Category: communication

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! 

 

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Navigating Tween Rebellion, Puberty And Anxiety Thrown In the Mix- How This Exceptional Mom Survives

Humor. The other day I was talking to a friend and she expressed her admiration for me and Dad and how we held our relationship together after the stress of exceptional parenting and other life challenges. I thanked her, but told her my secret to holding it all together was one thing, humor. Laugh your head off at the little things  you do, your partner does, and your kid or kids do. And I can tell you there will be lots to laugh at, even when you have your tough parenting days, and we all know when those happen that we are in the midst of them.

Lately, Michael’s rapidly intensifying teenage hood combined with anxiety, ASD rigidities, ADHD hyperactivity and food management due to his diabetes, has kind of left me feeling, well, a little on edge and shell shocked shall we say. Even my meditation has not been the same and that is not good. “And it’s not even happening to me,” as an amazing exceptional Mom and special needs advocate once said, while telling of her own experience in handling her son’s anxiety and other health issues. I always feel humbled remembering those words. And not because I don’t have trials and tribulations as Michael’s Mom and Dad as his Dad, but because as hard as it is for us, it is even harder for him. He is living it. He is surviving it. And every time we fail ourselves we fail him. This does not mean that a bad night here or there obliterates all the good a parent does for their child. If that were that case, I would have failed Michael A LONG time ago. I have now learned to breathe, see my mistakes, take responsibility, and then teach Michael that he needs to do the same thing. It’s not easy. It’s also not easy to learn to laugh after a tough experience, but this is  the way to survival for you and your Exceptional Child. Humor goes a long way.

Without divulging too much of Michael’s privacy, let’s just say that Michael has learned recently about his sexuality and how good it feels to be in tune with a certain part of his body. This is creating all kinds of havoc with his sleep and morning routine. No jokes please. I know it is funny, and I try to laugh in the midst of the fighting to get up and get ready or go to sleep on time, but it is not. While it is normal to be experiencing puberty in this way, due to Michael’s understanding of his body (or different way of understanding) and still following his usual routine, we’ve run into some snags. With the help of our team and me looking truthfully at what is going on and not laughing or screaming, we are making inroads to understanding each other and coming to a consensus. Every time I think about it, “I thought puberty would hit at 13. I thought I had two more years to just handle his special needs stuff and diabetes, now this,” I remember he is handling it all. Laugh at the little things Joanne. And the bigger things that are troubling him and yourself, get help from your team. Ask your Mom friends. Ask co-workers who’ve lived through and survived their kids’ puberty, and see the light at the end of the tunnel for Michael and you. It is a challenging time for everyone.

Exceptional Parents, where are you on your Exceptional Child’s developmental stage? Are you in babyhood, childhood or venturing into adolescence ? How do you survive the stages and stay sane for your own sake, your child’s, and the rest of your family’s? I can tell you that humor will and should be at the top of your list to handling any kind of stress. It will help you from taking yourself and your emotions too seriously. On another note though, self-care in the form of time alone, exercise and meditation and/or prayer, can help with your spiritual balance too. Finally, pursuing a hobby or passion outside of being someone’s partner, mother or family member, will do so much for your soul and self-esteem that nothing else will quite match it. In the end, taking care of the important things in yours and your child’s life will make all the difference. 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! 

 

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! 

How To Empower Your Exceptional Child To Use Their Strategies

The other day after a particularly challenging morning with Michael where we both seemed equally frustrated by one another. I sat back, and before I finished my second cup of coffee, I did what I tell others to do. Close your eyes and breathe. Breathe out all the stress, anger and misunderstandings. Of course, before that I cursed like a sailor after the bus pulled away from the curb and said all the things I did not say in front of Michael. Soon I’ll vent to my cat, but she’s new to the family and I don’t want to scare her off. 🙂 But seriously, what it came down to in the end, was that Michael, though getting better, is still having a hard time finding the right time to use strategies to calm down BEFORE he tells me or Dad how he is feelings. It is on these mornings or evenings when all h@&^ breaks loose and he says things he regrets a nanosecond later. I usually do the same thing, and then regret. Why couldn’t I hold my sh*$ together better? Well, the other day I did, though I was firm with Michael and called him out on not using his strategies. And you know what he said? It broke my heart because it was true;

“Mommy, I know I forgot, but I have been getting better. I did so well the other day and you didn’t tell me you were happy with me. You’re always mad at me!”

He was right. I’ve been a little guilty of the glass half empty lately, though this week I have been trying and succeeding in encouraging and praising more good behavior and reminding Michael gently to use strategies RIGHT AWAY when he gets upset, and not afterwards. I also had a lighting bolt moment (God/Universe inspired), when in half anger/half positivity I wrote out for him on a piece of paper what using his strategies would do for him and our family. In this paper was the reassurances he kept seeking, several times daily, as to what his future held. I stipulated how we all needed to feel safe in our home (no abuse to or from anybody no matter how angry), no physical contact unless permission was given by ALL of us, how we all loved each other and we needed to show it by respect, using ways to calm down before we talked about things that made us angry, and how Michael’s team were part of our family, to support us, make us stronger as individuals and as a family. The last two days Michael has really started internalizing this message. When he has not respected these conditions, I have called him on it. I encouraged him also to remind Dad and I of times when we did not use strategies. If we all remind each other then only good things will come of it, for all of us.

The amazing thing is I have seen Michael’s maturity go up in a dramatic way. As he has seen how we mean business for everyone and how we are also adhering to respecting HIS tween boundaries, he needs to respect ours as his parents and the adults in charge. Today he was getting angry and in my space, when he all of a sudden realized and said, “Sorry Mommy.” He backed away and started breathing to control his temper, and then told me calmly how he was feeling. Another time today he became angry and said some hurtful things. Afterwards, he told me that he needed to remember to have his fidget toys nearby. Squeezing them helped him focus and calm down before acting. Finally, he has become more compassionate. The other day he asked how I was feeling . When I say goodnight sleep well, he’ll wish me a good night too and sleep well. It’s amazing how empowering a child with turning to strategies can help them see anger and stress in a new way.

Exceptional Parents, what strategies do you and your Exceptional Child have for handling anger and frustration? As long as there are boundaries, self-respect, as well as mutual respect towards all family members even when angry, you are on the right track to showing your Exceptional Child a positive way to let their strategies help them manage anger and anxiety better. 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! 

 

My Exceptional New Year’s Resolutions And The Challenges in Keeping Them

Stay calm and be the example. Pick your battles when he pushes your buttons. Be forgiving and understand why things are hard.

These are some of the things I have been struggling with since making some informal New Year’s resolutions. No, I don’t believe in making any really specific ones anymore, whether as a parent or individual, but this year I really wanted to move forward in my personal growth while helping Michael move forward in his. I am truly seeing each day, for better or worse, how Michael is raising me to be an Exceptional Parent. Things have been getting better, a lot better at home between Michael, Dad and I. Still, raging teenage hormones, frustration over a disease that he did not ask for (diabetes) and managing his ADHD and autism, makes it challenging for Michael to self-regulate around us, and for us to self-regulate around him. I was doing well the first few days into January, and most of the time now, still consider I am moving forward in a positive direction. For instance, when Michael deliberately tries to trigger me, most of the time I stay calm, breathe and answer him directly and simply that his behavior is unacceptable. Then there are the other times when I stand outside myself, a spiritual entity, watching me unravel a little as Michael is rude, hyper or aggressive. The difference now though, is that I see the crazy woman losing it and immediately show her compassion a few seconds later. I used to berate her and put her down before. I also own it to Michael reminding him how although he was out of line, I made a mistake yelling back or losing my cool by raising my voice, or storming out of the room. I no longer feel guilty. I see I am human and learning. And I am beginning to see that our mistakes really make us stronger and wiser.

In the last three days particularly, I have grown more confident just before I am about to lose it and have, surprise, NOT lost it. Yes! I know I am not out of the woods, but the thing is Michael and I are a lot more alike in temperament than I’d like to admit. No, I am not aggressive to people or trigger them deliberately. Then again, I don’t have Michael’s challenges, just anxiety and old self-esteem baggage I am still working my way through. Getting better all the time. Hey, I fight for the underdog. I see them as the top dogs who don’t see their potential. That is why I  finally see who I am and what I must do to answer my personal calling and help other kids and parents answer theirs. But back to the similar character thing. I also like things predictable as Michael does. I like being in control, way too much. And it’s only as I began to let go of trying to control people and situations that my life, and the lives of those around me, have gotten better and more peaceful. When I find myself going back to my old ways- getting stressed about change, worrying about what others think, questioning myself, I silently remind myself what Michael has taught me even as he struggles with it-be yourself, own it, live your dreams, dare to be original and to heck with what others say, as Dr. Seuss himself said, “Those who care don’t matter, and those who matter don’t care.” Wise words by a wise writer. 🙂

So I am learning so far in 2019. that change is scarier and more exciting than ever for me. I am learning that YES I am truly changing for the better, but there are days when I want to hide and get angry that I fail little self-control tests and lose it as a Mom. Then I say, life is a journey lived with each breath. Each day I take new steps towards the parent I am still becoming as Michael takes towards the adolescent he is becoming. I have more compassion for parents than ever before, and remember no judging others. It’s that whole he is without sin thing. We’re all in this Exceptional Parenting thing together, and need to build bridges, not walls with each other.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of your New Year’s resolutions a week in? Are you having trouble living up to them? Remember, you and your child like every human being, are works in progress. Celebrate the little victories and don’t despair the failures. They will help you become stronger and move towards the parent and person you want to become. 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! 

 

 

Holiday Madness Descending- How To Cope In Your Exceptional Family

‘Tis the season for fun, family, festivities and sensory overload. Yep, it’s the holidays, and as much as Exceptional Families love the holidays like Neuro Typical Families do, our kids usually have a harder time. It’s not that they don’t enjoy the family gatherings, gifts or other traditions that go with it. It’s usually all of the above combined that will send most Exceptional Kids (and their parents), over the edge into over stimulation and meltdown mode. So, as an Exceptional Family, what can you do to help your Exceptional Child cope better with the holidays? Here are some ideas:

  1. Structure what you can: I know, the holidays are all about unwinding and NOT structuring, but our kids need some kind of structure in order to function in the way they are used to functioning in day to day life. Make the structure natural for home life, but give them some sort of idea as to what will be expected of them.
  2. Prepare them for the craziness: Talk to your kids either verbally or with pictos, about what the holiday entails. This means discussing what is expected of each of us by family, friends, and with other traditions so that will know what is happening.
  3. Form your own family traditions: This hard been a hard one for me. I was always a stickler for doing everything the same way I or Dad was brought up. However, we learned with an Exceptional Child we would need to adjust our way of thinking so everyone would have a good holiday. Now my main concerns are health, happiness and fun all around. As long as those conditions are met, I know we are on the right path. This means allowing down time for our child as well as time spent with family and friends.
  4. Set aside down time as a nuclear family: I am a firm believer in ‘safe days’, that is, days where there is not too much stimulation from family or friends, so that the day runs smoothly and Michael feels calm (as do Dad and I). Let’s face it, every parent worries when their Exceptional Child is having a hard time, so if we learn to give time for our child to stim, regulate, and do what he needs to do, everything else will fall into place.
  5.  Take time for yourselves individually: It’s important that Exceptional Moms and Dads take time for themselves to recharge their batteries before doing anything else as individuals. It’s only when we feel calm and centered, that we can pass that message on to our children.
    Exceptional Parents,  how do you cope with the holidays in positive frame of mind?  It’s important that no matter what, you learn how to regulate your behavior and your family’s and remember that everyone being comfortable is the best way to go. Happy Holidays! 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 a son with Autism, ADHD, 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.  

My Child Was Me-Coming To The Realization of Your Own Exceptional Strengths and Weaknesses

 

Michael is being too hard on himself and hates when people make mistakes. Michael has a hard time controlling his fear and anger. Michael is scared. Wow. Michael is me. Or at least was me when I was a little girl. Albeit, a more intense ASD/ADHD version of me, but me nonetheless. While he expresses his fear of failure and anger by not stopping to think or regulate, I did it by pushing my fears inside and having crying spells at eleven years old. Still, it is the same. Self-regulation was something it took me to adulthood to learn how to use. On the days when I become discouraged with Michael,  I think why can’t he control his anger better? Why is he scared, he has the tools to handle this? I remember at 11 the dark times I went through. I started thinking back to those times last year when Michael turned 11. It may have been the first time I actually began to hear the negative self-talk beginning in my head. At first, I ignored it and pushed it down. During my tweens and  teens though with hormones and self-esteem issues, it was difficult. Thank goodness I had an understanding mother who repeatedly told me, “these years will be the hardest. You will find yourself in adulthood.” She was right! It happened, though it took me to my mid thirties until I was finally at peace with myself.

I’m trying to remember this now as I navigate extreme tween puberty with Michael where he ranges from annoyed, to condescending, to aggressive, then  to weepy and back again to the happy little boy he used to be. Friends and girls are at the top of the list.  Sexuality, music, video games, and swearing to be cool figure in there too. If this is tween puberty what will the rest of teen puberty look like I think. Eek!  But seriously, I am starting to not only have sympathy for Michael dealing with all of this AND his different brain, but seeing how even though it was not to the same intensity, there is not a whole lot of difference between my tween/teen experience and Michael’s. It’s hard for a lot of Exceptional Parents to handle. My child really does not fall far from the tree, so how can I judge him/her when I struggled in many of the same ways as he does now? I see and hear myself doing many of the same things right, (and some wrong) like my Mom did. No parent is perfect, after all. But then I think, compassion for Michael starts with compassion for me. When I pull my emotional self (inner and outer) together, I can parent him all that much better and set a good example for how to handle things in a healthier way. I don’t want him to be the scared, frustrated, type A kid who is afraid to speak his mind.  I want him to learn calming strategies before his thirties, or else he is  just running from himself as I did for so many years. I wanted to be everyone but me. This is never a good thing, because who we each are is a beautiful thing as we are all individuals with our own special gifts to offer the world.

I’ve come a long way as a woman and as a Mom. I want to be able to help Michael into adulthood avoid some of the pain of not being in touch with himself, and for the rest, being the soft cushion where he can rest his head when he is scared and overwhelmed. I think I am still that for him, at least most of the time. 🙂

Exceptional Parents, how like or unlike you is your Exceptional Child? A friend once told me it is good that I see so much of me in Michael. She was right, though it took me awhile to appreciate this fact. You see, recognizing where your child needs help is great if you’ve already tackled it yourself. If you have not come to terms with parts of yourself that need healing though, this is much more challenging. Don’t worry though. Take heart. You are an adult now and can work on healing your own inner self. Therapy, meditation, exercise, and any type of self-care will help you get in touch with your inner being, in order to heal you and help your child through their own challenges. 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 a son with Autism, ADHD, 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.  

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.  

How To Show And Receive Respect From Your Exceptional Child

An amazing thing has been happening with Michael lately. He has been showing respect to me again as well as learning to respect himself in a whole new way. Puberty has not been easy for him thus far, and I have been told by many people that it will only get harder as he gets older. Apparently kids with autism and ADHD have a harder time in puberty. Also kids who have Type 1 Diabetes have their challenges, big ones, during these years too. I don’t consider these people fear mongers. I am grateful to all of them, professional and other Moms and Dads, who have told me this to help me continue to stay strong, advocate, and prepare Michael for the world in the best way I can. I know he will triumph. He is one strong kid, and I am one strong Mama! 🙂

This is not to take away from the fact that Michael has blown me away with the progress he has made in the last four months, but especially the last two, as he has moved away from using verbal and physical means to handle his anger. That’s not to say there have not been slip ups, but he is so conscious of them, apologizes, immediately starts using his strategies to calm down. He shows me how he is learning that giving in to anger is not the solution. He will often ask me if he is doing better. Am I happy with him? I tell him I am happy to see him using his tools, and yes, he is doing better. I will also repeat, that anger is ok. It is channeling anger in a destructive or dangerous way that is unacceptable. I think he is grasping that.

I also had this amazing conversation with him the other night where we talked about respect and love. I told Michael if he knew that I love him, even when I don’t say it. He said, “I know you love me Mommy. I always know.” I have seen him make mistakes with talking back to Dad and I, getting upset when something does not go his way, and catch himself about to launch into an aggressive tirade and stop. He asks if we can go places and spend time together. Can we go out to eat? He does not demand, but waits to see what works for me. I think all of this boils down to a slow process of learning self-soothing strategies, as well as recognizing that I am a separate human being with my own wants, needs and desires. For my part, I have also shown respect Michael’s way, with the new activities he wants to participate in, to his bedtime routine which we have altered as he has matured. The respect has to work both ways in order to be successful and so far, I am happy to say that things are getting better.

Exceptional Parents, do you respect your Exceptional Child? Do they respect you? Remember, it is  two way street of talking, establishing firm rules and boundaries that are clear, and also allowing some leeway when they are clearly feeling out of control and powerless. In the end, if you start with respect and love, you cannot go wrong. Until next time.

Feeling stuck as a parent? Wondering how you can manage parenting an exceptional child that does not come with an instruction manual? You are not alone. You have a unique experience ahead of you, and one that can shape you into something you never thought possible. I can help you on your journey. As an exceptional parent myself, I have been there and am continually there through my incredible son’s journey that just keeps growing. To learn more about how he is raising me, check out my website: 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