Category: puberty

Food Dilemmnas and Rebellion- Navigating Type 1 Diabetes And ASD Rigidities and Surviving It

Ah rebellion. It is just grand, said not ONE Mom, never mind a Mom of an Exceptional Child that already has enough stuff to deal with. Still, it makes me feel good in one way. As Dad commented earlier this evening when Michael was talking pretty much twenty minutes straight without coming up for air and making intense eye contact with us, “remember when we worried he wouldn’t talk?” I almost laughed. Indeed I do. If you told me when he was a toddler and had been diagnosed with autism that  I’d have to deal with regular puberty things like pushing limits, refusing to go to bed early, swearing, and even being silly with friends, I’d have laughed and said, go ahead, PLEASE give me those normal neuro-typical problems. And yet, here we are. My Exceptional Son is not so exceptional when it comes to puberty. In fact, he is so neuro typical here it is DRIVING ME CRAZY. And just to make things interesting and keep Dad and I on our toes, he has particular food restrictions due to his diabetes (hard for him and us and yet MORE more for teenage rebellion) and with his ASD and ADHD those quirks come out in puberty while he is trying to be a grownup. Oh boy. What can I say? Running for the hills is usually a race for Michael and I lately. Which of us will get there first running from the other, he or I? Yet, somehow with all the craziness, we always do run back to each other. I love him too much to not do that, and I think he loves me or tolerates me, pretty much what any tween/teen boy would feel towards his mother at this age of 12, not a baby and not a teen, a tween. It’s not easy, but whenever I catch myself feeling pity for either of us I remind myself it’s all relative. I also remind myself to learn from the challenging times, mine and Michael’s, as I tell Michael to do.

Sometimes when I want to indulge in a pity party I do that too. I allow Michael that luxury as well. I tell him, it’s ok to be angry or sad. Feel it. Own it. Use strategies to move away from it. Then move on. I follow the same theory myself, and do my best to hold myself to this promise. It’s not always easy. That’s when I call in the Mommy brigade, my friends in the same circumstances who share  in my stress over theirs and their children’s challenges, yet also remind me to celebrate the victories. And there are many victories of exceptional families that help us survive.

Today Michael was supposed to have a tennis lesson. It got postponed due to unforseen circumstances. He still remembered to bring home his shoes from school WITHOUT reminders. The other day going to a new place at school he navigated there on Google Maps to know where he was going, a pastime that is pleasurable for him and reduces his anxiety. This again was all on his part, no reminders. And countless times lately I have been witnessing him using strategies instead of giving into his anger,- deep breathing, using fidget toys.  Finally, he has openly talked about his struggles in puberty with me, still shares his day with me, and likes getting the occasional hug or kiss, or tolerates it. For this for now, I am grateful. 🙂 These are things I hold on to when the day or night is tough. These are things I remember when he is asleep at night, however good or bad the day has gone. These are things I see will help him navigate the world and survive and thrive when I am no longer here to advocate for him. Finally, these are things that tell me I need to fine tune my own coping mechanisms and let go over what I cannot control and control what I can. I can show my son I believe in him and want him to learn and do better. I can show my son I will hold him to a great future. And I can show my son that faults and all, I love him as much as I do me, and everyone else in the family. After all, we are have our issues to work on. What’s important is to learn and grow from the tough times so we can get ready for a brighter future all around.

Exceptional Parents, how do you survive your Exceptional Child’s quirks? How do they survive yours? Yes, you have quirks too and sometimes unintentionally make things more stressful for you and them by over reacting or under reacting. You are a human being and you will mess up just like them. Where’s the lesson? It is in learning from your mistakes, showing up the next time to do better as an individual and parent, and making sure you set a positive example for your child to follow at the same time. Until next time.

Are you the parent of an Exceptional Child struggling with how best to handle challenging behavior? Are you worried about development, anxiety, or doubting your abilities to help your child become the best they can be? I can help you find your confidence as a parent again. For more information about my journey and coaching programs, check out my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive! 

 

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Exceptional Tween Frienships-What I Thought I’d Never Have To Face

When I found out Michael had autism everything I had thought his life would be became one big question mark. Many other parents have shared this same insight on finding out that their child is different. They mourn the child that he/she will never be, what they will (or may) never do, and they worry about the missed milestones. You know what though? This isn’t always the case. Sometimes your Exceptional Child will surprise you and actually do the milestones then surpass them. Yes, you heard me correctly! Let’s take peer groups. Just like most special needs kids are not supposed to be interested in socializing (Michael SO is), many also do not care about peer groups. Michael SO cares. He is like a neuro typical peer copying for better or worse what his friends do. I feel both blessed by his need to fit in and worried about it, as any parent would be. Though it is great he wants to be accepted by his friends we also want him to learn to think for himself. This is easier said than done for a child who has a limited grasp of social skills and norms of society through his neurologically different way of seeing the world. It also means he will be slower to learn to think for himself, but then I am celebrating the fact that he is able to argue with us about thinking for himself. And argue he does these days. 😉

For sure these are all victories and milestones I was not sure we would be facing with a son who has autism. Now as he is moving into puberty, all the sexual and romantic feelings towards women have started emerging. Again, it is in his way, as only it would be, but these were things I was not sure Michael would ever experience. Sometimes kids on the spectrum have no interest in these things. It has provided us with additional challenges on how to parent Michael, but Dad and I are up for that challenge and know that with the great tools we have found, we will be in a position to help Michael through it.

The thing is, that sometimes it so hard navigating this seesaw of exceptional brains and neuro typical brain thinking that Michael is capable of. It certainly keeps me and Dad on our toes, but can be stressful too. Thank goodness we have a community to share this with, and of course a great kid who, in the end, is just himself and does not fit into any category, nor should he. This goes for any other child really.

Exceptional Parents, how often have your Exceptional Children surprised you by what they have shown you they can do or are capable of? Remember, a textbook definition of autism is just that, a generalization. Always expect the unexpected from your child. It will happen in good and bad ways. Don’t worry about the bad. There you will find the strategies to help them. As far as the good, enjoy it. This will help them grow confidently into who you know they can become. Until next time.

Feeling overwhelmed as an Exceptional Parent? Don’t know where to turn for tips, and ways to survive and thrive during the whole journey? You are not alone. I have walked and continue to walk this path myself. As a writer, speaker, parent coach and Mom to a son with Autism, ADHD, and Type 1 Diabetes,  I can help you through all the twists and turns that parenting an exceptional child require, while keeping your sense of humor intact, your sense of self and relationships intact, and helping you see that not only are you raising your exceptional child, but they are raising you to be the best human being you can be. You are each other’s advocates for a better world. For more information on my coaching packages, contact me at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

Backtalk from Your Exceptional Child- The Pros and Cons

There have been many things that have been exciting to see so far with Michael experiencing puberty-independence in how he organizes himself, his own opinion about things to an even greater degree than before, and his love of being around peers and sharing ups and downs with them. These are the good things. Then, sigh, there have been the cons of your exceptional child experiencing puberty. The main con I could attest to, has been the back tack. The back talk has been everything from swearing, closing doors when talking to his friends, and saying rude things to him amidst eye rolling for effect, just because he is asserting himself. What have been my feeling about this? I can say that it has been both exhilarating and frustrating. I am so glad to see Michael asserting himself, yet so annoyed that I am in enemy territory on some occasions. Still, there is hope. My son wants to spend time with me, and not only because of what I could give him (toys, rides, food). He genuinely wants a relationship with me. Tonight, he was upset that I was a little bit distracted  when he was telling me about his day and kept saying “look at me Mommy.” He also postpones talking to his friends on the phone most nights, so he can share his day with me. Ahh is all I can say. This feels good.

So what do I think make up the pros and cons of puberty in an exceptional family? Here are some of them:

PROS:

  1. Your child  is asserting themselves: Of course you want to make sure it is positive, but a child asserting what they believe is really good and something to aim for long term.
  2. They are developing as they should: Whether a child has special needs or not, puberty happens. If it is in full bloom, at least we know they are developing on track and can guide them according to their own abilities to handle life’s ups and downs.

CONS:

  1. You have to tolerate a whole new backlash of behavior: Sometimes when your child is struggling to find themselves they are harder on you. This means tolerating some testing behavior, being firm in when they have to apologize, and moving forward.
  2. You mourn the loss of your little boy/girl: You also have to acknowledge that your child is growing up and not a little boy/girl anymore. This is hard because they are in that in-between stage where they and you are still learning together. Be patient and forgiving. you will both get to the finish line eventually.

Exceptional Parents, if your Exceptional Child is in puberty has it been easy or difficult for you and them? Remember, it is a learning process for both of you, and when you are ready to meet them halfway, that is when things will flow a lot more smoothly. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Exceptional Tug of War-How To Love Your Exceptional Child Through Puberty

“Mommy, next time we go sledding I want to go with friends. I’ll have more fun then.”

For some reason these words hurt me deeply. I have always taken Michael on sledding play dates with close friends, but he and I have also had lots of fun sledding together. I am a parent that has always done a lot of sports and physical activities with Michael, like walking to parks and bike riding. So why now that he is growing up and wants to do more away from me (something I hoped and prayed for years ago when I was feeling stifled as an Exceptional Mom), am I now sad? Then as I thought about it, I had my answer. It seemed to happen overnight. I know. Puberty has been occurring over the course of a year. I saw the signs, and the first thing I thought was, thank goodness I spent time with Michael when I did. Soon, I will just be useful to him for drives or to give or pay him money for chores. But I digress. It still made me sad, as I realized, I did not know how to relate to my tween son in full blown puberty.

Don’t get me wrong. He still wants to share his day with me. He still wants to spend time talking to me about his classes, his friends, his big crush. But the little boy that loved to curl up in my lap with a book, now likes to talk to his friends on the phone and listen to music videos. He also likes to watch tv and play video games. Yes, I know. He is a teenager. What teenager likes to hang out with their Mom? Still, I want to find a way to still connect with him on subjects we could have in common. That is why when he announced his desire to only go sledding with friends, that I was hurt. We have ALWAYS connected on physical activity, and my big worry is that I will lose him opening up to me about his life if I lose doing activities with him. It’s already happened with going to church with me and reading. Now, if we can’t do sports together, will he still know I am there to turn to when times get rough?

Hopefully yes. So far he seems to  still hold me in high regard. We have had countless puberty talks where no subject has been too sensitive for me. I have purposely told Michael he can tell me ANYTHING and I mean it. I want him to know I am there for him through it all. I guess I worry about him losing who he is. He is so preoccupied right now with being like his friends, doing what they do, watching what they watch that I worry, will he have his own mind like he did when he was little? I have told him the story about “if a friend does something dangerous would you copy him because he is a friend, or would you try and stop him?” He only laughs as I used the “friend jumps off a bridge” analogy that my own mother used. I know he has autism and takes things literally, but in this case, he got the significance of it. He is very neuro typical in some ways, and I don’t want to underestimate his ability to understand things. So now I have to remind myself that he and I will always be close, even when another woman, one closer to his own age, has his heart one day. He may not go to church with me, but every night we pray together at bedtime. He may not read books with me, but he sees me reading and asks me questions about stories. He may not want to go sledding with me, but the other day asked if we could go for a walk together. My little boy still wants a relationship with his mother,  but understandably it is maturing as he is maturing. So I have determined that I will not panic, but trust that in his struggles and triumphs, he knows Mom has his back.

Exceptional Parents, are you struggling with your child pushing you away and then pulling you close? If so, it’s all normal. Remember, give them their space. Special needs or not, they are separate from you, and deserve their independence. Just make sure you show them every day how much you love them, and that you are always there for them no matter what. If they feel your love, they will always have a healthy relationship with you and themselves. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

Separating Puberty from Exceptional Needs And Where To Find Your Child

Tonight was Parent/Teacher Night at Michael’s school. As usual, it was a good experience. Michael is a pleasure to teach, and the wonderful teachers and dedicated staff are doing everything possible to hone his strengths and help Michael with his weaknesses. I am also seeing something new coming out on his report card. The Michael present there is very similar to the Michael at home, that is, minus the aggression thank goodness and even that is getting better at home. Michael’s difficulty focusing on the task at hand and his anxiety when he catches himself are present in both places. Michael’s challenges with puberty are present in both places too. Sometimes it is cute and funny, as in the case of a crush he has developed on a staff member. Sometimes it is coming out in silliness or a bit of rebellion, such as getting carried away talking too much and some mild back tack, mostly directed at his parents. What I am noticing though for the most part, is a lot of this is all regular puberty stuff, away and apart from his exceptional needs. Then there are things like diabetes and his autism and ADHD which complicate puberty a little more.

In the end though, my child is caught somewhere in the middle. His teacher, a very compassionate and caring man, spoke of how challenging puberty is for ALL kids, whether they have special needs or not. He also spoke of how for Michael it will be more intense, due to his other challenges, but that he would come through it. I agreed. We all come through, puberty no matter what.  We need to all be aware of what is puberty, and what are his challenges. That is something I am gradually getting better at recognizing. A year and more ago it was so hard to find out where Michael’s true character was in all his conditions. Yes, they are a part of him, but they are not all him. Michael is Michael and would have been Michael with or without autism, ADHD, and type 1 diabetes. He, like all of us, is more than the sum of his parts. Never lose the child within. That is what I constantly remind myself of.

Remember, for educational and life purposes, sometimes having a label or labels on your child is helpful to get them the help and support they need in educational or work settings. But, their unique personality, the way they look at the world, their interests and passions, would most likely have been a part of their personality no matter what. As you get further on the exceptional parenting journey with them, you will see their true personality come out, and just as good, be able to see what is caused by their challenges and what is caused by other factors. This means you will finally be seeing your whole child. If you are extra lucky, you will have a teacher and educational team that will also support you in this effort. We have been and are lucky in this regard.

Exceptional Parents, how good are you at looking at your child as a whole person and not a set of diagnoses? We are all guilty of seeing our children’s challenges and not the whole more than once in a while. It is normal. But once you start to see how life stage events like puberty  affect all kids, no matter how their brain works, you will begin to see your child in all their beauty for the first time. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

 

Understanding Autism and Figuring Out How To Handle Emotions- My Son’s Exceptional Puberty Journey

So the last few days have been about Michael coming to terms with handling turbulent puberty while also acknowledging his autism. He told me he asked many of his classmates at his adapted school if they have autism. Some of them answered yes, some of them said no. Michael said they have other challenges or different brains which they have shared with him. Michael also said he thinks some of them may have autism, but are not sure or don’t know and he thinks they may have it as they stim like him or do other things he says people with autism do. Dad and I told him many years ago when he asked what autism was, that he had it, and explained how it meant he sees the world differently than a lot of people who don’t have autism. Recently, I read him a great article our Educator gave him that explains what autism is written by someone with autism for someone with autism. It was eye opening for me too, and I thought that I knew pretty much all there was to know about autism, at least from a neuro typical person’s standpoint.

What I found most interesting was how Michael asked me questions about consent and law abiding behavior, and how a lot of people with autism handled the world around him. He is learning how to deal with anger, frustration and aggression while being aware that he needs to follow the same principles of respect for self, others and property that we all need to follow.  He understands his brain works a little differently, but Dad and I have been telling him that a different set of rules do not apply to him as a result. Yes, his learning materials can be adapted, he has his own IEP, but he still has to follow the same law of safety that governs all people in the world, autistic and non-autistic. I am proud of the questions he is asking me though, about people, about consent, about sex, about feelings towards the opposite and same sex. I am proud that he is thinking about the big questions and wants to make good choices.

Exceptional Parents, does your child know about their different brain or sense that they are not the same as anyone else? Have you held off telling them until you feel they are ready? In the end, you need to listen to your parenting gut. Some kids want and need to know right away. For others, the time to have the conversation is a long way off. Whatever you decide, remember your child’s unique way of viewing the world, whether they are in puberty or not, is part of what makes them special and their contribution to the world something incredible. Remember, we are all here for a reason. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

 

Boy or Man-Surviving the Transition to Exceptional Puberty

I miss the days when Michael was predictable and when I, as his Mom, could make all his decisions. My life had so much stress in many ways, but was easier to understand in others. Now, I have what I have been praying for- a young man who is responsible for making his own decisions, good and bad, only sometimes they are not the right ones in my book. He will fall. He will get up. He will start over. Sometimes not. And I need to be ok to step back and let him do it. But boy, is it hard. There is a huge weight off my shoulders when I realize HE is the only one who can decide on his course of action and suffer the consequence or get the benefit. I am only a guide to show him a healthy way to grow.

On the positive side, I am seeing a maturity in Michael that I have never seen before. I am seeing him handle disappoint better than ever before. I am seeing him ask for more responsibility at school, and at home for more space. No more, “play with me Mom,” it’s now,  “I want to listen to my music  and call my friends. Take me somewhere please so  I can navigate or look at video games.” He will turn to me to share confidences and ask questions. There are lots of questions. Still, peers play a HUGE role. I am both grateful and worried, as he will do anything for his friends. This is the time to show him how he needs to make sure he is following good examples, not bad ones, all the while avoiding the teen temper outbursts that will occur from time to time. My little boy is becoming a man in body and spirit. He is grappling with other neurological challenges and physical ones at the same time. I have never needed patience and serenity more than I do now. I rely on God and the wonderful people he has surrounded me with on my journey, to help guide Michael on the best possible path. Yes, he is still learning how to find his way, as his mother is learning to navigate.

Exceptional Parents, are you grappling with a major age milestone change right now with your Exceptional Child? Remember, stay calm. Express unconditional love to them.  Listen to what they have to say, and just be there to show them how to be a positive light in the world. In time as they grow, they will find their own vibration and what it means to be themselves. They will also learn how to love themselves for who they are. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Who Will Come Home To Me Today?- More On Puberty and Your Exceptional Child

All parents see huge changes in their children when they are going through puberty. It is no different for parents of exceptional children. The thing is, we sometimes see the changes more intensely and can’t always follow where our child is going. This is kind of where we are with Michael these days. He hit puberty a while ago, and now it’s learning to navigate new domains- more intense crushes, more surly behavior, how to be affectionate and close with him in a different way, and how to do this while keeping in mind that puberty is intermingled with his other issues. At the top of this list is remembering that as challenging as it is to be Michael’s parent, he is the one going through the challenges. He is looking to Dad and I to explain the complexity of life, puberty and the other changes his body is going through when we do not fully understand his brain chemistry. He is quite an incredible kid. Tonight he had three low blood sugars. He has been having a lot of low blood sugars this week. We have recently stopped an OCD medication that was doing more harm than good, including to his blood sugar. He is so good natured about it, though he was a little stressed noticing some OCD type things slowly coming back. Dad and I reassured him we would continue to help him with strategies to manage the stressful thoughts, as well as possible new medication. He took it in stride.

I always feel guilty when I lose patience with Michael when he is challenging. It is not his fault the way he is wired, any more than it is my fault the way I am wired. I know he tries so hard and succeeds much of the time in exhibiting self-control. He is getting better at learning how to navigate his emotions too, and most importantly, has empathy for me and Dad when he goes too far. We always acknowledge that and praise him for recognizing his mistakes and doing reparations of any sort. The thing is sometimes it is so hard to know what to address with him- his anxiety, his anger, his blood sugars, his learning, his social skills. I also never know lately who will come home to me, my lovable boy child who wants to sit and talk about his day, my surly tween who barely acknowledges me and goes to call his friends, or an angry child in a much younger developmental stage who blows up at me physically and at property and is totally unpredictable. I do my best to call it, redirect and afterwards have Michael learn from the experience. There has been some success, but as always, with a special child there are new things to tweak, skills to work on. I worry so much that I am failing him when I don’t get it right some afternoons. Some mornings too we start off rocky. However, I am learning as a Mom that it is ok to still be learning. It is ok to be upset if your child throws you a curve ball, as long as you stay calm, focused, don’t take what they say personally (a DEFINITE tough one), and learn from their overreactions as well as your own.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle your Exceptional Child’s various mood swings? Even if they are not in puberty, kids throw us emotional zingers all the time. It’s important that we work with a good team who can help us decode our child for sure, but the most important work is done by you, the parent. Only you know best who your child is on the inside and what they are capable of. Only you can love unconditionally, support and encourage your child like no one else can. And remember, even during the hard times, that your child is a gift to the world with so much to offer. Help them learn to unwrap the treasures inside themselves. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD  and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

 

Keeping The Emotional Bond and Handling The Distance Of Your Exceptional Child

So puberty has hit our household, and with it comes new demands and issues-hormonal and otherwise. Michael still needs my love and hugs, but I can see the times he is starting to pull away from me and Dad, in a healthy way. Then there is the not so healthy turning to friends and peer groups that offer the challenges of silliness, swearing and other “forbidden” at home topics. This is where I am still getting my feet wet as an exceptional mom, but getting there. I find myself asking the question Michael’s preschool teachers first told me to ask myself when he was three years old, “if he did not have any  challenges, would you dress him or have him learn to dress himself?” Now the question is at eleven years old, “if he did not have any challenges, would I be telling him who to hang around with or what not to say?” Of course, the answer to both questions is yes, I would be doing my best to teach Michael independence, and if he made a mistake with dressing or choosing the wrong crowd, step in and gently steer him in the right direction. I am lucky that he is still listening and values his bond with Dad and I.

Of course, he still needs to learn from mistakes. When he got in trouble at school for being silly with a friend and lost his recess by having to stand on the wall, he was very upset. He told me it was not fair. I told him that he was warned by the teacher on duty if he continued not listening the consequence would be no recess the next day. He had to pay that consequence for not heeding the warning. Yes, he has attentions issues and hyperactivity.  Yes, he has autism and some rigidity issues. But that is not an excuse to not follow the rules. At home as well, Dad and I are seeing a lot of “tween” rebellion. It is both exciting and stressful along with navigating other things. However, I have to think. He has to go through puberty with us, his neuro typical parents, who although can relate to some of his stressors, cannot truly know what is inside his head. We are all learning together. We are learning to continue confiding in each other, giving each other space, and forgiving one another when we make mistakes.

Exceptional Parents, how are you faring in puberty if you are at that stage? Is it harder than the delayed terrible two’s? Remember, your child is feeling things twice as intensely as you, so compassion is in order as well as patience with them and yourself. Treat your child as you would any child, while at the same time keeping in mind that some things may need to be tweaked or adapted in helping our kids understand their emotions more clearly. Until next time.

 

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

Who is This Child? How To Cope When Exceptional Children Reach Puberty

puberty.jpg

I could not believe the words my eleven year old said. “Mommy, the kids say I smell, and I noticed  hair growing down there.” Of course, I had suspected as much from his behavior, taste in music, and interest in his peer group. But nothing had quite prepared me for my exceptional child hitting puberty this early! Friends have shared with me about their kids’ bodily changes as well as crushes on girls, but I naively thought, I have another year or two. I even joked with another friend, oh please, with challenging behaviors, diabetes, autism, and ADHD my hair will go white and I will completely lose it if puberty strikes now. Well, the joke is on me folks. Puberty is here and is intensifying. The weird thing is, my kid both needs and rejects me. Friends are important in the day, but at bedtime, Mom tuck me in, hug me, talk to me.  Hmm. I remember this from thirty some odd years ago, when I did the same with my parents. I was close to them, but so desperately trying to flee from their conventions. And I was a so-called “good girl.” 🙂

It is both exciting and terrifying to see Michael entering puberty so early. At least it feels early for me. I guess the next thing will be interest in girls, his body, or both. Oh boy. I’ll leave that one to Dad. 🙂 Though I am up for any honest discussion about love, intimacy and spirituality.  I have the benefit of several friends whose sons have entered this phase already sharing their knowledge with me, so I know we can laugh and talk about it. I am also glad that Michael is going through this phase as any child would. I just need to have the tools ready to help him address his questions and feel at ease. Just like a neuro typical child, not every child with autism experiences puberty in the same way. As parents, we need to respect that, be there for them, and give them room to breathe and be who they are. It is challenging for us as parents not to panic. I am glad we have medicinal and behavioral strategies in place to help Michael reach  his potential.

Michael also coaches us daily in what he needs to thrive- parents who are adventure seekers, open to trying new things, and accepting of him, difficulties and all. Dad and I are all those things. We struggle sometimes to understand who is this child? The child  that once listened to us the majority of the time with little incentive or rewards, now requires immense promise of rewards to comply. The child that once wanted us to play with him all the time and BE with him, now wants us there with him, but as an ends to a means. He is scared, help him. He needs to go somewhere, drive him. It is both comforting and disconcerting. He is growing up, but needs to learn strategies to manage, stress, anxiety and anger. Dad and I are working hard with his team to help him learn to handle all the changes happening. Dad and I are also working to handle our own emotions, take care of ourselves individually and as a couple, and help those around us. None of this is easy, but is important and so worth it in the end.

Exceptional Parents, have your Exceptional Children hit puberty yet? If they have, how are you handling it? If they have not, how do you think you will handle it? Remember, if you take care of yourself by staying calm, collected and in control, you will be setting the best example for your child. If they have, pace yourself. As long as you are able to keep your sense of humor and sympathy for the hard road ahead for them, (and you as their guides), you will continue to be their best cheerleader and advocate, teaching them to care for themselves as you care for yourself. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.