In talking with Dad earlier this evening, we both were commiserating about something we often don’t get a chance to talk about. This something is the juggling we and other exceptional parents do on a daily and nightly basis to make sure their exceptional child is on the right track. Some days we miss the mark as we did lately with Michael’s diabetes. Michael has put on some weight as we misjudged foods and portions. Other times, we misjudge how to handle behaviors and a meltdown ensues along with aggression and other stresses. Then, there are the days exceptional parents get it right. We put the bandages on the cuts and bruises of our children’s souls. The other day after a particularly stressful morning where Michael did not want to go into school and eventually missed the bus, he surprised me both in the car and in the walk up to the school door. In the car, Michael admitted that he misses me and he knows he made a mistake not making the bus, but is glad to spend time with me in the car. He also said right before we reached the school door, “Aren’t you going to say a prayer for me now Mommy before I go into school?” I always say a prayer before the bus comes in the morning and before bedtime at night, even though Michael has not joined me in prayer since the fall.
Every morning and every night I do say a good prayer for Michael and all of us. He used to join me, but now among other puberty casualties, religion has joined the ranks. Michael will vehemently say he does not believe in God and that church is boring. The latter is unfortunately true for him, but then will ask me to pray for him or ask questions about God. He even once asked if he is going to Heaven one day as he is having a hard time listening to us. I responded that God forgives everything and that his relationship with God is between him and God. Still, all of this gave me food for thought. Our kids really do get things and we have a chance to be a positive influence even in difficult times.
With all of this, here is what I have learned about what NOT to do when juggling your exceptional child’s issues:
- Don’t try to do it all yourself: Been there, done that so many times and even made myself more of a martyr when all I needed to do was ask for help from Dad and others.
- Don’t beat yourself up when you mess up: Also been there, done that. There will be days you will make mistakes as a parent. There will be days when you blow things out of the park. Learn from the bad and remember the good so you can keep on doing it.
- Believe in the cliche- in every cloud there is a silver lining: This is a tough one, but it has always been on my most gut wrenching days of motherhood that Michael has gifted me with an eye opening revelation of what he is capable of good and bad, and what I am capable of good and bad. Both of us have grown from this experience and gotten closer in the long run.
- Ignoring your gut and your child’s reaction to a therapy or therapist: Always, always, always trust in your own gut reaction and your child’s reaction (negative or positive), to a therapist or therapy. You will never be wrong.
- Never neglect yourself or your partner including when things are at their worst: This is the toughest of all. Our family has been through a very challenging six month period. We are all collectively and individually coming out of depressions, anxieties and stresses that exceptional families live with due to a child’s intense emotional and physical issues. When I was neglecting myself and Dad himself, it made things worse for Michael and for us as individuals as well as as a couple. Now we are slowly rebuilding as a couple, as individuals and as parents. One day at a time.
Exceptional Parents, what do you want other parents to avoid when handling multiple exceptional family stresses? What do you wish to impart to them? I believe we all have (and all our families), our own version of internal wisdom of our children, ourselves, and our situations. We need to tap into that wisdom, learn from our mistakes, embrace change, and know that there is a force greater than us in the universe guiding us and our child to their best possible life. 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