Category: finding balance

How To Be There And Give Space To Your Exceptional Child- Striking the Balance

Michael has always been a child that needed to talk and communicate, even before he could speak a word. That is why when he hit tween hood and started pulling away from Dad and I a bit, it was challenging and worrisome for us. Do we let him without a fight? Do we insist he speaks with us? Do you give him his space? As you can imagine, after much soul searching, I chose option 3.

It has been great for the most part. As I saw him maturing, I did decide to give him space and time to come to terms that he was growing up, and growing up in the exceptional way is not easy any more than growing up the neuro typical way is. Again, I must give credit to our educator who supported me and gave my encouragement to give him space and independence like I would any tween. I’m glad I listened. Michael will talk to me when he comes from school like when he was younger. Then he will ask, can I go be alone now? I need my space. I happily allow him that. Consequently, if he needs to speak to me when I am doing my alone time, I will also ask him to respect my boundaries. Knock on the door if I am busy writing in my office or doing something else in the house. Ask if it is a good time. I have learned to do the same thing with him. Space and boundaries are challenging for him to grasp, but he is getting there.

Finding a balance with our exceptional kids of all ages means spending time playing and/or talking with them, but also allowing them to be alone doing what gives them pleasure. It means understanding this alone time may last a little longer than for neuro typical kids, but not judging it with our neuro typical brains, unless it is detrimental to their mental or physical health. And it also means connecting with them on their interests, and as they get older and able to, get them interested in our interests if this is possible.

Having come a long way from two years ago when Michael started puberty and Type 1 Diabetes hit, it has been a long road uphill for him and us. Our family has had to relearn to trust in the love we have for one another that is enough, and Dad and I have had to learn to relate to Michael in a different way, trusting him to assume more responsibility which is what he was asking for in his tween rebellion. I am glad we did, and now our son is coming back  and working with us. When your child works with you, that ensures they are working towards a good future for themselves.

Exceptional Parents, how do you walk the line between giving your Exceptional Child space and spending time with them? All kids need a balance, no matter what age they are. Of course as they mature, they require less of one on one time with you for playing and managing their lives. But your involvement, your caring, your words, in spite of what they say, matter more than anything to them. Continue to tell them you love them even if you do not hear the words back. Continue to believe in them, especially when they don’t believe in themselves. And continue to talk and interact with them, even if that is just being in the same room and acknowledging whatever they are doing. Our kids sense our love beyond words. They feel it. Let’s continue to show them that balance of trusting them to be alone, yet being there for them to talk or interact with when they are ready. Until next time.

How to Squeeze in Personal Exceptional Mom Time To Stay Calm

It has been one of those weeks, heck, months where the craziness in all shapes and forms has been ensuing. Some days have been happy crazy and others, just crazy with exceptional family life. But I’ve noticed, like most parents, that when I’ve handled things the best, has been when I have cultivated moments of calm and rest for me. Some days it has been easy to get in some personal time. Other days it has been challenging, but even if I only found ten or twenty minutes that day to do something that filled my cup, so to speak, energy-wise, the difference in how I handled anything chaotic was incredible.

Sometimes Michael will be an energetic handful talking non-stop. Other days he is angry and anxious. In both examples I need to stay calm, focused and alert, in order to be able to truly be there for him and support or redirect him towards making better choices. I have my set of tools that help me stay grounded and focused, and when I use them, I never have issues with mental exhaustion or burnout. Here are a few things that I can squeeze into a busy parenting day.

1) Shorter guided meditations and/or yoga workouts: There are great resources on line where you can find meditations and yoga workouts that range from 10-30 minutes and beyond. This is an easy way for me (and a lot of Moms I know) to recharge their batteries.

2) Sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee/tea  with quiet music: Curling up on the sofa for a 10-15 minute relaxation/recharge with coffee/tea and music helps get me through some tough moments in the late afternoon or early evening helps reset my batteries as well.

3) Chilling or working in my home office: As a writer, my office is my sanctuary. That is where I do most of my work, but I will even retreat to my office if I need personal space when I want to go on social media, check email or read a book. Having a room we Moms can go to means the world when you’re running on empty. If you don’t have a whole room, carve out a corner of a room and make it cozy for you, pillows, candles, warm blanket etc.

4) Take a short walk: If you can, get outside or inside a mall and take a short walk. If you have a treadmill or exercise equipment get moving. It will help you face whatever exceptional parenting will throw at you.

5) Talk to a friend by phone, social media or text: Sometimes a short conversation with a friend will go a long way. It doesn’t have to be another exceptional mom. Any caring friend who gets you and your life will help you refocus your energies.

Exceptional Parents, what are your tips for finding those mini moments to recharge? In the end, as long as you still see you have patience, compassion and trust in yourself as a parent, you will be able to reflect that back to your child and they will be the better for it too. Until next time.

 

 

 

Emerging-How To Connect To All Areas Of Your Exceptional Life and Parent Better

To say that I have this exceptional parenting thing under control at all times would be a lie, but I also have a confession to make. After an extremely challenging two years with Michael as well as personally, I am also at a point in my exceptional parenting life when I am seeing things coming together for me and how I look at Michael, myself and my relationships. How did it all start? Well, it began when I became tired of always pushing down resentments, fear and anger. Once I realized that my feelings were as valid as Michael’s, I began seeing how important it was I own them as much as I teach Michael to own his. I also realized how important my own personal happiness was too, just like Michael’s.

So now, when I am tired and need a break, I have no issues saying, I need 20 min. I’m taking it. I come back recharged and ready to handle anything. Finally, I also own failures and times when I don’t make good choices, and like I tell Michael, it’s ok to make mistakes. We live, we learn, we grow. I have even been known a few times to say when I yelled and became frustrated, Mom forgot to use her calming strategies.

Just this evening I said something without thinking that upset Michael. He felt I was treating him like a baby and he hates this. He grumbled, “Why didn’t you stop and think before talking Mom?” I almost laughed. It is usually me telling him that. “Because I forgot Michael. You are right. See, we all forget to do this sometimes.” I have also learned how to sit down with Michael and talk about what we can change to communicate better and so both of us are calmer and happier. This has made a world of difference.

But what things have helped me connect everything together in my parenting life to grow and become stronger? Here is the list I follow and continuously revise as needed:

  1. Make time for things that nourish my spirit: For me this is meditation, yoga and writing.  I pretty much do all three every day, and if I ever miss a day with any of them, I get back to it first thing the next day.
  2. Get enough sleep: No matter what I am falling behind on at home, I do not sacrifice sleep.
  3. Enjoy time alone with no guilt: Time alone for me is spent taking strolls in a bookstore, nature walks, or sitting quietly reading a good book with a cup of coffee. This is time well spent as it re-energizes me and gives me patience to handle any parenting stress that comes my way.
  4. Make time to talk and see friends: Spending time with adults, like minded ones that make you laugh and share your highs and lows, also helps you see the whole picture of your parenting life. It’s not all bad!
  5. Write down the progress your child has made: This has been one that has been a game changer for me. With all the struggles and hard times our family has had, seeing how far Michael has come in maturing, and seeing it on paper in a place in the house where we all can look at it, has helped us all celebrate the successes and look to the positive.
  6. Realizing that I am the guide, not the savior: I used to think that I was responsible for saving my child or making sure he made all the right decisions or else I would have failed as an exceptional parent. Now, I see more realistically that I am Michael’s guide. I am here to teach him, help and support him, and show him the path, but then it is his choice which way to go. His choice, good or bad, and I am not responsible for that. I love him no matter what an tell him that, but he is responsible for his choices, not me.  This has taken a lot of pressure off of me.

Exceptional Parents, how have you emerged and changed as an exceptional parent over the years? Remember, each thing you learn as you parent, helps you to grow and become stronger. You grow through the good and bad moments. You grow through learning to let go of old hurts and embrace your mistakes as well as successes. And through it all you realize one day that you find balance in your life again, and acceptance of yourself as you do of your child. This is when you can truly parent from your best place. Until next time.