Category: seeing child for who they are

Seeing Your Exceptional Child’s Progress Among The Struggles And Rewarding It

Tonight was Parent/Teacher Night at Michael’s school. Over the years, the faces of the teachers and therapists have sometimes changed, but the feeling of being among family, people who truly care about your child’s well being and progress is amazing. That is why I was a little nervous walking in tonight as Michael’s report card, though filled with positive comments, also contained some that mentioned things like difficulty focusing, needing more intense support in some areas, and struggling in others. And, as an Exceptional Mom, ok now let’s be honest, as pretty much ANY Mom, I felt like great that there are good things, but how am I failing him with the struggles? What am I NOT doing to support him better at home so he will struggling less at school? And that’s when I realized I was doing it again. I was not celebrating the progress he has made, that all our kids make, in day to day life. Yes, sometimes that progress could be something simple like greeting another adult by saying “Hi, how are you?” Other times it could be, MAJOR improvements in handwriting. That would be Michael’s, as he has struggled with writing and fine motor skills from toddler hood onward. It could also be how your child handles organizing certain areas of their life. Michael needs reminders to get ready for school, pack his schoolbag, but for diabetes management at home, school, and elsewhere, all I can say is WOW. School said the same thing. He is on top of things and educating the adults around him. I sometimes forget this progress in my zeal to make everything perfect, to feel like he is improving everywhere means that I am successfully doing my job as a Mom.

If there is an area of struggle, I am at fault for not fixing it. That’s when I realized tonight, no. I am a champion of Michael. I am doing all I can to encourage Michael to find good strategies, good organization, make good choices, all while doing what every parent does; working , running a household, and squeezing in time for me and Dad in between. Michael is responsible for Michael, and Joanne for Joanne. Michael needs guidance from Joanne, aka Mom, but she is not the one who needs to learn to fix things, Michael is. Mom supports the child. Mom works with school, therapists, and others to help her child grow and develop. But in the end, it is the child who needs to be released to fly on his own. I am doing more and more of the releasing, but every once in a while I doubt if I am not intervening enough.

Then, three times a year, I get to look at Michael as his school does. What do they tell me? Michael is polite. Michael enjoys being with his friends. Michael makes an effort to learn and when struggling, knows to ask for help. Michael manages many things independently, and with practice and time, will manage other things independently too. My heart soars at these words as well the words of the teacher tonight when I spoke with him who reminded me. “He is doing great overall. Just remember to tell him you are proud of him.” I did. I really did, in passing the first time, but tonight when I came home, I told him again as he seemed nervous and we talked about what I spoke to his teacher about. It’s funny, Dad reminded me of the same thing when I was worried that Michael had had his third or fourth sugar low of the week this week. “Just tell him you are proud of how he is managing his lows.” I know. The Universe and God speak through people. I now remember every day to tell Michael when I am proud of him.

Exceptional Parents, do you take time, even in stressful moments, to look at how far your child has come in their Exceptional journey? All of them have struggles, but have victories too. Remember and celebrate those victories, especially during the tough times or even the times when there are minor struggles. This is what will remind your child how far they have come too, and how far they can go. 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: Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive! 

The Struggles Of Being An Exceptional Parent And What It Has Taught Me So Far

Most of my posts about raising an Exceptional Child and being an Exceptional Mom have been positive and optimistic, because after all, if our kids can handle a world that is not always set up to help them succeed, then who are we as their parents to complain? Yet, there are times when as a Mom and a woman who blogs about helping special needs families and lives it, I  want to run screaming into the wilderness saying, let me out alive! These thoughts used to frighten me. Not any more. I see them now as a necessary thing, a way to balance all my sides,-mother, wife, writer, coach, woman. It’s not always easy. But once I started sharing my parenting journey and my own personal human journey on this blog, my life became even more rich, as did my fiction. But that’s another story.

I have to say that coming to terms with how Michael and helping kids like him has changed me as a person, has been quite a journey. Our kids, all kids, teach us life lessons every day. They build us up and break us down, only to build us up again. They make us realize the work we have done on ourselves and may still need to do. They help us stay honest with who we are and who we want to become. So, on that note, I want to share what parenting an Exceptional Child  has taught me so far:

  1. I am stronger than I think.
  2. Self-care is the most important thing. If I fail in prioritizing my health, I fail everyone in my circle.
  3. Being a parent  feels like a spiritual calling most days, and it’s important to treat it that way.
  4. Sometimes you want to run away from being a parent and that’s not only ok, but normal. Go deeper and see what’s missing- More alone time? More sleep? More time with friends?
  5. Your personal time will be compromised as you prioritize the child. Make sure you schedule, and I mean schedule in everything else or it will never get prioritized.
  6. Your child will open up worlds you didn’t know existed.
  7. Your child will test your beyond anything in the universe.
  8. You will grow as much from the painful moments as from the beautiful. Don’t regret either of the lessons.
  9.  You may think another parent would do better for your child when you are the parent your child needs.
  10. You are your child’s teacher and advocate. They are your teacher and spiritual guide. Together, you will do amazing things.

Exceptional Parents, have you ever felt overwhelmed in a good or bad way by parenthood? Both are normal states of being. Your child needs to see you experience all the emotions out there. This way they will know that it is normal and ok to be angry, happy, sad, fearful, fearless and brave. As we teach them how to navigate the world around themselves, they teach us the same. Keep striving to learn from each other and when times are rough, remember you are both human and will get through it together. 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: Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive! 


Being The Harbor For Your Exceptional Child

How many times have most parents thought what the heck have I gotten myself into in becoming a parent? I can tell you, I have thought this SO many times as an exceptional parent. I love my son more than anything in the universe and could not imagine life without him, but oh, to have the experience I have now in parenting him years ago. And even now, there are times I think, where do I go from here? Puberty, multiple diagnoses, and just general testing of boundaries, makes exceptional parenting a  minefield for most parents. But what I have learned in the hard moments is to trust in my parenting gut when I know and do not know what to do. When I know it, I do it. Easy enough. When I am unsure and on new ground, I meditate and calm my inner mind. Next I ask God and the Universe for guidance. I ask to be directed to the right people and resources to help Michael. I am never let down. Within days, my path is cleared and I have new tools. My confidence builds and I move forward again.

Michael has taught (and continues to) teach me SO much about my patience, anger, strengths and limitations. I have been broken down and rebuilt as a Mom, woman and human being. He has humbled me to work on my frailties while helping him work on his. I have had my eyes opened when I have misinterpreted what he is feeling. I realize that no parent can know any child one hundred percent, whether they have special needs or not.  And I have also learned how to make the tough choices. How to do things he does not like. How to teach him to cope with stress. This is a daily struggle for both of us. How to navigate my marriage with an exceptional child in puberty, how to navigate and practice self-care with an exceptional child in puberty, and most importantly, how to admit when I need a shoulder to cry on-family, friend, deity or all of the above. I do not hesitate now, even with all I’ve learned, to say  “I’ve had it. I need help. I need a break.”

Every parent has to learn to do this. Every parent has to learn to teach their child to do this. Every parent needs to know when they need to switch on or off. If you do not know, talk to someone about it. If family or friends don’t understand, seek professional help. The sooner you are in good shape, the sooner you can help your child reset and understand them better. In the meantime, keep these tips in mind to be your child’s safe harbor:

  1. Sleep Enough
  2. Eat Enough
  3. Laugh Enough
  4. Share Enough
  5. See Your Child As Struggling In Themselves, Even In Their Darkest Moments With You.

Exceptional Parents, are you often your Exceptional Child’s safe harbor? If you feel that lately you are the one needing that harbor, it is ok. Remember, even when you feel you can’t go on, you will find a way to do so. You are your child’s safe harbor. Keep your own lights on and your vehicle ready to help, and you will be able to see your child through any challenge. 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,

How To Accept Your Exceptional Child’s Strengths and Limitations By First Accepting Your Own

It was a busy end of the week and weekend, which is why I did not get a chance to post. That and starting a really bad cold, which thankfully, is now on its way out. Still, even when I am not writing about Michael, I am learning from him  as he is always teaching me about special kids like himself and about the world at large. Somewhere in the middle of all that I learn something about myself as well. What I was reminded of over the course of the last few days was a lesson Michael has shown me many times over the years. I was given a glimpse last week into many of his strengths, but also as in the past, many of his weaknesses. Some of these weaknesses I was aware of, others are new. Navigating OCD and ADHD when we have all pretty much mastered much of ASD and Diabetes has been a challenge. But even these difficulties for Michael and me have not caused the most problems. For me, it is those moments when I see Michael as different, really different, and I have a hard time accepting that there are some things he does not understand or may never understand. The funny thing is other people around him do not seem bothered by it, but I am.

For example, we were in one of his favorite shopping malls over the weekend. He likes to do his rounds as we can them, visiting the assistant manager of one of his favorite stores, and popping into other stores. He has also developed some strange stims with elections coming up in our neck of the woods. He likes to go up to the voting signs and kiss them. He likes certain candidates and is a little disappointed he cannot vote. We told him he will have the option when he is eighteen years old. 🙂 This is cute, of course, but also odd. Then there are the times he will go into the local butchers and pick up the meat to feel it and smell it. It is sensory. He has done this with other foods. People around us smile at him lovingly, but I get worried. This is what makes him stand out and makes him different. I worry that people will not always be so accepting of how different he is in some ways to them. Now, of course he is like other non exceptional kids in many other ways. He likes sports, video games, going to parks, but what could be holding him back from many opportunities I fear are some of these strange mannerisms.  Then once I think this I am ashamed. Ashamed because I truly believe now in my forties that what makes us all unique and special is what makes us different from one another, whether we are neuro typical or not.  So what if we don’t fit into a cardboard box of someone else’s definition of what regular behavior looks like? The world needs to learn to embrace difference, and I need to be ok to embrace my child’s oddities, even the ones related to sensory issues or OCD. As long as they do not hurt anyone, why am I stressed and sad when I see this?

In short, the other night when sitting alone after Michael had gone to bed, I thought that for me standing out and being different was always a challenge until I turned forty years old. And it’s been a battle to continue to push myself past my own insecurities over what will people think, what will people do, will people accept me? As I have watched Michael be who he is from birth with no filter, no restraint, a loving and free spirit who brings such joy and light into everyone’s life that he touches, whether family, friends or strangers, I have had to face that my worries about Michael being more-more quiet, more academic, more focused, more whatever are really about my own worries about me standing out, being me, and being true to the me who is ever changing and surging forward.

I have also realized that I can teach Michael to be more socially appropriate, patient and respectful to the best of his abilities. The rest lies with him and what he will do on his path. As for me, I need to keep questioning why even though I now celebrate my differences and what makes me uniquely myself more and more everyday, my strengths and limitations, there is still a scared part of me holding back. I decided this weekend to  her a hug and tell her she will be alright, more than alright. I have decided to gently take her hand, tell her there is no fear to be herself always and everywhere. I have decided that in order to fully love my child and not worry if I am doing “enough” to help him move forward, I first have to love me enough to see that as long as love, patience, respect and belief in the talents I have is present all the time, I will sometimes falter and worry about Michael’s progress in comparison to other exceptional children. There is no need to worry. He is doing great. I am doing great. We both need to work on strengthening our limitations and celebrating our strengths. I am so proud of Michael and I am so proud of me. We have both come far on our exceptional family journey in all areas of our life, and I truly believe, that as long as we continue to keep learning and growing together, things will only get better.

Exceptional Parents, are you as hard on yourself as an Exceptional Parent as you are on your child? If so, take heart. You can always learn to let go of the idea of perfection. No one is perfect. That would be boring and stressful. Having flaws and beauty are what make life interesting. Celebrate the strengths your child has as you celebrate your own. Work with them on accepting their weaknesses and learning ways to compensate and support those weaknesses. Never compare yourself to anyone else, parent or child. You are your own special unique person and that is reason enough to celebrate. And, as always, thank your child for teaching you this patience and kindness that you now have towards yourself and others as a result of parenting an extraordinary child. Until next time.

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. I have been there before realizing the gift of who my son is.  For more information about me and my journey, check out my website  as well as my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at 


Working With Your Exceptional Child’s Strengths Instead Of Their Weaknesses

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So I think I’ve said before what a rough time it’s been for Michael and us since he has gotten off his medication prescribed for aggression. He has become less aggressive and happier than he was on the medication, a dream, but his hyper activity has gone through the roof. I did not know how much the medication was helping him self-regulate his impulses and some careless behaviors. Now we are all in the middle of dealing with a happy, but hyperactive and impulsive child who has a difficulty calming himself down on all fronts. That is the difficult part of the last two weeks. Now for the beautiful things.

As I’ve said before, Michael is laughing and affectionate again. Michael is singing, dancing and listening to music again,  though he will get carried away with the dancing getting silly and inappropriate. No matter, he is more like himself these days. He is also receptive to using the strategies he has learned to control aggression and impulsivity, as long as Dad and I are presenting things in a calm and happy or level manner. The second we lose it, he does too. I am choosing to see this as a strength though. This gives me hope that he will go back to the happy kid he was WITH strategies all the time, as long as we show him we believe in him. So what I am doing now is focusing on his strengths-the way he is handling his diabetes, his new interest in basketball and increased interest in sports in general in the last three months, his interest in reading, singing and his conscience. He always had it, but lately he is genuinely sad after he calms down when he behaves in a negative way and will apologize. This is huge improvement in his empathy. He is also sad about a severe phobia that has been paralyzing him all summer. He is anxious to fix it, and accepting help from our Educator as well as future possible medication from his psychiatrist. He really needs the medication/therapy combination, though as a parent I hope we find the best medication that does not have too many side effects. I don’t want my child disappearing in it.

I am proud of how far he has come, and even though Michael is still struggling at handling himself appropriately, he has changed a lot since the beginning of the summer. So have Dad and I as we parent him in a new way, and learn from our parenting mistakes  in how we view his challenges. I am learning to see his challenges as I see my own. They are opportunities to grow and become stronger. We do not let him ‘cop out’ on himself and use his different brain as a way to excuse his challenges in regulating. We tell him-you are smart, you can control this. We have help for you. We are there for you. You can do this, but you have to do the work. Believe in yourself and anything is possible.

Exceptional Parents, how do you work with your Exceptional Child’s strengths? It’s so much easier to look at what they are doing wrong or are weaker at. The system we live in tends to do that too, and of course, it’s the parents who cry that things are terrible that get the help. While it’s important to acknowledge when your child and your family is struggling and get that help, (I am a HUGE believer in doing that),  you must also learn to celebrate your child’s victories in the hard moments. Celebrate when they tackle a difficult area of their life, take on a new hobby, or ask you for help, or even show remorse for bad actions. This means your child is learning and will make the inroads to mental and physical health sooner than you think. Above all, tell your child every day that no matter what they do, you love them and know they can do anything they set their mind to. It will make all the difference to their progress and yours as their parent and advocate. Until next time.

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. I have been there and lived these very words before realizing the gift of who my son is and what he has helped me realize. If you want to have more information about me and my journey, check out my website and my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at


Stepping Back and Getting Clear On What You And Your Exceptional Child Need Now

Our weekends have been getting progressively better, though there is still aggression, frustration and anxiety as Michael continues to hone in on his ability to control how he feels and what he does to us and himself. Regardless off how frustrated and overwhelmed I sometimes feel, I am proud as I see him making progress slowly in so many areas. Some days are better than others. Some days I am more tolerant and stronger than on other days too. And on some days when I feel like throwing in the towel completely, I find myself suddenly knowing exactly what direction I need to take. I call this my spirit talking to me. Prayer and meditation have made this voice very strong, and when I can’t hear it, I get quiet, physically and mentally so I can hear it more clearly. This weekend I heard it when it said we needed to take Michael off a medication he is on. I have been wanting to do this for awhile, but was worried. This medication originally helped so much with aggression, and what if things got much worse if he went off it? I did not like the side effects of it, and the new me has decided she will not fear the unknown. The only way to see what worked, medication and therapy and frankly life-wise, is to try and risk failure. And what is so bad about failure anyway I found myself thinking this weekend? It really means we are alive and human. Mistakes make us grow stronger. They make us appreciate the good times. Just like when we are sick we appreciate being healthy. You get the drift.

This summer has been another summer of growth for Michael and our family, and not just in terms of his health and challenges. Dad and I are being pushed to make personal changes too, as well as changes in our marriage, and in what we can expect from one another as each lets the other one grow. There have been LOTS of growing pains. There have been lots of moments when I have felt angry and said, why is it so hard? But, at other times, things have gone so smoothly, so easily. Decisions like taking Michael off his medication is so far going well. Encouraging Michael to join another soccer league has been a success. Pushing myself to clean out the junk, literal and figurative in my home, mind and heart, is helping me to see myself for who I am now, and what I want to change or improve upon, no excuses, no self-pity. We all have our crosses to bear as a good friend once said to me. She is so right. I am often awed by people who do not let life’s stresses and strains make them bitter. I decided five years ago to devote myself to becoming one of those  people. Those closest to me say I am. And when I start to stray from those good intentions, family and friends help me find my way back.

Now that I am back, wow! What a difference it makes being my body. What a difference it makes in how I treat myself, advocate for my son, and treat those around me. Even on hard days, I see my negative emotions for what they are-transient and temporary. I recognize exhaustion, self-pity and anger as things that I haven’t addressed and so I do and make the necessary changes. As a exceptional parent, I have been able to make positive changes and relate to Michael in a calm and loving way, due to operating from my soul upwards. Parenting with your gut is not easy work, but as long as you take care of you, remember the beauty and uniqueness of your child, and stay positive no mattter what, your heart and soul will guide your mind to the right place, people, and therapies for your child.

Exceptional Parents, are you feeling stuck wondering how to help your Exceptional Child through a rough time? Are you personally feeling stuck? As hard as it is, step back and look inside of yourself. How are you feeling? Are you tired, angry or scared? Before you can help and hear your child’s cry for help, you need to hear your own soul’s cry for help and heal yourself. You will know you are on the right track when your thoughts about life are more positive, you practice gratitude in even the most challenging times, and you admit when you are overwhelmed. Meditate, pray, exercise, reach out to others. Get counselling. Do what you need to do so you can get back in the flow of your life and give your Exceptional Child what they most need now-hope and love from the most important person in their life-their parent. 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,

Riding The Highs And Lows Of Exceptional Parenthood

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My life is not boring. This is my opening joke to most people I meet if  I hear them complain they are bored and that life is not exciting. I will add for effect, “Oh my life is exciting. I never know what curve ball my son is going to throw at me next.” Sometimes this is meant to be funny, sometimes not. Regardless, in all moments I love Michael very much. I also remind myself that life is not boring for him and is exciting, sometimes overly exciting. His nervous system can go into warp speed sometimes, and at other times he regulates well. It makes for quite the family life.

Today was a calm morning, afternoon and I was told evening. I was out at my weekly writing workshop, and though Michael was up waiting for me when I came home, he did reasonably well with Dad. I was happy to hear this. Every victory is celebrated, particularly as there has been lots of tension between the two lately. Michael also realized today when his energy and silliness was through the roof, that rather than lose his reward, he would self-regulate by going out in the yard and playing soccer. I was so proud he recognized what he had to do. There was also a healthy use of deep breathing to handle anger when he got upset. This is excellent as there have been other days when things did not go well and self-regulation only happened AFTER an aggressive act.

Dad and I are also learning to use our strategies to handle our highs and lows living as exceptional parents. My writing workshops, workouts,  and outings with friends are my respites and ways to recharge so that I can keep my anger, fear and frustration in check. These things help me ride out the tough moments as a Mom when I want to run for the hills and not look back. I am realizing how important self-care is every day, as well as having a sense of humor, especially when times are rough. It does not mean laughing at your child or situation, but it means seeing the joy in the beautiful moments when they use their strategies, open up about their feelings, hug you, and share their dreams. It also means enjoying the beauty of a sunrise, the quiet pitter patter of rain falling, the purring cat at your feet, or a wonderful song on the radio.

Some days it is all too much. I worry, am I doing enough as Michael’s Mom to give him opportunities to socialize, learn, laugh, move? What therapies does he really need and which ones can we wait on? Finally I worry, will I make it on this rocky road to see him to adulthood and not lose my sense of humor, sense of self, and also importantly, my belief in what he is capable of? Some days are so hard. One day many many years ago when Michael first started having aggressive behaviors and the tools that worked did not work any longer, I shared with my mother how frustrated and scared I was.  I said, “I can’t do this anymore. He needs another mother.” She sympathized, but reminded me he was my son and I could not stop fighting for him. I realized she had misunderstood my worry. I then clarified. I was scared I was the wrong Mom for Michael. I told her he needed a Mom who was patient, calm, strong. I was anxious. I lost my temper and patience. She said that every Mom got angry, lost patience and was anxious. She said I was strong, stronger than I knew. I had believe in me and my love for him. She was right. I prayed many times to God then, and since then, to give me the strength to continue fighting the good fight. I also pray now that I continue to learn ways to take care of me so that I can remain strong, positive and tell Michael that I will always be there for him, no matter what.

So I’ve realized that the way to survive the tough days and coast through the easy ones are the same. Take care of myself by doing the things that fill me with joy. This will help me encourage Michael to find the things that fill him with joy. He has lost so much happiness over the course of the last two years. Puberty, Type 1 Diabetes and more complex anxieties and attention issues have caused his self-esteem to plummet. He is questioning his religious beliefs, friendships and his father’s and my love. We are telling him daily that he is smart, loved, and that we all believe in him. Seeing us, his parents, doing the things that we love, is helping him find the road back to doing the things he used to love and finding new loves.

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Even on the days when harsh words and actions occur, I can honestly say to myself Michael’s potential for greatness is there and is growing. It is painful that he could lose his future if troublesome behaviors are not under control. Dad and I worry if we are doing enough to get him back on the right track. Judging by the progression that is happening though, I think he and we are well on our way to living life a little easier among the chaos of exceptional family life.

Exceptional Parents, how do you ride out the highs and lows of your exceptional family life? Just remember, self-care for you goes a long way to giving you strength to be there for your child in every way. Also, even at their most difficult, always see the child behind the behavior. That is who is trying to come out and needs your help to grapple with fear, anger and uncertainty. 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,

Being in the Hot Seat As Exceptional Families


Have you ever had a parenting moment when you felt so many emotions at once- frustration, tiredness, sadness and embarrassment? Well, I did tonight. It was one of those nights that I was worried about altering Michael’s schedule slightly, but still did. I knew that altering the schedule along with blood sugar that was still on the high side with his diabetes, may make for a difficult evening, but I figured I was up to it. I was, but only to a certain extent. Though I held it together relatively well, at one point I became so angry that Michael was not listening and being disruptive, that I almost abandoned ship. I stopped myself though, and realized that though Michael was to blame for his actions, I was also responsible for not keeping to the usual routine. As well, I was responsible for not remembering Michael’s challenges in listening, self-regulating and being responsible for controlling his physical and emotional reactions to people and events around him.

You see, part of the “different brain” our kids have makes it harder to process information, feelings, and control reactions. When they are in the “hot seat” it is so much harder to control themselves.  I of course don’t let Michael get away with his Autism, ADHD and diabetes as excuses for losing control and I have told him as much. In fact, earlier today I reminded him that though I know it is hard for him to control his temper sometimes and Dad and I know this due to his challenges (our family has no secrets), it does not mean he gets a free pass in not being disruptive or aggressive. However, even though I know this, sometimes in the heat of the moment I forget this. I am in the “hot seat” as the parent of a child who is impulsive, anxious and rigid. I feel judged, even if it is only by me. I also feel that his poor dealing with his feelings is due to my badly structuring  the day or evening. I know this is not fully the case, but it still happens from time to time when I am tired and not giving myself enough time to regenerate my batteries.

I am getting better at seeing myself for who I truly am as a Mom though- patient, loving, forgiving, but someone that sometimes feels burned out so will have some meltdowns herself. I have learned that if I am feeling that way more days of the week than not, it is time to get out alone pronto. Sometimes for a walk, a drive or even alone in the house with a book.  I am not that way as a coach. There I am Joanne-calm, in control, knowing what to do next in most cases, and when in doubt, pausing and staying calm to figure it out. It is easier without the blood, emotions, and genes mixed in there to make you feel, what the heck pattern did I do to make this worse. When parents and kids are in the ‘hot seat’ we get so attached to our own feelings of anger, exhaustion and frustration, that we are not able to see our child’s or they their parent’s viewpoint. Unless we stop to give ourselves credit for what we are doing right and get ourselves the necessary support for the things we are doing wrong or need help with, we will remain stuck and chances are, so will our child. Living life as an Exceptional Family is exhausting for all concerned, but with the right perspective, attitude and adjustment, all members will come out winners in the end.

Exceptional Parents, how do you juggle being in “the hot seat?” How do you see your child when they are in “the hot seat?” Remember, it is human to make mistakes, both for you and for your child. Forgive them. Forgive yourself. Learn from the errors by letting in others that have life experience and have gone down this path before. You and your child will be the better for it. 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,

5 Ways Our Exceptional Kids Make Us Face Our Personal Difficulties and Overcome Them

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Ah, this morning. How I wish I could have replayed some parts of it differently. I wish I had had more patience when Michael, who never gets up until thirty minutes until the bus gets here, and who today when I needed to get myself organized earlier with my usual routine, shower and dressing woke up two hours earlier than he needed to and was very chatty. I also wish I had given Dad enough information about the morning routine so things would have gone more smoothly for both Michael and Dad. Lastly, I wish I had left the house earlier not to have felt so frazzled by the way I handled Michael’s routine being off, therefore throwing off my routine. I did everything but my meditation and yoga routine which  normally is done as soon as I get up. This helps me enormously with handling stress and anxiety better, but today with Michael up and following me around it was challenging. It was not the end of the world, but I felt frustrated that I also was so thrown off by the change in our family schedule for one day.

The next question I asked myself was, what could I learn about myself from this experience? What was Michael teaching me today? I truly believe that as much  as we teach our kids they teach us more. Today was just one of the ways I felt that Michael teachers me about myself, and about what I love and what I want to improve upon. I believe all our kids show us ways to get over our difficulties. How? Here are 5 ways:

  1. They help us learn to laugh at ourselves: When I looked back at the “me” of this am getting annoyed and stressed about some small changes in our family routine (like Michael being up early), I realized that yes, it can be stressful to have a motor mouth child when you like quiet in the am, but this is a small problem compared to the bigger ones and to laugh it off. Life is too short to do otherwise.
  2. They teach  us to be more patient with ourselves: This is a biggie for me. Michael has taught me to be more patient with myself, with all of my emotional stuff, and to go easy on the hard areas in my life by showing me the compassion and love I show him. You need to practice what you preach parents!
  3. They help you face your own challenges as they usually have similar ones: This is so true. Michael’s big challenges are his perfectionism, absolute need for control and his difficulty in new social situations. These were all my issues when I was a child  and a young adult. I’ve come a long way, and Michael reminds me how I have to impart these life lessons to him to teach him that he can change the difficult areas if he is willing to venture out into the unknown and risk failure.
  4. They push you to live in the moment: You cannot successfully parent an exceptional child and not go with the flow. This is really true of parenting any child, but with an exceptional one you will have so many curve balls thrown at you that you need to choose to swim in the tide. This will only make you stronger as a parent and person.
  5. They push you to change yourself for the better: This is pretty much true for all parents again. If you can’t be your best self, you won’t be your best parenting self. In helping our kids achieve milestones that many may say are impossible, we start to see that there is much we can do that we thought was impossible as well. We learn to never give up as we have told them.


Exceptional Parents, what life lessons have your Exceptional Children taught you? How much have you grown since becoming their parent? It’s so true that as parents we raise our children while they are raising us. Never for a moment doubt your power, or theirs, to make an impact on the world and on other families. Remember, parent and child, we are all here to do great things. 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,

Letting Your Exceptional Child Be Your Teacher When The Day Goes Differently




So today was one of those days that did not go anything like I had thought or planned. Michael was not feeling well so he stayed home, which meant I stayed home from work and things did not go as they were scheduled to go on the first day back to work/school. But I did other things. I cleaned. I did some freelance writing work. I talked with my child. When I saw that he was feeling better by the afternoon and he asked me if he could help me cook I agreed. And Michael did a fantastic job. He cooked under my supervision asking me for certain spices that he had seen on a recipe show online. We talked. I enjoyed seeing him do something he loved-cooking. The focus was there. I had some moments today when I was feeling worried, particularly about the weather though I got to enjoy it from the comforts of my home, but looking at Michael and seeing how he was feeling healthy and calm, something that he has not been for awhile, made me realize that I needed to continue to stay calm too. I needed to continue to set a positive example for Michael about what it is like to live in the moment, and laugh in the face of the unpredictability of how things go sometimes. I also let Michael set the pace of the day-computer time, talking, cooking and it was a mellow day. We had some good times over the holidays, but not nearly as relaxed ironically enough. Sometimes the orchestrated days, play dates and planned family outings do not go the way a day that is unplanned can go. A parent can see their child’s character truly shine through and take the lead.

Our children teach us new things every day. They teach us through their joy, their anger, their laughter, their pain. It’s up to us to follow them, and let them show us how we can learn new things if once in a while we admit we may not know it all as parents. We teach our kids how to do so many things, but they also teach us to live, love and believe that sometimes we may not have all the answers and need to ask questions. We need to remember that sometimes the teacher is the one learning and that is perfect. For all we teach our children they also teach us many things about ourselves- patience, humility, laughter, happiness, how we handle risk and fear. And while we share with them our life experience, they can share with us their innocence and belief that the world has many faces and directions. They can help us see that there are many sides to people, to events, to opportunities.

Exceptional Parents, with all the challenges you face raising your Exceptional Children, do you sometimes miss the magical moments when they teach you about life? It’s ok.  Just remember every unpredictable turn, every spontaneous action is a chance to learn what life looks like through your child’s eyes, and what life can look like through your eyes if you give it a chance. 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,