I realized it the other day as I sat on a bench at the park watching Michael run through the splash pad and scream in happiness for what seemed the umpteenth time,
“Mommy, look at me! Look Mommy! Look!”
I was trying to chill out and give him his space, as he had asked me to about a half hour before at the park.
“Mommy, I want to go myself to the park. When will I be able to walk here by myself?”
This park is located at the corner of our street. I would have LOVED to say now, but there are still things I am concerned about for Michael’s safety. Sometimes he will say or do inappropriate things. It may just be with me, but I can’t take the chance of him making a scene alone. He has also asked when he could bike ride alone, go to stores alone, and get his own cell phone. Sigh. The teen hormones are raging even though he is just eleven and a half. Now, this is cute and it feels good to be complaining about these kinds of issues. This means my little guy is growing up and becoming independent, but then a half hour later he wants ALL my attention like when he was five or six years old and gets upset if I am not focusing one hundred percent on watching him play in the splash pad. He will also question, even when I am animated and obviously not upset, if I am interested in what he has to say and happy.
This is the part that I have only recently understood. My Exceptional Son is caught between two worlds-that of child and teen. Tween is smack in the middle. He is still trying to figure out who he is, as well as handling controlling his stress levels and performing well at school, summer camp and in relationships. He is also trying to manage ASD, ADHD and Type 1 Diabetes. He is pretty fantastic, though lately I have been failing to see that. You see, I am also trying to navigate this labyrinth, even though it is from the outside looking in. Whenever I am having a rough moment though, I remind myself that it is ok to feel frustrated and fed up, but that it is Michael’s choice whether he wants to change the negative behavior and adopt positive replacement behaviors. This means admitting he needs help and letting those around him help him. This means admitting you are vulnerable. This is hard even for most adults, never mind an eleven year old child.
All I can do is encourage Michael to see he has people in his corner, “Team Michael,” who want him to realize his full potential, be happy, healthy and learn to manage stress and know he has options to function in a more positive way with himself and towards others. He has chosen to fight and change his negative patterns. I’m not surprised. He has been a fighter since conception, birth and beyond. It may mean reminders on behavior when times are tough, but he is up for the challenge. I have to remind myself that I am also up for the challenge during those times I feel defeated as a Mom or that I messed up. We all need to remember that sometimes we all feel stuck and it simply means we need to try something new. Everyone, even adults, have growing pains from time to time. It’s important to remember our kids have them too, and though exceptional kids experience them differently, it could still be a struggle.
Exceptional Parents, have you noticed your Exceptional Child experiencing an identity crisis as they got older? For some it is uneventful. For others, it is life changing. The important thing to remember is just to be there for your child, and go with their flow. Also admit that you are having growing pains and may need to blow off some steam now and then with family and friends. That’s ok. Do whatever you need to do to stay calm, collected and be the example your child needs as they mature. 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.