It was an up and down weekend as far as Michael’s behaviors went. There were good moments, and some tough ones. Through it all, I noticed two things- the moments we picked our battles with Michael, and the times we did not do such a good job in doing this. Those moments made for mini disasters where we all had to calm down and regroup. However, as always, I learned a lot. I learned about when it is time to put your own agenda aside as a parent. Sometimes those life lessons can wait if your child is dealing with hormones, frustration or a combination of both as in our case. Other times, it’s about being more clear as a parent to your child. They need to see where the boundaries are. So, on that note, here are the things I learned NOT to do when picking battles with my Exceptional Child:
- Telling Them You Are Always Right: The most annoying person in the world is that person who is always saying “I told you so.” Don’t be the kind of parent that rubs in your child’s mistake, no matter how obviously wrong they were. Be diplomatic, ask them gently if they learned their lesson, and remind them that we all make mistakes, but not to lose the lesson in all this.
- Don’t Give Your Child Some Control Over Some Decisions: This is a tough decision when your child is exhibiting challenging behaviors, but they need to know they have some choice in determining what happens in their day. Make sure it is reasonable, of course.
- Don’t Be Clear About Your Expectations: A lot of parents, well meaning, will sometimes forget to be totally clear about their expectations of a child’s behavior and what they want that child to do in a day. Then, when behaviors happen they become frustrated. Don’t let this happen to you or your child. Be clear from the outset and you’ll save both of you (and the rest of the family) lots of stress.
- React To Every Little Behavior Meant to Raise The Hair On The Back Of Your Neck: Oh yes, been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. Michael has done things, little and bigger, to get a rise out of Dad and I. We know to ignore the minor infractions so to speak when there are bigger issues at stake, but being human, there have been times when we reacted big time. Of course, he did this behavior again just to see what we would do. Don’t do this and ignore the behavior if you can. It’s always the best way for your child to learn self-control.
- Don’t Praise And Encourage The Good : Again, parents don’t set out to not praise the good things their child does, but sometimes when they are dealing with so much negative stuff that they forget to reward or acknowledge the positive. Our kids do so many good things in a day, and even if it’s just one a day, praise that one. It will go a long way in helping them see that positive behavior will get them a better response than negative attention.
Exceptional Parents, what have you learned NOT to do when handling the challenging moments with your Exceptional Child? I’ll bet it has helped you grow as a parent and you feel more compassion towards your child as you see what they struggle with. Remember to have compassion with yourself too. You are handling a lot in paving the way for them. We all learn from our mistakes and become stronger. Don’t be afraid to show your child you are learning as they are from your mistakes, and together the two of you will become stronger together. 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.