Month: March 2019

I Want To Spend Time With You-When Your Tween Wants To Engage And How To Keep Communication Open

Tonight I experienced a beautiful Mom moment. Michael, who has been engaging in normal growing up rebellion coupled with his exceptional issues, actually said out loud;

“Mom, I want to spend time with you.”

Wow! I almost asked him to repeat it, but then realized, no, I heard him right. He actually said he likes to go to stores with me and when I take him in the car to his activities during the week and weekend. He looks forward to our weekly store run which happens most Friday nights, sometimes Thursdays. He will navigate in the car with me experimenting with different ways we can take home, though he has his favorites. He asks me to blast the radio when it is his favorite song, though when we talk in the car I lower the music of course, so we can hear each other. I love this. It brings me back to my youth when I was driving in the car with my Dad. That is where we had our best conversations. With my Mom, they happened after school at snack time and family conversations happened at the dinner table. But back to Michael and I. I love that he listens to the same dance countdown that I did as a tween and teen on the same station. I love the music he is listening to, and we both rock in our different ways to the beat. 😉  We are falling into a new routine together, still close, yet with different expectations from one another. He is growing up and needs more space alone and time with friends, but still craves conversation and being together in the same area. It is really sweet. Then when he’s had enough I’ll get the tween eye rolls. That’s ok. I have the equivalent adult eye rolls when I need my space. Dad knows this about me as a partner too. I love my family and friends, but there are some moments when I need to be alone, and if I don’t get my alone time I become cranky and irritable.

So this whole kid still wanting to spend time with me thing has got me thinking about the importance of continuing to maintain a close relationship with your Exceptional Child, even as they grow and their interests and attention span changes. What things can you do to continue to keep the doors of communication open, especially as every age brings with it extra challenges for your child? Here are some things that have worked for our family:

1) Let your child know you are there for them: This does not mean insisting they talk to you every day, but in direct and not so direct ways, let your child know you are available to listen to them if they are stressed or will celebrate with them if they experience a victory. I have a certain time of the day set aside where Michael knows I am there for him, and we have mother/son rituals like our spring and summer walks.

2) Be excited when you are with your child: Even if you are tired or stressed yourself, make sure your child knows that whatever time you spend together with them is a happy time. It’s all about quality not quantity.

3) Create opportunities to talk: Always create opportunities in pockets of time in the day for your child to communicate with you. If after school over a snack works, talk then. If driving them to an activity makes it easier to talk, use that as a starting point. Sometimes at dinner or over a tv show works too.

4) Plan out activities away from technology: If you are out at a park playing a sport together, walking, biking, swimming. All of these sports create different opportunities to bond. Sometimes reading side by side can be a good way for exceptional kids who like books, to bond.

5) Have family only time, alone time, and friend time divided up in the day: Make sure that your child knows that balance is important and that time with family, time alone and time with friends is equally important for everyone. Respect those boundaries for them and teach them to respect them for you too.

Exceptional Parents, do you feel as if your child is growing closer or further away from you? Both are normal events and they happen in all families. The only thing is that with Exceptional Children they are usually more intense either way. If you and your child are drifting apart, take some time to look at what is not working and open up the communication in a different way. If you are becoming closer, look at what is working and make sure to keep that momentum going. You want to repeat the positive experience, and if it falters, know what needs to be adjusted. It is also totally normal for your child to rebel, grow away from you, and struggle. Let them experience all their feelings good and bad. This will help them grow. As long as they know you are there to catch them if they fall and are always in their corner, you are on the right track. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? 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! 

 

 

 

Exceptional Handling of Life’s Challenges-How My Exceptional Son And I Learn From Eachother

“Mommy, you don’t have to call the nurse to tell her to do my lunchtime injection. The needle on my pen is too tight. Here, let me replace it and the NPH pen will work.”

These were the words that came out of Michael’s mouth on Tuesday morning when we were on our usual race against the clock to do his two diabetes injections, so he does not need to do a lunchtime injection, have him eat his breakfast, get dressed and make the bus. He’d gotten a later start that morning and was his usual talkative self IN SPITE of the fact that we had about ten less minutes than usual. I, remaining calm on the outside, was a little stressed on the inside, and when stressed on the inside, my technical dexterity is the first thing to go. Hence, me thinking this injection pen had malfunctioned when it had not. It had happened legitimately in the past, so I wasn’t totally crazy. Still, something told me to trust him, oh yeah, it was the voice that said, Michael is cool with handling his diabetes, way cooler than you. You worry a lot about this and tense up. Well, as you can imagine I was right to listen to that voice. Michael fixed the pen, I gave him his two injections as usual, and away we went with the morning. What did this incident teach me? I need to be able to tune into Michael’s strong areas and grow stronger in my weaker areas.

Diabetes is something I have come to expect is part of Michael’s and our life. I kind of had no choice, but I don’t like it. Not one bit. I also am someone who is a tad squeamish about blood, needles, (giving needles and seeing them given), and argh, there is all that number crunching when calculating carbs at every meal. As a word person, numbers is SO not my thing. 🙂 This is my challenge as a parent and individual, and though I have risen to it, it has been tough. Michael, on the other hand, has excelled in handling his diabetes. It has been implementing new ways to handle emotions, deal with ADHD and anxiety that have been his more challenging areas. He has often turned to me for support with that part of his life, and here I can advise him. I have seen tremendous improvements in how he handles his emotions and responses to them. I’d like to think just like him watching him calmly take charge of diabetes management, he can see me calmly taking charge of showing him how to manage his emotional regulation. He has often asked me, “Help me Mommy. What do I do?” Over time, we have found ways to help him manage his emotions. There is still a lot of tweaking involved, on his and my part, but I can see him listening, really listening to what I have to say and following through with it. I have done the same thing when he has taken the wheel and showed his responsibility towards managing diabetes. His next exciting venture-learning how to do his own injections. As he has taken charge of controlling aggression and outbursts, Dad and I have told him that we will show him how to do his own injections very soon.  All he needs to do is demonstrate the same calm, collected behavior on a regular basis. Then, we know he will be ready.

Exceptional Parents, what have you learned from your Exceptional Child and what have they learned from you? Remember, you are both constantly in a teaching/learning mode together. As you begin to pay attention, you’ll see your child’s life lessons become yours and vice versa. It’s important to help support each other and overcome personal weaknesses as well as celebrating individual strengths. This will strengthen your child’s confidence and yours. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? 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! 

The Amazing Moment It All Clicks-Getting And Implementing New Behavior Measures With Your Exceptional Child

After a few tough weeks, it is really wonderful to see how this week in spite of challenges, Michael is beginning to understand his actions both positive and negative, as well as the consequences of this behavior. He is constantly surprising me with his insight, “oh, I guess I made a poor choice there so I lost my point towards a reward for good behavior,” to actually stopping himself from saying or doing something aggressive in the nick of time and then visibly breathing or saying, “I need a strategy reminder or where is my blue folder with my strategies?” Wow. The months and months of hard work we have all been putting in are paying off. Dad, Michael and I are communicating better, more clearly. I have never seen him so polite with me and his father. I am also finding reserves of patience for the tough times when he is escalating or rude towards me, by standing my ground quietly. This has usually helped calm him and help him make a better choice.

So what method has been working for us the last few months as a family? Here is what seems to be making the difference for better behavior and home satisfaction for everyone:

1) Have a reward system in place: We use a points system where Michael earns points for not behaving in an aggressive way. Each point can build towards a pre determined list of rewards that we jointly agree on in advance.

2) Have a steady home schedule for weekday and weekend: Whether the schedule is on paper, computer or verbally agreed upon by parents and the child, it is important to have a schedule where the child knows what is happening, where there can be wiggle room should plans change, and where parents and child each have a say, with parents vetoing if something major is upset, of course.

3) Balance family time, alone time, and time with friends and extra curricular activities: Make sure your child has a balance in their schedule of time with you, alone, with their friends and in extra curricular activities. Time with me can be spent talking over dinner, on the way to an activity or in the am or pm before bed. Make sure they know you care by your actions and words, especially as the tween set don’t always want to hug you. 😉

4)Be clear and calm on your feelings at all times: It is so important to know what you need as a parent and individual. Make it clear to your child by putting in personal boundaries for yourself and teaching them to do that with others as well as with themselves.

5) Have a therapy team, books and support that click with how you want to raise your child: Last but not least, there is not one right way to raise any child, exceptional or not. Make sure that whatever your child’s team consists of (therapists, books, friends, support groups etc.), the suggestions they make to you jive with how you want to raise your child. As long as there are good boundaries, structure and consistency in how you parent, your child will respond positively. Do your best to bring out your child’s best in this way.

Exceptional Parents, what behavior system have you used that has worked to help your child either overcome or get better at handling challenging behaviors? Make sure that whatever style you are using, respects everyone in your family, including yourself. The system has to be clear for all to understand and implement. You will know you are on the right track, when your child’s attitude towards listening and making good choices improve and negative behaviors go significantly down. Be patient. The process takes time, but is more than worth it in the end when your child and you have a strong bond together. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? 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! 

 

 

Why The Little Surprises From Your Exceptional Tween Make All The Difference

So today Michael came home from school and two things happened. He wanted to talk to me RIGHT AWAY and tell me about his day. This does not happen every day, and I know it is normal. He is growing up and almost a teenager. He usually mumbles hi, day was fine, and then asks if he could go call his friends and go on the computer. He eventually talks to me about his day, usually at dinner, but hearing it right from the moment he walks in like when he was a child, is still special for me. I see him growing up and respect that, but always remind him I am here if he needs to talk and want to continue to offer that closeness.

The other thing that happened was that Michael remembered to do something important today. Without reminders or prompts, HE wore his new Medic Alert necklace that will inform medical personnel in case of an emergency that he is autistic and diabetic, two important things to keep in mind when giving him medical attention should he God forbid not be able to speak for himself. I saw he was wearing it and was blown away. He remembered on his own! That was the first time we did not have to tell him or ask him if he had it. I said, “Michael, I am so proud of you. You remembered to wear your necklace!” His blush and small smile spoke volumes. My words still had meaning for him! I still mattered to him at a time when friends and peer groups rule over parent groups. Wow! We both experienced a rush. My tough big boy who can, frankly, be a pain in the you know what some days, was once again my little boy, who indeed still values my opinion, thought and guidance. I know this, of course, but seeing it with my own eyes is something else.

I have also noticed that even with the tough moments where behaviors still arise and attitude is present, Michael is being more polite and respectful towards Dad and I. There is more of “Thank you Mom, for letting me use your phone to navigate on Google Maps.” “Thank you Mom, for making this meal or letting me have five minutes extra time before bedtime.”  Occasionally I have even been wished, “have a good night’s sleep Mom. Have a good writer’s meeting  or good day Mom.” Yes! His good character is coming through the rebellion, the pulling away that is natural but hard on him and me at times. My sweet little boy is still sweet, but now is a sweet big boy, slowly starting his way on to manhood. Gulp. But, I am seeing a funny side to all of this. Even when he is angry and annoyed at me, I see his struggles. I see him trying to understand the world, me, his friends, himself, through a tween soon to be teen lens. It is not easy. As his teacher this year said to me last week at Parent/Teacher Night, “Remember your teen years. Were they easy for you with the hormones and growing up?” I of course said no. They were the hardest of my life. He reminded me that for Michael he has those hormones, growing up, WITH ASD, ADHD, Diabetes and anxiety. Yep. A lot more to contend with. And looking at Michael through that lens, he is doing a fantastic job of navigating life.

For me as an Exceptional Parent, what has proved the best tool to navigate these years has been what got me through the toddler years- a sense of humor. No, I do not laugh when he is angry and swearing, but I do remember that yes, this too shall pass in a few years when he realizes I and Dad know more than his friends do. Even now, there are those moments when he says things like, “Put your phone down Mommy. I want to talk to you. Listen to me.” He will usually burst into the room when I am in the middle of something, but after asking him for a minute to close up shop, I give him my full attention. I also have reminded him, “4:00-4:30 is your time with me. We can talk if you need it.” He knows I am there if he needs to vent.  I feel the love in the moments when he asks,  will I be coming to his concert, will I be taking any future PED DAYS off, will I take him places in the summer? Yes, he may be pulling away naturally from me, (a good and healthy thing), but I am glad that our relationship is back on a respectful, calm, and orderly plane, so he knows that I love him and make rules for his protection and well being.

Exceptional Parents, how often have your Exceptional Children surprised you? Remember, as hard as life gets with the meltdowns, misunderstandings and challenges, never give up on your child meeting you halfway. If they see healthy boundaries, respect shown both ways, and a willingness for you to keep an open mind and sense of humor, whatever age and stage they are at, they will gravitate towards a more positive relationship  with me in whatever way they are capable of doing. They will feel your love so never be afraid of giving them space, and staying close for when they need your help. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? 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! 

Seeing Your Exceptional Child’s Progress Among The Struggles And Rewarding It

Tonight was Parent/Teacher Night at Michael’s school. Over the years, the faces of the teachers and therapists have sometimes changed, but the feeling of being among family, people who truly care about your child’s well being and progress is amazing. That is why I was a little nervous walking in tonight as Michael’s report card, though filled with positive comments, also contained some that mentioned things like difficulty focusing, needing more intense support in some areas, and struggling in others. And, as an Exceptional Mom, ok now let’s be honest, as pretty much ANY Mom, I felt like great that there are good things, but how am I failing him with the struggles? What am I NOT doing to support him better at home so he will struggling less at school? And that’s when I realized I was doing it again. I was not celebrating the progress he has made, that all our kids make, in day to day life. Yes, sometimes that progress could be something simple like greeting another adult by saying “Hi, how are you?” Other times it could be, MAJOR improvements in handwriting. That would be Michael’s, as he has struggled with writing and fine motor skills from toddler hood onward. It could also be how your child handles organizing certain areas of their life. Michael needs reminders to get ready for school, pack his schoolbag, but for diabetes management at home, school, and elsewhere, all I can say is WOW. School said the same thing. He is on top of things and educating the adults around him. I sometimes forget this progress in my zeal to make everything perfect, to feel like he is improving everywhere means that I am successfully doing my job as a Mom.

If there is an area of struggle, I am at fault for not fixing it. That’s when I realized tonight, no. I am a champion of Michael. I am doing all I can to encourage Michael to find good strategies, good organization, make good choices, all while doing what every parent does; working , running a household, and squeezing in time for me and Dad in between. Michael is responsible for Michael, and Joanne for Joanne. Michael needs guidance from Joanne, aka Mom, but she is not the one who needs to learn to fix things, Michael is. Mom supports the child. Mom works with school, therapists, and others to help her child grow and develop. But in the end, it is the child who needs to be released to fly on his own. I am doing more and more of the releasing, but every once in a while I doubt if I am not intervening enough.

Then, three times a year, I get to look at Michael as his school does. What do they tell me? Michael is polite. Michael enjoys being with his friends. Michael makes an effort to learn and when struggling, knows to ask for help. Michael manages many things independently, and with practice and time, will manage other things independently too. My heart soars at these words as well the words of the teacher tonight when I spoke with him who reminded me. “He is doing great overall. Just remember to tell him you are proud of him.” I did. I really did, in passing the first time, but tonight when I came home, I told him again as he seemed nervous and we talked about what I spoke to his teacher about. It’s funny, Dad reminded me of the same thing when I was worried that Michael had had his third or fourth sugar low of the week this week. “Just tell him you are proud of how he is managing his lows.” I know. The Universe and God speak through people. I now remember every day to tell Michael when I am proud of him.

Exceptional Parents, do you take time, even in stressful moments, to look at how far your child has come in their Exceptional journey? All of them have struggles, but have victories too. Remember and celebrate those victories, especially during the tough times or even the times when there are minor struggles. This is what will remind your child how far they have come too, and how far they can go. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? 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! 

Making Boundaries And Allowing Room To Fall- Why This Is The Best Way To Raise Exceptional Children

Let my son fail? Let my little boy experience even more challenges than he already does with ASD, ADHD and anxiety, and now, Type 1 Diabetes? No. There was a part of me, the Mama Bear part of me, that said I needed to protect him. I needed to shield him from the world. I needed to give him a break. Then the realistic Mama, the one that knows that the world responds to individuals who take charge of their own destiny, special needs or not, took over. She said. He cannot use his challenges as an excuse not to succeed. So far, Michael has not encountered people who have assumed he would fail, but I know he may. So far, Michael has encountered people who have rooted for him to succeed, people in his family, at his school, in the adapted community and in the the non-adapted community around us. I finally know that in order for Michael to truly succeed I have had to learn to stop making excuses for him. I am now working on telling him that yes, although his different brain means different challenges it does not mean he gets a cop out from life. When I tell him he needs to learn to organize himself better, be on time, be discreet, eat and groom properly, these are all things that are expected of everybody, neuro typical or out of the neuro typical stream. He may roll his eyes, but I keep reiterating it. His teachers too. Family too. Yes, exceptional kids have a harder time, but it does not mean they get a free pass in life. That is insulting to them and to those around them.

Every single person in the world can make a contribution and needs to do something meaningful with their lives within their ability. It is important, I truly believe, for parents to instill this in their children when they are young. Hone their strengths. Encourage them to live up to the highest expectations. Moms and Dads, you know your kids can do it. Yes, they may not fit the so-called “normal” profile. But really, who does? We all have some eccentricity. Some form of learning or challenge that makes us unique and helps us think outside the box.  This is not only good for us, it is healthy for society, for companies, for the world at large. In the end, what matters is focusing on strengths, working on weaknesses, and no matter what kind of brain we have, not making any excuses for ourselves. If your child fails at listening, academics, socializing or all of the above, don’t berate or yell at them. Sit down honesty, and look at what can be done to help them learn from mistakes and strengthen their weaknesses at home, at school and in the community.  And don’t forget to celebrate the successes even if a small way. Tonight, was a tough start at our house, but when Michael became angry and regulated himself and then asked me, “are you proud Mommy?” I said I was. I also praised him after a WHOLE good night of listening and cooperating in his bedtime routine. A little praise goes a long way for all of us, especially for our exceptional kids who struggle with basic things in life.

Exceptional Parents, how often do you allow your child to fail if it means that they will learn and become stronger? It is hard with Exceptional Kids in the beginning, as they fail in society’s eyes in so many ways lagging behind in milestones other parents take for granted with neuro typical kids. Still, all is not lost. When our kids struggle, this is when we can show them the way to build resilience. We can show them that they have it in them to learn, fight, grow and triumph like any kid does. Boundaries for their safety must always be there, but allowing them to grow from struggling and loving them along the way, is the best way to help them succeed in the world. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? 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! 

Staying Calm and In Control When Rebounding From Parenting Errors-Using Yourself As An Example

So tonight when I said something that made Michael upset and provoked an anxiety attack, I realized too little, too late that I needed to save having the conversation to a better time. A meltdown ensued, with everything in between. When things finally did calm down, I am proud to say that I used myself as a model for how to calm down when you are upset.  I was just as upset as Michael was about our fight. I was in the process of leaving the house, but due to the fight I knew I would end up being late. So, what did I do first? I showed Michael through example how to calm down so we could talk. He actually ended up calming down faster than me, so I told him I still needed a few minutes. Here are the steps I used which I am trying to replicate each time there is a fight or misunderstanding:

1) My mantra of Stop, Breathe, Act. I stopped my own anger, breathed and then acted on a positive strategy to carry myself forward. In my case, a mantra that tells me I can do this.

2) Used the Zones of Regulation (Green, Blue, Yellow, Red) to see which zone I was in and ask Michael for time till I got into the proper zone for talking for me-green. I had the conversation when in green.  http://www.zonesofregulation.com/index.html.

3) Practiced patience in reassuring Michael about the next steps we would take to fix the problem. In our case, we wrote down the rules on paper, so that everyone was in agreement about how this particular situation would unfold this time.

4) Got the whole family together to have a family meeting and agree to said conditions: It is important that everyone learns from anger outbursts and moves forward. No blame, just taking responsibility for their own actions.

Exceptional Parents, how have you handled your children’s outbursts and your own reactions when they haven’t been so positive? Like with anything in life, you need to remind yourself that mistakes happen,  you learn from them, and move forward. Acting calm and matter of fact like this even after a fight, will show your child that you too make mistakes and can learn from them personally and as a family. Remind them that they can always move forward,  formulate an emotional regulation plan that works for them, and then put it into practice like you do for yourself. When they see you modeling your own emotional regulation plan, they will be more likely to eventually start doing it themselves. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? 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! 

Thinking Back and Looking Forward-Adjusting Your Expectations For Where Your Exceptional Child Is At

The other day I was looking at Michael and thinking how fast my little, er, big boy is growing. His outlook on life is changing almost as fast as his interests. He does not want hugs and physical closeness to Mom and Dad. That is not for “big boys,” yet he will come out of his room and ask can he talk to me about his day, his excitement, his worries? Of course I always say yes, and continue to just be there for him as a kind ear, sympathetic, loving, firm and consistent, or at least as consistent as I can be when I relate to him. Sometimes I have to do a little Mom catch up and relate to him and talk to him as I would have a year ago. This does not go over well and I get things like I’m not a baby. I don’t like that anymore. I want you to trust me to do things aloneMy friends are all that matter. I am learning how to carry forth the good progress we have made through relating to one another as Michael’s aggression and anxiety began escalating two years ago, to negotiating all that with a teen to be in the house. 🙂 The results are usually good, though there are days that I chalk down to experience when I will lose my patience as Michael loses his and we both take breathing room apart before making up and moving forward.

The thing to remember for most parents, is that your child is always the same kid inside, though through growth spurts, mental maturity and puberty, their tastes in activities, people and even food can change. Keep in mind the character your child has had from birth. That really does stay with them for life, I think. However, it changes a little as they grow. For example if they were spirited babies, they will be spirited kids and tweens that like to be on the go and are quite opinionated. If they are anxious about new experiences and people, when they are little it may have been demonstrated by tantrums. As a child or tween, it may manifest in a sore stomach, touchy attitude, or yelling. As their parent, you know your child’s temperament the best. It may surprise you how little they change. The reactions look different, but it is the same fear expressing itself in two different ways. Think of yourself and your fears. You may show anxiety and anger differently than when you were a child, but they reactions to similar things are still there, and unless you make a conscious effort to deal with your personal fears, you will still struggle too, albeit in a different way. It’s important to be sympathetic to your child as well as supportive, and what I’ve found has worked in our home is asking Michael for input in handling this problem.  I can offer some suggestions, but he gets the final call on how to handle his anxiety, anger or schedule his leisure, with some obvious adult imposed limits for his safety. This too sometimes is met well other times with some resistance, but with gentle negotiation we can usually come to a compromise. 🙂

Exceptional Parents, do you find your child is the same yet different in how they handle some of life’s challenges as they grow older? This is normal. Growth has to happen on both ends, parent and child, for everyone to be in a happier and healthier place. Just remember to trust that you know your child’s character the best, and that with some tweaking from what the tell you and observations made, you will find the best way to relate to them as they age. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? 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! 

“Hey, I’m the Adult Here”- How to Make It Clear Who Sets The Pace While Still Respecting Your Child’s Boundaries

So tween hood has been challenging, very challenging so far for Michael and I. Sometimes he is downright funny like tonight when I knew he was trying to do something silly with a friend and I called him on it and he said, “Wow, Mommy! You are so smart! How did you know I was going to do that?” With a straight face, I answered him, because Moms are adults and we have lots of life experience. Other times, conversations can be downright frustrating, like when he argues that he is not hungry for breakfast and why can’t he not eat like so and so does in school? Because it is not healthy and I want you healthy. There are also fights about bedtimes. “Well so and so gets to stay up till 10 pm and HE is twelve years old. Sigh. If it was only these regular issues that I have to deal with. But then there are the inevitable challenges his anxiety, ASD, ADHD and diabetes bring for him and me. He needs LOTS of reassurance when stressed, can be quite impulsive when routines are interrupted, and diabetes, well, for the most part I’ve figured out the basics, but it throws me and Dad WAY too many curve balls and Michael too, of course.

This brings me to raising Michael now in this mindset, when I am not the Queen and center of his universe I once was. Friends have taken that spot, though he will still tell me about his day most of the time, talk about his problems, and occasionally, I get compliments on my cuisine even. 🙂 All jokes aside, he will also try to upset the power boundaries in our relationship and insist that he is in charge and I can’t stop him from

1) not brushing his teeth

2) not swearing in his head

3) not eating all his fruits and veggies

I say, you’re right, but I want you to make the healthy choices that are good for your overall functioning so that you feel good, be able to play and learn well. I have learned how to sidestep a power struggle with everything, though we have our mornings like this morning where he was misinterpreting everything I was saying and being grouchy about eating, moving fast and brushing his teeth. I looked at him in pure frustration and said,

“Next thing you’ll agree what color our toaster is with me. Just cooperate. The bus is coming!”
He surprised me by laughing, and saying he wasn’t like that. Then he paused and got moving. I stepped outside with my morning coffee and waited for the bus outside the house until he came out five minute later. This little technique (along with having my second cup of coffee Al Fresco) 😉 has saved many a morning from erupting into a full fledged fight. Most importantly, I am learning how to express myself to Michael making it clear that Dad and I are in charge and that there needs to be rules, but we can negotiate on compromise on things like bedtime (Bedtime Monday -Thursday and Sunday is at 9. Fridays and Saturdays you can go 9:30 as long as we see you are listening and calm). We also compromise on video or computer time the same way. And food, well, we let him pick a meal once a week, and the other times, he eats what he can, making an effort to eat a whole balanced plate.

Exceptional Parents, how do you balance your authority with giving your child choices? Like with everything in life, the middle road is actually the best road taken. It allows for a stable routine with some flexibility and negotiation with both sides. This method teaches your child respect of you and themselves, and you learn to respect them as well as growing thinkers and doers in charge of their destiny. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? 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! 

The Truth And Lies About How Exceptional Children Make You Stronger

Your child’s challenges will make you stronger and more resilient.

You will wake up as an advocate when you see your child struggling.

You will learn things you never knew existed.

You will need to turn this all off eventually in order to stay strong and help everyone around you, including yourself.

As Exceptional parents of Exceptional Children, we hear all of the above repeated to us MANY TIMES, but the last sentence, about turning off talking about special needs, our children’s challenges, and our challenges as parents, we don’t often hear this, and it’s a message we need to hear. Why? Because if Exceptional Parents don’t remember what made them who they were BEFORE having their Exceptional Children, they will not be much good to anyone, including their children. Resentment, anxiety, stress, and anger will build. Feeling overwhelmed at handling unpredictability and other emotions in our child will build. And when well meaning people tell us about articles, tv shoes, videos and other such things, if we are not strong in who we were PRIOR to our child’s diagnosis, we will collapse. I know this because it happened to me. Family and friends had a hard time relating to me. I had a hard time relating to me. I was a walking, talking, exposition on autism. I did not think or talk about anything else happening in the world. You see, to do so would have meant losing time on helping my son catch up, do well, thrive. This was normal to think then.

All parents  think this at the beginning. But the truth is, it is not realistic. Our kids need us to be healthy, balanced, happy and calm. This means that our lives as exceptional parents have things in it that concern our child. We do immerse ourselves in it, but then decide at some point, I need to focus on other things. I need to see friends, watch television again, read books, go to concerts, exercise. In my case, I do not watch shows about autism at the moment. I plan to in the future, but for now, working and living in special needs, means my evenings are spent honoring the rest of my life. This is for both my sake, my husband’s and Michael’s. He needs a Mom that is whole. He needs a Mom that does what she did before having kids and is proud of it. He needs a Mom that has her own interests outside of him and how his brain works. Now, this does not for one more minute mean I do not still read up on other articles, blogs and books that talk about what it is like to be in Michael’s mind. However, I do not immerse myself in it like before. And Michael sees the difference as I do. The other day, his parting words to me as I left for an evening out with a good friend at a spa were:

“Enjoy yourself Mommy and relax.”
It was great that he is catching on and seeing who I am, what makes me whole. I hope as he grows he will find things outside of his diagnoses, to live his life whole too. He is a great kid with such a cool way of seeing the world. This is not due solely to his different brain. This is due to him being Michael.

Exceptional Parents, when was the last time you did something outside of research for your child? When was the last time you did something fun for yourself or with your child without thinking of milestones or catching up? If it’s been awhile, give yourself and your child a break. There is a time for therapy, and then there is a time to just be the person you are and let your child be the person they are. This will eventually bring the two of you back in balance in your life so that there is no burnout, resentment or any negative feelings on either part. And remember, don’t apologize to anyone for your feelings. Feel them, live them, work through them, and teach your child to do the same. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? 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!