All parents see huge changes in their children when they are going through puberty. It is no different for parents of exceptional children. The thing is, we sometimes see the changes more intensely and can’t always follow where our child is going. This is kind of where we are with Michael these days. He hit puberty a while ago, and now it’s learning to navigate new domains- more intense crushes, more surly behavior, how to be affectionate and close with him in a different way, and how to do this while keeping in mind that puberty is intermingled with his other issues. At the top of this list is remembering that as challenging as it is to be Michael’s parent, he is the one going through the challenges. He is looking to Dad and I to explain the complexity of life, puberty and the other changes his body is going through when we do not fully understand his brain chemistry. He is quite an incredible kid. Tonight he had three low blood sugars. He has been having a lot of low blood sugars this week. We have recently stopped an OCD medication that was doing more harm than good, including to his blood sugar. He is so good natured about it, though he was a little stressed noticing some OCD type things slowly coming back. Dad and I reassured him we would continue to help him with strategies to manage the stressful thoughts, as well as possible new medication. He took it in stride.
I always feel guilty when I lose patience with Michael when he is challenging. It is not his fault the way he is wired, any more than it is my fault the way I am wired. I know he tries so hard and succeeds much of the time in exhibiting self-control. He is getting better at learning how to navigate his emotions too, and most importantly, has empathy for me and Dad when he goes too far. We always acknowledge that and praise him for recognizing his mistakes and doing reparations of any sort. The thing is sometimes it is so hard to know what to address with him- his anxiety, his anger, his blood sugars, his learning, his social skills. I also never know lately who will come home to me, my lovable boy child who wants to sit and talk about his day, my surly tween who barely acknowledges me and goes to call his friends, or an angry child in a much younger developmental stage who blows up at me physically and at property and is totally unpredictable. I do my best to call it, redirect and afterwards have Michael learn from the experience. There has been some success, but as always, with a special child there are new things to tweak, skills to work on. I worry so much that I am failing him when I don’t get it right some afternoons. Some mornings too we start off rocky. However, I am learning as a Mom that it is ok to still be learning. It is ok to be upset if your child throws you a curve ball, as long as you stay calm, focused, don’t take what they say personally (a DEFINITE tough one), and learn from their overreactions as well as your own.
Exceptional Parents, how do you handle your Exceptional Child’s various mood swings? Even if they are not in puberty, kids throw us emotional zingers all the time. It’s important that we work with a good team who can help us decode our child for sure, but the most important work is done by you, the parent. Only you know best who your child is on the inside and what they are capable of. Only you can love unconditionally, support and encourage your child like no one else can. And remember, even during the hard times, that your child is a gift to the world with so much to offer. Help them learn to unwrap the treasures inside themselves. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD 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.