Michael is being too hard on himself and hates when people make mistakes. Michael has a hard time controlling his fear and anger. Michael is scared. Wow. Michael is me. Or at least was me when I was a little girl. Albeit, a more intense ASD/ADHD version of me, but me nonetheless. While he expresses his fear of failure and anger by not stopping to think or regulate, I did it by pushing my fears inside and having crying spells at eleven years old. Still, it is the same. Self-regulation was something it took me to adulthood to learn how to use. On the days when I become discouraged with Michael, I think why can’t he control his anger better? Why is he scared, he has the tools to handle this? I remember at 11 the dark times I went through. I started thinking back to those times last year when Michael turned 11. It may have been the first time I actually began to hear the negative self-talk beginning in my head. At first, I ignored it and pushed it down. During my tweens and teens though with hormones and self-esteem issues, it was difficult. Thank goodness I had an understanding mother who repeatedly told me, “these years will be the hardest. You will find yourself in adulthood.” She was right! It happened, though it took me to my mid thirties until I was finally at peace with myself.
I’m trying to remember this now as I navigate extreme tween puberty with Michael where he ranges from annoyed, to condescending, to aggressive, then to weepy and back again to the happy little boy he used to be. Friends and girls are at the top of the list. Sexuality, music, video games, and swearing to be cool figure in there too. If this is tween puberty what will the rest of teen puberty look like I think. Eek! But seriously, I am starting to not only have sympathy for Michael dealing with all of this AND his different brain, but seeing how even though it was not to the same intensity, there is not a whole lot of difference between my tween/teen experience and Michael’s. It’s hard for a lot of Exceptional Parents to handle. My child really does not fall far from the tree, so how can I judge him/her when I struggled in many of the same ways as he does now? I see and hear myself doing many of the same things right, (and some wrong) like my Mom did. No parent is perfect, after all. But then I think, compassion for Michael starts with compassion for me. When I pull my emotional self (inner and outer) together, I can parent him all that much better and set a good example for how to handle things in a healthier way. I don’t want him to be the scared, frustrated, type A kid who is afraid to speak his mind. I want him to learn calming strategies before his thirties, or else he is just running from himself as I did for so many years. I wanted to be everyone but me. This is never a good thing, because who we each are is a beautiful thing as we are all individuals with our own special gifts to offer the world.
I’ve come a long way as a woman and as a Mom. I want to be able to help Michael into adulthood avoid some of the pain of not being in touch with himself, and for the rest, being the soft cushion where he can rest his head when he is scared and overwhelmed. I think I am still that for him, at least most of the time. 🙂
Exceptional Parents, how like or unlike you is your Exceptional Child? A friend once told me it is good that I see so much of me in Michael. She was right, though it took me awhile to appreciate this fact. You see, recognizing where your child needs help is great if you’ve already tackled it yourself. If you have not come to terms with parts of yourself that need healing though, this is much more challenging. Don’t worry though. Take heart. You are an adult now and can work on healing your own inner self. Therapy, meditation, exercise, and any type of self-care will help you get in touch with your inner being, in order to heal you and help your child through their own challenges. Until next time.
Feeling overwhelmed as an Exceptional Parent? Don’t know where to turn for tips, and ways to survive and thrive during the whole journey? You are not alone. I have walked and continue to walk this path myself. As a writer, speaker, parent coach and Mom to a son with Autism, ADHD, and Type 1 Diabetes, I can help you through all the twists and turns that parenting an exceptional child require, while keeping your sense of humor intact, your sense of self and relationships intact, and helping you see that not only are you raising your exceptional child, but they are raising you to be the best human being you can be. You are each other’s advocates for a better world. For more information on my coaching packages, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.