Ah, that moment when Michael realizes what he said and winces. “Oops. Sorry Mom,” is usually his response. Yep. Well, at least we’ve gone from physical aggression towards us, property and himself to verbal expressions of aggression and “oops” when he realizes what he said has crossed the line of appropriate and acceptable. I sometimes am patient like I was tonight. Other days and evenings when I am tired, I unfortunately am triggered and yell and storm off. This just stalls the process of learning to calm, regroup and move on, but we get there as a family. Eventually.
I have to say I have seen a HUGE improvement in how Michael is learning to manage his anxiety and aggression over the last two years. Still, there are days when I see the tools he has now are not working as well as they were. Dad and I are looking to getting new tools, new help, new books and articles to inspire us. We either have the grunting tween who says “leave me alone” or the young child who says, “drop everything now and listen to me.” In between is the real tween Michael, my real son, whose personality, though formed at birth, is going through a puberty metamorphosis that some days has me thinking, “how will I survive until he is 18, especially as I am probably on the brink of perimenopause myself,” but that is another matter altogether.
On a serious note, growing with your exceptional child means growing your exceptional team- that includes therapists, teachers, friends who have kids like your child, and as always, touching base with those like your child, adults who are exceptional and have survived the tween/teen puberty coming of age. It’s not easy. In the end, I’ve learned several things about helping my exceptional ADHD/ASD/ type 1 diabetic tween navigate puberty in his way by practicing the following things:
1) Directing him to a safe space to blow off steam when necessary.
2) Getting myself to same safe space when he does. 🙂
3) Talking about what we both can do differently next time we are in that situation if it happens again.
4) Reading, connecting and asking questions to exceptional people, exceptional therapists and exceptional Mom and Dad friends-all have the answers through trial and error to help you (as you do to help them).
5) Never giving up on your child or yourself. You will both figure it out.
Exceptional Parents, how do you help your Exceptional Child (no matter what challenges they face), handle their impulsivity? How do you handle your own? Yes, we also react impulsively sometimes as adults, worried that we must handle any behaviors that stand out and may make our kids targets of unwanted attention. While it’s good we address impulsive behaviors that get our kids in trouble at home, in school, or in both places, remember that often they need more understanding than reprimands. Controlling the part of the brain that acts out in ways different from the mainstream is challenging for our kids. We need to gently guide them to be true to themselves, while also letting the world at large see their gifts and understanding their uniqueness for what it is . Until next time.