Month: May 2018

How To Bond With Your Anxious And Aggressive Exceptional Child

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Michael had a difficult afternoon and evening today. His blood sugars were high making it harder to use his strategies of self-control in the face of things he found difficult to hear, see and do. It was also a super hot day. This has never been an easy combination for my child since infancy. His difficulties came out in the form of aggressive action and words. I know this is not my child. This is his brain sending him signals that do not compute with what he wants to say and do. Way back in the fall when our Educator broached the subject of ADHD and impulse control problems, things family members have been telling me for years and that I too suspected, I was led to look at his negative behavior in a new light. Michael, like a lot of exceptional kids, wants to do better, but sometimes can’t.  Without the adequate strategies, often a combination of psychological and medical ones, it is hard for kids to control their anger and anxiety. It means constant tweaking by parents of what works and what doesn’t. Our family tweaks regularly.

I was heartbroken this afternoon and tonight when Michael shared with me that it is so hard when he is angry to control the aggressive and hurtful things he thinks and sometimes says. He said,

“I tell my brain stop thinking those things. I love you and Daddy. I don’t want to think and say them.”

You see, back in the fall when things were very tough at home and we were afraid for Michael’s safety and our own, we would talk to Michael about aggression and violence in families. We talked about how dangerous it was for people to live together when they could not get along without aggression being present. We told Michael that we would get him and us help on the next leg of our journey and that is what we have done. It has not been an easy journey, but as always, I have learned so much. Michael had huge issues with Dad and I. Now it is getting better with me, but there are still issues with Dad. They are working on it, and will be meeting our Educator for a solo session to fine tune communication issues that are making it hard for them to move forward and become closer. But my heart breaks, that Michael is aware of the challenges he faces in getting his brain and body to communicate without anger and anxiety how he feels. Like a lot of kids on the spectrum, he either blurts out terrible words, reacts with hitting or pushes down fearful angry thoughts only to erupt at a later time. He is getting better though at using deep breathing and a favorite mantra BEFORE reacting, but often needs a hint what to do.

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Hugging him tonight at bedtime and repeating how much I loved him seemed to ease a lot of his stress about his anger and anxiety. He shared with me a story about a friend of his struggling in his relationship with a parent. He also told me how he often wakes up in the wee hours stressed and tries to remember to calm down.

“I’m so glad things are getting better with you Mommy. I know I still mess up with hitting and saying bad things, but I feel happy with you. I like spending time with you.”

The words warmed my heart, especially as we had many challenging moments today.

“How much do I love you buddy?” I asked him.

“Very much.”

“Not only that. I love you more than…”

“The whole planet?”

“I love you more than the whole universe. And remember, God loves you too. You are his child and he is sending you and us all the right people.”

The hug he gave me lasted for a good five minutes if not longer. I did not let go as always, until he was ready to let go. Michael used to hug and kiss me all the time during the day. Now, a budding tween, he is very sparse with affection, perfectly normal, I know.  I’m lucky if I get his cheek for a goodbye kiss in the morning. So I treasure these long goodnight hugs. I remember one night I was angry. We’d had a fight and I said in anger,

“I’m not coming to tuck you in tonight. Go to bed yourself.”

I didn’t mean it. It was the anger talking. Michael started to cry,

“No, Mommy. I love when you tuck me in, talk to me, and hug me a long time.”

So now I do. Every night. And when I go out, I make sure to have a long good bye hug before leaving the house telling him how much I love him.

Exceptional Parents, how do you help your Exceptional Child move through anxiety and aggression? How do you bond with them? It is so hard when there are difficult moments to remain positive, but remember to seize the positive moments. Make time to listen , really listen to your child, no matter what else is going on. Have a bonding activity to do, just you and them. Tell them you love them as many times a day as you can. Hug and be affectionate towards them in other ways. You can high five, pat them on the shoulder and tell them you are proud of them. Above all, remind them that you know their brain works differently, and that you will help them find ways to move past the stress of their reactions to something better. 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.

How To Bond With Your Exceptional Child When Tensions Are High

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Sometimes parents and their children go through rough times. There are miscommunications that lead to misunderstandings and tensions for both of them. The thing is, there are usually simple things to do to figure out how to communicate and get along better with your exceptional child. Here are 5 things parents can do:

  1. Ask them what is bothering them: Yes, if a child is not verbal or has difficulty communicating this one could be a little challenging, but for the most part, a child will give clues as to  what upsets them or what they need.
  2.   Be there to listen to them no matter what: Many times a child, exceptional child or not, acts out when they feel they are not being heard or listened to fully. This is when they test you to see what you are made of. Show them you mean business and are there for the long haul. If you were emotionally absent, own it and apologize. They will respect that and know that you want to change as much as they do.
  3. Make time to spend together. At first they will fight you, but it’s important to make time to spend together to re bond with them. This could be talking together after school or dinner. If that is too intense, try going for a walk, bike ride or car drive with them. They will hopefully start to open up gradually to you telling you what they need.
  4. Make sure you are calm: This is one of the most important ones. Make sure you are calm inside and out, and can handle what is thrown at you literally and figuratively. This is the only way you will be able to deal with things when stress gets high.
  5. Take up a fun activity that is just for the two of you: This is a good thing to do once you have bonded again with your child. Find something that is just a “Mommy/child activity” or a “Daddy/child activity,” and do it with your child alone. This will help cement the bond.

Exceptional Parents, how have you gotten through tense moments with your Exceptional Children in the past? Are you still struggling with this? If so, don’t be embarrassed. All parents have had moments when their children did not like them, and let’s face it, there have been moments parents too did not like their children. This really boils down to not liking with each is doing, not disliking the person. As your child and you start to bond, you will realize that the tensions lie in not communicating properly how you are feeling, and you could start working on ways to change that.  When you do, you will see the love you each have for each other shine through. 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

Being The Buddha Exceptional Mom And Helping Your Child Talk Things Out-What This Mom Is Learning

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After many bumps in the road (including the surprise one here and there), I have been hard at work on myself, learning to be, as Michael’s psychiatrist was telling Dad and me,  a “Buddha Parent.” We even joked about it and I sent Dad a Buddha picture on his phone after a particularly challenging day. I needed to channel my Buddha Mom this morning. She was no where to be found after one of Michael’s diabetes pens would not go back together, Michael was upset at the change in the injection order, and then would not let me help him go faster to make the bus which was coming very soon. What happened? Well, we had to abandon the pen and he did an extra injection at school,( love his school), he missed the bus, and I had to hustle to drive him in and organize myself for the rest of the day. It was stressful to say the least. But then a surprising thing happened. After I calmed down, so did Michael. He apologized to me. The rest of the morning went well. I talked with Michael in the car about using strategies to stay calm, his deep breathing and his mantra which  included a chant about his favorite video store. Mine, deep breathing and my mantra “the Universe is a trusting place.” This calms me down. Turns out I needed it again after a VERY challenging afternoon where Michael was aggressive, anxious and super hyper. I was not surprised to see high blood sugar at dinner and at bedtime.

But I revised the morning conversation. I reminded Michael that I knew things were challenging for him, but that he could always talk to us. I also reminded him he needed to do his calm breathing and say his mantra before reacting with aggression. It was important he try and that we were here to keep reminding him, just like his Educator, his psychiatrist, and the whole team at his school. He is lucky to have such a team behind him.

It also occurred to me that I am lucky too. With all the stress that Dad and I have, we also have an amazing team behind us. We are grateful for them everyday. We also have a community of exceptional parents behind us. I know I could share ANYTHING with these wonderful people and they would not bat an eye. This reminded me that what I needed to do was to channel my Buddha Mom. She is not perfect. She makes mistakes at time. She loses her cool. But she is forgiving. She learns from her parenting mistakes. She grows from them. And then she becomes calmer as a result. And she passes on that calm to help other parents become more Buddha-like in their parenting.

Exceptional Parents, how often do you channel your Buddha Mom/Dad? It is so hard for any parent, and especially hard for exceptional parents. But, it is possible with time and patience. The best way to become more patient with your child, is to have more patience with yourself. When you fail or make a mistake, don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember, you can learn from it and become stronger.

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.

 

 

 

 

Losing It At Soccer-Understanding Our Exceptional Child’s Difficulty With Transitions

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So tonight was Michael’s first soccer game with his local league. There are always challenges, but this year I had hoped it would be easier for him. It is his third year doing it. He knew the coaches. He was talking with excitement about playing tonight. Yet, when we showed up he still was scared, did not want to play, and insisted on bringing along his comfort toy to feel better. I was upset initially as he had been looking forward to it. I thought it would be smooth sailing, especially after an intense afternoon of talking about his fears and anxieties at school, and then some off the wall impulsive behavior. However, it took some time for him to turn things around. I realized that as I spoke of yesterday, I too am still learning to handle this impulsive behavior in the light of seeing it as truly difficult for Michael to control.

There were some things he said and did which I know were attention seeking, but most are out of his control. He has gotten so good at telling me how he sees things though. Our communication has gotten stronger, and for all his fears of doing something the first time, when he comes around, boy does he give things his all. He has shocked me with expressing interest in trying out playing in a center he had boycotted months ago, and tonight, shock of all shocks, asking about trying catechism at church again in the fall. Wow! I have always known about the roller coaster of emotions he carries around. I admire his strength and resilience more now than ever, as we are finding the right medicine and therapy to help him feel at his calmest. It is helping me find my best balance for me too, what is my balance and what tools I am using that are working or not, so I can practice what I preach as a calm Mom.

Exceptional Parents, how good are you at being the calm in your child’s storm as they manage transitions and difficulties? It’s ok if you aren’t always Zen Mom or Dad. None of us is one hundred percent of the time. The most important thing to remember is that we all can learn from our mistakes and use them as teachable moments for ourselves and our children to become even stronger and closer. 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.

Reigning In Impulsive Reactions- Yours and Your Exceptional Child’s

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Things have actually been getting better at home with Michael. He is less aggressive and better able to express himself to me. Then there are the precious moments. The ones that take my breath away, like when he cooks an amazing meal, performs a song for us, or tackles something scary and succeeds. These give me hope for him that he will do the things he says he wants to do. What is harder for me to understand, and where I still have some ways to go, are with his impulsivity. I know this is part of his attention issues and temperament. He really can’t help some of the  things he does, but it’s hard for me to control my frustration all the same. That is why remembering, “he would do better if he could” is becoming my motto.

I’m still new as a parent to understanding ADHD and ADHD issues. Anxiety I get a little more. I saw Michael’s anxiety from birth, and it was not a stretch to see that he got it from his Dad and I who are both anxious people. We have learned strategies over the years to manage it, and are trying to help Michael find his strategies, the strategies that will work for him. Sometimes he finds them quick enough, but most of the time he acts before thinking. The other day he accidentally broke a lamp. Another time he was rushing to put his lunch away in the fridge. He makes his lunch on his own for awhile now and I was super proud, but then in rushing he knocked something down. He will not always see it needs to be picked up when it does. But what worries me the most, are the verbal and mental overreactions when people upset him. If it’s us, he will yell out loud threats, if it’s other people, the threats are internalized. He is learning how to breathe first and calm down before reacting, but again this is challenging.

I am trying to learn how his brain works in this regard, so I can be more understanding too. After school today he was all over the map with anxiety and overreating when I did not answer him right away, and I was doing my best to stay calm. I did not fool Michael. He asked me at one point,

“Are you being firm or loving now Mommy?”

He knows the difference when I am truly happy with his behavior and when I have to buckle down because he is not using his strategies.

“I am being a little bit of both Michael. You know I love you, but I want to see you using your strategies. If you need my help, ask me.”

The rest of the late afternoon early evening went well with me. He is learning slowly how to ask for help, how to control his emotions, and I, for one, am learning to cut him some slack when he does mess up with not controlling himself. After all, I’m still learning how to control myself on how to parent my multi-faceted child.

Exceptional Parents, how good are you with your child’s impulsive actions and your own? For many of us, before we can help our children handle their emotions, we’ve got to learn to handle our own reactions to their emotional outbursts. Once you can do that, show them you love them wholly for who they are, then you and your child are on the way to better understanding impulse control. 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.

Love And Acceptance-The Two Things To Remember In Helping Your Exceptional Child Learn Self-Control

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Tonight was one of those nights I wished I had had more patience. I was tired, and doing my best to be ready for Michael’s return home at forty-thirty. He has been getting more and more anxious as the weeks have rolled by. It is always this way at this time of the year. Most children are feeling it. The ending. The uncertainty of what summer will bring, or just the fact that they want to be on summer vacation and are upset that it is still school time. Regardless, in Michael’s case the stress has been evident in his being upset at his teachers, upset at the boy on the bus, and upset at so many little things that Dad and I say or don’t even know we say that anger him. He is a bundle of nerves, and that bundle comes in at and the nerves don’t really settle till eight thirty or nine o’clock most nights when he is in bed and wants to hug and talk. Today there was some aggression, mostly verbal with some physical, thrown in the mix early on. It wore me out, and my responses were not the most sympathetic after dinner. I wished I had remembered the golden rule when it comes to exceptional kids which I had forgotten. That rule is that they would do better if they could. The wonderful book  “The Explosive Child” talks about the fact that our children cannot always control their reactions and don’t know the strategies to put in place. They need us to help them put those strategies in place.

This afternoon I listened to Michael’s stresses, reminded him about his strategies. I complimented him on remembering to make his lunch and doing it. However, I totally forgot in all my talk about strategies to ask him how else I could help him. Also, when he made very provocative statements that were meant to anger and shock, I needed to respond with a “I can see you are upset or stressed. What can I help you with?” This always met with a happier ending to the difficulties Michael has in regulating. There were many good moments today when Michael pulled himself together. He made the bus with no issues saying he wanted me to be proud of him. He made his lunch without any reminders. And after our big fight when bath/shower was finished, I went to the kitchen and while doing dishes had a long cry. All the pent up emotions of the past four hours needed to come out. Michael surprised me by coming in to apologize and hug me. This had never happened before without prompting. Wow! I felt worse then that I had not seen sooner that his difficulty regulating, his anxiety and all the other challenges are not fully in his control. Due to my own tiredness and stress, I forgot that he does not have full control over his emotions and still needs my help. I apologized to him too for forgetting this, and left him with the thought that Dad and I are at the top of the list on Team Michael and will do all we can to help him. We will just remember to remind him that we are there to do that, no matter what happens.

Exceptional Parents, have you ever forgotten what your child can and cannot control? If you have, don’t worry. You are only human and have your breaking point too. It’s important to learn from your mistakes, and remember that your child needs to know you are there to help them no matter what. Michael’s words “are you proud of me Mommy?” rang in my ears tonight. I told him that yes I am, when he makes good choices. And when he doesn’t, I will always be there to help him start again. Remember to help your child in the same way. 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

When You and Your Exceptional Child’s Boundaries Become Blurred-How To Get Back Your Personal Space

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As I sat next to one of my closest friends filling out the health card before my yearly massage at a spa for our ladies getaway, I came to the health section where it asked about diseases and medications. Almost immediately, my pen was about to check off the box that said diabetes and under medication list the medications Michael is on currently. I took a deep breath and said in my head, “Joanne, that’s not your medical record. This is medical paperwork for you, not Michael.” I then tried to laugh it off and made a joke with my friend about confusing my health with Michael’s. Man, did I need this spa getaway, but then I thought about it. Was it so far from the truth? Mothers carry their children in their womb for nine months. We are connected instantly with one another, and then after birth it is usually Mom who is dong most of the care giving. It is not only normal, but even sometimes socially acceptable that Moms and their babies and  later children bond like one person, until it sometimes becomes unhealthy. A woman should never lose her identity in another, whether it is in a romantic or platonic relationship with an adult or as a parent. Yet this happens all the time. And when a woman is in a care giver role, she automatically becomes so invested in her child’s welfare, it feels like her welfare. Even all the worrying we do about our child’s health, especially exceptional parents, feels like we are worrying about our own health, except it isn’t. I have to constantly remind myself on the days I start to feel sorry for myself for the extra stress worrying about Michael’s emotional and physical health, what another great exceptional mom said to me, “and it’s not even happening to you.”  True. It’s his life not mine.

No matter what, our children’s health and problems are their problems.  We are just there as guides to help usher them into the world with strategies to handle their stress, anxiety, anger and other challenges. We can’t know what is going on in their heads. I read books and blogs written by other exceptional autistic and ADHD individuals to see what is going on in their heads. This helps me understand Michael better as a lot of it is closer to what I see him expressing. I am doing the same now with people who have diabetes. This gives me a little glimpse into Michael’s brain, and also shows me that though I love him, I am not him and he is not me.

It is not healthy to merge to the point that you forget who you are. My annual spa getaway as well as other little mini rituals I have daily, remind me that I am a separate person besides being Michael’s Mom and advocate. And he needs to see,  especially as he gets older, that he is more than just my son. He is an individual with his own tastes, preferences and rights, which his Dad and I are listening more to everyday. We don’t force him to do activities we think are great if he really does not want to do it. Still, I was disturbed when I almost wrote down his medical profile on my medical record for the massotherapist. This showed me that I have been inching a little more away from my personal identity, and not making the time at night to be Joanne. Me.  That has to change. It was both easy and difficult to relax on my weekend getaway, but though feeling only a little guilty over a more expensive meal than I usually engage in, I was happy that I got away from being a Mom and wife for 24 hours. I was a woman out having fun with another close woman friend. My biggest problem was which spa pool to soak in, should I indulge in desert, and do I sleep in or get up early to write?  All Moms need to have mini times to themselves every day to get re-acquainted with who they are, as well as nightly or weekend sabbaticals once in a while to remind themselves and their families what is important. Self-care goes a long way to healing body, mind and spirit.

Exceptional Parents, do you ever blur your identity with your child’s? If so, think back to the last time you had a Mommy or Daddy night out alone. If you can’t remember when it was, it’s time to book one whether it is a local massage, a walk or coffee out alone, or just going out for dinner with a friend. Remember, you will only be a good parent once you nurture yourself first. You cannot pour from an empty cup.  Good luck on your self-care voyage. 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.

How Exercise And Movement Helps The Exceptional Child Feel Better

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Michael has been active since birth. He has always loved to move and has felt the best when he was exercising, playing, walking, exploring. Of course, it was sometimes done at a pace that was faster than I was used to. That is when I learned about sensory integration and how important it was for a different brained child to have exercise and movement in their life. It is important for neuro typical children too, of course for many of the same reasons- stress release, balance and bonding with parents. But for kids with sensory issues and aggression, physical movement will go a long way in helping them handle anxiety. I see that when Michael moves, he is calmer. He uses movement both to regulate and calm down. I have learned to tell the difference over the years.

This week has been a particularly tough week anxiety wise.  My heart breaks for him as he is either struggling with anxiety or aggression, sometimes both, but usually one or the other. I know how hard it is for him to control his emotions, his anxiety. He has some good tools that he uses (deep breathing, jumping on his trampoline, swinging, a mantra he says to calm down), but sometimes even this does not work. We are now back to searching for new strategies to help with fears over accessing negative videos on the internet and anything internet related, fears of changes in teaching staff, or handling issues on the bus. It all boils down to one central issue-lack of control over his own feelings and inadequate coping mechanisms. I know Michael can breathe and make his way through these crises’, but the problem is Michael is not trusting himself. I know once he does, he will do amazing as he does at everything else.

Exceptional Parents, does your Exceptional Child do better at coping with stress after being physically active? I’m sure they do. We all do. The thing is, with our Exceptional Kids they need regular exposure to exercise and movement for the benefits to take effect. With time, they will realize that when they move, they feel calmer, and that calm feeling along with other strategies to stay balanced like sensory massages, yoga and breathing, will help them move to the next level in handling their own anxiety issues. 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

How Sensory Massages And Physical Activity Can Help Manage Anxiety and Aggression

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Spring has sprung. I know this by the weather and by Michael’s  sensory system which is making him want to move more, squeeze more, and has him needing things like sensory massages to balance his nervous system. Sensory massages were the things that saved my relationship with Michael years ago when I could not reach him. He would turn away from me and not seem to want to interact. Massages helped bring us together as he connected with me and I with him during these times. I have talked about Wilbargher Protocol and Qigong Sensory Massage in previous posts. There is training involved by qualified Occupational Therapists and Qigong Certified Massotherapists, but once that is done, the practice is parent-centered, meaning that parents control when their child receives the massage. This is such a worthwhile tool. Your child will be calmer, more organized and better able to handle anxiety and aggression.

Even once the old strategies Michael had for dealing with his problems were not working, these massages helped us connect in a way that we were able to talk afterwards about finding new solutions to old problems. Michael is older now, so he needs more sophisticated tools to handle stress, including medication and other educational tools. But the massage is still part of our routine if he needs it. Meditation music and taking a bath sometimes happen before or after as well. All of this is part of the package our family uses to help Michael feel as comfortable as he can in his own body. Going to the park and doing more physically stimulating things like bike riding and sports help a lot too.

Exceptional Parents, what tools do you use to help your Exceptional Child regulate in the Spring once the warm weather comes? Remember, you need to address psychological, physical and sensory needs to have a whole picture of how your child is feeling. Your job is to help them learn to recognize how best to regulate their own bodies. Once they can do that, real learning and growing can begin. 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

When Your Exceptional Child Likes You Again- The Payoff of Hard Parenting Work and Love

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My little boy has come back. He is communicating his feelings, his thoughts, both fearful and not, and WANTS to spend time with me playing, talking and laughing. It is a joy for me. We have come far in the last six months, particularly in the last month or two. The combination of good medication, good therapy and strategies from his educator, psychiatrist and school team, as well as the strategies I learned from the book “The Explosive Child”  By Ross W. Greene, have served Michael and I well so far. Dad is playing a little bit of catch up as he and Michael are still having their share of struggles, but things are slowly improving.

What has also helped Michael make progress, however, has been his willingness to try new ways of handling his fear and anger. He has realized how important it is to practice self-control so he is happy at home with us his parents, and with himself. He also began to believe us when we told him how important he is to us, and how much we want to help him. I have been particularly telling him to share his anger with me, that I am here to help him and remind him of what he did in the past to help himself feel better. I don’t think he connected us wanting to help him and believing that much of his lack of self-control over his emotions was not his choosing. His brain is wired that way, and he needs extra time to adjust to circumstances and respond to them. As he has seen me give him his space to adjust, he has been forthcoming about his difficulties.

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A beautiful thing that has also occurred is that he now is willingly sharing his triumphs too, as well as school news which he always did. Dare I say it, the subject of God has even come up, and this from the kid who was saying months ago he didn’t believe in God anymore. I know that was the hormones, peer pressure and rebellion talking. But still, coming on the heels of so much anger, aggression and swearing at his parents, Dad and I were discouraged, to say the least. So, what were the main things that changed our family dynamic at home to get us from a place of desperation to one of closeness again? Here are some tips I am happy to share to help you and your exceptional child if you are struggling with anxiety and/or aggression:

  1. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone: If you have tried different things that are not working to control negative behavior in your child ask yourself are you seeing them as victims of their negative emotions or manipulating you? I can tell you, your child is not in control and needs your help to get it back.
  2. Practice mindfulness yourself and have your own calming down strategies in place: You need to be in a place of calm in order to show your child what calm is. Work on your emotions first.
  3. Take it one day at a time and forgive yourself: When you make a mistake or your child does, it’s not all over. When everyone has calmed down, take the time to explain that we all make mistakes and can learn from them.
  4. As tired as you are, make time to BE with your child: This is a tough one, especially if your child has or is being aggressive toward you, but find things to do together in the moments when they are calm and loving, even if it is just sitting next to them watching a movie to start. Be there for them when they need to talk. Offer help and support. Don’t give up even if they push you away at first. You are showing them you care. It will take time, but they will learn to trust you again.
  5. Don’t be afraid to take a parenting break: Make sure you have a back up person (if the other parent is also struggling in getting along with your child), so you can recharge as a parent and nurture yourself. Once you have some alone time, you will feel better and more courageous to try new things to help and be there for your child.

 

Exceptional Parents, are you going through a challenging time with your Exceptional Child? Do you feel like nothing you are doing is working? Don’t worry. It just means it’s time for a change. Look at what isn’t working and what is. Focus on the positive. Get a team behind you to support you on making changes to the negative, and remember, what you are fighting for is not only your relationship with your child, but their relationship to the world around them. 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.