Michael amazes me. I have said this before, but now more than ever, I see his future potential when I see the mature moments he is capable of, despite the challenges. This is something I hold on to, for when things are tough, they are tough. He has been doing so well out in public at doctor’s appointments in particular. There is a new maturity in how he handles medical information about his diabetes, his eye health and his mental health. He admits his struggles with controlling his temper, and is scared about how he loses control. Dad and I are constantly trying to help him tweak new strategies to get calm and stay that way. I am also learning how to reward the positive moments. This means verbally and with a points system where he earns a certain amount of points for a predetermined prize. Praise and time spent going places with us is one of his favorite rewards.
I have to admit that I sometimes forget about how important it is to acknowledge the positive moments. I am trying though. I truly believe that all kids want to do good, act appropriately and control their impulses. Some of them are wired differently though, so impulse and self-control are challenging.When parents don’t have the right tools to handle kids with these issues (or have those issues themselves), this can spell disaster for self-regulation in these kids. The good news is that children can be taught how to control impulses and self-regulate, even exceptional kids. It just takes A LONG time and A LOT of patience on the part of families. But we can’t give up on them. It is especially important that when we see they are truly connecting with positive parenting changes we are putting in, tough love initiatives, and wanting to be with us even if they are the surly teenager at other times, we are certainly doing something right.
So what things should a parent watch for to reward? Here are some:
1) Your child does things without being asked: This is important as a lot of oppositional kids need to be told over and over what to do.
2) Your child wants to be with you: A lot of challenging kids will not want to listen to parents or be with them. If this changes and they want time with you, success is happening.
3) Your child is polite and respectful- manners, talking calmly and being sympathetic to you: This is awesome if they are doing this. Most challenging kids want to get a rise out of you by doing negative things. If they are instead happy to get attention by positive things it is all the better.
Exceptional Parents, how do you reward positive behavior in a challenging child? Do you sometimes forget to acknowledge it? If so, how about charting positive behavior like you do negative? This could be a great way to remind yourself (and your child) of all the time they do well and make good choices. It will help them and you not lose faith about a positive future. Until next time.
Are the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive!