Keeping The Emotional Bond and Handling The Distance Of Your Exceptional Child

So puberty has hit our household, and with it comes new demands and issues-hormonal and otherwise. Michael still needs my love and hugs, but I can see the times he is starting to pull away from me and Dad, in a healthy way. Then there is the not so healthy turning to friends and peer groups that offer the challenges of silliness, swearing and other “forbidden” at home topics. This is where I am still getting my feet wet as an exceptional mom, but getting there. I find myself asking the question Michael’s preschool teachers first told me to ask myself when he was three years old, “if he did not have any  challenges, would you dress him or have him learn to dress himself?” Now the question is at eleven years old, “if he did not have any challenges, would I be telling him who to hang around with or what not to say?” Of course, the answer to both questions is yes, I would be doing my best to teach Michael independence, and if he made a mistake with dressing or choosing the wrong crowd, step in and gently steer him in the right direction. I am lucky that he is still listening and values his bond with Dad and I.

Of course, he still needs to learn from mistakes. When he got in trouble at school for being silly with a friend and lost his recess by having to stand on the wall, he was very upset. He told me it was not fair. I told him that he was warned by the teacher on duty if he continued not listening the consequence would be no recess the next day. He had to pay that consequence for not heeding the warning. Yes, he has attentions issues and hyperactivity.  Yes, he has autism and some rigidity issues. But that is not an excuse to not follow the rules. At home as well, Dad and I are seeing a lot of “tween” rebellion. It is both exciting and stressful along with navigating other things. However, I have to think. He has to go through puberty with us, his neuro typical parents, who although can relate to some of his stressors, cannot truly know what is inside his head. We are all learning together. We are learning to continue confiding in each other, giving each other space, and forgiving one another when we make mistakes.

Exceptional Parents, how are you faring in puberty if you are at that stage? Is it harder than the delayed terrible two’s? Remember, your child is feeling things twice as intensely as you, so compassion is in order as well as patience with them and yourself. Treat your child as you would any child, while at the same time keeping in mind that some things may need to be tweaked or adapted in helping our kids understand their emotions more clearly. 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,

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