Bonding with our exceptional kids is so important, but often parents don’t know how to go about doing it. It’s not that our children don’t want to spend time with us, but they show their love in different ways because they see the world differently than we do. To make matters more confusing, is that a small exceptional child will want to do different things with you as a parent than a tween or older exceptional child. A small child may enjoy cuddling on your lap, playing with you at a park, having you take him/her on a play date. A tween child will enjoy talking to you and asking you lots of questions, want you to give them your time when they need it, and want you to drive them to friends’ houses or parks and stay clear of them. An older child will need you to listen to them and guide them, but will want as much independence as possible.
In the end, what matters is that you find a way to connect with your child and that no matter what form it takes, don’t judge it or your relationship. Some kids thrive on a parent/child movie night once a week or a dinner out. Some take a class together. No matter what, in the end you need to show your child they are a priority in your life. In our family, Michael the navigator loves to go on drives. He does this with Dad and I. By using strategies and controlling his anger he has been working for longer and longer drives which he does with Dad on the weekend. With me, there are trips to his favorite stores and soon long walks outside. It’s important you find a way to bond with your kids to show them their priority in your life.
With our exceptional kids, this will most likely look different than it would with a neuro typical child. Michael’s long walks are on busy streets as he enjoys talking with me and stimming to traffic. Some with long drives. Dad and I understand this, and want Michael to be comfortable in his own skin and with us, so we will do this. It keeps the doors of communication open.
Exceptional Parents, how do you bond with your Exceptional Child whatever age they are? Remember, no one knows your child like you do. You know what makes them tick so don’t be afraid to make suggestions on what the two of you can do together, keeping in mind their overall needs. The priceless bonding will be wonderful for everyone. Until next time.