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