Category: Yoga

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.

 

Hormones and Boys With Autism-The Scary, The Funny and Learning to Navigate Between the Two

This has been an interesting few months for Michael and I. He is learning new ways to test as a young preteen, hormones raging pushing me away as he is a “big boy,” and at other times trying to pull me in close telling me he is “a little guy, a baby.” Both descriptions are not completely accurate as he is neither completely an adolescent or completely a little boy. He is a mix of the two, and he rides that mix well. There are times it is funny, such as when he doesn’t like what I say and will tell me, “You’re not the good parent now. I can’t wait for Daddy to come home”, or when he is really upset and cursing or becoming aggressive towards us and himself due to frustration and stress. It is a learning curve for him and us, and we are slowly learning to ride that curve the best way we can while all keeping our balance.

The first thing I and many special needs parents learn with handling challenging behaviors is to remain calm and collected. They tend to exacerbate when the parent wigs out and starts yelling too. So I have learned not to join in on Michael’s chaos, and remain as calm and detached as I can. When I have had an off day or am closing to losing it myself, I excuse myself and tell him I am going to my Mommy calm corner as I have mentioned before. Fortunately, this happens less and less as I have learned better strategies for managing my stress too. It is a challenging time for any child when they are at the crossroads of leaving childhood behind and embracing adolescence. There is so much going on in their minds and bodies. Parents need to be patient and help guide them as best as possible. Autism makes it all that much more difficult to guide at times. What is working for me are the following techniques:

  1. Reminding child you are there to listen to them or staying close even if they don’t want to talk.
  2. Redirecting them to use their “calm down” techniques like fidget toys, various sensory equipment, and yoga or deep breathing or any form of exercise.
  3. Talking about how they could have handled the feelings better afterwards. This works for adults too.
  4. Setting limits on negative behavior in a calm and gentle way- Do not tolerate hitting, screaming, biting, swearing. And try not to use “taking things away” too much. If you have a token system stay true to it if it is helping the child.
  5. Look for signs of physical issues- i.e. upset stomach, loose baby teeth, muscle pain, virus etc. All of this can affect behavior.

Exceptional Parents, what changes have you noticed with your Exceptional Children when they go from one age to another and achieve one milestone only to be frustrated at the next stage? What techniques do you use the have worked and which have failed? As with many parents, I’m sure you have learned through trial and error how to put the best foot forward. Remember, stay calm, stay in the moment, and remind your child that you love and are there for them always. Until next time.

One of the most stressful times of the year for special needs families is fast approaching. Are you and your exceptional family ready? Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

 

Filling Up The Mom Cup To Help Your Exceptional Child

The best thing that I did for myself this long holiday weekend was sleeping in? No! It was getting up super early so that I could have time to meditate and exercise. Yes, you heard me! Weekends are no longer the rest time they were prior to children. They are rest of a sort from my job, my business, but they are the busiest time of the week in family time. That is why I need my energy, my center, and my sense of humor when Michael throws me curve balls. He will sometimes be rude and push his luck by challenging his boundaries with me. At other times, like on Sunday morning, he will come down and meekly ask me “Mommy, please can I have breakfast with you right away?” And of course, I will abandon my writing, the dishes in the sink, the laundry waiting to be folded in the basket and devote myself to him: body, mind and spirit. That is the job of a mother. Any mother.

But Michael lately has been pushing and pulling Dad and I in a million different directions. Some stressful, some entertaining. I can say one thing. I am so grateful, and not just coming off of Thanksgiving in Canada yesterday, but extremely grateful to have Michael in my life, to have a child that has opened my eyes to what is possible to do in the world even with limitations. I’m not saying there are times I have said I am not strong enough to be his Mom. Or questioning why I had children. I have those days. I long for the freedoms of time, space, friendships, time with my partner I had prior to Michael’s arrival. But then I remember there was am emptiness in my life that Michael filled.

His being, his personality, the way he tackles the world head on. He is positive, tries hard, and even when scared or anxious, pushes himself forward. He believes in getting things done, in getting his way at all costs, (even when he gets in trouble). He is admirable for his gumption, for trying to decipher what the rest of the neuro typical world is dong. He works hard, charms all who see him. He comes into a room and lights it up like a firecracker. He is funny, intelligent and quirky. And even when he drives me bonkers I thank God for him every day of my life. I ask for strength to be the strong mother he needs, and help other parents see the beauty that is their child, especially when that child is driving them crazy. That is not always easy to do. That is why making Mom space for me helps me make space for Michael, in all of the stress, in all of the behaviors, in all of the great times we have. Yesterday on Thanksgiving I went for a long walk and park in the morning with Michael and in the afternoon Dad, Michael and I went for a long drive and Michael got to fly his new kite. Seeing the joy of him running with it and laughing made my day and week. I would not have been able to enjoy this if I had not taken care of me this weekend too.

Exceptional Parents, how do you squeeze in “you” time on a weekend and “child ” time with your child/dren? How do you balance it all? Sometimes it is hard. You may only find pockets for you. Remember, it is important for you to find that pocket to fill up your parent cup. This way when your child comes for a drink, you are not depleted and can keep replenishing their supply. Take care of you so you can be the best for them. They deal with a lot and need us to be strong. Until next time.

Feeling anxious in your Exceptional Family? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

5 Strategies To Help Your Exceptional Family Calm Down

 

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We had a very busy and eventful weekend. It was raining which added to emotional tensions for Michael. He has never been a child who liked the rain. It makes him moody, more emotional, and his sensory system gets out of whack. Add to that family commitments, a birthday party, and lots of catch up work in the house and on my job, and let’s just say, that Mom and Dad both needed to use our “silent strategies” to handle our anxieties, stress, while helping Michael to handle his. It was not an easy weekend, though we had our good moments. What silent strategies work for us, you may ask? I will now share them with you. These strategies are not the same as when Michael says, “it’s ok Mommy, I pushed down my anger.” I have done that as has Dad, and that only results in disaster for all. No, these strategies when done regularly, ideally before Michael is stressed and we are, works like a charm. They can even work when we start to implement them after stress or anger have occurred. The only thing is that it takes longer to feel the positive effects, but we do feel them.

Without further ado, here are 5 strategies your whole Exceptional Family can use to calm down:

  1. Deep breathing and meditation in a quiet room: Both Dad and I excuse ourselves and do this from time to time. My favorite rooms, the bedroom, the bathroom, or my car. All have locks which I use until my breathing returns to normal and I can think clearly.
  2. Walking up and down hallway or taking a walk outside in nature or a park: This one is used mainly by Michael, but going out for a walk has been tremendously helpful for me many times, nature and otherwise. I have had some good thoughts and released many tears on these walks. All cathartic.
  3. Going for a drive in the car:  Ok, Michael can’t drive, 🙂 but Dad and I have used this to get away, think and calm down so we wouldn’t lash out. You have to make sure there is a calm parent to stay with the child if you do this one.
  4. Yoga stretches: There are a few great ones you can do to silently energize: downward dog, child’s pose, corpse pose etc.
  5. Listening to music: Putting on headphones and listening to music (classical or new age is best to chill), can help ground you as well.

Dad and I have been modeling these for Michael, and we continuously remind him to do his own strategies to calm down. It is so important. I had my moments as did Dad over the weekend when we lost our temper. We were not calm as we usually were with Michael, due to not practicing our own strategies. We used this time though as teaching examples to Michael of what NOT to do, and to show him that we all make mistakes.  If you make a habit to consistently use ways to calm down, you will be able to stay relaxed through many incidents in exceptional family life, and you will be showing your child how to do the same.

Exceptional Parents, what positive silent strategies do you use in your families, for yourself and your child? What has worked for you, and what has failed? Sometimes, as with many things, it is through trial and error that we learn what works for our families. So don’t despair. Talk alone to your partner. Talk alone to your child. Then talk as a family, and choose healthy silent strategies will help you all handle stress on a regular basis. This way when you have those tough days or weekends, you will be as ready as you can be. Until next time.

How Stimming Can Help Kids With Autism

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Ok, I started off with a very controversial title, I know.  I’m sure I will have lots of detractors out there. I used to be one of them. I HATED when Michael did any of his stims, and I tell you, there have been many over the years from spinning, rocking, watching the same tv show or reading the same book over and over again. He now loves to do verbal stims to unwind. These stims range from screeches to other high-pitched noises that grate on my nerves. There. I’ve said it. I don’t feel like a bad Mom anymore though. I’m just being honest that these noises bother me, like Michael has said it bothers him when I talk too much about my blog or writing or meditation and yoga. 🙂 He still loves and accepts me even if he does not agree with everything I say and do, and I feel the same about him. I have learned, as have most parents of kids on the autism spectrum, that stims or self-stimulatory behavior is not done to annoy or upset neuro typicals in the environment. It is a way for the individual with autism to acclimate to the environment mentally, physically and spiritually if they are stressed, nervous or having a hard time.

Of course, if this behavior is all your child is doing it is not healthy, and you have to find ways to engage them in the world around them. When we first leaned Michael had autism, we were so scared and sad that he was not communicating with us in any meaningful way. Our son felt lost to us in his own world. We saw he was happy there, and though at first I wanted him in our world at all costs, I gradually began to see that his world was fun too. I could meet him there, and he could meet me in my world, and we would bond somewhere in the middle. Occasionally though, when social pressures have been hard and he is tired, I know stimming helps him renew himself and helps him be whole. I don’t try and stop it anymore as it is a natural part of who he is.

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That would be like someone telling me don’t get up in the wee hours of the am or stay up late at night to write that poem or finish that novel chapter that is aching to come out. It can wait until morning they would say. No, actually it cannot. I have experienced what feels like real discomfort and tension in my stomach and throat if I am not writing creatively for an extended period of time. People who are not writers have told me that I am crazy. Well, I must be. Because when those words pour out of me the release I feel is like no other. I am at peace with myself, my environment and the world around me. I imagine Michael and Exceptional Kids like him feel that when when stimming. Interestingly, he told me a few weeks ago that he stimmed too long and now was stressed.

“Next time Mommy, I won’t stim so long on the couch. I didn’t need to this time.”

Exceptional Parents, how do you feel about your Exceptional Child’s stims? Do you try and stop them or encourage your kids to have this time? Every kid stims differently with autism, but I can assure you it is normal and healthy for them at certain times. We are always scared in the backs of our minds to “lose” our kids again in their autism world. Butt rest assured, once they see that you accept them for all they are and know you, your children will always come and find you. They are versatile, adaptable and very smart children. As they learn what their body needs, let them do what it takes to adjust to the world. And remember,  be receptive to them when they seek you out. Until next time.

Mistakes + Hardship= Exceptional Growth

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The last little while I have been going through growing pains. Spring has brought with it new things sprouting up in me, as well as old fears of accomplishing everything in a day while fighting feelings of exhaustion. I had forgotten how to really relax for a few weeks until God and the Universe gently reminded me when I hurt my back. It gave time to think about what I could have done differently so that I could have enjoyed my exercise alongside my meditation and yoga. There were some mornings last week that I did not even meditate as well due to pain. But it was good. I was scared. I’m not someone who gets sick often, thank God, and so it was my wake up call to where  I needed to go on my life journey, personal and business wise.

Last night Michael was tired and had a fight with his Dad and I. After he apologized to us, I realized some of the anxiety was due to a big change coming next week in the bedtime routine which I had mentioned yesterday afternoon. Michael would be attempting to sleep by himself ALL NIGHT for the first time in over a year. Last night after his Qigong Massage, I put his mind at ease about his bedtime worries. I told him how scared I was sometimes about doing the wrong thing, or how I made mistakes, like working out vigorously when I had a sore back. We talked about how suffering or hardship makes us stronger in the end as it pushes us to find strategies to get better and heal ourselves. By the end of the conversation, he was less nervous about his big change next week, and I reassured him that I would be there to support him as he found his ways to cope.

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Exceptional Parents, how have your mistakes helped you parent your Exceptional Child better? Have you incorporated it in your parenting? If not, I strongly encourage you to do so.  Good luck and remember that with difficulties come growth and better outcomes in the future. Until next time.

5 Ways to Chip Away at Exceptional Fears

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My weekend spent gardening, talking with my son, spending time alone with his Dad and then at a spa with a close girlfriend showed me many things, positive and negative. The positive things were that I am finally learning to prioritize time with family alongside work and negative were the stress I’ve been carrying around for the last few months which culminated when I injured my back mid-week. Why? I was pushing with exercise. Why? I had to MAKE UP FOR LOST TIME. I was chasing the elusive demon I tell other Moms and Dads to not chase. And here I was just squeezing it in. I also was not using my adult strategies to handle stress as well as I would have liked.

I have learned how to meditate properly, how to exercise properly, but in the rush of Spring Fever, I temporarily got the fever to do it all. Then I crashed. The spa trip with my friend opened my eyes as to how much I’ve been running, both physically and spiritually away from me, from time alone, and more importantly, from tackling fears inside about getting it all done, being all for everybody, moving forward, and not being afraid to go after my dreams.  I realized while meditating in this amazing bubble chair in the relaxing warm water, that fear is normal, particularly when you are pushing your boundaries, pushing past what has been holding you back. As a writer and coach, I have been increasingly pushing myself slowly in my personal and professional life. The result has been a growth and confidence that is real, permanent, and that when doubt creeps in, I can recognize as growing pains. I can help other parents see this in themselves, as Michael has helped me see the butterfly in me.

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The question is, how do you heal and chip away those old fears? Here are 5 ways I have learned to do it:

  1. Ask for time alone: No matter how little it is, even 5 minutes a day, can help you to see what you need to do and where you need to make change. Be gentle and tell yourself one step at a time.
  2. Read great spiritual or uplifting self-help book or attend lectures/classes to help: The more I read these types of texts, the more it is has helped me align my life to greater good, purpose, and when I am off, see how far I am from the meridian and find my way back.
  3. Gratitude Journaling: This is something I will be going back to. I start my day with a prayer thanking God for the day and life. From there I usually meditate, but know that what is written stays. I believe that writing down what one is grateful for brings it all into focus and helps us learn appreciation.
  4. Laugh at absurdity and don’t sweat the small stuff: My spa friend and I were talking about this, how important it is to turn unexpected stress into a gift, “what is this trying to teach me?” “what do I need to learn?” and as another good friend is famous for saying, “don’t sweat the small stuff.” It’s all true.
  5. Connect with nature, a walk outside, sitting by a river, and on rainy days, looking at pictures of nature or water: This has helped relieve so much stress. It was part of my burnout therapy two years ago and what helped me heal.

The most important thing is to remember that you are a work of art. Chipping away at the granite that are your fears, anger and what not, takes time. One day at a time. Go easy on your selves parents.

Exceptional Parents, how many times have you helped your Exceptional Children chip away at their fears, insecurities and bring out their strengths? You need to apply those same tools for yourself, and it’s not easy. You may need a day, two, a week or more. Take care. Do your best. And ask for guidance from God, the Universe, to show you your path. It will all come at the right time. Until next time.

Out of Town Exceptional Adventures And Balancing Adventure and Stability

 

Today we will be going on an out of town adventure to a museum and some sightseeing in a nearby city. Michael is excited about the adventure as are we, his parents. It wasn’t that long ago that outings like these terrified me. How would he act? How would he handle anything unpredictable? How would we as his parents handle it? Yes, there have been colossal successes and colossal failures, but through it all we’ve had adventures to say the least, exceptional adventures, and we have all learned from one another. We don’t take these outings for granted. I know there will be challenges, but we will get through them. Sometimes we are nervous to try new things, but I find that with time and practice we learn to do different things and it helps to form us as people, all of us.

Michael of course loves to go driving anywhere and continuously talks about getting his driver’s license one day. We encourage him that he can with enough hard work and practice, and I hope he does do it. Believing in your child’s potential can only help them in achieving the best things out there, in my opinion.

It has been quite the Spring/March Break for us. Lots of play dates, Michael and I playing at home, yoga sessions, and witnessing Michael’s musical and emerging drama talents. Over the weekend he will have some of his extra curricular activities back and some down time. I think the balance will do him good as he slowly transitions back to Monday’s return to school.

Exceptional Parents, how do your out of town adventures go with your Exceptional Children? Are they adventure seekers outside of the home or are they more of a home body? I think as with everything else, balance is key, a little bit of home and the outside world can do a lot to shape their characters and help unleash the gifts that lie in each of our Exceptional Children. Until next time.

 

Exceptional Family Connecting With Cosmic Kids Yoga And Communication

 

Michael made two beautiful connections with me today. It was one of those moments that I thought to myself that he knows what I need as well as what he needs. And he knows what we need to grow together as individuals and as a family and get stronger. I have been letting him have carte-blanche with audio visual this week as it is Spring Break. I have also been allowing this as I have to do some work in the mornings for my writing, speaking and future coaching business, even though I am technically “off” this week. Every small business owner knows you are never really off when it’s your own business. Still, as the parent with the flexibility in her schedule, I am the one home with Michael and doing most of the down time with him.

We have scheduled some structured activities, but in the mornings it is our down time. I do  my yoga and meditation, and some work, and when I am done come upstairs from my office to join Michael and do some activities before lunch and meeting up with friends. Today when I came up a beautiful thing happened. Michael took me by the hand and asked me to do yoga with him, a great kids yoga series called “Cosmic Yoga” on You Tube. https://www.youtube.com/user/CosmicKidsYoga. He chose the “Star Wars” one in particular. It was such a beautiful moment .I am a HUGE Star Wars fan, a huge yoga fan, and each time we have done yoga together I have felt a huge sense of connection with Michael. He does this yoga series at school sometimes and was so proud to share it. 🙂  He is not often interested in doing this with me, so today I found this quite meaningful. I was feeling a little stressed this morning when some work stuff took me longer to do. Yoga helped me calm down. Doing Michael’s yoga with him helped me feel even more zen. We had such a good day together after that. The feelings of stress relief lingered for hours afterwards.

Another moment came just before we left a trampole place near our home where Michael had a play date with a very close friend. We had forgotten his headphones as I knew it would be busy yesterday with Spring Break. He had come many times to “check in” with me and his friend’s Mom. When it came time to leave, he told me how hard it was for him without his headphones and that was why he needed to come and see me. I asked him if he had fun. He said he had a blast with his buddy, but wanted to let me know how he felt. I couldn’t believe it. He was expressing his feelings, and even being very verbal, this was something challenging to him in the past. Wow. He had come a long way. We had come a long way. I listened in amazement. Then I asked him to come in for a hug and told him how proud of him I was for expressing himself and opening up. When you open up, you risk. When you risk, things could go wrong. My little boy was losing his fear of risk. This was a huge milestone for any child, but for a child with autism this was incredible!

Exceptional Parents, how do you and your Exceptional child connect? Have you had moments of beautiful surprise when they let you in? I’m sure you have. What did it feel like? What did it look like? Remember and hold on to those feelings. They will be important to help grow your relationship with your child, and help you both achieve the next level of family intimacy. Until next time.