Category: milestone moments with your special needs child

Long Drives And Conversations-How I Learn About My Exceptional Tween

Michael has always been a talker and extremely social, with us and the world around him. Then puberty hit. He became social with peers and semi-social with us, but more often than not, I am noticing more retreating and heading to his room for private time alone with his videos or talking to friends. It is great when I have things to catch up on in the house, but I have had to get creative to find ways for us to bond and talk. We do eat meals together, but his appetite is not huge lately due to his medication so it is a quick deal. Other times he is either on the phone or on videos. How do I reach Michael? Well, interestingly, he gave me the opening. It is on long or longer drives around our neighborhood. Yes, as most of you know Michael loves to navigate on Google Maps and loves being in traffic. So you can guess that two of his favorite things to do are to go for drives in the car with ways he has mapped out, or to go for long walks with with me on busy boulevards where he has mapped out what streets he would like to take. Bike rides come in third. 🙂

As most parents will tell you, it is important for your child’s interests to become your own in order to continue to build a good rapport with them. If they see you loving what they love, they will continue to trust you and open up to you, even if you are no longer as cool as their friends. 😉 This has worked for me as Michael in many ways is the typical teenager, except with a dash of ADHD, anxiety, autism and blood sugar issues due to his diabetes that affect his moods one way or another. I have noticed on either walks or drives, he will talk about things that are important to him- friendships, crushes, puberty, anxieties about school or the upcoming summer vacation and we can talk about it together without it sounding like Mom grilling him again. He will also share with me his favorite music. When a song he likes comes on the radio he will tell me. We often have the same taste in music which has been a cool thing to talk about too.

With all the ups and downs he has with learning how to self-regulate, I can honestly say that our drives and walks though sometimes challenging for me when I am tired, have really cemented our mother/son relationship. I feel him opening up to me and sharing thoughts, and it is helping him to learn how to converse and handle emotions that come up. I also get a glimpse of the amazing kid I have, which I sometimes forget is there when he is having behaviors and well, rebelling against his parents as tweens do. Hey, I’m human too, and have my moments when I sigh and say, not another emotional crisis. It is important to truly be there for your child and see them in all their states and abilities. It is important to give them a chance to prove to you and themselves that they can overcome obstacles. And most importantly, it is important to encourage their passions-whatever it is.

Exceptional Parents, how do you continue to stay close to your Exceptional Children? Whatever their interests are, and of course it can be a bit of a challenge, try and immerse yourself in them. Show them you are fascinated by it. Ask questions. Stay close by if they want to talk about it. Eventually they will want to share and let you be a part of the whole experience. That is truly a priceless thing for a parent and child. Until next time.

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Those Happy Tears And The Wonders Your Exceptional Child Shows You

This week I had three moments when I experienced tears of joy  as a Mom. One was when I saw the latest book of handwriting and penmanship from school. Seeing how far Michael had progressed in his printing left me speechless. There was a time I thought he would never learn to write. So glad I didn’t let my own fears stand in my way. Michael, as usual, surpassed even my expectations as I’ve seen his progress through the years. The next moment I cried was when he spoke to me about the importance of his stimming. My son is starting to advocate for himself. It was absolutely beautiful to experience. And finally, Michael told me that he may be chosen to be a class reader over the school for literacy month as his reading is so good. I immediately told him, “Wow! I am so proud of you!” Michael’s response was, a little bit of shock and awe, “Really? You’re proud of me Mommy?” And I could hear his pride and happiness that I was proud of him. I know his posturing about not needing Dad or I, not wanting us to hug him etc. is all part of him trying to find himself and make his own identity in growing up, but still I was happy to see he still valued our opinions and was reminded how important it is to tell our kids we love them and are proud of them.
“But I may not get chosen.” He said all earnestly.
“It doesn’t matter. You are being considered. I am proud of your hard work at school. You are a smart and wonderful kid.”
He beamed, I beamed, and I asked his permission to share all of us in the blog tonight. He gave his permission. 🙂 There are still challenging moments, and Michael, like all teenagers, can say some pretty hurtful or insensitive things at times. It’s all relative though, and I don’t REALLY take it personally, but I tell him he needs to be respectful. He is, for the most part. So when we have a week where I can celebrate these positive milestones then, wow, it is great!

Exceptional Parents, what tear jerking moments do you have with your Exceptional Children? Do they come as a surprise or do you anticipate them? The important thing to do is mark them by words of appreciation to your child, and while you are at it, give yourselves a pat on the back for a job well done as their parent. It’s not easy riding the highs and lows of exceptional parenting, but you manage and in turn teach your exceptional child to manage their highs and lows too knowing that they are loved, respected and thought of highly in all their personal efforts. Until next time.