We have just come off of a relatively good weekend and I am overjoyed. Notice, I do not say perfect, because really, with an exceptional child is there ever a perfect weekend? With any child is there a perfect weekend? I would say probably not. But for me, this weekend was the closest thing to perfect we have had in awhile. Why? Well, for one thing Michael is connecting the dots and understanding how his behavior impacts his life and ours. He is also using the new strategies we have been putting in, and when he messes up, has been apologizing legitimately. It has been wonderful to see him “getting” it.
I have also seen him so with it. He has been so observant of all things happening around him. He has noticed little things and asked me questions about the why’s and how’s. This has been a great comfort, as there have been some really rough days when he has tested through anger, as well as been so fearful and anxious. My heart has been breaking for him, and I have praying we find the right therapy and medication mix that can help him control himself and self-regulate at all times. He has been sensing when he is off and out of control, and asking me for help.
So, what have been some of the things I have noticed to show me Michael is connecting the behavior dots and that I think signify that all exceptional kids are catching on to a new structure or behavior program being implemented at home? Here are 5 of them:
- Using a calm down card immediately or close after getting angry: This is a great strategy our Educator told Michael about. When he gets angry, he is to take his card where he drew a picture of himself calming down. He is now using this card almost right away and it is helping a lot.
- So alert to everything around him and admitting his mistakes: Another positive sign, is that Michael, though always observant, has started really picking up on fine details of how he needs to organize his schedule, day and night time. He is also taking things like homework and finding lost objects more seriously. He is apologizing when he gets upset at us and says hurtful things.
- Is handling the concept inappropriate behavior=negative consequences and expresses regret about his choices-vows to learn: When he has chosen to be inappropriate and I have calmly put in the negative consequences for this behavior, Michael has expressed genuine regret for his choices and told me he misses his positive routine. For example, at bedtime he was being inappropriate so did not get his full bedtime hug and kiss, but simply a very quick good night. He told me he would do better next time. He likes the extra hugs and our evening bedtime prayer ritual!
- Saying he/she loves you and is happy with you: Some kids will say it, some will want to spend more time with parents or at home. Regardless, it means kids are getting the message that by listening and learning from their mistakes, things will only get better in their life.
- Talking about you positively to friends and at school: When your child is able to talk about family life positively to teachers and friends at school, and even shares cute anecdotes about you with them, you know your child is really understanding that they have a lot to be thankful for.
Exceptional Parents, are you seeing good changes in your child’s behavior after trying out new behavior tools in the home? If not, maybe it’s time to change your expectations for your child and what they are capable of at this time. Have a look at the behavior plan you have in place. What is not working? That is where you have to tweak and be willing to try new things. The main things in any successful behavior plan is consistency, allowing time for new ideas to take shape, staying calm and in control of your emotions, and most importantly of all, understanding that sometimes at the beginning of new changes in how you relate to your child, their behavior will get worse before it gets better. This is actually a good sign. Hang in there. Breathe. Allow a few days to a week. You will most likely see signs like the ones above. If you mess up, admit it to your child and yourself and learn from it. Let your child learn from their mess ups too. This is all a part of being human and learning to grow as an exceptional family. Above all, be proud of your child for trying and doing the best they can to succeed. Things will start to happen for the better if you keep an open mind. 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.