Category: self-control and maturity

Conversation, Maturity and Trust-How To Build A Bond With Your Exceptional Child

I am amazed at how fast Michael is growing up, yet also worried about the areas where he lags behind, particularly the areas of impulse control. I have have had many therapists tell me, he is so cognitively aware, so smart, but the impulse control issues you describe are hard to treat with medication and even therapy. They take time. I know. Boy do I know. I see my little man, now quickly growing into a young  man, demonstrate this firsthand every day. I need you, no I don’t. Comfort me, get away from me. I want space, please protect me. To a certain extent, every parent goes through this at every age with their exceptional child. I can tell you though, that as the child gets closer to the teen years and develops awareness of sexuality, gender and all those adult feelings, it gets WAY more complex.

I am so proud of how much progress Michael has made in communicating, self-regulating, and understanding himself. I am proud of Dad and I and our progress in understanding him, and when in doubt, our ability to reach out to to other sources, especially other exceptional people, but even therapists who are more aware and respectful of different brains and ways of viewing the world. But it is not easy for him or us. We all struggle to understand one another, use strategies (yes, even neuro typical parents have to use them), to control anger, fear and stress, and then move forward with compassion and love for one another, particularly if it is hard to understand where the other person is coming from.

Our exceptional kids are amazing. They just have such a different way from seeing so much of the world and when we don’t see eye to eye,  it can be so frustrating for them and us. This is when we need to remember to just be there for them- support them while they cry, scream, explode, or do whatever it is they need to do to clear the air. We need to make sure to direct them to a private safe place to do this and make sure they are not hurting themselves, others or property while de-escalating. With time, positive strategies and confidence, hopefully they will be able to learn to self-regulate in a healthy, controlled way.

Exceptional Parents, how do you help your Exceptional Children open up to you about their fears and challenges? As long as you show them you love them, are there to listen to them no matter what, and stay calm, they will continue to trust you and be able to come to you with their challenges and look to you to teach you to find the strategies they need to learn to handle their emotions. Until next time.

Trusting Your Exceptional Child Alone-When That Day Comes!

I can’t believe that I am only writing about this now when I was so proud of Michael after it happened one week ago exactly. I guess it was just one of those times I worried that if I said out loud, things went really well, they would take a turn for the worse. I’m usually not so black and white anymore when it comes to Michael’s mood swings, but hey, what can I say? I still have my moments. 🙂

So what happened was that last Thursday night at Parent/Teacher night at Michael’s school, I was given a late afternoon appointment to see the teacher. There was no time to make any babysitter arrangements, and Michael has been asking for awhile now to be trusted to stay alone in the daytime. I left him a handful of times in the winter to run to the store quickly for about thirty to forty minutes. This though would mean he would be alone for two hours, late afternoon before dinner until Dad came home from work. Would he be able to handle it? I didn’t know, but he had been progressively showing me with his words and deeds that I could trust him not to turn on any appliances, open the door, pick up the phone unless he recognized the name, or do any other safety hazard to endanger himself .He was excited and understandably a little nervous, but I told him words I have been longing to say to him for awhile, “Michael, I trust you. I know you can do it.” And guess what everyone? He did it! Dad came home at six pm to find Michael listening to his music, the house in order, and he cooperated beautifully when Dad gave him his injection and warmed up dinner for the two of them. When I came home to my two happy boys, the first words out of my mouth was praise for Michael followed by promises to leave him alone again in the daytime for longer stretches. After that was mastered, we would work our way into solo evenings.

Now, this trust did not happen overnight. I have been seeing how Michael is becoming more independent over the course of the last six months, and longing for this challenge and decided to try last Spring leaving him for small increments. The trust we had in him seemed to fill him with more confidence, and he continues to want to do better and show us he can cope. There are boys in his class whose parents already trust them for long periods of time at home, so Michael is excited to be moving into this direction. I and Dad have continued to instill in him how this takes organization, maturity and trust on his part to do this, and on ours too  for that matter. Michael is getting closer every day to being able to handle himself, and I couldn’t be prouder. He is learning how to handle his emotions, build his trust in himself and us, and find a balance between growing up and asking for help when he still needs it.

The next step… giving him a key to let himself in after school and possibly later this summer, going to the park up the street by himself either on foot or bike. Eeek! I am on pin and needles about it, but on the other hand, I truly believe that as the parent, you will know when and if your exceptional child will be ready for such big steps. Start slow, and go from there.

Exceptional Parents, are your Exceptional Children ready to be left alone for short periods of time or do you see a time when they can be? Don’t despair if you are not there. Every child develops differently. As the parent you need to acknowledge where they are, love and support them to grow into confidence, and then you and they will see what they are capable of when they will be ready. Until next time.