Category: Self-Care Techniques

Spa Days And Recharging Burnt Exceptional Mom Batteries-Mine And My Child’s Break From One Another

 

 

This weekend was my annual Spa Weekend away with a close friend. I have been making this trip for the past four years in order to recharge my Mom batteries, which are always pretty burnt by the time of year. This particular year with Michael’s challenges it was even more welcome, though I saw it was only the beginning of what I needed to do to get myself back into shape mentally, physically and spiritually. I am seeing how all the things I tell Michael he needs to do to stay calm, balanced and able to handle what life throws his way, is also important for me as his Mom to practice. I have been sadly neglecting this area for myself because, well, life happens. And when it happens what do women and specifically Moms do? We prioritize everyone but ourselves and our needs. This eventually leads to exhaustion, frustration and burnout.

The good news is that as a seasoned Exceptional Mom, I am beginning to understand when I have overdone it and have not taken care of me. I have hit that point. And yes, the house is looking better. I am doing well at my job and prioritizing my family. But where do I fit in? Last week when I just needed to crash from all the drama that has been unfolding in our family, it was my reminder that I needed to give myself permission way before my annual girls spa trip to retreat from my family, from responsibility for a few hours each week to take time to just be. Meditation and yoga have taught me to slow down in my mind and in my actual life, but practicing this art is obviously harder than saying it. So what I am reminding myself to do is be honest with myself. Over the weekend, Michael and I had some talks about self-care, about using strategies to both stay calm and remain calm, and how if anyone feels themselves falling off track, what options do they have? Michael seemed to think he was weak if he needed strategies or lists to keep organized. I don’t know where he got that from. I spoke to him about how important lists and strategies are for everyone, adults and children alike. I showed him how I organize myself. It was a good reminder about how important balance is for all of us. Parents need to remember to practice what they preach to their kids.

 

Exceptional Parents, how do you recharge your batteries and keep on track with your life schedule? How do you know you’ve fallen off track? Remember, tomorrow is always a chance to get it right. Show your child there is no shame in learning from your mistakes, starting over and getting stronger in the process. Until next time.

Staying Sane In Insane Times-This Exceptional Mom’s Guide To Finding Her Patience Again

I love Michael to pieces. I love his smile, his sense of humor. But then there are those days, those tough parenting days when you can’t wait for bedtime slightly after 6:15 am on a Saturday morning. Yes, you heard me. Michael was up at 6 am sharp fighting with his Dad. The two of them were letting me “sleep in”. I can tell you. I was not sleeping, but trying to hide in my bed. If there had been a way to get myself a cup of coffee and climb out the bedroom window into  the car to enjoy said cup of coffee I would have done it. Alas, I sucked it in after saying a quick prayer and emerged out of the bedroom to face the music. I managed to help Dad calm Michael down, but it was just one of those days that started out hard, and ended in difficulty too. No tears or crying on my part this time, just bone tired exhaustion. Michael was extremely overtired and that didn’t help. Sunday went a little better, but there was still so much testing, so much drama. What saved me both days was a bubble bath, some wine, reading a new fiction book and my freelance article writing. Having writing be a part of my life is so important now. It helps me connect to the artist in me.

But getting back to how I handled things with Michael. I felt both discouraged and stressed. Discouraged that I didn’t hold my patience as well as I would have liked to. There was lots of raised voices and lots of frustration alongside constant reminders about using calm corners, calm cards, strategies etc. This applied to me and Michael, and I think I rebounded well for both of us in the end, but there were some moments when I just felt so tired. What got me through is remembering I am not alone. I have support. I used humor too. And I started looking at different ways I have lost patience and gained it back. I thought that this was a useful thing for me to remember the next time I felt discouraged. What were some of the things I thought of that helped? Here they are:e

  1. Let it Out: As hard as it may be to lose it, sometimes doing a little bit of letting out frustration is good. It is healthy for our kids to see us process anger, and we will see hopefully that we are being a little silly over dramatizing something our kid did. If we start unraveling further, its time for an adult calm corner. DO NOT HESITATE to set this example to your child.
  2. See the Struggle-Not The Insults: This is hard. As an Exceptional Mom, when your child is insulting you, hitting you or doing anything  he/she can to push your buttons, you may have a hard time seeing their pain, but the pain is real. After a hard night with Michael yesterday, I said at the end, “I know you don’t want this. Why are you not letting me help you Michael?” He responded to my shock, “You want to help me? You can?” Gone was the cheeky rudeness to get his way. It put a new perspective on our fight.
  3. Reward Yourself With a Treat As You Would Your Child:Moms, you’ve had a hard day. It didn’t go as you planned. You feel discouraged, stressed, like a bad Mom. You are not. You did your best. Now it’s time to give yourself some self-care. Take a bath, watch a movie, read a book. Do what makes you feel whole. And forget the housework. Give yourself the night off.
  4. Remember To Choose Love Over Being Right:If you are trying to one your kid, neither of you wins. Also let your child know you are there to help them be successful.
  5. Mediate, Exercise, Pray or Do All Three; Get in touch spiritually with your inner self. You will handle everything better when you.

Exceptional Parents, how do you find patience when you’ve lost it? How do you figure out how to rebuild your calm after the storm so it is easier to show your child how to rebuild theirs? As with anything, you need to see what works for you, your child and your family. Generally though, eating, sleeping and exercising are great ways to sharpen one’s mind. Remembering things of the spirit; prayer, yoga, meditation are great ways to also get in touch with yourself. And when you are in touch with yourself and calm, you can better help your child find their patience and self-control when they have lost it.  Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker, and parent coach. As the parent of an exceptional child who is raising me to lead a bigger life and purpose, I understand the challenges nonetheless of raising a child who truly thinks out side the  box and has difficulties at times with the way many others see the world. My passion is helping parents to handle the challenges of raising their children to be fully functioning in our world, as well as teaching them the miracles that their child truly is in spite of the difficulties. I truly believe in helping parents lead lives of hope, health, and balance for their own sake and that of their children’s and family’s. For more information on my coaching programs or to book a FREE 30 MINUTE EXPLORATION session with me, see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

It’s Spring. The weather is changing and sometimes exceptional children have a difficult time managing big emotions. Is your family struggling to handle emotional challenges? Maybe you need to tweak the way your family handle anxiety? If so, download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS

Rediscovering Self and Partner Care In the Exceptional Parent Equation

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So today was a bit of a rediscovery for Michael’s Dad and I. We had a long period of time when we were together late this afternoon at a spa and then out for dinner and talking at home after dinner. Uninterrupted talk that does not center on Michael is very difficult indeed for us, as is finding activities to do as a couple when Michael is absent from home for a long period. This does not happen often in our house, as I imagine it does not happen often in other houses either, especially when there is more than one child. It is complicated for parents to get away and rediscover who they were prior to becoming parents. Michael’s Dad and I are in the process of doing that now. There are ups and downs in the process, and we are excited to embrace the ups and prepared to handle the downs. In the end,  the fact that we are having the couple “self-care” discussion is important. Seld-care  and couple-care are both integral to how you will handle your relationship with your child and yourself as well as with others.

Michael’s Dad and my partner is not a big spa guy, but for me he went and made the best of it. I love him more than words can say for that. We talked over dinner and wine 🙂 what activities he may be more interested in trying out for our next couple day/evening out. I hope it will be before Michael’s next school camp outing in a year! We will do our best to prioritize it, with securing a sitter so we could perhaps spend a night away somewhere. I know Michael is having fun at his school’s sleep away camp, even before hearing from his teacher and getting great pictures to boot. This makes me realize that Dad and I need to have our own fun too when we can. It makes us better individuals and parents when we are relaxed and feeling well put together. Michael deserves to be happy and so do we as his parents. That is what will make us all handle stress and everything in between so much better.

Exceptional Parents, do you truly make time for self-care and couple care within your family? Remember, you and  your partner deserve time alone and together in order to parent at your strongest. Don’t ever be afraid to make plans (even small ones), to prioritize  your relationship. If you as adults are strong, it will help build the whole family up. Until next time.

 

 

Exceptional Alone Time-Recharge, Re-Energize and Help Your Child Learn Its Value

As I climbed into my lovely hot bath with the required candle burning in the corner of the tub, I thought how wonderful it was to take this time for me last night. I usually don’t allow myself this luxury at nine o’clock at night. On the weekends, I try to make time to spend with my partner. We hardly have time to talk during the week. Or sometimes I will get back to my fiction writing or to reading the latest novel I have started. I always say I will take this time to unwind in the bath by myself when the house is quiet and only the cat is patiently waiting outside the door for me to feed her. But yesterday was one of the few evenings I allowed myself to do this. Why, I thought? I need to do this a few times a week. It is free respite, in my home, and I was so zen I did not even need the glass of wine I was looking to drinking afterwards. I drink my lemon water, went to do some Social Media work, and the headed off to bed. I slept really well.

As Exceptional parents, we have so many more stresses and worries about our children. We have strains and guilt, and think that maybe we could have done better today. Why didn’t we? Even when things are going well like they have been for me with Michael, I still question and second guess myself sometimes. Michael will remind me faster than I him , “Mommy, you’re doing a good job.” I have taught Michael well and his self-esteem is strong. So is mine in every respect pretty much, even as a mother. There are those moments when I lapse though and am hard on myself. More therapeutic things could have been done. More I love you’s could have been said. But now I stop myself. I am enough. He is enough. We are enough. When I stop to take a rest by a nice bath, a good book, a night out or listening to music, I remind myself that I am strong, beautiful and doing the best that I can. Michael is doing all of these things too. I have taught him how to take care of himself and now he reminds me.

White Hot Mug on Book Near Linen

Exceptional Parents, how often do you recharge and take respite at home in your territory? Your child needs to see you prioritizing that as they prioritize their relaxation, health and well-being. It’s only by doing that, that both of you will grow stronger and healthier and be able to tackle the big issues up ahead. Until next time .

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey?  I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session, see my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Looking to beat the winter blahs? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS

Recognizing When I Need A Break As An Exceptional Mom

So the other day Michael asked if he could show me a new way home from school. I had picked him up at school as he had a swimming lesson directly after school. The week before had been stressful at the lesson and I was tired. It had been a short, but busy work day and I had stopped in to buy groceries before picking Michael up. Maybe that was why when Michael told me to turn right like his bus did and not left, that I let out the swear word and felt my anger explode out of me. Michael grinned and then I realized my mistake. I apologized for swearing and then seeing where I was redirected myself out through the small streets and back the way he had meant to tell me. We were both tired and a little distracted and mistakes happen. Still, where did all the anger come from? I realized I hadn’t been sleeping much and was feeling a little stressed. I also realized I needed to do something for me and practice some self-care which was lacking this week. I realized I needed to get back to exercise and yoga. At least I was still meditating. That was what had given me the strength to apologize for my blunder and turn the rest of the afternoon around as I teach Michael.

But what I also realized is that that woman who was hard on herself is gone. The woman who would call herself a bad mother was gone. The one who said she couldn’t this anymore was gone. Thank God. Wow. I’d come a long way from three years ago when I was so hard on myself. And it was because I didn’t know how to be anything else. I didn’t know when I was burning out, or when I was being a martyr, a victim. Now, I recognize when I am not practicing proper self-care and when I need to get on the bandwagon of recharging my batteries. When I start thinking, “I have to cancel that lunch,”  “I can’t exercise today,” or “I can’t go out.” That is my self-sacrificing side coming out which, if not tempered with a firm, “Joanne, you need to take care of you by doing this today,” will fizzle and burn out and then I’ll be no good to anybody. I was so happy I recognized I was there the other day with Michael. And I stopped, paused and reminded myself: You are going to make time for you this week. And that is what I have been doing. Lunch with friends on Thursday, and later today, I will be going to a spa near me for a Hamamm experience: hot tubs and saunas. This is what helps me recharge. I actually have made a habit to go every January to this Hamamm as it is like a reset for me. Next thing will be booking a massage in February.

Exceptional Parents, do you notice when you are running on empty? What are your signs? What are your child’s? The great thing when we notice our own signs of wear and tear is that we can teach our Exceptional Children to notice theirs and find ways that they can unwind and recharge their own batteries. You’ve come a long way as a parent when you see you can do this. It means you are seeing your own humanity and limits, and this will help you connect to your child in an even more intimate way. Until next time.

Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey?  I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session, see my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

SPECIAL NEW YEAR PROMOTION: Refer a friend for a six month coaching program, and receive two personal one on one coaching sessions with me at a 50% price discount.

Looking to make a fresh start in 2017 with the way you handle anxiety in your special needs family? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS

 

 

 

5 Ways to Reconnect With Your Child Who Has Autism

Michael and I have had our ups and downs in recent months. Now, we are on the ups again, and even when there are difficult moments, as I’ve said in previous posts, we gain equilibrium. He is learning how to manage his emotions as I am learning to manage mine. It is normal with any child that you will have moments of connect, and moments of disconnect. It is how you learn to navigate them that will make all the difference. That is what I have discovered with Michael, and hopefully, he with me.

Michael has been learning how to handle his feelings better. How to cry, talk about his emotions, and not resort to challenging behaviors to get his needs met. Some days are easier than others. Last night was an example where he was stressed, but quickly went to his room to calm down and managed to regulate himself. I was so proud of him. Yes, there were outbursts. Yes, there were moments when he hit objects, his head and yelled at me. But I stayed calm and quietly reminded him to redirect himself. And he did! It’s a beautiful thing for a Mom to witness on a tough afternoon for her child that the lessons his school psychologist, teacher and I are helping him with, are sinking in. He was a champ.

But, if as a parent you are having trouble reconnecting with your child, what can you do? Here are some ways I have found to reconnect with my son who has autism:

  1. Be there physically, mentally and spiritually there for them: Simple right? Wrong. On days when work calls, another child beckons for your attention or you are just out of it yourself, this is challenging. Still, this is mandatory that your child senses you are there listening to them in body and spirit. That’s when even if they have challenges, they will get through them as they know their parents are there for them.
  2. Make sure you check in with “you” throughout the day: As a parent, this is crucial. When was the last time you checked in with how you are feeling emotionally, physically or spiritually? If you are burnt out, frustrated, and have not been taking care of yourself guess what, your kids extra emotional sensors will pick up on it. And you will be no good to them or you. If you are having a tough day and can’t do all your self-care things, be honest about it. Do something gentle for you so when they come home, they sense it too.
  3. Listen to what their interests are and go with it: This is so important. My little guy is now into making imaginary friends and houses. Go figure he wants to do crafts! At the  park, he wants to race for his imaginary friends. Again, I am going with it, as it is encouraging his imagination, fine motor development and communication. Don’t tell your kid it’s weird and move on. Go with it. Remember also, it’s the weird people who get things done and move the world.
  4. Let them cry or yell as long as they are not destructive: This is one I have learned the hard way. I let Michael release all his emotions crying, yelling, stress, as long as he is not aggressive. Aggressive behavior is not allowed as it doesn’t help anyone. I let him release his emotions and it is truly helping him come in his own.
  5. Cuddle and bond in whatever way you can: Some kids get to a certain age and don’t want cuddling in the daytime, but many enjoy cuddling at night, kissing, hugging. I make sure to have this time with Michael or give him that time in some other way by talking or laughing in the day. Kids need to know you are there for them.

Exceptional Parents, how do you reconnect with your kids who have autism? How do you tell them you love them and are there for them? They know you are even if they don’t ask the question or can say the words. Say it. Hug them. Spend time with them doing what they love, and most importantly, make sure to tell them how special they are to you. They need to hear it at least once a day. I love you is so important for all of us to hear. Until next time.

Tired of handling anxiety and stress? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

 

 

 

5 Ways to Find Your Exceptional Child’s Strengths

Lots of times when we talk about Exceptional Children, or children whose brains work differently than the rest of the population, the next thing we tend to hear is how to fix them. Parents will hear about lots of ways to curb bad behavior, different challenges, defiance and learning disabilities. This is all good and true that our children need to be helped and learn to manage these behaviors so that it doesn’t impede the rest of their life and potential, yet sometimes we as their parents are the very ones who overlook their strengths without realizing it.

After having attended and helped facilitate at a parent support group last evening, it reminded me how often as parents we forget to look for the wins our child accomplishes and tend to focus only on the losses. This is easy as at school we will tend to hear from the teacher only if there is a problem. We as parents will also comment more when they misbehave at home or in social situations than when they are listening. It’s important that we cut ourselves some slack if we do this, however, as we are only human. However, it’s important that for our child’s sake we make more of an effort to see their strengths instead of their weaknesses. This is how we will build them up and help them overcome their fears and grow into the person they are meant to be.

How can we find their strengths as parents? Well, again as the person who knows them the best we need to trust our parenting gut when observing them. This means being a parent detective and watching for things like their interests and encouraging those to flourish. And it is important to encourage what THEY love and not what WE think they should love. But who else can we find their strengths? Here are 5  Easy Ways:

  1. Pay attention to so-called obsessions: Yes, society labels these obsessions, but in reality what they are is your child’s passion and interest. If you can turn that interest into several career possibilities, you’ve got lots of potential. My little guy LOVES directions and navigating. He loves music and dance. So right there we’ve got tour guide, map designer, and musician/composer in the mix. There could also be a dancing career or a career as a bus driver/cab driver.
  2. Spend quality time with your child NOT quantity: This is so important. When as a parent you are either playing with them in the park, taking a walk, watching a movie together, you are bonding and showing them you are there for them whenever they need to talk. While they will learn that you are there for them, you will start seeing how they handle themselves in different situations and be able to help them build on what they know. Most importantly, just enjoy being with them.
  3. Get therapy or self-care time for you to build yourself up: This maybe should have been number 1. I know that when I am not doing well, neither is my son. When a Mom is in the right frame of mind, calm, organized and feeling happy and good in her bones, she can see the good and beauty in her son. It is easy to see that in them when you first see it in you.
  4. Watch how they interact socially: Watching how they interact with peers, family, and strangers without judgment, will help you see as a parent where they need your help the most and where they are the strongest. Make sure to praise what they are doing right.
  5. Expose them to new situations: This is a tough one if you have a nervous, shy or even an unpredictable child who will do just about anything. Still, they will not be able to show you what they are capable of, unless you put them in a situation with a bit of challenge. Taking them to a new playground, store, event, or signing them up for a new activity will showcase what they handle well. If things are hard, you teach them how to handle it and praise their flexibility.

Exceptional Parents, do you model your own strengths for your Exceptional Child? Often times, if a child sees their parent doing things they love and being positive, they will internalize a more positive self-image. Again, if you are positive and see the good in them, they will learn to see the good in you and in others. All this will mean a happier life ahead for all. Until next time.

Tired of anxiety controlling you and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK “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. 

How Embracing Failure Has Made Me A Better Mom

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Failure. Who would ever label that a positive word, but still it can be. Why? Only when we fail and fall down, can we rise and learn from our mistakes, new ways of being and doing. I used to be so hard on myself when I would come up against challenges with Michael in the past. Now, I see that it is not me failing him, but him needing to learn the proper tools to help himself handle failure, obstacles and stress. Life is not easy for him. Life is not easy for any of us. Most of us though know how to regulate our emotions though, and look to others for our cues. For exceptional kids, this is hard. They have a more difficult time relating to people and what people are saying. Still, when I have failed in reaching Michael, or in losing my temper it has shown me something amazing.

It has shown me what I need to work on to be stronger, more compassionate and a better all around human being. It’s not that I am a bad human being when I fail. None of us is. It’s just that I have temporarily lost touch with what I need to be working on, honing my energy in taking better care of my internal compass and inner workings, so I can model that for Michael. And believe me, even though I know what I need to do to keep the balance in my life, I still sometimes fall back into old habits of ruminating, worrying, getting angry when I can’t control anything, all the things I tell Michael to not worry about. I re-learn the lesson the same time I am teaching it Michael. I also learn that it is alright to be vulnerable, ask for help, as well as offer help at the same time. It is alright to be human and to teach Michael the same thing.

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While I have been finding new ways to reach Michael and keep my own spirits strong while navigating new challenges with him, I have also had the privilege of supporting other Moms in their journey. And a privilege it is. While I help them, they help me. Just as while I help Michael, he helps me. And we all heal. We heal from the need to be perfect, untouchable, fearless. We are all afraid sometimes. We are all brave at other times. Life is a roller coaster. You can choose to ride it in full glory and brace yourself as best you can with the ups and downs, enjoying the ups and knowing you’ll figure out how to handle the downs when you get there. Or, you can choose to not ride it, fearing the downs only. As each day goes by, I know I will sometimes have down times, stressful times, times when I feel weak. But I know it is temporary and will pass. The up times are coming, and I will have what I need by then to coast beautifully. This is what I now teach Michael too.

Exceptional Parents, how often do you fail as parents, as human beings? If it’s often, that’s good. It means you are human. It means you are trying. It means you will find the tools if you search and look in your heart for them. They are there. As we tell our children, they are perfect in their imperfections and so are we. So don’t worry. Treat your failure as a gift. Let it take you to new heights and help you overcome hardship. Let yourself and your child soar. Until next time.

 

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

He Loves Me, He Hates Me- How Our Children Test Their Limits and Independence With Us

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One of the hardest things for a parent to deal with is both a child testing their limits and at the same time needing a parent’s gentle hand and understanding when the parent is on the verge of losing their own patience and temper. Yep. That’s what it has been like at my house lately. A few times I have yelled. Sometimes it helped. Michael took me seriously. He took the limits I placed on him seriously. Other times like the other day, I became a little bit of a control freak and disciplinarian by not picking my battles and really laying into him about small things. Yes, a parent of any child learns to pick their battles. A parent of an exceptional child with autism? You REALLY need to learn to pick your battles or there will be heck to pay. 🙂

I did not choose good battles to pick and now the last few days Michael has been using these “small obstacles” to test me. There was one day everything but go wash your hands became a fight between us. It was mentally and physically draining. It was the same with Dad. Then it all came out. He’s not used to school. He resents his teacher telling him what to do, and instead of using his words and strategies to manage his stress, he takes it out on trying to be a mini dictator with us, where he feels safe and has more control.

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Yes, parents. As frustrating and infuriating as it is, you must be stronger than your anger and see the child’s need. For me, it meant taking some time in nature to recollect my thoughts. Taking time to workout, even a short one when the rest of my house was falling apart, so I could be strong to weather the storm that is Michael. It is hard for him. My beautiful little boy struggles to be understood, to understand. We are lucky to be in an adapted school where he has services. I imagine what it would be like for him in mainstream school where some teachers would instinctively “get him” but others would not. He is considered high functioning due to his verbal ability and his social nature, but there are so many things he needs to be taught and does not understand. It is the same with me. I confess I am sometimes embarrassed by how little I know how much he knows. I am so glad when he opens my eyes. Then there are the times I overestimate his capability of understanding, of coping. And I curse myself again. It’s alright, Joanne. Tomorrow is another day. I know I know him better than anyone, and when I don’t, my son educates me on who he is. We climb that mountain of love together.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle your Exceptional Child’s behavior? How do you cope with their outbursts and your own? Know that however you do it, you are doing your best. In time you will learn how best to help your child who is, like any child, unique and special. Reach out to professionals, fellow parents and most importantly, your child themselves. He/she will show you what they are made of, and let me tell you, our kids are stronger and smarter than anyone gives them credit for. Stay strong, take care of your own health to be there for them, you and those around you, and remember. Life is a journey, not a destination. Until next time.