Category: advocating

Food Dilemmnas and Rebellion- Navigating Type 1 Diabetes And ASD Rigidities and Surviving It

Ah rebellion. It is just grand, said not ONE Mom, never mind a Mom of an Exceptional Child that already has enough stuff to deal with. Still, it makes me feel good in one way. As Dad commented earlier this evening when Michael was talking pretty much twenty minutes straight without coming up for air and making intense eye contact with us, “remember when we worried he wouldn’t talk?” I almost laughed. Indeed I do. If you told me when he was a toddler and had been diagnosed with autism that  I’d have to deal with regular puberty things like pushing limits, refusing to go to bed early, swearing, and even being silly with friends, I’d have laughed and said, go ahead, PLEASE give me those normal neuro-typical problems. And yet, here we are. My Exceptional Son is not so exceptional when it comes to puberty. In fact, he is so neuro typical here it is DRIVING ME CRAZY. And just to make things interesting and keep Dad and I on our toes, he has particular food restrictions due to his diabetes (hard for him and us and yet MORE more for teenage rebellion) and with his ASD and ADHD those quirks come out in puberty while he is trying to be a grownup. Oh boy. What can I say? Running for the hills is usually a race for Michael and I lately. Which of us will get there first running from the other, he or I? Yet, somehow with all the craziness, we always do run back to each other. I love him too much to not do that, and I think he loves me or tolerates me, pretty much what any tween/teen boy would feel towards his mother at this age of 12, not a baby and not a teen, a tween. It’s not easy, but whenever I catch myself feeling pity for either of us I remind myself it’s all relative. I also remind myself to learn from the challenging times, mine and Michael’s, as I tell Michael to do.

Sometimes when I want to indulge in a pity party I do that too. I allow Michael that luxury as well. I tell him, it’s ok to be angry or sad. Feel it. Own it. Use strategies to move away from it. Then move on. I follow the same theory myself, and do my best to hold myself to this promise. It’s not always easy. That’s when I call in the Mommy brigade, my friends in the same circumstances who share  in my stress over theirs and their children’s challenges, yet also remind me to celebrate the victories. And there are many victories of exceptional families that help us survive.

Today Michael was supposed to have a tennis lesson. It got postponed due to unforseen circumstances. He still remembered to bring home his shoes from school WITHOUT reminders. The other day going to a new place at school he navigated there on Google Maps to know where he was going, a pastime that is pleasurable for him and reduces his anxiety. This again was all on his part, no reminders. And countless times lately I have been witnessing him using strategies instead of giving into his anger,- deep breathing, using fidget toys.  Finally, he has openly talked about his struggles in puberty with me, still shares his day with me, and likes getting the occasional hug or kiss, or tolerates it. For this for now, I am grateful. 🙂 These are things I hold on to when the day or night is tough. These are things I remember when he is asleep at night, however good or bad the day has gone. These are things I see will help him navigate the world and survive and thrive when I am no longer here to advocate for him. Finally, these are things that tell me I need to fine tune my own coping mechanisms and let go over what I cannot control and control what I can. I can show my son I believe in him and want him to learn and do better. I can show my son I will hold him to a great future. And I can show my son that faults and all, I love him as much as I do me, and everyone else in the family. After all, we are have our issues to work on. What’s important is to learn and grow from the tough times so we can get ready for a brighter future all around.

Exceptional Parents, how do you survive your Exceptional Child’s quirks? How do they survive yours? Yes, you have quirks too and sometimes unintentionally make things more stressful for you and them by over reacting or under reacting. You are a human being and you will mess up just like them. Where’s the lesson? It is in learning from your mistakes, showing up the next time to do better as an individual and parent, and making sure you set a positive example for your child to follow at the same time. 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! 

 

Advertisements

Finding the Balance Between Mother And Nurse To Your Exceptional Child

We are all nurses and caregivers to our children, whether they are exceptional or not. The title pretty much belongs to all parents, Moms in particular, who are usually jokingly referred to as the chauffeur, cleaning lady, teacher, parent and nurse/caregiver. But all of this takes on a whole new level for most Exceptional Parents whose kids have other underlying physical and psychological health issues. Everything from keeping track of medication, various doctors appointments outside of the usual yearly checkup, dental and eye checkup visit, as well as therapy visits for speech, occupational, physiotherapy and psychology/psychiatry can take its tole. In this role, parents (again usually Moms, though sometimes Dads too or a mix of the two), are always the expert and advocate of their child and the ones at all meetings and tabulating data and charts before said meetings. All in all, it can be utterly exhausting, and you wonder when you get to build a regular parent/child relationship with your child where you hope to gradually transfer over some of the physical and mental health care decisions to your child when they are older. It’s a long road, and one not entirely possible for some families to eventually do. Still, it’s important that parents remember that though you take care of your child medically, you are still their mother. This means as their mother, to the best of your capacity in that role, you help forge self-reliance, independence and advocacy so that they can do the best possible to take care of themselves one day.

I’ve had a lot of difficult conversations with Michael lately as has Dad about his diabetes. Michael has been resentful of the fact he can’t eat like his friends at one moment, then will go to the other extreme, as happened the other morning, and be super critical of my meal choices for him. In those moments I sigh with frustration at the unfairness of his rigidity in thinking I am making a mistake and causing his sugars to rise (sometimes this is true, sometimes it is not as I and Dad are still in the early phases of learning about carb counting and making the right balance of food choices etc.).  I have actually cursed diabetes out loud and the extra burden it has put on Michael and on Dad and I as parents. Don’t get me wrong.  I do not want any pity. No Exceptional Parent does. None of us want to know that we are heroes. We are not. We are simply parents doing what parents do, loving and taking care of our child the best we can. Our kids too are doing the best they can. I will take praise for Michael too as do most of my friends for their kids, as our kids do overcome so many challenges navigating a world that is foreign to them. But even our kids are kids at the heart of it all, and just want to belong, have friends, and be the best they can be.

So my point about finding the balance in being a mother and nurse is this; make your peace with where you are with your child in any given moment. If it’s a moment where you are resenting the nurse role, have yourself a good cry, throw some pillows around and ask another adult to step in and take over so you can have a break. If it’s a moment where you are feeling strong, remember to bond with them in the same way you did BEFORE you knew they had a diagnosis of any kind. Remember, first and foremost above everything else, they are your child. They have their own likes and dislikes. They have their own personality. They are their own little person with talents and struggles, just like you. Bring out their best. Show them how much you love them no matter what they do, because as your child, they are loved because of that. Take time to play, talk, and laugh together. As they get older this may get challenging, but carve out time alone together- at meals times, in the car on the way to activities, or just on the fly. You will find the balance in the same way you did when you were taking care of a newborn long ago. You will learn to multitask and prioritize what is important.

Exceptional Parents, how do you balance mother and nurse roles for your Exceptional Child? Do you take time for you and a personal life in there as well? It’s important to not only have some alone time away from parenting when you have a complex care needs child, but you also need to make time for being together with your partner, other family members and friends. When you have time away from your child, you will come back refreshed, come back full circle, and be able to have a clear definition of what being a well-rounded Exceptional Mom is like. 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! 

5 Ways To Handle Oppositional Behavior and Keep Your Sense of Humour

So it’s no secret that Michael is oppositional. So are a lot of kids with ADHD and ASD. What is surprising is how much it can not only wear a parent down, but also test your love for your child. It’s hard not to take them personally when they are being rude and testing limits. Still, one of the most important tools I’ve learned in navigating Michael’s negative comebacks, has been using humor as an antidote. Laughing at the little things on the outside. The bigger things are not laughable of course, but learning how to take 5 and realize your child’s struggle is with themselves and not you, will help make it easier to handle the tough times. Michael’s opposition has also taught me a lot about my own anger and,, when I am feeling stressed. What good techniques do I have to calm down? What negative techniques am I trying to change? On that note, here are 5 Ways to Handle Oppositional Behavior That I’ve Learned While Keeping Your Sense of Humour:

  1. Take a step back and breathe: Yes, this is the first thing to go when your child triggers you, but it is so important to take that five second pause and really see what your child is trying to communicate. Chances are however you will handle it, will be better once you have taken a little break to think things through.
  2.  Remember, it’s a stage: Yes, this is hard too, but often oppositional behavior is part of your child’s chronological development-during the terrible twos or threes (or later if they are developmentally delayed), then at puberty. They are discovering who they are and testing you at the same time. Have patience as they figure it out, and stay strong so you can guide them down the right path.
  3. They are funny when they get mad (sometimes): Ok, I’m not advocating laughing at your child when they are aggressive or acting dangerously. This is a serious act and needs to be handled calmly while proper ways to handle anger are taught. But for smaller matters of rebellion, keep a straight face, but on the inside remember that you too most likely went through your days of rebellion with your parents to assert yourself. As long as you learned how to calm down (and teach your child to do the same), good things will continue to happen.
  4. Talk to your Mom friends and share: This does not mean invading your child’s privacy and sharing all of what they do, but commiserating over some of the challenges you are presented with and exchanging resources (and maybe a laugh or two to get you both through), can work wonders at helping you feel better and eventually your child too as they learn what they need to do.
  5. You will survive this and grow stronger (and so will they): This has been the hardest lesson for me through all of Michael’s opposition. Yes, I love him, but it is sure easier to love him when he is cuddly and sweet and appreciative of me, and not this defiant tween with an attitude. He can be downright unpleasant and annoying when he is acting up, like all oppositional kids are. What I keep reminding myself, is that yes this too shall pass for him and me. We will both get through puberty and survive. In the case of parents going through the terrible twos etc. you will get through that phase too.

Exceptional Parents, how often do you find yourself laughing on the inside when your oppositional child is just plain out challenging you out of your mind? I know. It is easier said than done. Still, if you can see the humor in their antics knowing that deep down inside they are struggling and need to pass through this stage of development to get to the next one, things will go a lot more smoothly. Now, if oppositional behavior turns into aggression and is dangerous, this is no laughing matter. Then it is time to stay calm and seek outside help and support for yourself and your child. You and your Exceptional Child will only grow from every experience and people you meet along the way. Until next time.

Feeling overwhelmed as an Exceptional Parent? Don’t know where to turn for tips, and ways to survive and thrive during the whole journey? You are not alone. I have walked and continue to walk this path myself. As a writer, speaker, parent coach and Mom to an Exceptional Son with Autism, ADHD, OCD, and Type 1 Diabetes,  I can help you through all the twists and turns that parenting an exceptional child require, while keeping your sense of humor intact, your sense of self and relationships intact, and helping you see that not only are you raising your exceptional child, but they are raising you to be the best human being you can be. You are each other’s advocates for a better world. For more information on my coaching packages, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.  

The Many Sides Of Your Exceptional Child- How To Handle Their Mood Swings

One minute Michael is my little boy for the briefest of seconds, then he morphs into “tween man,” as I like to call him. But even with this, there are still many sides of Michael that I see every day, and many things he is teaching me about me and life itself. It has been in navigating these changes, that I have learned how important it is for parents to be adaptable, to never stop learning, and to bend the old rules sometimes in favor of new rules. No, I am not saying to give into your child to avoid a meltdown. All parents have tried this and usually not had success in the end anyway. What I am saying is that your child, whatever their age, will demonstrate many sides of their character to you in a given day. As their parent, you need to be ready to handle all those sides. I know. It’s not always fun or easy, but that’s life and you will be teaching them a valuable skill.

What sides am I talking about? Well, first there’s the side of dependence where they are super clingy and want you to do things for them. This comes at any age when they ask you to pick up after them, prepare their clothes, pack their school bag. You slowly have to teach them independence and how to handle their own things. Then there is the rebellion stage where they will do things wrong on purpose just not to do them the way you do. It’s kind of like the two year old “I’m the boss of me” stage. You’ve also got to find ways to ride this one out picking your battles as long as they don’t affect safety, and work your way out to your child learning independence and listening to you as the adult in charge who makes the rules. Finally, there is the questioning if they are loved  and wanted stage, where they need reassurance from you that they are special. Sometimes they ask this of friends too. It is important you remind them that love of those around them matters, but that if they love themselves and know their own mind, it matters that much more.

If you are an Exceptional Parent, you must navigate all these stages while usually using reward charts, anger charts, as well as measuring the pros and cons of other behavior programs as well as medication changes. This means you are doing your well rounded job of parenting. It is all worth it in the end, as you will teach your child how to advocate for themselves and be truthful to all their challenging sides.

Exceptional Parents, how many sides does your Exceptional Child possess? It probably depends on the day. After all, some days are easier than others as far as stress and growing up are concerned. The most important thing is for you to remain calm as a parent, not take offence to what comes out of their mouth (they are only kids after all and testing is part of the game), and learn to show and exhibit patience and a firm hand so that they know where they stand with you and in the world. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

How To Help Your Exceptional Child Build Life Resilience- It All Starts With You!

So this morning was one of those mornings with Michael that did not go as planned to say the least. It ended with a fight right before the bus came, no time for apologies on either end, and me sitting down to collect my harried  stressed out thoughts, and accidentally knocking over my traditional full “sigh of successful morning routine done” second cup of coffee  on to the floor with coffee and cherished cup coffee shattering everywhere. The irony was not lost on me as I selected that particular mug from the cabinet earlier that morning for its reminder to stay positive. The mug had been inscribed with “Worry Less, Smile More.” I have the whole series from a local Dollarstore and love them for their uplifting messages to me as I start my morning . What can I say? Some people have “Word of the Day” Calendars, I have coffee mugs, but I digress.

Anyway, as I sat there fuming at my son and myself for how poorly we handled our emotions, how strategies at self-control were not practiced, and how I wished I could crawl into bed with a good book and stay there, I thought of one word.   Resilience. Resilience means learning to stand strong in the face of defeat or stress or unexpected developments. It means not being afraid to get back up on the horse no matter how frustrated, angry or tired we are. I also thought that resilience is what makes or breaks all of us, child or adult, exceptional or not, and what helps us succeed in this world. I’ll never forget the words a teacher of Michael’s once told me.

“Joanne, forget academics. If he has the basics down pat, that’s all that matters. What is most important are life smarts.”

She went on to tell me that he had many life smarts, and she saw more emerging. However like Dad and I, she was worried about how he handled things like anger and frustration. Her exact words were,

“He’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t bring home that anger and frustration without knowing how to cope with it.”

She knew about his struggles at home with Dad and I, and she rightfully was concerned, as were we, about him bringing that anger home as an adult to a roommate, partner or in a group home facility, wherever he would one day reside. We knew we had to act and began working on teaching Michael resiliency along with his home team. At school he also has an amazing team that works with him. Team Michael is incredibly supportive on both fronts, and when I think I cannot do this Exceptional Mom thing anymore, I remember, I have my people.

So, this got me thinking about teaching Michael resilience in the face of things going wrong or being stressful.  How could I do that? Of course I’ve read (and been recommended) lots of great parenting books. I’ve talked to my Mom friends who are also invaluable resources. But what really stands out for me lately, is how am I showing personal resilience in my life when things don’t go my way? It depends on the day. Some days are easier than others. Days I’ve invested in more self-care and time alone to regroup have obviously made me more resilient than days I have been burning my candle at both ends. Still, resilience is a work in progress and something we always need to work on . So how can we help our child be more resilient to life’s obstacles? Here are some ways I’ve found have worked:

  1. Challenge Them With Unexpected Changes Once In A While: It’s important they learn to expect the unexpected as life is not always predictable. Just to make sure they are not completely overwhelmed though, have a predictable routine the rest of the time.
  2. Teach Them How To Use Strategies To Control Hard Emotions: Give your child options of how to calm down-deep breathing, yoga positions, fidget toys, sensory tools and for older children, a social story or visuals to help them figure out what to do.
  3. Share Your Successes and Failures With Your Child: Share your resilient and not so resilient moments with your child. Help them see what worked and what didn’t.
  4. Help Them Let Out Hard Emotions Safely: It is equally important to know when it is ok to let out hard emotions and when is the time to wait to do this. Regardless, emotions and admitting we are angry, scared or frustrated should never be pushed down, but handled in a calm, controlled way.
  5. Help Them See When Others Are Struggling and Buddy Up: It is also good if you could help your child see when family or friends are struggling and how they could remind these people to use strategies to calm down and regroup. This way your child will not feel alone.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of your resilience tricks to stay grounded? Remember, there is no wrong or right answer. The important thing is that your child learns that they are not at the mercy of their emotions, but can exhibit control with the right strategies. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

Staying In Your Groove As An Exceptional Parent-What Makes You Tick?

What has Michael taught me over the years? Are you sitting down? This could take awhile. 🙂  For starters, he has showed me how to truly be more at ease with myself after MANY years of denying who I was. He broke me down first, as all children do, exceptional and otherwise.This breaking down was necessary for me to build my true spirit, fight for what I want, and see the things I needed to work on in order to achieve my dreams-having more patience, having more confidence, developing boundaries for myself and around others, and just plain learning how to stay in my daily groove in order to do the work I was supposed to do. This is a give and take process. Some days I am in that groove very easily. Other days I am triggered as a Mom. I now remind myself that it is ok. I am human and learning. The thing is your child will figure out what triggers you quickly and use that when they are frustrated. This is where it is important to remain calm, collected and neutral. By doing this , you will teach your child that you are the calm in the storm and that you can teach them to be that calm as well.

The thing is that it is essential for an Exceptional Parent to know what sets them off for the worse. Any kind of trigger your child or someone else provokes that upsets you will get in the way of helping yourself and your child handle their stress and anxiety level. It will also cause you to undermine yourself and question your own coping mechanisms. Stress is a part of life, personal and professional. It’s how we handle the stress and the tools we use to help ourselves grow, that will make all the difference for us and our children. When we stay in the groove, we apply tools that have worked for us in the past to calm our minds and bodies. Things like yoga, meditation, exercise, getting enough rest and having alone time, are all good tools to help us build our parenting resilience to life, and showing our child to do the same thing. Also, never stop learning and asking what you could do better as a parent and human being. That will guide you in the right direction.

Exceptional Parents, how do you stay in your groove and set the example for your Exceptional Child? It’s ok if sometimes your child is more in their groove than you are in yours. It means the lessons you taught them are working! It also means you need to give yourself some down time to come up for air, chill out, and begin again with breathing, focusing on the present moment, and staying positive that you will find a solution to help yourself and your child through the stressful moments. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

Recognizing Hyperactivity and Deliberate Behaviors-Clues To Look Out For

So Michael is a complex child. Figuring out what makes his tick is half the fun or stress, depending on the day, of course. He even has the experts baffled at times as to what he is doing and why. So I, as his mother, am not going to get stressed when I can’t recognize immediately if his behaviors are deliberate acting out or hyperactivity he can’t control due to his ADHD. I am learning how to slowly decipher both, thanks to becoming a better observer of Michael and also asking our team’s opinion as neutral observers of Michael. So far what I have come up with as cues for parents to look for if their child is asking out of hyperactivity or due to behaviors is as follows:

Hyperactivity:

  1. Child cannot seem to control what they are doing: Your child will look baffled and confused when you confront him/her with what they did or said. They may be touching things or people they should not touch, (i.e. body parts), vocalizing loudly, or saying things at random. They will need gentle reminders to calm down.
  2. Your child seems to cycle with intense moments then crashes exhausted or tired: This occurs when your child is running around happy but all over the place, then when they finally settle they seem to have no energy and can’t move.
  3. Your child is laughing uncontrollably and can’t seem to stop: That one is probably obvious, but sometimes people may think that it is a behavior to get your attention. This is usually not the case, and it is linked to hyperactivity or over stimulation.

Behaviors:

  1. Your child is performing a negative action and looks at me as he/she is doing it: Hands down, if your child is doing something inappropriate such as cursing, banging  or throwing something while they are in your presence, chances are this is a behavior. They want to see how far they can push you before you either cave in to their demands, react and pay attention to them or they get away with not doing a specific task.
  2. Your child is angry and starts yelling when they faced with doing something they do not like: This is usually a behavior and by acting up they hope to avoid the task.
    Sometimes kids do a mix  of both of these things, especially kids who have autism and ADHD. This is where they need the proper guidance so parents and caregivers don’t overreact to the hyperactivity and behaviors, and instead set a calm example of what it means to practice self-control and self-regulation.  Only when your child can learn to control how they handle their emotions, will they be able to have better self-control and make better choices.

Exceptional Parents, do you have a hard time differentiating between behaviors and hyperactivity in your Exceptional Child? Take heart that sometimes even the experts get stumped by our kids, due to the fact that all kids handle medications, therapy and so much of life in a different way, including kids on the spectrum. This is why it is important to really get to know your child and what makes them tick. Your team also needs to keep an open mind about this too. Never close any door that could lead to answers and help your child be their best self. And in the meantime, be there to let your child know they are loved, safe, and that you will support and help them always. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Still Breathing-Weighing The Pros and Cons Of Medications For Your Exceptional Child

To say that we have been on a journey with Michael is the understatement of the year. To also say that medication have been helped and hindered this journey, is also in that same category. Still though, I have to say that I am glad we have tried all the medications we did, even the ones that did not work out. Michael is on one medication that is helping him a lot at the moment, but needs more. It is just a matter in our case and Michael’s most importantly, of finding the medication that will help all his issues- his ADHD, his OCD and his anxiety without making his aggression fly through the roof or affecting his blood sugar. We have to always consider his blood sugar due to him having Type 1 Diabetes. So far 4 of the 5 medications have helped the other issues he has faced amazingly- his ADHD, his OCD and even anxiety related to his autism. However, his aggression has always increased with all but one. Eventually, we have had to get him off all but one of the medications due to this. He was having a harder time controlling his temper and the outbursts would be longer. The one he is on is still helping a lot.

Still, even with this, I am so grateful for all the medications he has tried. No, I am not crazy. The thing is, he has learned strategies so well while on all of these medications. He has learned how to better regulate himself. He now uses a card he designed and refers to it to calm himself. His Educator has given us strategies as well to help him ask for help or attention before his emotions escalate. He was not receptive to many of these measures prior to medication being introduced. Dad said the same thing the other day to me and I agreed. He actually is more responsive now since we introduced medication, even ones that did not end up working for the long haul. The one he was on the longest really helped him the most with aggression control, but it took its toll in the end in weight gain and blood sugar regulation so we said good bye. I don’t regret that decision. There are days when I feel discouraged that we have not found the perfect medication and therapy combination, but I know we will. Michael, in spite of the challenges, is an amazing boy. He is doing well at school, socially, and is improving at home too, where he is challenged the most.  He is connecting the dots about how his behavior affects things, and is wonderfully receptive to any medication or therapy we try. He has always been a very open minded little boy. I am so glad to see that he is not giving up on fixing his issues. Dad and I are not either. We see his potential-the wonderful boy and one day man, and all he will be able to offer the world. He is seeing it too!

Finding the right medication and therapy is often a challenge for a child with ASD and ADHD. Add in other diagnoses, and the water gets ever murkier. This is why I know Dad and I need to be patient just as Michael is. We need to continue to show Michael we believe in all his potential- with cooking, people skills, music, art and life. Michael loves life, people and being at the center of life. We love having him there. It has been hard having to step back from a lot of our family activities while we get behavior issues under control, but I know we will get to the point where Michael will get back to where he was before and we will as well. He is constantly amazing me with his questions, his observations of life, and his continuous interest in what is being taught at school. Everyone loves his enthusiasm, and as long as we can get him to develop an awareness of how to handle anger and anxiety, I know we are on the right track.

Exceptional Parents, how has your Exceptional Child fared while on medication? If wonderful great! If not so wonderful, don’t despair. This may mean either medication is not right for your child, or else you may not have found the right medication. The point is you will never know what works until you try everything. Don’ t be afraid to try different types of medications and see for yourself what does or does not work. Also, don’t be afraid to try different therapies to complement the medication and vice versa. Finding the right balance is what will help your exceptional child succeed. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

Am I Up For This Exceptional Mom Thing Anymore-Taking Stock and Knowing You Can Do This Parenting Thing

The last two weeks have been some pretty tough weeks for our whole family, and weeks that once again, have had me asking myself, am I up for being Michael’s Mom anymore as if there was really a choice, right? Of course I  am up for it. I love him and anyway, I need to be up for it! He is my flesh and blood. I brought him into this world and it is my duty and vocation to give him the tools he needs to be a successful and loving contributor to the world. But it is so hard. I I love him so much and see all his potential, all his talent, all the incredible things he brings to the world, but supporting him (and myself and husband) through the rough turbulent times have made me think that sometimes I can’t, or dare I say it, don’t want to do it anymore. I know he is the one dealing with his multiples mental health and physical issues, it is not happening to me,  but as his guardian, I am being challenged every day too and is Dad. It has been rough on us as individuals, and rough on our marriage. I look forward to the day when things will settle and then think, will it? What is settling for an exceptional parent?

Still, that is the life of a parent, and for me my passion in life alongside writing. I have a passion for helping kids who are different. Where other people see a damaged child, I see a child whose potential has not yet been tapped. Where others see an “obsession” I see a talent that has yet to be explored. Of course, it is easy to see this in other special children. I do not live with them. I do not have to handle raising them while simultaneously running a house, trying to keep up with family and friends, and work on my marriage. This is the reality of my life and all parents’ lives. This is the reality of most exceptional parents’ lives. What I am realizing though, is even when I am at my lowest thinking all Michael’s aggression and anxiety is something over the top for me and that I can’t handle it, I begin to  remind myself of something important. How have I handled things up to now? I have learned much.  What has Michael taught me about myself, good and bad? How have I grown as a woman and person? I guess I will continue to grow even more.

Yes, there is pain in parenting an exceptional child, especially when you cannot reach them or they are seemingly against you. Really this is fear, anxiety, oppositional issues and puberty. Sometimes there are other issues too. But as the parent you’ve got to remember not to take it personally. You’ve got to remember there will be good days when you get where they are coming from and days when you are clueless. There will be days you want to run screaming off into the night complete with plane ticket in hand,  and days where you celebrate the victories they have achieved doing things you never thought would be possible.  There are a lot more off the positive days, I can happily assure you. And there will be days you may think they are better off without you, a parent who can’t possibly do what the experts do, but then quickly realize, no one knows your child like you. No one can tell the said experts who your child is, what their strengths and limitations are, and fill in the blanks about the unique individual that they are.

Experts will come and go. You will assemble many teams. If you are lucky, they will be fantastic, as has happened with us. I truly believe that when that occurs it is  because God, fate and the Universe will bring them to you and you to them through reflection and soul searching. Meditate on what you and your child need. Be honest about your family’s struggles.  You are up for the journey as hard as it gets. So is your child. They are made of harder stuff than you think.  You are ready to move forward with your child, love them for who they are, and as long as you stay calm and practice self-care, you will always always be their best advocate and voice for a world that may not always get them.

Exceptional Parents, have you ever thought you weren’t enough for your child and that your ideas of parenting were wrong for them? Have you ever felt that you are not able to move your child forward on their exceptional journey and they are unhappy and stuck with so many issues? You are not alone. There are so many parents who want to give up on their child or who feel their child has given up on them. Sadly, some parents follow through on this. They need not. They are not failures. As long as they are working in their child’s best interests- making sure their child has life’s basic necessities, stimulating therapy and positive family and friendship experiences, their child is on the right track. And remember, no matter what, parents never stop advocating for their children and their well-being. Children will  sense this down to the bottom of their soul. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Recognizing Deliberate and Uncontrollable Behavior In Your Exceptional Child

 

The last month has been a little bit of a whirlwind for Michael and I. We have both been trying to wrap our heads around the changes he is going through- Michael asking for help, and me turning to our team, great articles, and mostly to God as well as doing a lot of inner contemplation of my feelings as a Mom, particularly as Michael’s Mom and how I could do this exceptional Mom thing better.

“Is the new medication going to help me Mommy?”

This was Michael’s intelligent and heartbreaking question to me this morning. We have tried a few new medications to help him control his severe anxiety and phobias, and all have ended badly. Michael’s brain chemistry is not compatible with them. This is a true of a lot of kids who have ASD and other mental health challenges. Of course, every person is different so that makes it difficult to find the right medication/therapy formula too. But I felt so bad. So bad that as his Mom, I could not find the miracle solution to help my little boy as I did when he was younger, before puberty and diabetes hit and changed his body so completely.

“I hope so honey. Remember, we won’t know until we try it.”

I decided that in spite of a very rough week with Michael due to the side effects of yet another medication gone bad, I needed to remind myself to praise the moments when he was calm, thoughtful, and handling things beautifully. I needed to see when he was in control, and when he was not. A couple of times this week I forgot this message and simply got angry myself. It did not go well for either of us. Michael’s Educator reminded me he is not well at the moment. He needs the right formula to heal, and until we find it, we need to cut him some emotional slack. It does not mean allowing aggression or abuse, but supporting him in finding positive tools to calm himself and modeling those tools myself.

I have had some moments this week I have regretted as a Mom. I yelled and was less patient than I wanted to be. I was feeling sorry for myself which is understandable. Raising an exceptional child is a 24 hour a day job. But Michael is the one living it. Michael is the one that wants to be like everyone else and can’t. This is another thing he says that breaks my heart in a million pieces. But then come the moments when he gets it and I think, it will be ok. We will be ok. He is back to mapping out areas to go, watching cooking shows, and talking to friends on the phone. These were all things with OCD that flew out the window this summer with his fear. He is also more observant, savvy and catches on quickly to so many things. He is so smart when he chooses to focus. But then there are the times that he can’t stop himself from being distracted. He can’t turn off. I get so worried and angry, worried because his blood sugar has been going up due to the medications he is on, as well I am sure as stress and lack of exercise during the week as we both get in later.

I get so angry that I can’t fix this. I can’t make it better. Then I remember, I am separate from Michael and he from me. I love him and he loves me, but although I can support and show him the right path to take, I cannot make him take it. It is so frustrating, and I hope in time we can find the right balance for him. Until then, all I can do is see what is in his control and what is not. What is in his control I am encouraging him to take charge of. What is not in his control Dad and I are trying to help him with. Here is where the patience comes in to not take the hard times personally. I tend to do this. What am I doing wrong as a Mom? I used to know him. I used to be able to reach him. Now I have this argumentative, anxious stressed child that I don’t always have the answers for. I know that is not realistic. No mother can know her child one hundred percent. We’v all got to be patient, not take each other personally, and go from there. That is what I have started doing as a Mom

Exceptional Parents, are you able to see what your Exceptional Child can and cannot control concerning their behavior? Once you see the pattern, you’ll know more how to help them handle it and learn ways to handle your own guilt. It is not your fault. You are separate from your child and need to know that you and they are responsible for your own emotions always. Until next time.