanted to be a happy Mommy all day with him as I wanted the best for him. What Michael needed was what so many of us need-a gentle reminder and push in the right direction instead of only criticism. “Do you really see me?” This is something most of our children mean when they misbehave. They may not have been able to get our attention by doing positive things, so they revert to negative actions. I see this in my work all the time too. This is the tricky part, but it’s up to us as parents to recognize what they need and give it to them. It’s up to us to help them learn ways to better express themselves so that they can make positive choices too. And it’s up to us to be honest with ourselves too. If we are not getting the proper rest, exercise and spiritual nourishment we need, it will be hard to nourish our children’s souls. We need to heal ourselves first.
Exceptional Parents, do you feel “seen” in your life? Do you feel that people are listening to and hearing your concerns? Until you do, you will not be as good an advocate for your child. When you are overreacting, you too are feeling as if you are invisible and your needs are not being met. Make sure to meet your needs, and after you do, remember your child’s misbehavior is usually a cry for attention and love. Shower them with positive love and attention and praise the good choices they make. You will see that when your child knows you are “seeing” them, their behavior will reflect that and they will be happier as will you. 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.