Have you ever had a parenting moment when you felt so many emotions at once- frustration, tiredness, sadness and embarrassment? Well, I did tonight. It was one of those nights that I was worried about altering Michael’s schedule slightly, but still did. I knew that altering the schedule along with blood sugar that was still on the high side with his diabetes, may make for a difficult evening, but I figured I was up to it. I was, but only to a certain extent. Though I held it together relatively well, at one point I became so angry that Michael was not listening and being disruptive, that I almost abandoned ship. I stopped myself though, and realized that though Michael was to blame for his actions, I was also responsible for not keeping to the usual routine. As well, I was responsible for not remembering Michael’s challenges in listening, self-regulating and being responsible for controlling his physical and emotional reactions to people and events around him.
You see, part of the “different brain” our kids have makes it harder to process information, feelings, and control reactions. When they are in the “hot seat” it is so much harder to control themselves. I of course don’t let Michael get away with his Autism, ADHD and diabetes as excuses for losing control and I have told him as much. In fact, earlier today I reminded him that though I know it is hard for him to control his temper sometimes and Dad and I know this due to his challenges (our family has no secrets), it does not mean he gets a free pass in not being disruptive or aggressive. However, even though I know this, sometimes in the heat of the moment I forget this. I am in the “hot seat” as the parent of a child who is impulsive, anxious and rigid. I feel judged, even if it is only by me. I also feel that his poor dealing with his feelings is due to my badly structuring the day or evening. I know this is not fully the case, but it still happens from time to time when I am tired and not giving myself enough time to regenerate my batteries.
I am getting better at seeing myself for who I truly am as a Mom though- patient, loving, forgiving, but someone that sometimes feels burned out so will have some meltdowns herself. I have learned that if I am feeling that way more days of the week than not, it is time to get out alone pronto. Sometimes for a walk, a drive or even alone in the house with a book. I am not that way as a coach. There I am Joanne-calm, in control, knowing what to do next in most cases, and when in doubt, pausing and staying calm to figure it out. It is easier without the blood, emotions, and genes mixed in there to make you feel, what the heck pattern did I do to make this worse. When parents and kids are in the ‘hot seat’ we get so attached to our own feelings of anger, exhaustion and frustration, that we are not able to see our child’s or they their parent’s viewpoint. Unless we stop to give ourselves credit for what we are doing right and get ourselves the necessary support for the things we are doing wrong or need help with, we will remain stuck and chances are, so will our child. Living life as an Exceptional Family is exhausting for all concerned, but with the right perspective, attitude and adjustment, all members will come out winners in the end.
Exceptional Parents, how do you juggle being in “the hot seat?” How do you see your child when they are in “the hot seat?” Remember, it is human to make mistakes, both for you and for your child. Forgive them. Forgive yourself. Learn from the errors by letting in others that have life experience and have gone down this path before. You and your child will be the better for it. 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.