Things have been getting a lot better at our house as Michael is learning to manage his anger. He is using tools like deep breathing, pausing, taking a break in another room, and slowly learning that it is ok to admit he feels out of control, as long as he waits to talk about his feelings once he is in a calmer state. Handling emotions like fear, worry and anger have always been rough for Michael, like they are for many exceptional children. They are usually hard on themselves and feel bad that they lose control. They don’t see that others, adults too, often have moments that they wish they could take back, and instead feel ashamed when they can’t reign in their emotions.
Slowly over the course of the last year with Michael’s Educator, we have been showing him with various great tools, articles and resources, that he alone can take charge of his emotions and make better choices. Also, he has learned that when he makes a mistake, he can always try again and learn from the mistake. This has been one of the hardest things Michael has had to face, forgiving himself and realizing he is a great kid even if he messes up sometimes. He’s a lot like many kids in this way, hard on himself by saying he is not a good kid when he makes poor choices. All kids need reassurance that they are on the right path. Dad and I have always tried to show Michael our love for him, and to tell him that we have made mistakes doing and saying things that we regret. However, it is never too late to learn from these mistakes and become stronger. It is also never too late to admit when we were wrong and grow from it.
As an exceptional parent, I have learned how me staying calm, being forgiving and re framing what Michael is saying and doing in the most positive light possible, can often turn a negative situation in a positive direction much more quickly. Yes, your child needs to realize that they have control to say and do things differently and be willing to try new things, but you as the parent can help pave the way for them by talking about your own anxious and angry moments and what you did to change and become more positive. If you are learning along with your child, admit this too. Kids appreciate knowing that even grownups have hard times and days and can learn from it.
Exceptional Parents, how have you talked your Exceptional Child down from anger and anxiety to calm serenity? I’ll bet it’s when you yourself were calm, reasonable, and just physically and mentally there to accept them in all their stressful and even when they make mistakes. Think how you feel when you mess up as an adult and have a reliable family member or friend listen to you unload. Give your child that time as angry as you may be for their behavior, recognize that their anger and anxiety is due to them feeling powerless to control their emotions. By you controlling yours and staying focused on being calm, you are giving them the best example for building their own serenity. Until next time.