Category: communication

Staying Calm and In Control When Rebounding From Parenting Errors-Using Yourself As An Example

So tonight when I said something that made Michael upset and provoked an anxiety attack, I realized too little, too late that I needed to save having the conversation to a better time. A meltdown ensued, with everything in between. When things finally did calm down, I am proud to say that I used myself as a model for how to calm down when you are upset.  I was just as upset as Michael was about our fight. I was in the process of leaving the house, but due to the fight I knew I would end up being late. So, what did I do first? I showed Michael through example how to calm down so we could talk. He actually ended up calming down faster than me, so I told him I still needed a few minutes. Here are the steps I used which I am trying to replicate each time there is a fight or misunderstanding:

1) My mantra of Stop, Breathe, Act. I stopped my own anger, breathed and then acted on a positive strategy to carry myself forward. In my case, a mantra that tells me I can do this.

2) Used the Zones of Regulation (Green, Blue, Yellow, Red) to see which zone I was in and ask Michael for time till I got into the proper zone for talking for me-green. I had the conversation when in green.  http://www.zonesofregulation.com/index.html.

3) Practiced patience in reassuring Michael about the next steps we would take to fix the problem. In our case, we wrote down the rules on paper, so that everyone was in agreement about how this particular situation would unfold this time.

4) Got the whole family together to have a family meeting and agree to said conditions: It is important that everyone learns from anger outbursts and moves forward. No blame, just taking responsibility for their own actions.

Exceptional Parents, how have you handled your children’s outbursts and your own reactions when they haven’t been so positive? Like with anything in life, you need to remind yourself that mistakes happen,  you learn from them, and move forward. Acting calm and matter of fact like this even after a fight, will show your child that you too make mistakes and can learn from them personally and as a family. Remind them that they can always move forward,  formulate an emotional regulation plan that works for them, and then put it into practice like you do for yourself. When they see you modeling your own emotional regulation plan, they will be more likely to eventually start doing it themselves. 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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“Hey, I’m the Adult Here”- How to Make It Clear Who Sets The Pace While Still Respecting Your Child’s Boundaries

So tween hood has been challenging, very challenging so far for Michael and I. Sometimes he is downright funny like tonight when I knew he was trying to do something silly with a friend and I called him on it and he said, “Wow, Mommy! You are so smart! How did you know I was going to do that?” With a straight face, I answered him, because Moms are adults and we have lots of life experience. Other times, conversations can be downright frustrating, like when he argues that he is not hungry for breakfast and why can’t he not eat like so and so does in school? Because it is not healthy and I want you healthy. There are also fights about bedtimes. “Well so and so gets to stay up till 10 pm and HE is twelve years old. Sigh. If it was only these regular issues that I have to deal with. But then there are the inevitable challenges his anxiety, ASD, ADHD and diabetes bring for him and me. He needs LOTS of reassurance when stressed, can be quite impulsive when routines are interrupted, and diabetes, well, for the most part I’ve figured out the basics, but it throws me and Dad WAY too many curve balls and Michael too, of course.

This brings me to raising Michael now in this mindset, when I am not the Queen and center of his universe I once was. Friends have taken that spot, though he will still tell me about his day most of the time, talk about his problems, and occasionally, I get compliments on my cuisine even. 🙂 All jokes aside, he will also try to upset the power boundaries in our relationship and insist that he is in charge and I can’t stop him from

1) not brushing his teeth

2) not swearing in his head

3) not eating all his fruits and veggies

I say, you’re right, but I want you to make the healthy choices that are good for your overall functioning so that you feel good, be able to play and learn well. I have learned how to sidestep a power struggle with everything, though we have our mornings like this morning where he was misinterpreting everything I was saying and being grouchy about eating, moving fast and brushing his teeth. I looked at him in pure frustration and said,

“Next thing you’ll agree what color our toaster is with me. Just cooperate. The bus is coming!”
He surprised me by laughing, and saying he wasn’t like that. Then he paused and got moving. I stepped outside with my morning coffee and waited for the bus outside the house until he came out five minute later. This little technique (along with having my second cup of coffee Al Fresco) 😉 has saved many a morning from erupting into a full fledged fight. Most importantly, I am learning how to express myself to Michael making it clear that Dad and I are in charge and that there needs to be rules, but we can negotiate on compromise on things like bedtime (Bedtime Monday -Thursday and Sunday is at 9. Fridays and Saturdays you can go 9:30 as long as we see you are listening and calm). We also compromise on video or computer time the same way. And food, well, we let him pick a meal once a week, and the other times, he eats what he can, making an effort to eat a whole balanced plate.

Exceptional Parents, how do you balance your authority with giving your child choices? Like with everything in life, the middle road is actually the best road taken. It allows for a stable routine with some flexibility and negotiation with both sides. This method teaches your child respect of you and themselves, and you learn to respect them as well as growing thinkers and doers in charge of their destiny. 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! 

Why ADHD is Cool And Why It’s Important Exceptional Parents Remember That

Tonight I had one of those afternoon and evenings with Michael when he was a little, shall we say, high strung and at times challenging. He was having a hard time focusing on what he needed to do, (in this case get ready for and the playing tennis at his weekly lesson). He was argumentative with me about leaving on time, and then was silly and hyperactive at the lesson. When the teacher got him to focus, and that she did, he performed well so the lesson was a success. But he kept coming back to me and asking me about calling up a friend later. I could truly see the ADHD which was making it challenging for him to focus, sequence and move forward in a logical way. This was both frustrating for me, but then on the car ride home when we talked about how the evening would unfold, I also spoke to him about his ADHD. He admitted that he has a  hard time organizing himself due to the ADHD and he needs help and reminders. I agreed with him, and told him I and his teachers would support him with reminders, but he needed to do the work too to stay focused. I came up with a new mantra-Stop, Breathe, Think, Speak Or Do.  It has met with reasonable success, but still needs work. I also am trying to get him back to doing mediation and yoga to learn to stay in the moment and breathe.

In talking to Michael however, I also found myself saying out loud how cool ADHD was. Yes, parents I used those exact words much to my own happy surprise! I said, just like Autism means his brain works differently and he has many interesting ways of seeing the world because of it, the same is true of ADHD. I was surprised, because though I have said it to other adult people I know who have ADHD and I truly believe this kind of brain is incredible when I see it in kids or adults, I was having a hard time seeing my child’s ADHD as cool. I think that’s because helping him focus and reigning in some of that excess energy is far from simple, and at the end of a busy work week, the last thing a parent wants to do is have behavior challenges to deal with.

Still, in saying it out loud, I felt happy, happy for Michael that he has quirky personality traits due to ADHD, and happy for me that I could see the positives in what amounts to a very fast and different brain which zeroes in on things neuro typical brains may not see right away. I told Michael that in order for him to see his ADHD as the gift that it is, he has to make sure not to let the stressful parts of how his brain works get him in trouble. I compared it to loving food so much that we overeat and feel sick. You can love food, but enjoy in moderation. Same with the way you experience life at a faster pace. Talk a lot, get excited, but know when to tone it down.

Later in the evening I also thought it’s like when I write a story and my characters talk to me in my head. Yep. They actually do sometimes. I have also seen what they look like. However, I don’t have full blown conversations with make believe characters, nor think others want to hear about these characters in my daily life in detail, unless of course they ask about a story or book I am writing. Then if it is the appropriate moment, I talk about the story.  That’s what we need to do as parents. Praise the uniqueness, quirks and different ways our child’s brain works due to Autism, ADHD or whatever other challenges they are facing, while helping support them to overcome the difficulties they face in our world due to their different outlook and ways of relating. We also need to teach them there is a time or place for having certain conversations.

Exceptional Parents, how do you talk about your Exceptional Child’s brain and the way they see the world? It’s important to support our children as well as celebrate their differences. We all have our challenges and strengths. It’s by honing in on the strengths while giving support for the weaknesses, that we will help instill a positive attitude in our children as they step into the world more and more on their own. Then, they in turn can educate others out there about differences and celebrate them in a positive way.  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 Speak Clearly To Your Exceptional Child And Avoid Miscommunications

I have been parenting Michael now for twelve years, and can usually give others great advice about how to speak to kids with autism, ADHD and other different brains. Yet, there are still days and nights where I find myself forgetting about how I sometimes use language in a confusing way for Michael and then I sigh to myself. Some examples are in order. Most kids with ASD are literal in language, so certain English expressions can be confusing. If your child is whining about not getting a privilege and you forget and say, “you’ll survive,”  he or she may, like Michael, think “what do you mean? I’m not sick. I’m not going to die. Of course I’ll survive.” Another example is giving your child options like you could do things in a way like A or in a way like B and not elaborate so they don’t follow clearly. Yep. I’ve been guilty of doing both this week, though I have to say that I am usually extremely clear with Michael about things like following his daily routine, as well as how I speak.  So, on that note, how can parents talk to kids whose brains are wired to be more literal and concrete? Why, you need to phrase things in simple and concrete ways so that there is mutual understanding. Here are some examples:

1) Talk with short clear sentences to your child: “Today we will be going to this place at this time.” Then make sure through a picture sequence or words you remind your child of what they need to do to get ready. Depending on their age, let them decide the time frame on how to get it all done.

2) Stay calm and be patient when they ask questions: This means if their anxiety is going up, yours needs to stay where it is if you are calm or go down if you are not. If you feel yourself inching towards panic, go to your inner calm place. Radiating peace to them is important.

3) Avoid thinking out loud: This was a bad habit of mine, but now since parenting Michael I have gotten a lot better at having dialogues with myself INSIDE my head. You talking about the past or future around your child (especially things you regret doing or are worried about) will only increase their worry.

4) Give them positive language and support when they are agitated: We all like this, exceptional or not, but giving them words for how they are feeling, and showing them you care even if you don’t have all the answers then and there can help them find these words for themselves in the future.

5) Help them see they can find solutions: Encourage them to find ways to calm down, talk through how they feel, and come up with solutions to problems in a direct and logical way that works for them. This will build their self-confidence and it decreases your stress as a parent. After all, we are not supposed to put out all our children’s fires. They need to learn to handle their own emotions in a calm way.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of the positive ways you talk to your Exceptional Child and see success in your family interactions? What have been some of your mistakes? Every child is different, but in the end, as long as your child feels safe, heard and the message of what you are trying to say is clear, you are both on the right path to communicating in a positive and calm way. 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 Help Your Child With Executive Function Challenges

Michael is an amazing kid. I’ve said it time and time again. He has taught me so much about persistence, tenacity, having a sense of humor and never giving up. He has also taught me lessons about patience, both in showing it to him, others and towards myself. But one thing that I know is super challenging for Michael as it is for other kids on the spectrum and with different brains, are executive function challenges. Executive function challenges are basically planning out things in a smooth, logical way so that you are in sync with others around you. This is usually done seamlessly for most of us, but people whose brains work differently process information differently, so things do not unfold in the same way for them. Unfortunately, this often spells disaster for interactions with parents, teachers, friends and others in the vicinity. It’s not that the person with a different brain is trying to stress everyone out. They just don’t understand how you can read the environment so differently than they do. So, what can a parent do to try and avoid so many of the fights they have with their exceptional child over how they go about organizing their day? It’s called compromise both ways, and here are some survival tips that I have learned, and am in fact, still learning:

  1. Write It All Down: Yes, write down your child’s typical functioning day, or if they are older have them write it down. It’s important that they see the order of their day on paper and how long things take to do, so the time next to what is getting done.
  2. Ask For Your Child’s Input: It is SO important that your child has some say and control over their day at home. This does NOT mean that they call all the shots, but giving them choices over when they want to do certain things- i.e. do you want snack at 10 or 10:15? do you want to play with this toy or that? This can give them a sense of control and mastery in a world where they often feel they have little say or control.
  3. Tell Them What You Want Directly: This means listing the priorities of their day and what you expect from them- i.e. you need to get up, eat, get dressed, go to your activity and/or school, come home, do homework, eat dinner, shower, bed. The more clearly you can spell out what they need to do, the calmer they will feel as there is routine, and then the two of you can fill in the blanks for the details.
  4. Give Strategies For Stressors: Things that stress them out will make them shut down and not move, participate or do what is expected. This can look like defiance, not moving or talking , tantrums, dressing slowly, staying in bed or not going to bed. When your child is having a hard time no matter how hard it is or how late it is, take a deep breath, get down to their level and ask them, “is something wrong? how can I help?” Add, “I want to help and need you to tell me how.” This will usually give some sort of clue. Then besides talking offer: taking a walk, a fidget toy to squeeze, a massage, quiet music, etc.
  5. Have A Reward System and Use It: Finally, when your child starts to listen, uses strategies to handle stress and asks for help, reward them. Have a set of rewards that works- points system to redeem for a gift, a special treat at a store or eating out at a restaurant, a visit to a favorite place etc.

Exceptional Parents, how have you handled your Exceptional Child’s sequencing challenges in the past? If your system is not working anymore, think what you can use from the above or what else you can tweak. Remember, a successful behavior plan means compromise on both sides. Then there will be success and the love will be reinforced on both sides as each of you see the other one taking your concerns to heart. 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! 

The Struggles Of Being An Exceptional Parent And What It Has Taught Me So Far

Most of my posts about raising an Exceptional Child and being an Exceptional Mom have been positive and optimistic, because after all, if our kids can handle a world that is not always set up to help them succeed, then who are we as their parents to complain? Yet, there are times when as a Mom and a woman who blogs about helping special needs families and lives it, I  want to run screaming into the wilderness saying, let me out alive! These thoughts used to frighten me. Not any more. I see them now as a necessary thing, a way to balance all my sides,-mother, wife, writer, coach, woman. It’s not always easy. But once I started sharing my parenting journey and my own personal human journey on this blog, my life became even more rich, as did my fiction. But that’s another story.

I have to say that coming to terms with how Michael and helping kids like him has changed me as a person, has been quite a journey. Our kids, all kids, teach us life lessons every day. They build us up and break us down, only to build us up again. They make us realize the work we have done on ourselves and may still need to do. They help us stay honest with who we are and who we want to become. So, on that note, I want to share what parenting an Exceptional Child  has taught me so far:

  1. I am stronger than I think.
  2. Self-care is the most important thing. If I fail in prioritizing my health, I fail everyone in my circle.
  3. Being a parent  feels like a spiritual calling most days, and it’s important to treat it that way.
  4. Sometimes you want to run away from being a parent and that’s not only ok, but normal. Go deeper and see what’s missing- More alone time? More sleep? More time with friends?
  5. Your personal time will be compromised as you prioritize the child. Make sure you schedule, and I mean schedule in everything else or it will never get prioritized.
  6. Your child will open up worlds you didn’t know existed.
  7. Your child will test your beyond anything in the universe.
  8. You will grow as much from the painful moments as from the beautiful. Don’t regret either of the lessons.
  9.  You may think another parent would do better for your child when you are the parent your child needs.
  10. You are your child’s teacher and advocate. They are your teacher and spiritual guide. Together, you will do amazing things.

Exceptional Parents, have you ever felt overwhelmed in a good or bad way by parenthood? Both are normal states of being. Your child needs to see you experience all the emotions out there. This way they will know that it is normal and ok to be angry, happy, sad, fearful, fearless and brave. As we teach them how to navigate the world around themselves, they teach us the same. Keep striving to learn from each other and when times are rough, remember you are both human and will get through it together. 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! 

 

Learning From And Teaching Your Exceptional Child-Finding The Balance

So this week has been both an exercise in learning from Michael and in teaching him how to handle some of life’s stresses and strains. There have been times, like the other night when Michael handled low blood sugar in the middle of the evening all by himself, that I stood totally in awe of my son, how he is handling a disease that is not always easy to manage, particularly with blood sugars that go up and down and not always with any reason. I often think that I would not be so good at handling diabetes as calmly as Michael does, particularly as I still have a lot of anger that Michael has this problem. I see how Michael is teaching me to stop fearing this and to move forward.

Then there was another night when the opposite happened. Michael escalated to fury and aggression so quickly over something so silly, a future outing that may or may not come to pass, that I became the teacher, once again reminding him after he had calmed down, that the next time he needed to pause and think before jumping the gun. We often interchange in these rules, of teacher and student. And even when at times he has triggered my anger, impatience or anxiety, I ask myself the question, why? What do I have to fear? What need of mine is not being met? What do I need to change? And I thank Michael. Ok, maybe not directly at that time when I am angry or upset, but afterwards. I see that I am meant to learn life lessons from him just as he is from me.

That’s the thing. Our children are our greatest teachers, and exceptional kids’ brains see the world a whole lot differently than ours. This means that if we keep an open mind and heart, we will see the world through their eyes and learn to think like them too, especially when they are on the right track. Of course, there are times that they learn to think like us and get themselves on the right track too. That is also great. We are each other’s guide in a world that does not always make sense, but that is a journey of self-growth if we remember it like that.

Exceptional Parents, who are the teacher and student in your parent/child relationship? If you chose one or the other, it’s probably not accurate. In all relationships, you learn from each other. We learn from co-workers, family members, strangers, even our pets. If we look deep enough at the lessons life is trying to teach us through adversity, joys, blessings and pain, we will be on our way to parenting our children, and ourselves, in a whole new way. 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! 

 

Seizing Those Precious Moments With Your Exceptional Child

They say to enjoy every moment of motherhood because soon they grow up and it changes. I used to wonder how this would work for Michael and I as it took him longer to reach his milestones and then when he did, he would sometimes skip the next step and zoom ahead at top speed. Still, I did my best once I caught Michael’s unique rhythm, to enjoy moment with Michael, each day where he would say or do something cute, funny, smart or charming. When I first realized he loved directions and he would tell me where to turn on streets, both in the car and on foot during our mother/son walks, as he had navigated on Google Maps beforehand. I also enjoyed when he first took an interest in cooking. And like with anything Michael does, when he does it he does it with gusto and such intensity that you can’t help but fall in love with the subject too.  I enjoyed when he became fascinated with experimenting with music, singing briefly with hip hop dancing.

Then though, there were the moments that were not so precious. The moments, of anger, anxiety, fear, and pain. These were hard to live through with Michael. I kept feeling I was failing him as he would ask me to help him, cry sometimes, and I didn’t have the answers. I would sometimes find temporary band aids and our wonderful team behind us would help, but then we’d be right back to where we started. What changed? Michael, in time, grew up. He started seeing how now as a young tween he has power over his emotions. He is not as helpless as he thought he was over his OCD thoughts, his anxiety, or his anger. He is learning better how to manage his diabetes everyday. Most important of all, I am losing importance as the one to “fix” everything as he sees that he is responsible for doing that. This, of course, is a learning curve and takes times, but I know he and I will get there.

I am proud of the way he has grown. I am proud of how though the process is hard on both of us, he does learn from mistakes and eventually connects the dots of the changes he has to make. As a result, in a strange way I am not as stressed anymore about the hard moments. This doesn’t mean I feel happy or relaxed, of course or still don’t lose my top from time to time. Neither does Michael. However, I see that he is growing from them. He is becoming stronger, more sure of himself and I am seeing the transition slowly. First my baby became a toddler, then my toddler became a little boy, and now in the last two years, my little boy has turned into a tween soon teen with very definite adult ideas. He is putting up his boundaries in how he wants to spend time with Dad and I, as we do with him. He is wanting to be more with friends or alone pondering life. He is growing up and pushing away from me. And I couldn’t be happier. Yes, there is some nostalgia. No Mom ever has none, especially when the journey to bring your child into the world in an interactive and healthy way was not an easy road for him and you. In fact, you celebrate even more because you see that your child will be ok in the world one day when you are no longer in it.

But, as any Mom will tell you, it is all worth it. It was also worth all those times I wished he’d leave me alone and not want to play and do things with me. I’m so glad I pushed on and enjoyed that time as it’s slowly slowly coming to an end as Michael finds new ways to entertain himself and in a healthy way, moves away from Dad and I.  Of course, as a parent it is still important to be there present in your child’s life even as they grow. You need to know their friends, what interests them. You need to find some special activities to do together. I promised myself I will enjoy these moments too that will soon be gone when he is in his teens. For now as always, I am taking things at Michael’s pace, and letting it lead me and him where we are supposed to go, and all of this in his own exceptional way, because life with Michael is anything but ordinary.

Exceptional Parents, do you enjoy the precious moments you have with your Exceptional Child? Remember even if it does not look like a neuro typical child’s development, your Exceptional Child will change and take you on a different road. So have fun exploring with them every day. Honor what interests them and let them show you how they see the world. It will help you both grow and appreciate the diversity that is out there. 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! 

 

The Difference Between Limits And Streaks of Independence In Your Exceptional Child

So Michael continues to surprise me. He continues to surprise me with his very natural desire to want to fit in with peers and push away from me, from the way he handles stress, anxiety and the physical challenges of diabetes, to the way he maturely will ask for space, love, time and meaning. Sometimes it feels like too much to handle for me. Other times, I am at peace, catching a glimpse of the independent young man I really believe he will grow up to be. He is a puzzle, my boy. But then, he always has been. From the time he came into my life and threw it into a whirlwind being nothing like any other baby I’d ever heard of or taken care of, from the way he danced to the beat of his own drummer from infancy, to the beautiful surprises he showed me along the way, I have been on a journey with Michael that only continues to grow.

I am seeing now too, how sometimes in the parenthood journey we need to impose limits for our children’s safety and well being (mental and physical), and at other times how we need to acknowledge that their pushing away from us is actually healthy and move towards that. I am at the phase with Michael. I am sometimes terrified as with all Michael’s knowledge about people, directions, self-help skills and such, he still can have full on meltdowns and freak when his sugar is high, he doesn’t get his way, or life is unpredictable. Where do I draw the line of mothering him and letting him fend for himself? This is a delicate balance, and one I, and other mothers around the world, learn to delicately balance as we get more experience as parents.  I am beginning to see where I need to strike the balance with Michael.

He will also tell me, “I don’t want any more kisses or hugs from you. I’m a big guy now.”

Yet, then when I go to try and start  writing a little earlier in the evening while he is getting ready for bed and head down to my office in the basement, I’ll hear his entreaty, “Mommy, stay upstairs. I like when you are upstairs.”

He will also have moments when he demands my full attention to divulge information to me and share about his day. I soak these moments up like I do the sun on a summer’s day. My little guy still needs me. I still make a difference. He wants to share with me and tell me how he feels. I will be able to show him more about life so he is better equipped when he will hopefully be completely or semi-autonomous. This is both a desire and fear for Exceptional Parents. We want our children independent of course, but we worry, have we taught them everything they will need to survive and thrive? The answer depends on you and your child. I’d like to think I am on the right track with Michael as he is showing great progress in all areas of his life.

Exceptional Parents, where do you draw the line between independence and putting limits for your Exceptional Child? Though of course it depends on the child, it’s important you encourage your child to be as independent and as free thinking as is possible for them. Yet, it is also important that you, as their parent, are not afraid to put limits in for their protection, limits for their safety, physical and mental health, as well as your own. In the end, treat them as the individual they are with all of their strengths and weaknesses. Help build them up and show them how to build on what they know and do best. Show them you are there loving them through it all, always, no matter what.  In doing this, you will strike the right balance for your child on becoming comfortable with who they are. 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! 

 

Tackling Your Own Exceptional Impatience While Helping Your Child With Theirs

I have a problem with patience. There, I said it. I feel better now. What has been hard for me to admit is that I need to build this skill really well as an Exceptional Mom because Michael’s patience is worse than mine and that’s not saying much. Most days and nights I can reign in my impatience, stress, and anger when Michael pushes limits, but then there are those days. You know the ones I am talking about, parents. They start tough with you feeling frustrated that in spite of all your best efforts your Exceptional Child will not compromise, and they end with two meltdowns-yours and your child’s. That was Michael and I the other night. I realized some common denominators in why we clashed. We were both overtired, not taking the time to hear one another or sympathize with the other one’s viewpoint, and we both were stubbornly holding on to the fact that we had it right. As it turned out, neither of us had the situation completely correct. It was an evening that called for some negotiating, respectful listening, and patience with the other tired person. Neither of us possessed it that night as we had our own agendas. “Do you hear me, do you really hear me?” These were the words both of us were uttering while the other was clueless. Each thought the other one was uncaring when really two tried people who loved each other clashed and clashed badly.

After as I lay in bed totally wiped out by the tough evening not even having the energy to take a calm warm bath as I had planned, I thought to myself,  there were some steps I wish I had followed to stay calm and centered. As a model to Michael, I may have been able to prevent the evening from at least getting worse even if I could not have prevented the fighting we did.  I vowed to follow these steps and recognize what I needed to do the next time there was a conflict and I know that there will be conflicts with an opionated tween in the house!

  1. Evaluate my mood: Before Michael came home, I needed to recognized how tired I was and what would charge my batteries in a positive way. Then it was time to do that before the bus pulled up. Probably doing some yoga or listening to soft music my cup of coffee or tea would have helped.
  2. Review the strategies to use: The strategies would include what I would use to calm down and what I know would work for Michael. If necessary, having them on paper close by to refer to may have been a good option for both of us.
  3. Remember not to take my kid’s anger personally: This is a tough one, but most kids act out due to THEIR issues not their lack of love or respect for you no matter what they say or do. They are on the egocentric side, and so pain is all about them. As the parent and adult in the relationship, I needed to recognize that Michael was in a bad mood due to HIS issues and not MINE.
  4. Validate some of his anger and mine calmly: This is also tough, but as I tell Michael, anger is not bad, but reacting to anger with aggression of any sort in unacceptable. Just because Michael yells I do not yell back. The same goes for physical aggression. I am guilty of yelling only, though I have been known to slam doors, not my proudest moments as a Mom. As the adult, I need to model how to be angry and use tools to get control of myself. Also, it’s important to acknowledge mistakes and anger with an “it’s ok. we move forward,” and no blame game. We all make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world. I may say it, but I need to do it too.
  5. Don’t make assumptions about what is being said-communicate clearly from the beginning: What got Michael and I in trouble, was that we both assumed the other one was deliberately trying to hurt and disrespect the other one. This was not the case. We had a BIG communication problem. With a neuro typical brain and an autistic one, it can happen all the time if we are not careful. Once the snowball got rolling, it was hard to stop. I saw now that I assumed falsely as did Michael  what the other one was saying, and that made things worse for both of us. Next we need to be direct right away.

Exceptional Parents, do you feel like you are losing your cool more than you want to with your child? Do you feel like you have it under wraps and then suddenly explode and you can’t see why? It’s time to look at your own parenting tools for YOUR anger and anxiety. Do they need a tune up? Do you need a reminder of what helps to calm you down? It’s ok to use bad nights as a learning curve for you and your child. That is what we do in our family. After all, if your Exceptional Child sees that you lose it sometimes and recover from mistakes, they will eventually learn not to be too hard on themselves. Take heart if you are an impatient person. There are ways to build patience- get enough sleep, meditate, exercise and eat right, and take time for you to recharge your batteries doing things alone that can center you as a person. If you need to, seek outside help. There is never any shame in doing so. You will be a more patient parent and human being because of it, and your relationship with your child will only get better. Until next time.

Are 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!