The other day after a difficult afternoon with Michael. Once he had calmed down and was ready to talk, something occurred to me. I was also in the process of overcoming my own fears and doubts while Michael was dealing with new puberty ones. Some days were really tough, for both of us, but these were journeys we needed to be on. I also used the experience to help Michael after I realized my experience could be useful to him. On one of our after meltdown chats, I shared some of my fears with Michael.
“Michael, you know you are not the only one who has to handle dealing with fears and facing things that are scary. I am facing things that are scary to me.”
“Sure. You know you ask me why I am stressed when I am driving to new places. Well, I hate being lost and navigating to new places .That is a fear I am overcoming. My new GPS helps you and you, of course.” I smiled.
Michael did too.
“But you are always so calm when you talk to me and I am screaming. ”
“Yes, I am. I am using my strategies to stay calm. And when I am scared like I was last week on the road, I really appreciated what you said.”
“What did I say?”
“You said, “Mommy just breathe. Another time I was really upset and told you I needed to be alone. You told me, I love you. Do you remember?”
“Oh yeah. Now I do.”
“You were using your strategies. See, we both have hard moments and are working on handling fear. But when we use our strategies to handle our fears, we can handle things. Everyone has something they are handling.”
I wanted Michael to know that even with a brain more prone to anxiety and stress, he is not alone in handling stress and fear. We all have to do this. What matters is that we have support from family, friends and good strategies. There is no shame in sharing experiences with others. It’s then we realize we are not alone. Everyone is dealing with something.
Exceptional Parents, how do you help your Exceptional Child handle their fears and normalizing what fear is? Do you share your experience of fear with them? If not, it’s a good idea. Once your child understands they are not alone in having fears or worries, they will see it is normal, and connect with you on a whole new level. Until next time.