So today Michael and I had a new adventure together. This has been something that has been a long time in coming, but as a good friend of mine would often say, I was not ready to do it with him. Today, I faced and embraced it. It was something so small and insignificant for most parents and kids, but for our family this was a biggie. Michael and I went downtown in our city by public transit. Why this was challenging are Michael’s loss of control, (having to wait while the bus may not take a route he likes), his sensory issues (he likes to rock and clap and though he did it, he had to tone it down from normal home volume) AND there was a lot of changeover from outside to inside, a lot of transitions. Considering he has a cold and his blood sugars were high making walking tiring, he did well. He had two meltdowns when he felt out of control. I was happy that in addition to telling him to breathe and sit down to calm down we had his medication to help in addition. We also had to forgo one more activity on the list due to the way he was feeling, but I was proud that we’d done it, and told him to be proud of himself that he eventually calmed down and faced what had upset him.
This brought me to thinking about when is a good time to take the plunge with a new activity with your Exceptional Child who has anxiety about change and transitions, and when should you plan things out more methodically? I did a little of both, and I think for the most part it worked. In the end, like with everything else, it really depends on your child’s temperament and yours. But here are some tips of things I feel I did right, along with things I will do differently on future new adventures:
1) Structure as much as possible: Structure what you can. There will be plenty of things you’ll have to wing when out in society so a little bit of structure will go a long way.
2) When your child gets upset, be the calm voice bringing them down: When your child is having a meltdown as hard as it is, (and it is hard) don’t join them. Stay calm, cool, collected and remind them that you are there.
3) Throw a little bit of change in there: This may sound like a contradiction, but sometimes throwing a little challenge can make or break the moment, and let me tell you, even if it temporarily breaks them, they are learning resilience to obstacles. This is an important life lesson though not always easy to witness or experience.
4) Look at the positive moments: No experience is ever a TOTAL disaster. Make sure to single out the good moments and remind your child of that.
5) Learn from the experience and praise your child: It’s important that we as parents learn from the experience what was done right and what could be improved upon. Praise your child too for their efforts. Coming out of one’s comfort zone is never easy, even for neuro typical adults.
Exceptional Parents, have you had an intense experience lately facing something your child was nervous about together? No matter how it turned it, give yourself a pat on the back right now. Give your child a hug or high five. Taking the plunge is the bravest and best thing you both can do to get over your fears. That is success no matter how the experience goes. You can always learn from the mistakes and try better the next time. What your child will learn from the experience is to keep taking chances. 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!