Category: control

Stepping Back To Help Your Exceptional Child Self-Regulate- 5 Ways To Do It

The thing I used to hate the most when Michael was little was hearing him cry. The long crying spells and tantrums used to make me feel inept, helpless and desperate. What was I doing wrong as a mother that my baby would not stop crying? I used to marvel at other Moms in parks, shopping malls, at church. They seemed to keep their wits about them and not die a thousand deaths every time their child cried. Both my mother and mother-in-law tried to reassure me. That is how he is communicating. They were right of course. The calm Moms I witnessed all around me were right too. But then so was I. You see, Michael did not know how to self-regulate, and I did not know how to teach him to do that until much later when I realized that kids with special needs take longer to achieve these milestones than other children.

I think it all stemmed from my own childhood. I had been an EXTREMELY sensitive child who would cry whenever upset. Self-regulation had been challenging for me at that time, but I learned to shed tears to a supportive mother and later on my own as an adult in the comfort of my own room. I suffered a lot until my thirties though, until I learned how yoga, exercise and meditation could help curb  stress and anxiety. I also learned that it had to be ME who fixed my problems and no one else. After a burnout I realized if I didn’t learn how to be responsible for my own emotions, I would continue to suffer. There was no such thing as superwoman. It was not a healthy place to be in.

Fast forward to motherhood. I knew I had to teach Michael self-regulation and didn’t want him suffering till adulthood before he found his way, but after coming to terms with his diagnoses, I  couldn’t help but worry, could he do this, could I teach him? I was feeling overwhelmed and wondering how to teach a child whose brain was so different than mine. Where would I start?  I was helped by great psycho educators as well as other therapists who gave me good tools. I also picked the brains of my Mom friends and found out what worked for their kids.From all those wonderful individuals (as well as doing some of my own brainstorming) here  is a list of ways to help your child  self-regulate:

  1. Let them cry or feel anger: This is the hardest thing to do, but remember crying and getting angry are not what the problem is. It is not being able to stop the tears or the anger from growing. That is where the destructive parts come in. Having them come up with strategies like stepping away to breathe, going for a short walk, squeezing something can help calm the storm of anger or anxiety.
  2. Talk about when you’ve lost control and how you reacted to fix it: Depending on how much your child understands and can communicate, it is important to share your own experiences with anger and sadness honestly. This does not mean every detail. They should not bear the burden of your emotional issues, but telling them what you did that worked or failed will be helpful for them to find strategies.
  3. Ask them what they think would make them feel better: When your child is calm, ask them what they like to do to be happy. Also, observe what they seem to gravitate to when upset. Do they like hugs, movement, deep pressure? These are indications of things you can suggest as self-regulation tools.
  4. Teach them how to show unconditional love to themselves: Sadly, this is something most adults lack or have difficulty with-self-love and acceptance even when our faults rise to the surface. Before you can teach a child to love him/herself unconditionally though, you must show them how you love yourself unconditionally. This means that even when you mess up as an adult, you take responsibility, calm down, name what you did wrong, and start the healing process. We all make mistakes. It is ok, and is part of life.
  5. Give them choice and remind them it is THEIR job to calm themselves down. Too many exceptional kids are told what to do by the adults around them. Yes, adults need to guide them, but it is important that in guiding them, you do not tell them HOW to calm down. There is not one way. There are many. They have to (with gentle loving guidance), figure out what tools will work for them. Another thing to remember. It is their job to calm themselves down. Not yours. Not their therapists. Not their teachers. This is so hard for a parent, but invaluable to make your child accountable for how they feel and who they are.

Exceptional Parents, how many times have you wished you could take back  a stressful event or events from your Exceptional Child’s life? It’s not a good idea. The thing is, resilient kids are made when they are forced to find ways to handle their own individual stress. Our kids need to be given tools to handle their anxiety, anger and depression. But we can’t be constantly rescuing them. If we do this, we will make them feel as if they can’t do it on their own. As hard as it is, parents have to be offer support, tools and their own life experiences as guides and suggestions. Then it’s time to step back, let your child fall and pick themselves back up. Eventually they will learn what they need to do to succeed. Remember, a different brain is not an inferior brain. Your child can and will come in their own if they see you believe in them and love them for all they are. 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

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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.

Being The Harbor For Your Exceptional Child

How many times have most parents thought what the heck have I gotten myself into in becoming a parent? I can tell you, I have thought this SO many times as an exceptional parent. I love my son more than anything in the universe and could not imagine life without him, but oh, to have the experience I have now in parenting him years ago. And even now, there are times I think, where do I go from here? Puberty, multiple diagnoses, and just general testing of boundaries, makes exceptional parenting a  minefield for most parents. But what I have learned in the hard moments is to trust in my parenting gut when I know and do not know what to do. When I know it, I do it. Easy enough. When I am unsure and on new ground, I meditate and calm my inner mind. Next I ask God and the Universe for guidance. I ask to be directed to the right people and resources to help Michael. I am never let down. Within days, my path is cleared and I have new tools. My confidence builds and I move forward again.

Michael has taught (and continues to) teach me SO much about my patience, anger, strengths and limitations. I have been broken down and rebuilt as a Mom, woman and human being. He has humbled me to work on my frailties while helping him work on his. I have had my eyes opened when I have misinterpreted what he is feeling. I realize that no parent can know any child one hundred percent, whether they have special needs or not.  And I have also learned how to make the tough choices. How to do things he does not like. How to teach him to cope with stress. This is a daily struggle for both of us. How to navigate my marriage with an exceptional child in puberty, how to navigate and practice self-care with an exceptional child in puberty, and most importantly, how to admit when I need a shoulder to cry on-family, friend, deity or all of the above. I do not hesitate now, even with all I’ve learned, to say  “I’ve had it. I need help. I need a break.”

Every parent has to learn to do this. Every parent has to learn to teach their child to do this. Every parent needs to know when they need to switch on or off. If you do not know, talk to someone about it. If family or friends don’t understand, seek professional help. The sooner you are in good shape, the sooner you can help your child reset and understand them better. In the meantime, keep these tips in mind to be your child’s safe harbor:

  1. Sleep Enough
  2. Eat Enough
  3. Laugh Enough
  4. Share Enough
  5. See Your Child As Struggling In Themselves, Even In Their Darkest Moments With You.

Exceptional Parents, are you often your Exceptional Child’s safe harbor? If you feel that lately you are the one needing that harbor, it is ok. Remember, even when you feel you can’t go on, you will find a way to do so. You are your child’s safe harbor. Keep your own lights on and your vehicle ready to help, and you will be able to see your child through any challenge. 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

Meltdowns And Learning From Them-How Best To Help Your Exceptional Child

As Michael has gotten older, many things have changed. What has especially become more difficult to navigate have been his meltdowns, or breakdowns when he has become overstimulated, stressed and angry. I realize he and we are dealing with many different challenges to how he views things, and this has affected me on figuring out how best to help him. OCD is still a killer for me. I am still trying to wrap my head around this aggravating, frustrating and stressful condition. I feel so angry sometimes that the compulsions Michael feels inclined to do take up so much energy and stress. With a new medication to handle it, the compulsions have gotten better, but the problem is still there, and when Michael becomes overwhelmed with other stimuli, we have a weekend like we just did with lots of behaviors, hyperactivity and aggression. It was not that Michael wanted to do this or that we wanted to bring it on. But sometimes as parents, we only see the triggers too late and then it all has to come out.

I am happy to say that though it was a rough weekend, we all learned what NOT to do. This is always my takeaway when Michael has a hard time or Dad and I do understanding him. If we cannot give ourselves a break and learn from the mistakes we make, how can we expect Michael to be less hard on himself? So, in lieu of our weekend, here are some tips I can offer to parents on how to help your child post meltdown:

  1. Sympathize with them: Remember, no child would choose to fail at regulating. If they are overreacting, it is because they do not have the mechanisms to control their anxiety in place. See what new tools you can give them.
  2. See what your triggers were: Your triggers? Yes, sometimes as parents we inadvertently make aggressions and anxieties worse or escalate them when we overreact initially or are stressed out. Of course, you are not to blame for your child losing control. They are. But you do need to remember to stay as calm as you can to give them a calm model. I am still learning that as a Mom.
  3. Share your successes and failures with self- regulation: I truly believe that sharing your own struggles with controlling stress in your life could help your child immensely. Tell them what worked or did not work for you in the past.
  4. Give them as much control as you can: Often times meltdowns happen because your child does not feel they have choices  OR you have given them too many choices and not enough boundaries over what they can and cannot do. Have a balance and show them by modeling how you do this in your life.
  5. Check on your child’s overall health-sleep, food, medication and see if anything needs tweaking: Finally, seeing if something in their regime needs to be adjusted. That could be what is setting them off to have the meltdowns and making it harder to recover afterwards.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle things post-meltdown with your Exceptional Child? As long as compassion and sympathy are present, as well as clear strategies to help them replace the negative behavior, you are well on your way to helping them learn to understand their emotions better and on you doing the same. 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

5 Tips To Help Your Exceptional Child Handle Their Emotional State

Michael has made a lot of progress in learning how to self-regulate when it comes to anger and stress. As I’ve said before, both therapy and medication as well as hard work on his part, have helped him see what changes he has made to made. It has also been a lot of hard work on Dad’s part and mine to remind Michael to go to his own tool kit and see what is the best method to use in calm down in the particular situation he is in. The tool kit is constantly changing.  At first this stressed Michael out. He was worried that his old strategies were not working , or that he did not have any more new strategies. Just tonight he was having a hard time with regulating and I reminded him to use a strategy that worked for him. What he was working was clearly not working, as he was acting verbally and borderline physically aggressive. He seemed discouraged for a moment, but then realized, hey I could try this. I was very proud of him when he did use a strategy that worked and he turned the evening around big time.

What tools do work for kids or what could be in their tool kit? It really depends on what calms your child down. Like us, they are individuals and have their own tastes and preferences. It’s important for you as their parent to learn if they like or need movement to calm down, massage, squeezing, bouncing, walking or being left alone to breathe. Ask them questions and offer them different options to try. With time, you will see what works for them, and most importantly, they will see what they like. Here are 5 tips to help you help your exceptional child along the way in understanding their emotional state better:

1)Talk to them when they are calm: The worst time to offer advice about new strategies or using different ones is when they are already upset. It’s important that they are in a calm state when you talk to them and that you are too. This is when good techniques can be suggested.

2) Show them various visual options: Show them fidget toys, chewing gum, bouncing ball, a trampoline, offer them a blanket to curl up with or wrap around themselves. You can show them pictures online or draw images and help them choose.

3) Have them make an anger box: Have them make an “anger box” where they can write down what they are angry about and talk to you about it when they feel ready. If the child is younger and not as literate at writing or has difficulty writing, have them draw you a picture of why they are angry.

4) Remind them you are there for them always: Emotional support cannot be overestimated. Remind your child that you are always there to help them no matter what by listening and providing support.

5) Remind them that they have a choice to deal with their emotions in a positive matter and that anger is ok: This is a tough one. Kids will offer think anger is bad when parents initially tell them to use strategies to handle their anger. The thing is, the anger is not bad, it is often the way they handle their anger. This is where the child needs to be reminded that it is ok to be angry, but they need to vent in a positive and calm way. That makes all the difference.

Exceptional Parents, how are your children progressing in handling their emotions? If self-regulation is hard for them, don’t worry. It takes time, patience, and practice, both on your child’s and your part to help them learn how to manage their emotions. If you both have a hard day or week, don’t stress about it. Learn from the bad, celebrate the good moments, and go from there. Until next time.

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. I have been there before realizing the gift of who my son is.  For more information about me and my journey, check out my website :www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com  as well as my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/ebooks. 

 

 

 

Hyperactivity In Your Exceptional Child- How To Find The Balance

Hyperactivity In Your Exceptional Child- How To Find The Balance

So this post is about balance, balance for the child and the parent. Physical, psychological and spiritual balance, because only when we as adults and our children have that balance, do we come close to experiencing some kind of peace. It is not always easy or obvious to us parents what our exceptional child needs. And the thing is, most exceptional children have more than one official so-called diagnosis, whether we want to admit it or not. They have may Autism and ADHD, or Autism and learning disabilities or anxieties or all of the above. The thing is, our kids need strategies to manage their hyperactivity as we do, whether we their parents are neuro typcial or not. The thing is, it does not really matter. All of us get unhinged at times. It’s coming back to our center that matters, and only if we could do that can we feel whole. That is why it is so important that we show our exceptional child how to do that.

It has been a tricky journey for us and Michael in this regard. Michael was never just a straight autism brain as many had told us. We always saw the extra anxiety, phobias and hyperactivity that made up the rest of the wonderful person he is. I saw this because it is all good. I would not have Michael any other way, but I do want him learning how to manage his anxiety and other issues to live life to the fullest as he deserves to. He is a bright, happy, engaging little boy who has lots to offer to the world. As long as he is able to learn to self-regulate himself in a fast paced stressful world, he will do ok.  Let’s admit. This is hard for even us so called neuro typical adults. Imagine kids faced with additional challenges. That makes it all the harder.  Still, finding what works for your child, reminding them of their coping mechanisms and your pride and belief in them can go a long way.

Things that have worked for Michael self-regulating have included deep breathing, sensory massages, physical activity and sensory activities like play doh, thera putty, trampoline jumping and swinging. I have always helped Michael see how finding ways to self-regulate can help him, us and everyone around him. I have also reminded him how his “different brain” can do so many wonderful things, so he can definitively figure out how to handle hyperactivity too. He just has to ask for help, take time to think and pause for what he needs, and to know that all people, both exceptional and neurotypical have struggled with these questions.

As for me as an exceptional parent and other exceptional parents, we also need to know what strategies work to calm us. Are we runners, meditators or bathers? Do we like going out with friends to unwind or prefer an evening at home alone? Do we like reading, movement or tv? Finding our own balance as parents can also help us parent our child more effectively.

Exceptional Parents, are you feeling at a loss as to how to help your hyperactive exceptional child? Take a deep breath. You are not alone. First, offer suggestions to your child that you know can work. Second, be open to trying new things.  Third, let your child lead you to what they think they can do to calm down. You may be as surprised by their insight as you are by your own. The thing is, both of you know what to expect by now, and even if not, know what can possibly work and be brave enough to share it. Now it’s your time to go for it. Your child will be happy you trusted in them and they will learn to trust themselves too. 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 Hone Control-Yours and Your Exceptional Child’s

So for many parents the beginning of another school year has begun or will be beginning. What should parents take into this school year and teach their child to take in? Well, from personal experience, I have to say that the first thing both parent and child need is control. Control of their own reactions, their child’s reaction and how to come out calm and composed at the end.  This is not always an easy feat, as sometimes parent and child can both be frazzled by the prospect of a new school year, but it is utterly necessary. Necessary that both the parent and child accept that there will be ups and downs that they will have to deal with. Accept that they need to find the necessary tools to be on top of stress at all times, and accept that when they are not, they need to ask for help, and finally accept that sometimes it is by giving up control that one regains it.

I have learned so much from Michael this summer about control, particularly how to help him control his aggression and anxiety. Other summers it has been more about hyperactivity. This summer has been the summer to master aggression control. Hyperactivity only started to come into the picture in a major way during the last two weeks or so. What Michael has showed me, is that how I handle my anger and impulses can have a pretty direct impact on showing him to handle his. This is not to say that I am responsible for when he fails to handle his aggression or anxiety. This has taken me time as a parent to realize. If he truly is thrown for a loop, I step in and give strategies for the next time. However, I now realize I am not responsible for saving my child. He is in the end. This does not mean I don’t try with therapy measures, professionals, and medication, but that after doing all of this, I make sure that Michael has the tools to realize on his own what he needs to do.

In the last week alone, I have seen much improvement in Michael’s ability to handle stress, anxiety and coping. I have seen, once again,  a new medication, hard work, and perseverance help Michael push through his fears. I have been immensely impressed by his hard work.

Exceptional Parents, how do you teach your Exceptional Child about self-control? I’m sure it is by first learning to control your most difficult emotions-anxiety, anger and fear. Once you have found ways to handle these emotions, you can then show your child what they need to do to cope with their out of control thoughts and words. Remember, there will be moments that you fail. So will your child. Instead of beating yourself up, learn from these moments and become stronger using techniques that will help you defeat anger, anxiety and aggression. 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 Letting Go of Control Can Be Healing For You And Your Exceptional Child

I am someone for whom control had been a huge thing growing up. It came as a result of suffering from anxiety as an adolescent and young adult. I always felt like I never really had choices and control over things in my life, unless it was superficial. To some degree, this was true. To another degree, I did not feel confident speaking up about my anxiety or discomfort too much. Don’t get me wrong. My parents were very caring and involved, but I would feel guilty for talking about my problems and complaining. So I think that this was why as I reached adulthood, I strove to push myself to do all the things I was scared to do when I was younger and I knew that I could be in charge of  the majority of how things unfolded. This led to me thinking at one point I could control pretty much everything, and if I could not, I would be a failure.

Enter motherhood. I had pretty much taken a lot of these false notions with me. I also thought that I had to be perfect, do things perfectly with my child, and that if things weren’t happening exactly like they were supposed to, I was a failure as a mother. I put so much pressure on myself to control everything about raising Michael in those early days- what he ate, how long he slept, how he played. And of course when he was failing to meet milestones due to nothing I did, I, the controller, blamed myself. It took therapy, time, and a lot of ways to learn self-love to get to the place I am at today. I realize I am a good Mom who needs to learn how to relax once in a while and not try and control everything my son is and does. I still sometimes forget and Michael and I will inevitably have words. Then, always it works out in the end. He will learn from his mistake, I will feel bad that I blew things out of proportion, and I will see how the universe is teaching me again to go easy on myself. That is so much easier to do with other people. With me, I am getting there, but I have my days when I still need the reminder.

It’s not that I don’t want him to learn from mistakes and rush in to fix things, (that was something I did when he was a baby, but stopped doing a long time ago), but I see he is doing something like asserting himself and making a mistake or trying to push my buttons over something small and I feel this nagging in my gut. I am not in control. Yes, hello, comes the voice back. No one is. No one person can control another person, thing or event. Even a parent cannot control what her child does. She can set up positive and negative consequences. She can set up rules. But it is up to the child to either make a good or bad choice. There are some days I find this easier to handle than others. On the harder days, I just remind myself to release my control over people and things that I cannot influence. Now, this is not the same thing as not having boundaries and rules for your child. But what it means is that you let them either follow the rules or break them. Then you can say, that was their choice, just like it was your choice to make the rules and then enforce the consequences. What I’ve learned about myself is that there is still some releasing over control that I need to do in order to not get stressed and I always parent better when I choose this way to proceed.

Exceptional Parents, how big are you on control? It’s important to be realistic and remember that no one person can truly control another, even a parent and child nor should they want to.  Yes, there needs to be rules and boundaries with children, but they also need to be able to have wiggle room to learn and make mistakes. Parents need to be able to give them that room, as well as give themselves that room as parents to grow. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD 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 Calm and Moving On- What Every Exceptional Parent Needs To Remember

Ok. I lost it. I know. My kid has a hard time self-regulating and I need to remember that and always keep it together myself. But sometimes, I can’t. I have moments when I too am stressed. I  am a parent of a child whose brain is off in so many different directions that I often feel like I am raising four different boys. I say four as he now has four official diagnoses: autism, ADHD, Type 1 Diabetes and OCD. They all affect the way he processes and takes in stimuli, positively and negatively. His brain is an incredible machine. I honestly look at this child and think, he is incredible, but sometimes hard for his neuro typical anxious Mom to be around. Yet I do have my wild side too. That creative wild side understands him like no one else does. The writer side of me that is fascinated by people and places and things that function outside of the norm.  The organized side of me that wants to bring people together and make connections. The helper side of me that feels I have been given so much, I must give back. Pay it forward. That is so important to me and a lesson I have done my best to impart to Michael. Yet, as always, he has given me so much more. Even in the moments when I lose my parenting cool, I realize this child is here to teach me patience. When I feel angry that I can’t control or stop his impulse actions that cost him things I think, no, you are here to show him boundaries and a better way of being. When I am scared, I realize I am here to teach Michael you can be scared and pull through. You can use strategies, ask for help, never stop believing in the people around you, and you can move forward with purpose.

You see, Michael thinks I am showing him these things and in a way that’s true. My little guy is struggling with a lot. As his educator once said, “he is a lot of energy in one little body.” That is true. But with all the pain and hardship he has gone through and survived, he has thrived. With all the pain and hardship I have gone through as his mother, I have survived and thrived. Michael has continued to mold me, make me open to differences and different ways of being and thinking. He has shown me a whole other world that I never knew existed. The world of neurodiversity-people who see the world, our world that we take for granted, in a completely different way than the rest of us see it. It is not always easy. But it is worth it. All children, with their challenges and goodness are worth it. Parents of exceptional kids know our kids have their moments when the excel and fail. It’s important that we are there to praise and catch them when they fall. We must be strong. We must persevere. We must remind them that their brain and the way they view the world is necessary, vital, to share with the rest of us. We need to be enlightened. There are different ways of being and seeing the world. Special kids give society that. It’s important as parents we recognize where to support them and where they can support us to spread the message of hope that all kinds of brains and ways of being can and should make up the world we live in.

Exceptional Parents, how are you learning about your calm and transmitting that to your child? It’s SO hard as a parent to do that when you are tired and discouraged. That is why the first step is always to recharge yourself first. Do things that make you feel whole and positive. Only then will you be able to see your child’s gift, their talent, and what they bring to the world with the beauty of their existence.  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

 

Working With Your Exceptional Child’s Strengths Instead Of Their Weaknesses

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So I think I’ve said before what a rough time it’s been for Michael and us since he has gotten off his medication prescribed for aggression. He has become less aggressive and happier than he was on the medication, a dream, but his hyper activity has gone through the roof. I did not know how much the medication was helping him self-regulate his impulses and some careless behaviors. Now we are all in the middle of dealing with a happy, but hyperactive and impulsive child who has a difficulty calming himself down on all fronts. That is the difficult part of the last two weeks. Now for the beautiful things.

As I’ve said before, Michael is laughing and affectionate again. Michael is singing, dancing and listening to music again,  though he will get carried away with the dancing getting silly and inappropriate. No matter, he is more like himself these days. He is also receptive to using the strategies he has learned to control aggression and impulsivity, as long as Dad and I are presenting things in a calm and happy or level manner. The second we lose it, he does too. I am choosing to see this as a strength though. This gives me hope that he will go back to the happy kid he was WITH strategies all the time, as long as we show him we believe in him. So what I am doing now is focusing on his strengths-the way he is handling his diabetes, his new interest in basketball and increased interest in sports in general in the last three months, his interest in reading, singing and his conscience. He always had it, but lately he is genuinely sad after he calms down when he behaves in a negative way and will apologize. This is huge improvement in his empathy. He is also sad about a severe phobia that has been paralyzing him all summer. He is anxious to fix it, and accepting help from our Educator as well as future possible medication from his psychiatrist. He really needs the medication/therapy combination, though as a parent I hope we find the best medication that does not have too many side effects. I don’t want my child disappearing in it.

I am proud of how far he has come, and even though Michael is still struggling at handling himself appropriately, he has changed a lot since the beginning of the summer. So have Dad and I as we parent him in a new way, and learn from our parenting mistakes  in how we view his challenges. I am learning to see his challenges as I see my own. They are opportunities to grow and become stronger. We do not let him ‘cop out’ on himself and use his different brain as a way to excuse his challenges in regulating. We tell him-you are smart, you can control this. We have help for you. We are there for you. You can do this, but you have to do the work. Believe in yourself and anything is possible.

Exceptional Parents, how do you work with your Exceptional Child’s strengths? It’s so much easier to look at what they are doing wrong or are weaker at. The system we live in tends to do that too, and of course, it’s the parents who cry that things are terrible that get the help. While it’s important to acknowledge when your child and your family is struggling and get that help, (I am a HUGE believer in doing that),  you must also learn to celebrate your child’s victories in the hard moments. Celebrate when they tackle a difficult area of their life, take on a new hobby, or ask you for help, or even show remorse for bad actions. This means your child is learning and will make the inroads to mental and physical health sooner than you think. Above all, tell your child every day that no matter what they do, you love them and know they can do anything they set their mind to. It will make all the difference to their progress and yours as their parent and advocate. Until next time.

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. I have been there and lived these very words before realizing the gift of who my son is and what he has helped me realize. If you want to have more information about me and my journey, check out my website http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com and my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/ebooks.