Category: Family issues

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.

Finding Your Confidence, Finding Your Exceptional Tribe- How To Help Your Family Overcome Challenges

 

 

So yesterday felt like the first day of the rest of my life, as the saying goes, or at least, the rest of my exceptional parenting life. Things have been rough with Michael for awhile, though of course we’ve had our good moments. It occurred to me that some of the wonderful professionals we’ve recently started working with on “Team Michael” are right. We had lost Michael’s respect somewhere along the way. He was testing us and we responded with fear due to the escalating aggression, a perfecttly normal reaction, but one which as parents we needed to steel ourselves against. You see, all those years ago an early speech  therapist had warned us that when Michael caught up with his milestones it would be incredible, but that we might experience such a speedy catch up, that we would be dealing with two and three year old behaviors in a much older child. Bingo! That has been what has been occurring along with, GASP, regular puberty. God help me. But at least now, Dad and I know what we are dealing with.

We are also seeing Michael seeing as we put up healthy boundaries with us (no chances for hitting, swearing, breaking things), and giving him praise when he does regulate with words NOT things, we are seeing a big improvement. We are also seeing him try and abuse our good will, such as buying more “down time”, more food, making excuses for why he did not listen (stress at teacher giving homework etc.) but we are standing firm. And this is good. It is good for Michael. It is good for us. Last night after a particularly good day and night, I praised Michael’s listening and usage of strategies when he did not like something I had said earlier in the evening. When I told him how happy I was to be able to have cuddle time with him at bedtime due to listening and no aggression, Michael responded with:

“I am happy too Mommy. I miss you. I’m sorry for not listening. I will find a new tool that will remind me to use my new strategies.”

I could not have been prouder. You see, he knows like all of us, what to do AFTER the anger has set in. Beforehand, a pre-strategy is what our challenge is. We tried counting (no go) We tried a mantra (no go). We are hoping that with new input from new members of “Team Michael” as well as Michael’s personal brainstorming, we will learn more of what Michael needs to help keep him motivate to listen. He is very much an action/consequence kid. We want to make it worth his while, so we can continue to teach empathy, love and respect. Like all kids, he has so much to offer. We want to go back to having him offer it to the world.

Exceptional Parents, how are your re-finding your confidence as an “Exceptional Parent”? What techniques/strategies have helped you personally overcome challenges in yourself and with your child?  Remember, if the team you have in place is struggling, do not hesitate to seek new team members. Trust your instincts on this. Go with your child’s interest as well. Art and Musical Therapists are able to reach a lot of children, as are Psycho Educators and Psychologists. But also consider consulting a Parent Coach or Educator that can work with you and your partner. The support you will get as the adults in charge will be invaluable to you and your child’s happiness and success. 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.

Dark Nights of the Soul And Exceptional Growth-How To Advocate For Yourself And Your Child

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It is rare I don’t post a blog daily. Very rare. But this has been an unusually stressful week. Michael’s aggressive behavior has steadily been going up over the course of the last six months, and this week things have come to a head on the new behavior plan. The thing is, it is more than any of us expected. It has been hard. Extremely hard on all of us. There has been screaming, tears, and aggression. I have questioned myself as has Dad, where are we going wrong as parents? What needs are not being met? Why is Michael going up against his better interest and not using the tools he has been given, and helped create with his school psychologist? Kids with autism are complex. There is so much going on. I still have to remind myself sometimes that though he is so smart and articulate, there is much he does not understand. There is much he does intentionally to hurt us when he is in pain, but there is much he does not get, even after multiple explanations. Dad and I know this, but it does not make it easy when your child insults and hits you. I have hurled insults back in weak moments. I am not proud of myself. I have always apologized and told him I wasn’t using my strategies to calm down when I said them. He has reminded me he is strong and that I am strong and that we will get stronger together.

I have tried to reinforce he is good, but sometimes makes bad choices. He simply does not know how to use the tools at his disposal. He said to me the other day, “Do it for me. You need to do the calming strategies and I will follow what you are doing Mommy.” I keep telling him no. I can remind him what and where they are. I can show him how to start. But he needs to continue and finish. He is trying to have me enable him. I think it has been fear of growing up as much as the behavior is partly due to puberty. A lot of our fights have centered around him still being a baby and not needing to listen and follow instructions. We have calmly tried to redirect him. Ah, the joys of parenting, and particularly exceptional parenting. Your child exposes you, good or bad, for what you are and helps you become a better version of you if you let them.

More people are being added to “Team Michael”. More to come on it next week. He needs it. We need it. I have reached out to friends, family.  Dad and I need to go out more at night and recharge our batteries. I am soon going away on my yearly spa trek with a dear friend. Parents are not perfect and that is ok. I wanted to share this post especially for other exceptional parents out there who are scared of their child’s aggression and don’t know where to turn. Call up your local hospital or health care center. Tell family and friends. Seek support. Your child is calling out for help. They do not want to live life aggressively anymore than you do. You are their advocate, but first start by being your own. Get support for you. Get sleep. Take a break from your child. Reach out. Help is there. Don’t be ashamed. Your child will only grow stronger from your strength.

Exceptional Parents, how many of you have had some dark nights of the soul with your child? Remember, behavior is a way for your child to communicate. It’s their way of expressing fear, anger, and resentment gone out of control. Once you are able to read the hidden message, they will once again see you as their ally as you always were. Until then, breathe, sleep and be good to yourself. You are doing the best you can, and things will get better. Until next time.

Feeling out of control and ready to explode? Looking for new parenting strategies? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING ANXIETY” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.

5 Ways to Recognize Anxiety/Anger Triggers in Your Exceptional Child

Anxiety is something we all experience. Exceptional children and their families know all too well what it is like to live with anxiety day in, day out. I don’t pretend to know what it must be like for Michael to have such high anxiety. I get a little bit of what he must be feeling, being anxious myself and recognizing my own triggers, environmental and internal. Still, it is hard to sometimes figure out, why did he blow up over that? Why is he hitting or breaking things? Of course, I get that he is angry, scared, anxious. But what caused it? Lately as per his school psychologist, I am filling out ABC charts. These are usually used by behavior technicians and ABA therapists to determine what is potentially setting the child off and contributing to their behavior. A stands for Antecedent, what happened before behavior, B stands for behavior itself an C is the consequence of the behavior. I have learned a lot from filling these charts out and know so much more than when I started. For instance, I have learned when Michael’s behaviors are stemming from anxiety and when they are starting directly from anger. I can spot signs when he is building up and sometimes can intervene and show him how to “turn it around,”. I have learned new things about my own behavior and how to turn my own behavior around too.

So, what are ways to recognize anger and anxiety cues in your child? Here are 5 ways I have found:

  1. Is child suddenly full of energy? Now this could be excitement, but most of the time when Michael gets up bustling with energy there is stress lurking  underneath and it will eventually come out in crying, stalling or anger if he has to transition to the next thing. My solution? Stay calm. Give 2 simple choices and wait. The hardest part.
  2. Is my child not listening deliberately? This is also anxiety in a passive aggressive way. Kids will do this when they are no sure how to handle fears and uncertainties or if they don’t like something. For example when Michael has a subject he does not like at school, he will misbehave in the morning. This morning behaviors were coming out as he was nervous about his math class and stuff that is harder for him to do. We talked about him asking for help and not worrying.
  3. Is my child angry to begin with in the morning? There is a reason. What is happening that day? Is something new on the agenda? Are they feeling well? Have they gone to the bathroom? All of these things play a role and as a parent we need to be a good detective and try and figure it out.
  4. Is my child imitating, hitting me or friends or trying to knock things over? Our first reaction as parents is to get angry ourselves. It is SO hard not to. If you do, forgive yourself. You’re human. But try and remain calm. What they need most is calm energy and firmness to help them calm down and begin to talk about the problem. Only when they are calm do. Until then, stay nearby so they cannot do harm, but let them get out frustration.
  5. Is my child crying or having a mood change? Watch carefully with this one. This is a sign that they are feeling scared. If a child is scared or upset and has no strategies or ways to calm down in place, behaviors will come out. It’s up to the parents and adults around them to help them find ways to calm down and fix  it themselves. We cannot do it for them.

Exceptional Parents, how have you recognized your child’s triggers? Remember, to give yourself a break if you miss some of the signs. I still do, and I know my son quite well. It is also harder in children who are less  verbal or nonverbal to find the triggers, but when you start paying attention they are there. Keep a notebook where you write down any changes in behavior and see what results. Also, remember to take care of yourself. Your child will need you to be a calm and strong presence for them as they learn to manage their anxiety and anger. Until next time.