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!