How Your Patience Can Help or Hinder Your Relationship With Your Exceptional Child

It’s been one of those challenging weeks, but not in the way you’d think. Michael has actually been doing a little better, though he has still had his moments when frustration and aggression have built up. It’s me who has had the challenges on the home front. I have had more issues keeping my cool at home, though I have managed. The thing is I have erupted after Michael has gotten on the bus in the morning or gone to bed. I have allowed myself time to fume, cry, yell or just breathe out the stress of the morning or evening. Sometimes I have allowed myself a little chuckle. After all, in spite of the challenging moments, there have been funny moments related to his puberty, like when he has made comments that are less than flattering. Hasn’t ever child in puberty done that? Or times when he has behaved so typically like a tween who is WAY cooler than his parents, that I have said, ok, it will be ok Joanne. He is not your average child. Nor will he ever be. But you are not your average Mom either. You have mornings like this one when you are in physical pain (I pulled a muscle in my calf), and are tired, so your patience is not the best. But you will get through it. You will breathe, laugh, remember that you can learn from the mistakes you make this morning, like making a big deal that he was taking his time to come do his insulin injection. He still managed to get it done in time. Or rushing around when he wanted to talk to you for fear you’d forget something when there was still time to double check. You both survived and made school and work on time.

It’s a juggling act keeping your personal space and respecting your Exceptional Child’s personal space when they have a hard time respecting yours. Michael will sometimes pull me close. Other times he will push me away, literally and figuratively. Then I hear him talking to his friends proudly telling them about me and Dad. He loves and respects us. This doesn’t always come out when we calmly ask him to follow his morning and evening routine. When we gently reprimand him for breaking rules of swearing or other social no no’s. Then he is not the sweet little boy talking gently to us. He is the little rebel who feels that his parents are against him. He makes excuses for himself based on the fact that his brain works differently.  I have (and fill in all the blanks). I get both angry and sad at the same time. Yes, his different brain causes some issues in how he sees and reacts to things, but it must not be used as an excuse for him to get away with anger, bitterness or fear. We are telling him this. He is learning this as well.

I am proud to see Michael using his calm card, other strategies and making positive changes. I am also proud that he is pushing me to up my ante and change my bad habits, such as how I sometimes overreact to his moods, hyper and angry, practice better self-care, and ask for what I need from my family as well as admitting it to myself. This has been a challenging week for me on all fronts, as I have learned what I can change in me to be a better person- more patient, forgiving and open. I need to take better care of me. I need to laugh more. I need to rest more. But above all, I need to see that Michael, like me, is trying, really trying to get better using whatever tools he can at his disposal. I need to use my tools so I don’t lose perspective and remember that no matter what, I can do this motherhood thing like I do this life thing. It is not always easy, but it is an amazing ride. An exceptional child really opens you up in all ways possible and shows you what you are made of. Like my fellow exceptional Moms and Dads, I realize I am made of strong stuff-not perfect, not always getting it right, but of learning, growing through the hard times, and becoming a stronger parent and human being overall.

Exceptional Parents, what have you learned from your Exceptional Children on your tough weeks? Yes! That is the way you need to start looking at all the bad times. They are not meant to break you. They are meant to build you up as a parent and caregiver, as well as build your child up. They are meant to make you become a more open, forgiving and calm person. Your child and the world need more calm souls. Remember, you can become that calm soul. Cultivate more peace and forgiveness towards your child and then you will be able to do it more towards yourself as well. 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,

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