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An Angry Child Is A Scared Child- Taking A Breath, Learning More Exceptional Parenting Lessons

So to say things have been tough in our family lately is the understatement of the year. More has been coming to light for us about Michael’s emotional issues. I have always known this deep down inside, but only recently have really discovered something. That something is how much Michael’s anger inside is related to feeling afraid, powerless, and out of control in the world. He has so many insecurities, and despite being able to articulate this feelings well, feel the tension in his body, it is still hard for him to self-regulate. We also have yet to find the right medication and therapy combination, so this is wreaking its own havoc on a very intense brain. Some days I have felt like I could not get through another day of walking on eggshells around him or handling yet another meltdown and aggressive outburst. Dad has felt the same. Still, we are both slowly seeing some progress. That progress is Michael understanding that his anger, both angry words and actions, have consequences at home. And when we mess up as parents due to our own stress being high or being tired or both, we chalk it down to a lesson learned and move on to NOT make that lesson again.

Michael is a child who holds back ALL the anger from school, all the horrible thoughts, but at home feels safer to express them in all his rages. When I am feeling tired and weak, it is hard to be compassionate and see the anger for what it is-fear. But when I am feeling strong and in control, I am aware that when he loses control and looks quite scary and older than his years, he is still a scared quiet little boy who does not know what to do. It is then up to Dad and I to model calm, collected behavior, to reach out and show Michael that he does not need to be afraid. He just needs to learn to self-soothe, use his strategies. We have taken great comfort, after a very hard start to the week, that even though Michael is still having blowups, yesterday and today he is recognizing, “I need to use my calm card. I need to breathe.” Also, due to Dad and I putting down firmer boundaries over unacceptable behavior- (i.e. losing points he is accumulating towards a bigger prize, outings in the community) he is beginning to recognize and immediately apologize for his mistakes as he is seeing what is costing him when he is misbehaving. I have felt a lot more respect for Dad and I as the week has progressed whenever we have been consistent.

Consistency is what is the key. No matter how much the child is upset, angry, afraid, the parent needs to put boundaries in place. I have sensed a closeness from Michael since I began doing this. He has expressed his love for me more frequently, and reiterated how he wants to get better so he could live peacefully with us and in society. Things like this have made the hard nights easier to bear. I see that Michael is a tough kid, and that I may not have been giving him enough credit to cope with stress. As he matures, he needs to know that we trust him to behave in a certain way, and that he is bigger than his fears always.

Exceptional Parents, have you sometimes missed your Exceptional Child’s fear for anger? It is easy when we see them blowing up that it is all about the anger. But really, anger is just the child feeling super powerless, and like they have nothing to hang on to. This is where you come in as the parent. You remind them about their tools, let them use them to calm down, and stay close by for emotional support. Once your child realizes they do not need to be afraid and they can handle things, the power games will disappear. Until next time.

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? Looking for tools to cope with raising your child while handling your own emotions at the same time? I will be there alongside you. As a parent who has been there and is still handling more challenges, I know what needs to be done to help your family be healthy and in balance.

For more information about me and my journey as well as my coaching programs,  check out my website http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com,  as well as my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/ebooks. 

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Am I Up For This Exceptional Mom Thing Anymore-Taking Stock and Knowing You Can Do This Parenting Thing

The last two weeks have been some pretty tough weeks for our whole family, and weeks that once again, have had me asking myself, am I up for being Michael’s Mom anymore as if there was really a choice, right? Of course I  am up for it. I love him and anyway, I need to be up for it! He is my flesh and blood. I brought him into this world and it is my duty and vocation to give him the tools he needs to be a successful and loving contributor to the world. But it is so hard. I I love him so much and see all his potential, all his talent, all the incredible things he brings to the world, but supporting him (and myself and husband) through the rough turbulent times have made me think that sometimes I can’t, or dare I say it, don’t want to do it anymore. I know he is the one dealing with his multiples mental health and physical issues, it is not happening to me,  but as his guardian, I am being challenged every day too and is Dad. It has been rough on us as individuals, and rough on our marriage. I look forward to the day when things will settle and then think, will it? What is settling for an exceptional parent?

Still, that is the life of a parent, and for me my passion in life alongside writing. I have a passion for helping kids who are different. Where other people see a damaged child, I see a child whose potential has not yet been tapped. Where others see an “obsession” I see a talent that has yet to be explored. Of course, it is easy to see this in other special children. I do not live with them. I do not have to handle raising them while simultaneously running a house, trying to keep up with family and friends, and work on my marriage. This is the reality of my life and all parents’ lives. This is the reality of most exceptional parents’ lives. What I am realizing though, is even when I am at my lowest thinking all Michael’s aggression and anxiety is something over the top for me and that I can’t handle it, I begin to  remind myself of something important. How have I handled things up to now? I have learned much.  What has Michael taught me about myself, good and bad? How have I grown as a woman and person? I guess I will continue to grow even more.

Yes, there is pain in parenting an exceptional child, especially when you cannot reach them or they are seemingly against you. Really this is fear, anxiety, oppositional issues and puberty. Sometimes there are other issues too. But as the parent you’ve got to remember not to take it personally. You’ve got to remember there will be good days when you get where they are coming from and days when you are clueless. There will be days you want to run screaming off into the night complete with plane ticket in hand,  and days where you celebrate the victories they have achieved doing things you never thought would be possible.  There are a lot more off the positive days, I can happily assure you. And there will be days you may think they are better off without you, a parent who can’t possibly do what the experts do, but then quickly realize, no one knows your child like you. No one can tell the said experts who your child is, what their strengths and limitations are, and fill in the blanks about the unique individual that they are.

Experts will come and go. You will assemble many teams. If you are lucky, they will be fantastic, as has happened with us. I truly believe that when that occurs it is  because God, fate and the Universe will bring them to you and you to them through reflection and soul searching. Meditate on what you and your child need. Be honest about your family’s struggles.  You are up for the journey as hard as it gets. So is your child. They are made of harder stuff than you think.  You are ready to move forward with your child, love them for who they are, and as long as you stay calm and practice self-care, you will always always be their best advocate and voice for a world that may not always get them.

Exceptional Parents, have you ever thought you weren’t enough for your child and that your ideas of parenting were wrong for them? Have you ever felt that you are not able to move your child forward on their exceptional journey and they are unhappy and stuck with so many issues? You are not alone. There are so many parents who want to give up on their child or who feel their child has given up on them. Sadly, some parents follow through on this. They need not. They are not failures. As long as they are working in their child’s best interests- making sure their child has life’s basic necessities, stimulating therapy and positive family and friendship experiences, their child is on the right track. And remember, no matter what, parents never stop advocating for their children and their well-being. Children will  sense this down to the bottom of their soul. 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.

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, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

Recognizing Deliberate and Uncontrollable Behavior In Your Exceptional Child

 

The last month has been a little bit of a whirlwind for Michael and I. We have both been trying to wrap our heads around the changes he is going through- Michael asking for help, and me turning to our team, great articles, and mostly to God as well as doing a lot of inner contemplation of my feelings as a Mom, particularly as Michael’s Mom and how I could do this exceptional Mom thing better.

“Is the new medication going to help me Mommy?”

This was Michael’s intelligent and heartbreaking question to me this morning. We have tried a few new medications to help him control his severe anxiety and phobias, and all have ended badly. Michael’s brain chemistry is not compatible with them. This is a true of a lot of kids who have ASD and other mental health challenges. Of course, every person is different so that makes it difficult to find the right medication/therapy formula too. But I felt so bad. So bad that as his Mom, I could not find the miracle solution to help my little boy as I did when he was younger, before puberty and diabetes hit and changed his body so completely.

“I hope so honey. Remember, we won’t know until we try it.”

I decided that in spite of a very rough week with Michael due to the side effects of yet another medication gone bad, I needed to remind myself to praise the moments when he was calm, thoughtful, and handling things beautifully. I needed to see when he was in control, and when he was not. A couple of times this week I forgot this message and simply got angry myself. It did not go well for either of us. Michael’s Educator reminded me he is not well at the moment. He needs the right formula to heal, and until we find it, we need to cut him some emotional slack. It does not mean allowing aggression or abuse, but supporting him in finding positive tools to calm himself and modeling those tools myself.

I have had some moments this week I have regretted as a Mom. I yelled and was less patient than I wanted to be. I was feeling sorry for myself which is understandable. Raising an exceptional child is a 24 hour a day job. But Michael is the one living it. Michael is the one that wants to be like everyone else and can’t. This is another thing he says that breaks my heart in a million pieces. But then come the moments when he gets it and I think, it will be ok. We will be ok. He is back to mapping out areas to go, watching cooking shows, and talking to friends on the phone. These were all things with OCD that flew out the window this summer with his fear. He is also more observant, savvy and catches on quickly to so many things. He is so smart when he chooses to focus. But then there are the times that he can’t stop himself from being distracted. He can’t turn off. I get so worried and angry, worried because his blood sugar has been going up due to the medications he is on, as well I am sure as stress and lack of exercise during the week as we both get in later.

I get so angry that I can’t fix this. I can’t make it better. Then I remember, I am separate from Michael and he from me. I love him and he loves me, but although I can support and show him the right path to take, I cannot make him take it. It is so frustrating, and I hope in time we can find the right balance for him. Until then, all I can do is see what is in his control and what is not. What is in his control I am encouraging him to take charge of. What is not in his control Dad and I are trying to help him with. Here is where the patience comes in to not take the hard times personally. I tend to do this. What am I doing wrong as a Mom? I used to know him. I used to be able to reach him. Now I have this argumentative, anxious stressed child that I don’t always have the answers for. I know that is not realistic. No mother can know her child one hundred percent. We’v all got to be patient, not take each other personally, and go from there. That is what I have started doing as a Mom

Exceptional Parents, are you able to see what your Exceptional Child can and cannot control concerning their behavior? Once you see the pattern, you’ll know more how to help them handle it and learn ways to handle your own guilt. It is not your fault. You are separate from your child and need to know that you and they are responsible for your own emotions always. Until next time.

Seeing Your Child Beyond The Labels- A First Step in Helping Them Achieve Their Potential

I have one piece of advice that has served me best over all the other things I have been told about parenting a child with a different brain: see your child beyond their label. This means when you are presented with a new diagnosis, a new challenge, a new frustration, you say to yourself, this is something my child is struggling with. It does not define who they are. It does not define who I am if I react to it in a less favorable way. I think the last statement is harder for parents to handle, but still it is possible. You as a parent do your best to make sure your child is loved for who they are, and you love them to the best of your availability. This is the best way to prepare them for the future of their life and you for yours.

You also have to patient. Be patient with your own shortcomings when you deal with your child’s challenges as well as your own. Remember, no one is perfect! You also need to get a handle on remembering things like your child is not trying to make your life difficult. If he/she is being demanding or challenging, check out what else is going on. They may have medical issues that are physical or psychological impeding their successes. In the end, as hard as it is, you are the parent and need to remember to encourage them. However, you are also a human being. If you are not as encouraging as you wanted to be, you can always tray again with something new, a new approach, a new way of seeing yourself and your child. This starts by seeing the two of you as separate human being who love one another, but who are very different.

Exceptional Parents, how do  you help your Exceptional Child see themselves beyond their labels? The first step would be showing them what they are good at, followed by what they could improve. Do the same for you. Tweak and remove what is not working. Then you will be the best parent you can possibly be. Until next time.

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.

 

How Best To Help Your Exceptional Child When They Have A Bad Reaction To Medication

It’s been a heck of a two weeks for Michael and us. The OCD/anxiety medication we thought may help Michael ended up being a nightmare for him and us. Similar to the last SSRI he took, he gradually became more aggressive, manic and hyper, and now with diabetes it wreaked havoc with his sugars, giving him mostly highs then lows. After a scary morning with aggression directed at me and property,  I helped him calm down. He did and apologized, and after he left on the school bus, I quickly sent off emails to his psychiatrist, his educator as well as his teacher and the school nurse. Then, I let the tears of frustration out, took a deep breath, and headed out to work. It’s tough for parents of exceptional kids, when you are still trying to find all the tools to help your exceptional child regulate. I saw so many sides to Michael in the last two weeks since we tried this medication- difficulty stopping laughing, aggression, then seemingly calm behavior, followed by high sugars, that I doubted myself if taking him off was the right decision or if we should keep him on at a higher dose.  Maybe he needed more not less. You never know. I’m no doctor, I thought. Today, our psychiatrist agreed with me that the morning I described today, meant that the medication was doing more harm than good and that we should stop it immediately.

Mother’s instinct is always right, but it does not mean that sometimes we worry that we may still be making a mistake. We second guess ourselves. Every time a medication has not worked out, I have tortured myself am I doing permanent harm to Michael’s brain and body? Will he hold it against me? He asked me to keep him on this medication.

“It is helping me control my OCD Mommy. I don’t have to do things so I don’t need to be scared.” My heart broke in so many places hearing this. But I had to answer him the way I did.

“Honey, you are having a hard time controlling your aggression and you have a hard time calming down. We need to try something else.”

He agreed. “Will we try another medication so I won’t be afraid anymore?”

I smiled. “Yes, we would. We will always try. And this week will be hard honey. Coming off a medication means you may feel weird. Please tell me when you need help. And Daddy and I will be here to help you manage your feelings as best as you can.”

I remembered the last two medications that did not work and how challenging it was for Michael and us.

I do not always get it right. No parent or caregiver does. This morning I failed Michael by getting angry and losing my temper when he couldn’t stop what he was doing (listening to music) in order to do his injections, eat and get ready for the bus.  I probably contributed to making his meltdown worse without meaning to, of course. With any other child I would have held myself together, but when it’s your child, it’s so easy to lose your cool. They push all your buttons because they are yours. I learned this morning that there is still much I need to learn. I need to breathe, focus and not take offence as hard as it is, when Michael is venting at me. I need to help him move more smoothly to the next step. And above all, I need to understand when he is escalating and how to help him use his tools to bring himself down to a calm state.

Exceptional Parents, how have you helped your child through therapy and medication adjustments? What do you wish you’d done differently? I think as long as we learn from our own mistakes when we have gotten angry and not been as patient, we are on the right track. Remember, your child is a human being and so are you. Both of you will make mistakes. As long as you learn from them, and move forward with helping each other understand the other one, you are on the path to healing. 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.

 

How To Navigate Puberty With Your Exceptional Child

So Michael is in puberty. He actually has been for awhile.  What I have seen over the last two years is a child who is fighting for his independence while simultaneously trying to handle the ups and downs of coping with emotions that are sometimes out of his control. This is further complicated by his other conditions and his diabetes. Still, I am proud to see the inroads he has made, and equally frustrated when there have been battle of the wills between us. I admit to sometimes getting too caught up in trying to control the situation. This is exactly what infuriates tweens and teens the most, a battle for control. I am learning that while Michael needs my rules and structure on the one hand, he also needs me to be able to step back and give him some room to make mistakes or decisions that may be for the best. This is not always easy for me to do, but I am learning when I need to step in, and when I need to step back.

Here are some tips I can offer for other exceptional families navigating puberty:

1) Stay calm: There is nothing worse when your kid loses it and you do too. Keep your cool.

2) Let your child set the pace whenever possible: Give them leeway for decisions whenever you can, whether or not it is a good or bad decision, as long as it does not endanger them. Don’t always try and correct them. They need to learn MANY times often through trial and error.

3) Be open to new therapies and medications: It is also good to keep an open mind about new therapies and medications that could help your child function more calmly.

4) Be prepared for sexuality as if they were neuro typical: This is both cool and frightening for many exceptional parents, as we are both happy if our child is experiencing sexual thoughts, but worry how to explain things to them. Go with their flow and speak in simple concrete language to explain things.

5) Seek help and support with a sexologist certified to work with special needs kids or a good psychotherapist:   It’s important to line up your team to help your child navigate puberty ideally right before they hit puberty or shortly thereafter. These people will be able to give you and your child support on how to handle the difficult moments puberty can bring.

Exceptional Parents, are you or your Exceptional Child feeling stressed handling the day to day effects of puberty? Is your child having a hard time understanding what is happening? Reach out for help. Everyone from your child’s doctor, to other parents, to schools can have good strategies to offer. Yes, there is not a lot of information on how kids who are exceptional handle puberty from their perspective, but search out blogs of adults on the spectrum who have been through this. They will have words of wisdom to offer you and your child. Finally, as a parent it is important to trust your own gut when it comes to how best to help your child through this exciting and challenging time. Don’t be afraid to experiment while also trusting that you may know exactly what they need to move forward confidently in their future. 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 :www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com  as well as my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/ebooks. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meltdowns And Learning From Them-How Best To Help Your Exceptional Child

As Michael has gotten older, many things have changed. What has especially become more difficult to navigate have been his meltdowns, or breakdowns when he has become overstimulated, stressed and angry. I realize he and we are dealing with many different challenges to how he views things, and this has affected me on figuring out how best to help him. OCD is still a killer for me. I am still trying to wrap my head around this aggravating, frustrating and stressful condition. I feel so angry sometimes that the compulsions Michael feels inclined to do take up so much energy and stress. With a new medication to handle it, the compulsions have gotten better, but the problem is still there, and when Michael becomes overwhelmed with other stimuli, we have a weekend like we just did with lots of behaviors, hyperactivity and aggression. It was not that Michael wanted to do this or that we wanted to bring it on. But sometimes as parents, we only see the triggers too late and then it all has to come out.

I am happy to say that though it was a rough weekend, we all learned what NOT to do. This is always my takeaway when Michael has a hard time or Dad and I do understanding him. If we cannot give ourselves a break and learn from the mistakes we make, how can we expect Michael to be less hard on himself? So, in lieu of our weekend, here are some tips I can offer to parents on how to help your child post meltdown:

  1. Sympathize with them: Remember, no child would choose to fail at regulating. If they are overreacting, it is because they do not have the mechanisms to control their anxiety in place. See what new tools you can give them.
  2. See what your triggers were: Your triggers? Yes, sometimes as parents we inadvertently make aggressions and anxieties worse or escalate them when we overreact initially or are stressed out. Of course, you are not to blame for your child losing control. They are. But you do need to remember to stay as calm as you can to give them a calm model. I am still learning that as a Mom.
  3. Share your successes and failures with self- regulation: I truly believe that sharing your own struggles with controlling stress in your life could help your child immensely. Tell them what worked or did not work for you in the past.
  4. Give them as much control as you can: Often times meltdowns happen because your child does not feel they have choices  OR you have given them too many choices and not enough boundaries over what they can and cannot do. Have a balance and show them by modeling how you do this in your life.
  5. Check on your child’s overall health-sleep, food, medication and see if anything needs tweaking: Finally, seeing if something in their regime needs to be adjusted. That could be what is setting them off to have the meltdowns and making it harder to recover afterwards.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle things post-meltdown with your Exceptional Child? As long as compassion and sympathy are present, as well as clear strategies to help them replace the negative behavior, you are well on your way to helping them learn to understand their emotions better and on you doing the same. 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

5 Tips To Help Your Exceptional Child Handle Their Emotional State

Michael has made a lot of progress in learning how to self-regulate when it comes to anger and stress. As I’ve said before, both therapy and medication as well as hard work on his part, have helped him see what changes he has made to made. It has also been a lot of hard work on Dad’s part and mine to remind Michael to go to his own tool kit and see what is the best method to use in calm down in the particular situation he is in. The tool kit is constantly changing.  At first this stressed Michael out. He was worried that his old strategies were not working , or that he did not have any more new strategies. Just tonight he was having a hard time with regulating and I reminded him to use a strategy that worked for him. What he was working was clearly not working, as he was acting verbally and borderline physically aggressive. He seemed discouraged for a moment, but then realized, hey I could try this. I was very proud of him when he did use a strategy that worked and he turned the evening around big time.

What tools do work for kids or what could be in their tool kit? It really depends on what calms your child down. Like us, they are individuals and have their own tastes and preferences. It’s important for you as their parent to learn if they like or need movement to calm down, massage, squeezing, bouncing, walking or being left alone to breathe. Ask them questions and offer them different options to try. With time, you will see what works for them, and most importantly, they will see what they like. Here are 5 tips to help you help your exceptional child along the way in understanding their emotional state better:

1)Talk to them when they are calm: The worst time to offer advice about new strategies or using different ones is when they are already upset. It’s important that they are in a calm state when you talk to them and that you are too. This is when good techniques can be suggested.

2) Show them various visual options: Show them fidget toys, chewing gum, bouncing ball, a trampoline, offer them a blanket to curl up with or wrap around themselves. You can show them pictures online or draw images and help them choose.

3) Have them make an anger box: Have them make an “anger box” where they can write down what they are angry about and talk to you about it when they feel ready. If the child is younger and not as literate at writing or has difficulty writing, have them draw you a picture of why they are angry.

4) Remind them you are there for them always: Emotional support cannot be overestimated. Remind your child that you are always there to help them no matter what by listening and providing support.

5) Remind them that they have a choice to deal with their emotions in a positive matter and that anger is ok: This is a tough one. Kids will offer think anger is bad when parents initially tell them to use strategies to handle their anger. The thing is, the anger is not bad, it is often the way they handle their anger. This is where the child needs to be reminded that it is ok to be angry, but they need to vent in a positive and calm way. That makes all the difference.

Exceptional Parents, how are your children progressing in handling their emotions? If self-regulation is hard for them, don’t worry. It takes time, patience, and practice, both on your child’s and your part to help them learn how to manage their emotions. If you both have a hard day or week, don’t stress about it. Learn from the bad, celebrate the good moments, and go from there. 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 :www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com  as well as my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/ebooks.