Self-control is challenging for a lot of people, exceptional and not. But there is something so difficult for exceptional kids to wrap their heads around, and that is the ability to control their emotions- fear, anger, anxiety without having any type of negative outbursts or behaviors. If they do not find healthy ways to control their inner compass, their life will be a constant seesaw of emotions and they will not be happy or balanced individuals. This is why it is so important for parents to help their children learn how to self-regulate and control their emotions. With exceptional kids, the problem is usually compounded by the fact that what worked to help them control their emotions when they were small does not work as they get older. Therapies that helped them may not have the same effect either. This is why it usually falls to parents as the primary advocate for their child as well as their caregiver, to experiment with different behavior strategies to help their child regulate.
Like with everything, there is a lot of trial and error involved. Maybe deep breathing worked and now it’s yoga. Maybe taking a walk helps or jumping on a trampoline. Maybe writing down or art therapy can help them. All of these are great ideas, but what it comes down to in the end is talking to you child and seeing what they like and do not like. This way it becomes a process of elimination. Michael has always been very quick to say yeah or nay to something. If he is unsure, he will try it once and then give me his answer. All our kids have their own way of letting us know when something is working or not. Of course, ideally one should try out different ways to help with behavior and talk to our children about it BEFORE a meltdown happens. This way, they have strategies in place. However, as long as the discussion is happening once in a while, kids will know they have options when things become crazy.
What not to do is to wing it in the moment. Kids with high emotional needs have even more anxiety if they do not feel they have options. That is why it is important to always be on the lookout for good strategies and talking to your kids about them.
Exceptional Parents, what works for you and your Exceptional Children as tools for calming down? I’d love to hear from you. Remember, this is not a final art, and there will always be tweaking involved. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and teach your child to do the same. This is what will help them be successful in handling their moods and handling life. 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