There have been many things that have been exciting to see so far with Michael experiencing puberty-independence in how he organizes himself, his own opinion about things to an even greater degree than before, and his love of being around peers and sharing ups and downs with them. These are the good things. Then, sigh, there have been the cons of your exceptional child experiencing puberty. The main con I could attest to, has been the back tack. The back talk has been everything from swearing, closing doors when talking to his friends, and saying rude things to him amidst eye rolling for effect, just because he is asserting himself. What have been my feeling about this? I can say that it has been both exhilarating and frustrating. I am so glad to see Michael asserting himself, yet so annoyed that I am in enemy territory on some occasions. Still, there is hope. My son wants to spend time with me, and not only because of what I could give him (toys, rides, food). He genuinely wants a relationship with me. Tonight, he was upset that I was a little bit distracted when he was telling me about his day and kept saying “look at me Mommy.” He also postpones talking to his friends on the phone most nights, so he can share his day with me. Ahh is all I can say. This feels good.
So what do I think make up the pros and cons of puberty in an exceptional family? Here are some of them:
- Your child is asserting themselves: Of course you want to make sure it is positive, but a child asserting what they believe is really good and something to aim for long term.
- They are developing as they should: Whether a child has special needs or not, puberty happens. If it is in full bloom, at least we know they are developing on track and can guide them according to their own abilities to handle life’s ups and downs.
- You have to tolerate a whole new backlash of behavior: Sometimes when your child is struggling to find themselves they are harder on you. This means tolerating some testing behavior, being firm in when they have to apologize, and moving forward.
- You mourn the loss of your little boy/girl: You also have to acknowledge that your child is growing up and not a little boy/girl anymore. This is hard because they are in that in-between stage where they and you are still learning together. Be patient and forgiving. you will both get to the finish line eventually.
Exceptional Parents, if your Exceptional Child is in puberty has it been easy or difficult for you and them? Remember, it is a learning process for both of you, and when you are ready to meet them halfway, that is when things will flow a lot more smoothly. 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.