Day: July 24, 2018

Watching Your Exceptional Child Thrive At Their Own Pace- How To Hang On To That Joy

He is doing it! He is really doing it! He is running through the splash pad  sprinklers, the big ones in the park. He is standing under the big pail that dunks tons of water on his head. He is not afraid. He is fearless. I am proud being words. Three years ago when splash pads first became available in our community and around our suburbs, I started taking Michael to them. He loved the water, being the little fish that he is , but was overwhelmed by some of the more bigger sprinklers and the intensity of the water.

We went to a nearby splash pad on a play date with a friend who was two years older. That friend ran through everything and was even lying down on the ground to let the intensity of the water cool him off on that hot summer afternoon. Michael? He ran briefly through one of the smaller sprinklers then rock/stimmed his way around the perimeter. He had not done that since preschool. He was obviously overwhelmed and trying to acclimate. After about twenty minutes, I tried to coax him in. The friend was looking for him. I was worried. I even went in with him. I did that a lot. Yes, I would put on my bathing suit running with glee and exaggerated excitement to get Michael more comfortable. It began to slowly work, but he always needed me or a friend in the splash park to have fun. Then, this summer happened. The change was incredible. Michael was running around the entire park by himself. And with some trepidation, he approached the biggest sprinkler where a can of water is dumped on your head. Last year we stood under this together and both got dunked. This year he was ready to do it alone. Now all I hear is “Mommy, look at me! Look at what I am doing! Film it Mommy! Film it!” Last night watching him running through with absolute joy on his face screaming with delight, I realized he had accomplished yet another milestone-overcoming the loud intensity of a splash park where it is busy with other kids and the water pressure varies.

This is especially exciting as I see how difficult Michael’s emotional and physical life has been over the past year. He is having to deal with all of these things, work regularly with a new therapeutic team for physical and mental health issues, and is having to come to terms with most likely two new diagnoses that he is still being evaluated for. One he is aware of and we have spoken to him about it as we did about autism when he asked. We explained it just means his brain works differently, and told him about many people who are happy and successful and have this kind of brain. That helped a lot.

But back to his gains. I have seen a rising independence in Michael being proactive with his leisure times, overcoming previous fears, and just grasping things from two or three years ago that we did not know he would ever get or like. It impressed me so much and it was a gentle reminder to me that kids who have different brains may take longer to get certain concepts, but when the do they soar. As parents, we must be there to show them, encourage them, and then let them spread their wings and fly.

Exceptional Parents, how do you feel when your Exceptional Child achieves a new milestone or something you thought they might never do? I’m sure you are beyond proud and in awe of them. Remember to keep those feelings of awe and pride in your child at the front of your mind always. The reason is when the tough times come, and they will, you will have some positive memories that show you that your child has this potential  of doing great things when they are not stuck. They will achieve all the dreams you have for them, but on their own term and in their own time. It’s up to you to be there in the cheering section encouraging them to keep at it always. 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.

4 Ways To Know It Is Time To Give Your Exceptional Child More Independence

Michael is asking for more space, literal and figurative. He wants to go places by himself, have a phone, have more responsibilities for his choices. He is a tween in full blown puberty and as he nears adolescence, is craving more independence to make choices. Still, then he has other moments when he wants to me to look at him, praise him, hang out with him. He is clingy and wants hugs, very much like when he was a small child. I was told that the 11/12 year age is exhausting as kids are still young, yet burgeoning with adolescent energy. Things actually can become a little easier once they hit adolescence and they become teenagers able to make some adult choices, still under parents’ guidance, of course. It is all stressful for me though, and I’m sure for many Moms. You don’t know who you are raising. Then there are the times he is deliberately “playing us” with behaviors and provocative actions to get a reaction. This has to be downplayed, unless of course a serious accident is underway. I always try to focus on the positive, and when I mess up, I am the first one to admit it to myself and to Michael. This was we both can learn from it.

Lately, I have begun taking Michael to the park up the street and deliberately sitting on a bench far from the park area. Michael loves this. He goes to the park himself, yet I am still there on the premises if something happens. He had asked me about a month ago, when he will be able to walk to this park up the street himself. I told him possibly next year or the year after. Dad and I needed to know that he would be appropriate by talking non aggressively and following traffic rules. I think he is ready to do this most of the time, but there have been issues in the past with safety, so Dad and I decided to hold out for now. I am proud of Michael’s independence however, as is Dad. He started by asking for more responsibility to make his lunches, cook meals, choose who HE invited to birthday parties, where we go,  and if he could stay up late once in a while. It’s been an adjustment for me learning how to stretch the boundaries to keep him safe, while also opening up other realms to give him more flexibility. It’s been challenging, to say the least, especially as Dad and I have had to factor in severe aggression and anxiety issues and continue working with him to manage that.

I have learned in the meantime, that there are ways to spot when it is time to step back as an Exceptional Parent and give your Exceptional Child more freedom and independence. Here are some of them:

  1. Child Asks For It With Words Or By Moving Away From You: Sometimes it is as easy as your child telling you they want more independence or wanting to do more things on their own.
  2. Child Wants To Be More With Peers: If your child wants to be on play dates with peers versus hanging out with Mom, there is another sure sign.
  3. Child Seems Happy When Given Responsibilities: If your child loves the feeling of independence they get doing chores or other responsibilities, they are ready for more independence.
  4. Child  Talks About Being Older With Excitement: This is a surefire way to tell that the child is ready for more independence in doing things on their own.

Exceptional Parents, how often are you conflicted if you are micro managing your Exceptional Child too much and not giving them any personal space to grow? We all struggle with this. It is especially challenging when your Exceptional Child has a different brain and ways of perceiving the world as well as mental health issues which require additional parental support. Still, if you take the time as a parent to read your child’s cues, you will begin to see when they need more of parent time, and when they need more alone time. Don’t be afraid to let them try things on their own. This is a surefire way to help them build self-confidence and become more risk takers. These are life skills that will help them out tremendously as they get to adulthood. 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.