Category: Family issues

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.

The Gift Of Exceptional Anxiety For Me And My Son

That’s quite a title, isn’t it? The gift of anxiety. As I thought over the last few days how increasingly anxious and stressful Michael is becoming (and Dad and I along with him), I thought of all the hard things we are all experiencing. Who likes feeling nervous, fighting, crying, and being tense inside? As a parent, having a child who is so anxious is heartbreaking at all times. You can’t do much to alleviate their pain, and end up watching them trying to cope. We are offering Michael new tools to help him handle it. Some work, some don’t. We let him fine tune and find what works for him. Sometimes Dad and I are very understanding and sympathetic. Other times, well, let’s just say we are also anxious people and human. We have our breaking point and sometimes don’t respond in the way we want. We feel sorry for oursleves and each other in these moments, though we know deep down that what Michael is dealing with is so much stronger.

It was during one of my stronger moments when talking to a friend the other day that I realized the gift that Michael’s anxiety has brought to our family. The gift you say? That’s crazy! But no, the gift is that Michael has helped his Dad and I learn to simplify life, to see things concretely and to break down big events into small steps that we can cope with. After all, this is what we are showing him to do. Doesn’t it make sense that in breaking this down for him we learn to do it for ourselves? When we are not in the “woe is us” mood, and as exceptional parents that does happen from time to time, we are able to say that when we break things down they get easier for Michael and us. Sometimes just staying with him to talk helps or when he needs a good cry. I’ve felt like that too in the past. I’m sure most people have.  We are coming up on a new chapter soon in our lives with Michael. It is scary and there will be changes for sure, but I am promising myself to break down the steps for me and Dad as I do for Michael. I am promising myself that I will look at how Michael has opened up our eyes to what lies beyond the anxiety-powerlessness, lack of control, self-esteem, and work on those issues with Michael as I have done with myself. It is sometimes hard to see the blessings in your life when the challenges are stronger, but they are always there. I believe that when we think we can’t do something, that is when the Universe presents us with an opportunity to do it and become stronger.

Exceptional Parents, where is the gift in your child’s so called disorder or condition? It is there in all our kids, and usually we will see it in the most challenging times-how our kids force us to grow stronger, calmer, more together, and become the people we are meant to be. They are helping us here as much as we are helping them, and together we can all see the gift in every situation. Until next time.

Anger Boxes and Learning to Self-Regulate- Another Tool for the Toolbox

 

It is finally here. I was so excited when Michael came home with the “Anger Box,” he made with the school psychologist. I had tried to make one with him last week, to help with his meltdowns and aggressive outbursts, but he told me he’d rather wait to do it with the school psychologist because she and he were the ones who were originally going to do it together. Some days last week felt VERY long with his week at home, so I was disappointed, but I understood. There have been a lot of challenging moments though, so seeing it live and in person yesterday was great. Michael explained to me how it worked. There were sheets of paper where he could write down what was bothering him or had bothered him and he can put them in the box talk with me about it at a later date. I like the idea. He also decorated it with favorite things, and put it in his new and revised “calm corner” in his bedroom. He is learning to go back to that when he starts to get angry, before escalating to hitting and screaming and losing control. We are all relived at this.

Yesterday we were at the park and Michael talked about how he does not know how to stop when his anger gets too much. I agreed and this is where I reminded him to tune into his body. He remembered how his stomach gets sore. We talked about how a lot of us, even adults, need to tune in when we are feeling angry and overwhelmed. This is not always easy to do, but once we learn to see markers we can work on fixing the problem. I reminded Michael we all get angry and scared, but like with following rules, we need to learn to do it. It was cute to watch him yesterday point out how he was using his techniques to handle transitions, stress and anger. He would point them out to me in the park. He also was his usual inquisitive self asking questions and exploring. All in all, a nice afternoon.

Exceptional Parents, how often do you use your “anger box” to clear out emotions and talk through things with yourself or others afterwards? It’s important to do emotional spring cleaning as much as physical ones. If you have a lot of emotional stuff bottled up inside, let it out. Use tools like an anger boxes to complement talking to family, friends, a therapist. Remember, we can’t grow and move forward without removing what is blocking us inside. Until next time.

 

5 Things To Help Exceptionally Anxious Kids Who Try To Push A Parent’s Buttons

 

I knew towards the end of the week that Michael’s anxiety with returning to school would be culminating in higher stress levels for him and us. What I did not know, is how he would push my buttons to get me to take notice. This should not have come as a surprise. We are working with the school psychologist to help Michael learn to self-regulate and manage his emotions. This is so hard for him. It is made harder that part of him is this little tween with major attitude telling me he doesn’t like my rules, he wishes he could live with his Bff, and I’m too strict. Then other days the anxiety affects him by making him more clingy to me. He checks what room I’m in the house. He asks me a million times if I love him. He asks me if he can live with me one day. It is so stressful for me and even him. I know he is scared and does not know what to do. The other day though, it was so difficult when he began pushing my buttons during a fight about bedtime. He wasted so much time getting through the routine, decided to throw water on the floor, and then got angry when I said I would not be lying down with him due to his rudeness. He insulted me, tried to hit me. I was so mad. I didn’t take my own advice about retreating to a calm corner and yelled right back. I even half marched half dragged him back to his room and ordered him to get dressed or I would record the whole ordeal and email it to his school. I’d threatened this once before when super angry and was not proud, but it seemed to work. He started to listen and even apologized.

I realized I’d fallen right into his trap of overreacting to his overreacting. This is the worst thing a parent can do, but when you’ve had a day of constantly putting out behavioral fires from your child, most parents would have their not so compassionate moments. I learned that I needed to find out how to connect more to Michael’s anxious state, and really find ways to help him manage his own anxiety. He thinks Dad and I will always make him feel better, not knowing yet that he really does have the power. I need to show him he is safe and capable. He is a smart kid and will get it with enough repetition. Plus pair this with the hard work he is doing with the psychologist on finding strategies to handle his anger and he will learn. What I realized I could have done but didn’t, are the following:

  • Keep a similar routine going: Michael got up late and that messed it all up
  • Show child you are really there listening: Dad and I have been so busy around the house and with work that Michael may have felt pushed aside. That is when he acts up.
  • When angry, step aside and tell them why: I forgot to go to my calm corner as I did in the daytime. It was not pretty.
  • Don’t take them personally or their comments, but explain calmly that violence, verbal or physical is NEVER right: There were moments when I yelled instead of staying calm. When someone hits you or insults you, it is normal to overreact. Try to remember your child is in distress and don’t take them personally.
  • Show them a safe place they can go to vent: Redirect them to a safe place to vent and don’t talk to them unless they need you to.

 

Exceptional Parents, are you always the calm in your child’s storm? It’s ok if the answer is no. You are human. You make mistakes and forget to pace yourself, and let’s face it, having anyone say hurtful things to you is hard. Just remember, if you stay calm and keep yourself level, you are setting a good future example for your child to regulate their own emotions. And don’t be afraid to seek professional help for your child. They will benefit from many different types of approaches that will teach them how to handle stress and their emotions. Until next time

 

 

Go Away Mom/Don’t Leave Me: Exceptional Tween Paradoxes and Surviving Them

I love my son. I will always love him. There are so many moments when I think how much he has enriched my life and my perspective, and then there are the other moments when I think, “man, I don’t get paid enough to do this job. I have no respect, no appreciation, and it is exhausting.”  I’m sure all parents feel this way sometimes. Parents of Exceptional Children, well, let’s just say that an ordinary day is hardly ever in the cards for us.  We get discouraged, overwhelmed, or annoyed. We also get amazed, inspired, and blown away when our exceptional kids surprise us with things they do we never thought they’d learn, or say, or think. They are truly incredible beings. I think they feel the same about us. We don’t always get them, where they are coming from, where they are coming from, what is bothering them. Then there are other times when we are able to get into their world, see things from their perspective or at least come close to it, and they are both surprised and excited. Mom and Dad really get me even though they are nothing like me!

Michael and I both have our wonderfully close moments when we hug,  love one another and I truly feel I am getting him and what he is thinking/feeling and he what I am thinking/feeling. Then there are the other times, when I think, “what the f&^&% just happened?” It takes me a few minutes to get the gist of why a nice afternoon ended in a testing tantrum of ninety minutes for what seemed like nothing.  Of course there was something. There always is. And I missed it. This still happens. I don’t tune in to Michael vibration and then like a firecracker he blows. Like yesterday late afternoon, for instance. After spending a beautiful afternoon at the park and at the local shopping mall with no issues transitioning to heading home  (or at least it seemed), when I told him it was time, we have a nice ten minute drive home and then I pull into the driveway calm and relaxed. Or so I thought. I was calm and relaxed. Michael was going to help me make pasts for our dinner after he played some video games and I had a coffee.  Then as I turn the motor off, Michael leans in from the backseat and as if he is about to kiss me, instead says that I am a really bad driver, unlike his Dad who is amazing. I pulled into the driveway badly. This is obviously rude and disrespectful, something Michael has been doing a lot of lately unfortunately, so I decide to nip this in the bud. I tell him he is allowed his opinion but that was a rude way to deliver it. He has also said in the past I have bad fine motor skills. I once told him I struggled with fine motor as a child to help him feel better. Now he uses it as a weapon when he is mad.

He can be cruel, which is something surprising. I am no longer hurt by it as in the past, just worried for his future with people who don’t love him unconditionally or understand his autism like his Dad and I. We want to make him world ready.  I am already thinking, “what is really going  on that he is reacting like this?” Kids who are exceptional often have poor regulation, and they also don’t see things the same as the rest of us, not due to lack of intelligence or insensitivity that is on purpose, but rather due to not picking up on social cues, as I alluded to yesterday. Well, after pointing this out, Michael began displaying all kinds of negative behavior from imitating me, other family members, his teachers, then progressed to hitting his head and my arm. I told him he would be putting himself to bed tonight and that he needed to go calm down and apologize to me when he was ready. Then I had to get dinner ready. All hell broke loose for the next ninety minutes, until he finally did apologize. I had a moment when I thought, “Why did I take him places, have a good afternoon (or seemingly), only for it to end like this? Nothing seems to be enough.”

But then I saw it through his eyes, or at least attempted to. He was upset we were home. Michael needs to go many places a day. Today we only went to two places. It was enough for me, but not for him. I needed to teach him, four places a day was not realistic every day when he was home for a week’s school break. I had also had to say no to a few things in the mall- no smoothie, no walking on that side as it was late etc. That was hard on him. No and transitions have been doing him in since he was a baby. I could have provided more choices in the mall maybe? He didn’t bring his strategy card to help him even though I told him it would be a good idea, and after when I tried to redirect him he resisted me until he was passed the point of no return. At times like these, I wish there was a magic pill to help him. I figured out what was causing it and when I told him he agreed and said, “yes, I was sad to be home.” We talked about how he could have told me that and not kept in his feelings. Then after apologizing the kid who professed that he hated me and couldn’t wait to see his grandparents the next day as I had to work, went all clingy and was upset when I said Dad was putting him to bed, even though he kept saying an hour before, “I can’t believe I am stuck home with you. When is Daddy coming home? I can’t seem to win. It’s clingy or pushing me away. The tween hormones are in full swing and combine that with autism and ugh, it’s hard on both of us.

Exceptional Parents, how are the tween Exceptional years going for you and your Exceptional Child? How are you and they surviving? This is far from easy for either parent or child, but as you start to really listen to your child and what they need, you will learn how to reach that balance of when to nurture and when to let them figure it out. Good luck. It’s a journey most parents are figuring out every day. Until next time.