Category: Family issues

Seeing The Big Picture in Your Child’s Negative Behavior

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Today I had one of those challenging days that made me turn to the heavens and say, “I know you are still laughing when I asked all those years ago to use me for a greater purpose.” Yes, I uttered those very words at a time in my life when I felt bored with my job, bored with my life. I felt like I had no purpose and though I was healthy, making a good salary, had a home, family and friends, felt that there had to be something else to life besides this. About three years after I wished that, Michael came into my life like a tornado. I’ve talked before how as a new Mom I wanted to do everything perfectly. My life finally had meaning for me, and dang it, if I wasn’t going to screw it up by not being the perfect Mom.   I had to be. Well, as Michael got older, like a lot of other new Moms,  I blamed myself when his development veered off the so-called “normal” track. In time I would learn all about autism, as now I am learning all about diabetes, but boy, what a long time it took me to understand all the moods, fights, tears, stresses and strains. What a long time it took me to understand that it was not all my fault.

I’ve talked about this in other blogs. I’ve particularly talked about how hard it has been to stay calm when Michael has pushed my buttons as a parent, doing everything physically and psychologically to test me and break me. And no, it is not because he is evil like I once thought in my angry confused state. It is because he is crying out for help.  It sounds hard to believe that when a child is being rude, disrespectful, aggressive or all of the above, they are actually hurting, scared, tired, confused or all of the above. But it is all true. I saw it with my own eyes today. I knew the day would end with stress when Michael burst into our bedroom at 6 am after falling asleep after 9:30. He was excited to play his new XBox before doing his morning injections and getting ready for school. Dad and I had told him if he insisted to not go back to bed, he would be tired and would need to go to bed earlier this evening. He had scoffed and disagreed. Sure enough coming home this afternoon, his tolerance for learning was not high. He was cranky, arguing with me about everything, and ended the evening with stalling at every turn, talking back, in turn forcing us to cut his bedtime routine short of everything but his evening injection and tuck in.

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Dad and I both cooled down in our respective corners while Michael cooled down in his, and in the end I had my suspicions confirmed. Michael admitted, “You’re right Mommy. I am tired. I need to go to bed.” It was so hard to sit through cursing, mocking, rudeness, but I knew in my heart of hearts he was crying out for attention. Earlier in the evening he said he was afraid to go to bed. He blamed a video he had seen weeks ago. I know that is only part of it. I think the monsters are closer to home. The monsters are his diabetes and anger. Learning to control them is challenging. And though Dad and I don’t want to scare him, we have told him how important it is that he keeps his temper in check now more than ever. We told him if his blood sugar goes up too high, he could end up in hospital. He is beginning to realize the importance of his health. We are reminding him of the wonderful strategies he developed with his educator. Now, he has to learn to use them. I was reminded tonight how important me staying calm was to the outcome of Michael calming down. I am learning how to see the bigger picture while not taking his anger personally. He is lashing out in the only way he knows how. With firm boundaries, love and consistent consequences he will learn to behave appropriately and reign himself in. Dad and I have to learn to be there for him when he is ready to move forward and apologize showing him we love him even when we don’t like his behavior.

Exceptional Parents, do you have a hard time seeing the bigger picture when your Exceptional Child lashes out? It is so hard. Some days are also easier than others to stay calm. It’s important to remember that we show our child how to treat us indirectly or not. If we are firm, consistent yet loving overall, they will learn they cannot push our buttons for long. If we constantly react to the bad and not praise the good, they may also not feel that they can do anything worthwhile. Show your child you love and are there for them when they start to use good ways to handle their anger. Show them you believe in them to make the best choices. And don’t beat yourself up as a parent. You are doing the best that you can. Your love for your child will carry you through everything. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with Autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of  living in the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,  for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a  copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

 

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Do You Really See Me? Why Our Exceptional Kids Act Out

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Living in a world that is hard on the body and brain is not easy for exceptional kids, any exceptional kids. It takes its toll on their physical and mental selves, and sometimes when parents’ nerves are frayed from the daily struggle of life, they do not get much sympathy. A word, a facial expression, a tone of voice can be misinterpreted. Our kids have challenges interpreting social cues. This happens so much with Michael, particularly lately when he is feeling stressed. He will think I am angry or upset, when really I am tired. I will have to tell him or he will escalate in anger thinking I am angry. He is getting better at asking me if I am mad before jumping to conclusions. That is a good thing now, but it can still be hit and miss.

I have noticed that most of the time when he is feeling irritated or jumping to conclusions is when he is feeling lonely. He will get upset that I am not showing him attention or seem distracted, because he is feeling lost and does not know the next steps to take. Sometimes Michael may even take my genuine business for not wanting to be with him or help him out. I have had to explain that no, that is no the case. He is the most important thing in my life, but that I have other things I may have to attend to that are important as he loves his father and I, but has his things.

Self-esteem and self-worth are tied up in one for our kids. It is so important as parents that we show them how we value them as whole individuals, inside and out, no matter what else is going on. Obviously, we do not tolerate rude behavior. We need to teach them boundaries. But the most important thing to remember, is that we show them that they are worthy to us, and teach them to value us and others around them the same way. We show them how to show love and how to give love. We remind them with tough love that they have strategies to calm down with, as well as good and bad choices. We encourage them to choose the good ones. Mostly, we remind them that we are there always.

Exceptional Parents, how do you interact with your Exceptional Child? Do you really see them and do you know that that is all they want when they are acting out? Remember, they may not know how to get your attention for love in any other way. That is why regular bonding, talking and showing them interest will go a long way to having them see your love of them for who they are. It will also diminish the behaviors in most cases. Until next time.

7 Ways to Handle Exceptional Anger-Yours and Your Child’s

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In every parent/child relationship there will be moments of anger, frustration and loss of control. I know this all too well. Put a little bit of pressure with school being back on, add in poor coping mechanisms with stress, and stir in some unexpected life circumstances, and anger can quickly escalate, both yours and your child’s. How can we as parents set a good example for our exceptional kids? First of all, it’s important that as parents we look to what methods we are using to reign in our anger and frustration. If we don’t have good coping mechanisms, we won’t be able to show our children how to handle their frustrations. And sometimes even if we do handle anger well ourselves, until our kids find what works for them they will struggle with handling their inner emotions.

What works for most people? It’s basically a combination of common sense techniques along with what fits their particular personality type and how their body metabolizes stress. Here are 7 ways to handle Exceptional Family Anger:

  1.  Counting up or down from 10 or more: Counting has a calming and distracting effect on the brain. This is a good way to help our body and brain handle stress in a productive way.
  2. Walking: Walking inside or outside can calm the brain. By being in motion it gives the body something to do and stretches those muscles that are feeling so stressed.
  3. Have a sheet of tips that work for you: This is especially helpful for your Exceptional Child to have a list of strategies, but even for Mom or Dad, having their strategies written on a cue card which can be taken everywhere can help avoid that memory blank that occurs when we forget what to do.
  4. Talk about your feelings: This again works for all ages. Knowing that you have someone compassionate to vent and unload on, will make a big difference in how you handle anger and the stress it produces.
  5. Deep breathing, yoga or meditation: There are lots of short guided meditations for adults that can really help with stress relief. There are great yoga and meditation mantras that can help kids handle stress better too. If the family can do it together, that’s even better!
  6. Cool/Calm down corners for all: It’s great if when Mom and Dad get upset, they model that they go calm/cool down in a room, corner or somewhere not too far away. If they cannot physically leave child, the cool/calm down corner can be in one’s head. A parent can picture a relaxing scene where they could retreat to and teach their child to do the same.
  7. Seek help to handle our emotions: There is never any shame to seek help to learn to handle our feelings, no matter what age we are. We should never be afraid to talk to our children about how handling anger properly can be a family affair. Sometimes attending therapy together is necessary, other times individually then applying what the therapist says is best suited for us and for our child to do.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle your anger? How does your Exceptional Child handle their anger? Are you using techniques that truly work for your character or that of your child’s? There are many different techniques that work for different people. The trick is knowing your personality and which one is the right fit for you, just as you will get to know which fit is right for your child. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

 

How Exceptional Familes Can Better Handle Explosive Aggression and Receptive/Language Issues is Autism

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Anger. Aggression. Sadness. These are things that are in short supply in our house these days, thank goodness. It was a rough six months though when we juggled all of those things as a family. Things have been getting better at our home due to new home strategies we have put in. We have our evenings when Michael will still challenge, mainly with talking back and rudeness, but even they are rare, thank goodness. We respond calmly and with requests for apologies. Michael always complies. As parents, we all have our ups and downs with our own emotions, and we need to remember we need to solve our own personal issues in order to be calm in handling things with Michael. Interestingly, yesterday afternoon Michael shared with me how he misses his Dad and feels that when Dad is with him he is angry lately. This is not true, but lately, Dad has had a lot of work stress and coming home he sometimes still has residue of that stress. He is doing better at staying calm, and last night had a great time talking with Michael about feelings, listening and respect. I was happy to see them bonding positively.

We learned so much from the therapists that have worked with Michael. We have learned to say less and gesture more. Talking too much accelerates Michael’s anxiety.  We have also learned how to keep things simple as far as expectations, schedules, and most important, in being consistent with how we talk to Michael and how we follow through. We have also learned that with expressive and receptive language issues, often allowing the child time to express themselves matters a lot. As well, parents have to remember that in some areas children are functioning at a much younger age developmentally. This means patience, taking things slowly, and not putting too many expectations on your child or yourself. It also means enjoying the moments they are cuddly, share their feelings with you, and learn from their mistakes. We are doing that with Michael and we are seeing the positive results from that.

Exceptional Parents, do you often think it is only you raising your child? They are also raising you, don’t forget. They are raising you to be more patient with them and more patient with yourself. They are raising you to learn to slow down and see things through their eyes. Finally, they are raising you to be more loving and accepting of their strengths and weaknesses as well as your own. Remember, language is more than just words. It is gestures, facial expressions, and the body language and emotions your child senses coming off of you. Just be yourself and let your child be themselves. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

 

Simple Family Bonding And How To Go With The Flow

Summer is a time for fun and relaxation and spontaneity, right? Well, in an exceptional family this is both true and false. Yes, life cannot be fully scripted. It is not a flexible way for a child to learn to live, especially a child with autism who often has some rigidities and gets fixed on things unrolling in a particular way all the time. This is not realistic, and can even end up being stressful. Think of the family that structures the child’s (and family’s) entire day, and one little thing changes. A child like may freak out, and their stress and Mom and Dad’s would be even worse in the end. I know this first hand as this used to be our family, with the freaking out that is. There was also the good part about structuring the day on paper that we still use now, or rather are back to using. You see, Michael and us need a little bit of both to function smoothy-scheduling and flexibility. So where do we find the balance?

It’s gotten a lot easier as Michael has become verbal. We can explain why sometimes plans have to change and what stays put in the day. But there are other times that I’ve learned that talking too much increases Michael’s anxiety and then Dad and I are looking at doing damage control for the rest of the morning, afternoon, or evening. So what we do is have a flexible schedule on paper and will sometimes shift things as necessary, if for example the weather does not allow an outdoor event. We also let Michael help us make the family schedule, not giving him full control, but a role in the planning and execution. Then there are those times that for whatever reason, things do not work out. Dad and I have learned to be relaxed and go with the flow, and Michael is starting to do the same. It’s not always easy. Last week we miscommunicated about a bike ride route. When I realized how far Michael wanted to bike (not realistic for his level or our time that day) I gently told him and explained how I had misunderstood him. At first he was upset and he told me he needed some time to calm down. Then he miraculously did calm down after some deep breathing and talking to me about how he feels. I was so proud of him. He was learning how to “go with the flow.” That day a few of our plans had to change due to weather changes, and he handled it like a champ.

Exceptional Parents, do you “go with the flow” in  your life and model that for your child? How are they at doing it? Don’t despair if this is a big problem in your family. It will take time and effort on your part to find the scheduling and flexibility balance. Try out different scenarios on days when you feel your child is at their best physically and mentally. And then stand back. You will be amazed when you see your child get better at handling change, their emotions, and everything in between. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

De-Cluttering And How It Can Bring Exceptional Families Closer

So I am a pack rat. There, I’ve said it. I have a hard time letting go of things, of people, of memories. Heck, the first time I had a massage and the massotherapist was massaging my arm she had to say several times, “Let your arm go. You need to let go.” Yes, there is that theme of letting go, releasing. I think it has been hard  for me as I always felt that I was losing a part of myself when I let go. I felt that I was losing control, and control was and is something I am still working on learning to release. After all, many of life’s best experiences happen when we relinquish control for a bit, don’t they? We learn so much about ourselves and the world we live in. Even when de-cluttering and giving clothes and things away was hard for me, I still would feel a positive whoosh of release and energy when I cleaned, but it was emotional for me. I read lots of articles that talk about taking each thing you give away, remember a positive memory associated with it, smile, then put it away in the box and move it on out. This really works, and now it is how I clean.

Interestingly Michael is all about de-cluttering too and has been enjoying helping me de-clutter our yard and slowly slowly the rooms and drawers in our house where things have accumulated due to neglect and lack of time during the school year. It does not surprise me that he likes the feeling of de-cluttering but had his issues with holding on to the things, even carrying around a fidget too. He is anxious like me,  and anxious people have a hard time letting go. It is part of our makeup. But heck, when we learn to tackle it, we do it with gusto. Another friend of mine who is into de-cluttering says that it changes the energy in a room when we clean it up and empty or remake it. It is true. Things start to happen in our life, positive things when we move old stuff out. It leaves room for new stuff.

Michale’s relationship and mine has undergone many changes in the past month. One is that with tighter boundaries he has felt safer. We have cleared up the clutter around the way I was parenitng him, holding on to the baby I thought he was and other times assuming he was much older developmentally than he was. Now, I see my child for who he is- smart, charming, young, gifted in certain areas, scared in others, and as one therapist told me, still a little boy in many ways. I am learning how to be his mother with my new found energy of removing the old that was not working and coming in with the new. It is going well. Mostly, de-cluttering has meant parenting changes that have had me shed what was not working and embracing some scary concepts for me. They are that I am really in control for better or worse, and when I lose control over my child, I need to stand back, be firm on the boundaries, and let him find his way back to himself and to me.

Exceptional Parents, are you looking into doing any de-cluttering this summer? If so, it’s great to narrow it down to one room, one small area at a time. If your home is de-cluttered, then what about looking at your emotional life? How are things inside you? It’s time to get rid of what is not working for you anymore, as scary as that is. It’s time to forgive yourself and move on. It’s time to show your child that they have times when they are in control and not, and that both are livable and ok. It’s time to take a deep breath, move forward with a light feeling inside that things will get better when we let go of the past. Happy de-cluttering in your exceptional family. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with autism has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence towards their child.

For more information on my coaching services, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparentingg.com, and for a free 30 minute exploration/consultation session contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Also to receive a copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” click on www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS

 

Structured And Unstructured Time During Summer Vacation-How To Strike The Balance

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It’s official. Summer vacation is here and we are in the process of all adjusting to the changes this brings. I am home from one of my jobs or the rest of the summer and available to work around Michael’s schedule more. Michael does not have to be up super early to leave the house with Dad to go to school, and Dad has his personal space more in the am as he can now leave for work alone again. Coming off our first summer long weekend, we also all adjusted to being home four days together and kept busy with family events, local outdoor kids’ festivities, and structuring our home environment so Michael had an idea of what would be happening. This worked well for the most part, though there were some ups and downs which is to be expected when any change happens. Still, our challenge as Michael is growing older, is to make sure we structure what we can, and also allow for some unstructured times. This is good as it will help Michael to learn to be less rigid in his way of thinking. We had great scheduling for him as a baby and younger child, but it only helped solidify his rigidity on routine.

Then we tried in the last three years to move away from so much structure and being overly optimistic at Michael’s ability to communicate and understand, mistakenly tried to under structure his day and tell him he either had to go with whatever we decided on the fly, or we gave him more control than we meant to by giving him too many choices. Sigh. The road to hell…. as the saying goes. So now, we are backtracking a bit on our more laissez-faire attitude and bringing back super structure, but with a difference this time. We are throwing in some which we are letting Michael structure and when there are things out of his and our control, we are working with him on becoming less rigid and stressed. We are showing him by modeling it ourselves that sometimes when there are changes in plans (it rains on a day you wanted to go swimming or a friend gets sick and a play date is canceled) it is ok. We all can learn to roll with the punches and make alternate plans.

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So how can a parent of an exceptional child with autism strike the balance between structure and unstructure during the summer holidays? Here are some things that are working for our family:

  1. Have a visual schedule with the structured plans written down: It’s important to write or draw the events of the day and week down on paper to cover the stuctured part and so your child’s anxiety does not continue to grow.
  2. Talk with child about unpredictability and how they could manage it: This is important as it teaches your child how to handle life’s unexpected curve balls which all children, with and without autism, have to learn to handle. For younger children or if your child is not as comfortable with words or language, drawing simple scenarios can really help too.
  3. Give them some say and decision in what is happening: Don’t give them all the power. For final decision and household activities, remember you the parents are in charge. However, this doesn’t mean that your child cannot have some say in what activities they would like to do or where and who they would like to see. It’s important to give them some choice and control, but it is measured and controlled by the parents.
  4. Take care of yourselves with down time and couple and friend  time: Exceptional parents go above and beyond for their children and this can wear them out physically and psychologically so that they are no good for anyone. Remember to recharge your batteries by relaxing alone and with family and friends. This will help make your summer more pleasant with your child too.
  5. Don’t be afraid to change it up if it’s not working: Finally, if your child is more stressed than happy as you are, it may be time to change your system. This is when seeking outside help is so important. It’s hard to admit as parents when we are struggling with our kids, but  we are human beings after all who make mistakes. We can learn from them as can our kids. Seek therapy for yourself, you partner and your child if you need it.

Exceptional Parents, what is your ideal set up for the summer for your exceptional child and family? What works for all of you? If you are struggling at this time of year, know you are not alone. Many families have gone through and are going through what you are right now. Don’t be afraid to make the changes you need to make so that your child and the rest of your family can become happier and healthier over the summer vacation period. And last but not least, remember to start each day over fresh and laugh together as a family. That will help tremendously in the long run. Until next time.

 

Exceptional Social Milestones Among Exceptional Blows Ups-How To Look For The Positive Moments

My little boy is needing me less these days and I couldn’t be happier. What, you may say? Happy? Aren’t most parents sad when their little ones are growing up? It means time is going faster than they want it to. Yet for parents with  Exceptional Kids are so happy when they see their little ones spreading their wings and becoming more independent. It is particularly awesome when they are also struggling with other issues with their child and they feel discouraged. That is what I witnessed with Michael over the weekend. We are having our ups and downs with him testing his limits with us verbally and boundary wise. His aggressive outbursts are getting shorter and fewer, but are still there and are draining for all of us.  Some days are not as good as others. Then, we have an amazing day like yesterday. Michael did great with me other than a few little issues on a long family walk in the am, followed by a great swim lesson with a new instructor and then an afternoon where he surprised his father and I with his blossoming social skills when calling up one of his best friends on the telephone. He had a very age appropriate conversation with his friend, and the laughter was so like ten year old boys. It brought tears of happiness to my eyes, especially given the behavior struggles we are having with him. Here he is improving and growing up in leaps and bounds. It was wonderful to see.

I am learning again to see the roses among the thorns. Michael, like all children, is blossoming and growing up. And interestingly, even with a bad aggressive episode later in the day, I still came out with a feeling that today overall was a good day. Michael has his moments when he not only connects the dots, but aces the test. It’s at those moments that I know he will eventually connect the behavior dots too and learn that just because he does not like what is being said, he still has to listen and follow rules. It is the way of the world for all of us, after all. I also am learning how I can see the roses in my day, and how and what I need to do to rejuvenate my batteries, stay calm and present-minded, so as to show Michael the calm in the storm.

Exceptional Parents, do you see the bright spots and achievements of your Exceptional Children among their challenges? Are you stuck on what is going wrong most of the time? It’s a normal reaction, and remember, unless you are strong and feeling centered yourself, it’s hard to think and be positive. There is always something positive to look at and for. Hold on to that and see your child’s progress in the areas they are progressing in. The rest will come eventually. Until next time.

Laughter and Learning To Reassess and Move On For You And Your Child

Navigating our way through Michael’s increasing aggression has not been easy to say the least. We have three or four days of good behavior and feel we have turned a corner as a family, only to have a very bad day that paralyzes us and makes us feel we are back to square A. Of course, the after effects die off and then we start over again fresh the next day. It is not always easy, but I am trying to remember to practice what I preach to Michael- it’s finished, we take a deep breath, and move on. Things will get better if you trust, believe and think positively.

Laughter with work colleagues, my spouse and I hope soon with friends who I am LONG overdue at seeing, will follow. Most nights after coming home from work, handling phone calls and/or registration for Michael’s various activities, handling Michael coming home, the good and the bad, dinner, dishes, bedtime, when the house is quiet if I’m lucky I have a lot of energy left. Like most Moms, I am trying though to remember things I am proud of: Michael’s increasing independence, Michael’s social skills and the way he is now planning play dates, and the way he is understanding about earning money doing chores to buy things. Mostly though, I am learning how important it is to laugh at the funny things he says and does. It helps me remember the special boy that is still there trapped under the behaviors and frustrations and escalating anger. It helps me remember that I love the whole child, and to remember with time he will get better as will we as his parents at handling his escalating moods and helping him regulate them.

Exceptional Parents, what do you laugh about in your parenting journey? Remember, you are not laughing at your child, but laughing at the funny things they do when things are going well. It helps you to remember the rainbow after the storm, that with time and effort things will get better, and that your child, sensing your calm, will gravitate to that calm themselves. Until next time.

Remembering to Love Your Child Through Anger and Hurt

back view, child, countrysideThis weekend with Michael- some very good and sweet moments and then some awful ones with fighting, anger, tears and then exhaustion for all of us. When this happens, I would feel so drained, emotionally and physically, that I would sometimes momentarily forget that I love this person who is making me so unhappy and is frustrating me by fighting when he does not need to. You see, if we have someone in our life that makes us unhappy, in other cases we can get them out of our life. It is not always easy, as in the case of a partner, parent or co-worker for example, but it is doable .But not for a mother. Once you are a mother, you are a mother for life and beyond, and it hurts when you have to hear terrible words being said at you. The worst thingis that the child does not mean them or understand all that they are saying to you. You know this as a an Exceptional Mom, but they pierce you just the same. And it affects how you feel about your child. There is the constant battle inside for self-protection against this hurt towards pushing yourself to rise above your own anger as this is your child and you love them deep down inside even when you don’t like them.

This has been my road with Michael. Two steps forward, two steps back, and constant charts, emails, verbal reminders to him and myself, to regulate anger, stress and start again the next day. It is a roller coaster and one where as a parent you start to second guess yourself. But then you have a magical day with your child or a magical few hours, and you see you are on the right track. Yesterday I saw my little boy vibrant, laughing enjoying himself at the local splash pad/park near our home and I finally let out the breath I had been holding since our huge fight in the morning and I reminded myself, we are moving forward. Things will get better. Michael commented, “Mommy, you are not talking in your angry voice. That makes me happy.” I added that I was happy he was listening and handling his emotions. Michael also told me, ”I will use my strategies when I don’t like what I hear.” And he has been getting better. Onwards and upwards.

Exceptional Parents, do you have your moments when you feel your love for your child is not enough to get you both through a tough period? Do you feel like giving up sometimes? This is so hard to admit as Moms, but completely normal. Don’t feel bad. Feel your pain and anger. Let it out when you are alone and it is a safe time to do it. And learn from it. Your child needs time to learn new skills, develop new ways of coping. Let that breath out and start believing that it will get better. You and your child will make it work. Until next time.