I am currently in the process of figuring out how to go with Michael’s flow when it comes to transitions. It used to be easy. It took him a really long time with ALL changes to adjust. Now, as he has gotten older, many things have gotten easier. Some things though, like meeting new people and venturing into trying new things have still become challenging. For Dad and I as parents it is hard to introduce new things to Michael as often there is a period of terror, refusal, then another period where he gradually considers trying the new venture. We don’t want him to feel terrified, yet we want him to learn to stretch his wings and try new things. We always empower him by telling him he can do it, and also that we are right there in the corner cheering him on. This works better with some things than others.
We are currently grappling with something that Michael is scared to try, but I think would be a great experience for all of us. This is having him play and hang out at a local respite center. Michael is more comfortable at home with familiar babysitters and surroundings, and I think he feels worried that it is all too new. We have toured the premises and he liked it, but the fear of the unknown in so great. His terror and paralysis I can totally get. I remember feeling elements of that too as a young child. What got me through was knowing that my parents were there for me, and at least I could say that I tried. Michael’s mind does not work the same. This place always does sleep aways for the weekend too, and I think Michael is worried that if he goes for a few hours he will have to sleep there. Of course we told him no. He would only sleep there when and if he wanted to. Finally, at a very dark period in our family life late last Spring I did tell him that we all needed a family break from one another, and that a respite place would give us all that break. I was having a hard time as a Mom and needed a breather. It’s only natural he still think we are sending him away there for a lot longer than a few hours.
It’s amazing how our children’s brains work. If they are worriers, it is even more complicated. As parents, we have to choose our words, and make sure our children know that no matter how scared they are, they do not need to fear trying new things now or in the future if they are not ready. We will love them no matter what, and we understand if they are scared. Parents can also share their own fear and how they got through things. They can name strategies and ways their child can handle these feelings. Most importantly, parents can just go with their child’s flow, and learn to read the signals of frustration, anger and being ready for big challenges.
Exceptional Parents, are you struggling with where your child fits on the transitions side off life? Are you trying to figure out how to best prepare them for new things? First and foremost, listen to your child’s voice and body language. Try and see what it is that they need most and give it to them. If you don’t know, try something out of the box. The worst that can happen is that it does not work. At least you tried. Don’t be afraid to fail. You and your child will learn how best to help them through transitions and into new things. And this learning is a part of life for everyone. 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.