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Why ADHD is Cool And Why It’s Important Exceptional Parents Remember That

Tonight I had one of those afternoon and evenings with Michael when he was a little, shall we say, high strung and at times challenging. He was having a hard time focusing on what he needed to do, (in this case get ready for and the playing tennis at his weekly lesson). He was argumentative with me about leaving on time, and then was silly and hyperactive at the lesson. When the teacher got him to focus, and that she did, he performed well so the lesson was a success. But he kept coming back to me and asking me about calling up a friend later. I could truly see the ADHD which was making it challenging for him to focus, sequence and move forward in a logical way. This was both frustrating for me, but then on the car ride home when we talked about how the evening would unfold, I also spoke to him about his ADHD. He admitted that he has a  hard time organizing himself due to the ADHD and he needs help and reminders. I agreed with him, and told him I and his teachers would support him with reminders, but he needed to do the work too to stay focused. I came up with a new mantra-Stop, Breathe, Think, Speak Or Do.  It has met with reasonable success, but still needs work. I also am trying to get him back to doing mediation and yoga to learn to stay in the moment and breathe.

In talking to Michael however, I also found myself saying out loud how cool ADHD was. Yes, parents I used those exact words much to my own happy surprise! I said, just like Autism means his brain works differently and he has many interesting ways of seeing the world because of it, the same is true of ADHD. I was surprised, because though I have said it to other adult people I know who have ADHD and I truly believe this kind of brain is incredible when I see it in kids or adults, I was having a hard time seeing my child’s ADHD as cool. I think that’s because helping him focus and reigning in some of that excess energy is far from simple, and at the end of a busy work week, the last thing a parent wants to do is have behavior challenges to deal with.

Still, in saying it out loud, I felt happy, happy for Michael that he has quirky personality traits due to ADHD, and happy for me that I could see the positives in what amounts to a very fast and different brain which zeroes in on things neuro typical brains may not see right away. I told Michael that in order for him to see his ADHD as the gift that it is, he has to make sure not to let the stressful parts of how his brain works get him in trouble. I compared it to loving food so much that we overeat and feel sick. You can love food, but enjoy in moderation. Same with the way you experience life at a faster pace. Talk a lot, get excited, but know when to tone it down.

Later in the evening I also thought it’s like when I write a story and my characters talk to me in my head. Yep. They actually do sometimes. I have also seen what they look like. However, I don’t have full blown conversations with make believe characters, nor think others want to hear about these characters in my daily life in detail, unless of course they ask about a story or book I am writing. Then if it is the appropriate moment, I talk about the story.  That’s what we need to do as parents. Praise the uniqueness, quirks and different ways our child’s brain works due to Autism, ADHD or whatever other challenges they are facing, while helping support them to overcome the difficulties they face in our world due to their different outlook and ways of relating. We also need to teach them there is a time or place for having certain conversations.

Exceptional Parents, how do you talk about your Exceptional Child’s brain and the way they see the world? It’s important to support our children as well as celebrate their differences. We all have our challenges and strengths. It’s by honing in on the strengths while giving support for the weaknesses, that we will help instill a positive attitude in our children as they step into the world more and more on their own. Then, they in turn can educate others out there about differences and celebrate them in a positive way.  Until next time.

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

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How To Enjoy Adult Time Away From Your Exceptional Child Guilt-Free

Yes, we all have said as parents at one time or another that we would LOVE a day or night away from our kids, either alone, with our partners or with our friends. Sometimes we want to experience all three of things types of events, yet if we are not careful there is something there in the corner. I will be brave enough to say it. Mommy worry. There. I said it. Even when we know our child is in good hands, we worry and it’s like they have taken a piece of us with them where they have gone. Of course when they are small and need us much more, it is normal that we have this parental anxiety. However, as they get older, it is important that though we miss our kids, we do not feel guilty to be away from them or to be taking a break away from them. Sometimes, they’ll even tell us. Mom, Dad, I won’t miss you. I’ll be with my friends, as Michael charmingly told me the other day as he spoke of his excitement about school overnight camp. I laughed to myself. I know he’ll miss us, though this is the tween attitude and perfectly normal. Friends are at the top of the totem pole.

Still, this post today is about parents, particularly Moms, giving themselves permission to do the things that they enjoy but may be hard to do on those rare opportunities they get away from mom responsibilities. So, what are some tips to remember that can help you enjoy your child-free hours away? Here they are, in no particular order:

  1. Make extra time in the am and pm for you to just be: This could be extra time with breakfast, meditating, exercising or just enjoying sitting in a favorite chair or drinking coffee not waiting for a little voice or voices to cry out, “Mom, I need this.”
  2. Plan ahead for activities that are hard to do when children are around: A great thing to plan is dinner out with a partner or friend, a massage, a shopping spree after work, something you would not normally do as you would be getting dinner going or supervising homework etc.
  3. Remind yourself that a mutual break for you both is good: Sometimes we feel bad if our child cries when we leave or they leave. Sometimes we worry if they look too happy. The thing is, a little parent/child break on a regular basis is healthy for the whole family. You’ll have new experiences with other people to talk about and have lots to talk about when you reconnect.
  4. Enjoy the silence that is in your home as sacred time for you: Ok, for parents that have more than one child you will not get total silence, but still you will have more quieter moments to ponder things and enjoy your own thoughts. For most Moms, this is a luxury few of us have had since the day our kids were born.
  5. Talk to other Moms who will remind you to enjoy yourself: If you are experiencing any guilt at all and missing your child, talk to Mom friends who will remind you that you deserve some you and adult time to recharge your parenting and woman batteries. They will most likely share a positive story or two with you also so you do not feel alone.

Exceptional Parents, do you feel guilty that you can’t enjoy time away from your Exceptional Child or sick with worry how they are doing? It is normal to worry, as your children are your responsibility and you want them to thrive. But remember, as long as you have made safe childcare arrangements, and you have a way of being reached should an emergency arise, you deserve to enjoy your solo time as you wish. You give so much as a parent that it’s important to give back to yourself too. Your child also needs to be with other people, so that they can keep sharing their amazing spirit with you and helping you to grow into the person you were meant to be. Until next time.

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

How To Organize for Sleep Away Camp When Your Child Has Physical And Mental Health Issues

Tomorrow Michael will be going away to sleep away camp with his school. It will be his second time going away from home for 3 days and 2 nights so we know he will do great separating from us. It will, however, be his first time going as a child who also has now been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. He is a little nervous as are Dad and I. You see, there are many things that are still firsts for us as parents of a child with Type 1 Diabetes as well as other co-morbid health challenges. For example, though Michael can eat all foods at the camp, due to having to watch his carbohydrate intake, I and the school nurse decided it would be a good idea to send most of our own food. Michael will be eating breakfasts there only. Also, the fact that I inquired if the school nurse was going was due to the fact that Michael has an underlying medical issue that we now have to watch out for. I never worried about this the last time around. Things have changed a lot in the two years since he last went with his school. Then there was no diabetes, no medication for ADHD, and no worries other than maybe Michael being homesick which he was not. His words when I picked him up were, “sign me up again the next time!” 🙂

I have to admit that I have been a little worried about how he will do at camp this year. Will his sugars be too high or too low? Will the nurse be able to stay on top of things as she will have other children to look after too? Most importantly, how will Michael handle not eating all the same food he once ate while his classmates eat everything? There is no one with allergies in the class, so I know he will feel alone. He has often said he wishes he was like his friends, who can eat everything. My heart breaks for him when he says this, though I tell him that eating healthy is important for everyone.  He is handling diabetes like a champ, but I find myself feeling sad for him, sad for us that we have to carb count, and sad for the week we had last week where his sugar was low every night and he was so tired the next day, or the week before where it was high every night and there were more temper tantrums. There is a lot for us all to juggle, yet we still find time to laugh, live and enjoy things. Michael has a great spirit and I admire him for it.

I also know we are not alone. There are so many families whose children have physical and mental health issues. I know from the support groups I have joined, both virtually and the Moms I talk to in person whose child’s health challenges are just part of the package.  So, how do these parents prepare for a trip away from home for their child to normalize things as much as possible? Here are some tips that have helped our family cope:

1) Prepare lists: Yes, this goes for everybody, but when your child needs to take medications at certain times and/or eat certain foods, making a list for yourself to follow to make sure you have everything will decrease stress for everyone.

2) Shop in advance for food, medication etc.: As much as possible, pick up medications, food that can be stored in advance before the last day he/she goes away. Pack it early too, so you will have less work to do in the end before they leave for their trip.

3) Remind your child they are still who they were before their health issues: I try to do this all the time with Michael and he is quite good too at remembering who he was before diabetes came into his life, and the fact he can still be active, eat foods he enjoys and hang out with friends. Granted there are limitations now, but remind your child that their life still is what it was before. As his end0chronologist says, “diabetes goes around your life, not your life around diabetes.”

4) Enlist your child’s help to advocate and take charge: If they are old enough, get your child to take charge of knowing when to take their medication, eat the foods that are good for them, and educate those around them about their medical condition. Remind them that doing this will help others learn how best to support people who are struggling with health issues, and empower the person themselves.

5) Talk to parents of other kids who face the same medical challenges: Ok, this one I haven’t done as often as I’d like to, but I plan to as Michael gets older and will want to go on more overnight trips without us. We know families who have children with Type 1 Diabetes, both virtually and in person.  I plan to reach out and ask them about vacationing with diabetes solo or as a family. There are also camps for kids with diabetes and other health challenges. As your child gets more comfortable managing their disease, these are options so they do not feel alone in their health issues.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle taking your child’s physical challenges on the road? What are your tips for family vacations or your child’s solo sleep away trips? Remember, don’t hold them back from experiencing traveling and exploring. As long as there is support for their medical issues when they are young and you are not there, or that you are there and know how to handle anything that could come up, your child deserves to experience all they did before they had other challenges. They are still a child, and need to experience that joy of growing up, being with peers and others outside of family, and the freedom to explore and learn more about themselves. Until next time.

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

How To Speak Clearly To Your Exceptional Child And Avoid Miscommunications

I have been parenting Michael now for twelve years, and can usually give others great advice about how to speak to kids with autism, ADHD and other different brains. Yet, there are still days and nights where I find myself forgetting about how I sometimes use language in a confusing way for Michael and then I sigh to myself. Some examples are in order. Most kids with ASD are literal in language, so certain English expressions can be confusing. If your child is whining about not getting a privilege and you forget and say, “you’ll survive,”  he or she may, like Michael, think “what do you mean? I’m not sick. I’m not going to die. Of course I’ll survive.” Another example is giving your child options like you could do things in a way like A or in a way like B and not elaborate so they don’t follow clearly. Yep. I’ve been guilty of doing both this week, though I have to say that I am usually extremely clear with Michael about things like following his daily routine, as well as how I speak.  So, on that note, how can parents talk to kids whose brains are wired to be more literal and concrete? Why, you need to phrase things in simple and concrete ways so that there is mutual understanding. Here are some examples:

1) Talk with short clear sentences to your child: “Today we will be going to this place at this time.” Then make sure through a picture sequence or words you remind your child of what they need to do to get ready. Depending on their age, let them decide the time frame on how to get it all done.

2) Stay calm and be patient when they ask questions: This means if their anxiety is going up, yours needs to stay where it is if you are calm or go down if you are not. If you feel yourself inching towards panic, go to your inner calm place. Radiating peace to them is important.

3) Avoid thinking out loud: This was a bad habit of mine, but now since parenting Michael I have gotten a lot better at having dialogues with myself INSIDE my head. You talking about the past or future around your child (especially things you regret doing or are worried about) will only increase their worry.

4) Give them positive language and support when they are agitated: We all like this, exceptional or not, but giving them words for how they are feeling, and showing them you care even if you don’t have all the answers then and there can help them find these words for themselves in the future.

5) Help them see they can find solutions: Encourage them to find ways to calm down, talk through how they feel, and come up with solutions to problems in a direct and logical way that works for them. This will build their self-confidence and it decreases your stress as a parent. After all, we are not supposed to put out all our children’s fires. They need to learn to handle their own emotions in a calm way.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of the positive ways you talk to your Exceptional Child and see success in your family interactions? What have been some of your mistakes? Every child is different, but in the end, as long as your child feels safe, heard and the message of what you are trying to say is clear, you are both on the right path to communicating in a positive and calm way. Until next time .

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

 

 

 

 

How To Help Your Child With Executive Function Challenges

Michael is an amazing kid. I’ve said it time and time again. He has taught me so much about persistence, tenacity, having a sense of humor and never giving up. He has also taught me lessons about patience, both in showing it to him, others and towards myself. But one thing that I know is super challenging for Michael as it is for other kids on the spectrum and with different brains, are executive function challenges. Executive function challenges are basically planning out things in a smooth, logical way so that you are in sync with others around you. This is usually done seamlessly for most of us, but people whose brains work differently process information differently, so things do not unfold in the same way for them. Unfortunately, this often spells disaster for interactions with parents, teachers, friends and others in the vicinity. It’s not that the person with a different brain is trying to stress everyone out. They just don’t understand how you can read the environment so differently than they do. So, what can a parent do to try and avoid so many of the fights they have with their exceptional child over how they go about organizing their day? It’s called compromise both ways, and here are some survival tips that I have learned, and am in fact, still learning:

  1. Write It All Down: Yes, write down your child’s typical functioning day, or if they are older have them write it down. It’s important that they see the order of their day on paper and how long things take to do, so the time next to what is getting done.
  2. Ask For Your Child’s Input: It is SO important that your child has some say and control over their day at home. This does NOT mean that they call all the shots, but giving them choices over when they want to do certain things- i.e. do you want snack at 10 or 10:15? do you want to play with this toy or that? This can give them a sense of control and mastery in a world where they often feel they have little say or control.
  3. Tell Them What You Want Directly: This means listing the priorities of their day and what you expect from them- i.e. you need to get up, eat, get dressed, go to your activity and/or school, come home, do homework, eat dinner, shower, bed. The more clearly you can spell out what they need to do, the calmer they will feel as there is routine, and then the two of you can fill in the blanks for the details.
  4. Give Strategies For Stressors: Things that stress them out will make them shut down and not move, participate or do what is expected. This can look like defiance, not moving or talking , tantrums, dressing slowly, staying in bed or not going to bed. When your child is having a hard time no matter how hard it is or how late it is, take a deep breath, get down to their level and ask them, “is something wrong? how can I help?” Add, “I want to help and need you to tell me how.” This will usually give some sort of clue. Then besides talking offer: taking a walk, a fidget toy to squeeze, a massage, quiet music, etc.
  5. Have A Reward System and Use It: Finally, when your child starts to listen, uses strategies to handle stress and asks for help, reward them. Have a set of rewards that works- points system to redeem for a gift, a special treat at a store or eating out at a restaurant, a visit to a favorite place etc.

Exceptional Parents, how have you handled your Exceptional Child’s sequencing challenges in the past? If your system is not working anymore, think what you can use from the above or what else you can tweak. Remember, a successful behavior plan means compromise on both sides. Then there will be success and the love will be reinforced on both sides as each of you see the other one taking your concerns to heart. Until next time.

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

Looking to the Future-Creating Career And Societal Opportunities Where Your Exceptional Child Can Shine

I’ve blogged about this before I know, but I think this is a subject well worth talking about again. The subject in question is being aware of where your Exceptional Child shines, and as a result of that, coming up with social and career opportunities where they could do just that. I’ve talked before about how Michael loves navigating to different places using Google Maps. We are now trying to broaden his interest of just staying local in our city, and getting him to venture out further in the world. He has done that on his own, and we are encouraging it further. Michael also loves cooking so Dad and I have allowed him a day or two during the week where he can choose all or part of the menu of what to serve. He loves to watch certain cooking videos and has even looked at recipes in recipe books. Both have sparked his interest in cooking. Finally, he has some interest in music, singing and playing certain musical instruments. We have bought him as a result a toy piano, guitar, ukelele and a marching drum to help foster that interest. No matter which one he is most interested in at the time, we know it could help jump start something else completely, some new interest that could end up leading to a possible career one day and/or being active in the community in some meaningful way.

It is so important to  follow our children’s interest, including when they have exceptional needs. All children are capable of helping or doing something meaningful. Don’t listen to what other people may say who would tell you not to put too much hope or get too excited. Get excited! Your child is special and  has a purpose here like all of us, exceptional or not. They will do something incredible if only they have the people around them who believe in them and the support that they need. What are ways to foster this kind of support?

1) See what their interests are and where they lay.

2) Expose them to different people, environments and activities. You’ll see something stick after a while.

3) Go where exceptional and neurotypical kids play. Your child will benefit from activities only geared towards kids with different brains and challenges as well as neuro typical kids. The differences in the courses will challenge them, and can bring out some interesting results.

4) Check out schools, camps, restaurants and neighboring businesses with your child. Have them known in the community so that one day if they are looking for a job, people know they are there. Become more involved in a religious organization (if you are religious and attend one) and see if there are opportunities for your child to shine there. Check out lay or non-religious community centers for the same reason.

5) Let people know your child’s strengths. You never know who may want some help, know of a program or opportunity that could build up your child’s confidence.

Exceptional Parents, what is your Exceptional Child good at? What are his/her strengths? What are his/her weaknesses? Watch what makes them coming alive- music, science, art, people, cooking, and encourage that. Often in summer camp programs, you can find lots of activities that center around these things too. Sign your child up there with or without a helper, depending on their capability. But in the end, what matters the most is what you think of them and how much you believe in them. That will help them believe in themselves all the more. Until next time.

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

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: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. Let me help personalize tools that will help your Exceptional family thrive! 

 

When To Plow Forward and When To Step Back- Learning How To Parent Exceptionally

Oh boy. Picking your battles. This is a phrase I was aware of when I first became a mother twelve years ago, and even before that time. But not having lived it, I had a hard time actually learning how to follow it until, well, Michael came into my life. I was terrible at doing this until Michael had started school pretty much. Yes, I knew he was different. Yes, many of the ways I was raised did not work with Michael, but oh I tried, tried so hard to control things so as to help him, that I picked a battle with pretty much every thing I did. This was not fun for me. This was not fun for Dad. This was especially not fun for Michael. Finally, with a lot of great support from therapists for Michael, I learned how to stop fighting and truly pick my battles. I am pretty good at it now, but alas, I have my days when I make it my way or the highway. Those days don’t end well for Michael and I. And I have questioned myself recently now that things are going better in our family, what I am doing differently? And it hit me. When things are going well for Michael and I, I am truly not fighting him on every little thing.  Sometimes he does listen. Sometimes he doesn’t. But you know what? Even if he raises his voice, it does not turn into the battle it once did. Same with me.

But it is hard parents. It is hard realizing you can’t control your Exceptional Child. There. I’ve said it. And why do I want to control him? Because, one day in the world he will have to follow rules where there will not be the choices and options he has now. They will accommodate some things, but not others. I wanted to prepare him so badly for this future world, that I waged a battle on a daily basis in the present one. I realize now that was not necessary. I also realize that a lot of the battles were about me asserting that I am in control, I am in charge as the Mom. I was trying to convince myself that I had all the answers even when I did not so I wouldn’t feel so scared so worried about failing as a Mom. What did I miss? Is he aggressive because I have been too lenient as a parent? Is he swearing because I’ve been too permissive. It’s all my fault. No. No it is not. We set examples for our kids. We make expectations clear and concise. Then, we calmly sit back and see what they do, what kind of choices they make. We reward the good. We give consequences for the bad, but we tell them we love them, and are there to help them make better choices. We take care of ourselves along the way too, practice self-care, so their comments, especially when rude or disrespectful, do not hurt like a knife in the heart. These are our issues, after all, not our children’s to handle.

Picking battles for me has been about giving Michael autonomy to succeed and celebrate or fail and learn from it. It has also helped me distance myself from Michael’s actions. It is not my fault. If as a parent I have put rules, guidelines and expectations  in place and Michael knows what to expect, the rest of the ball is in his court, so to speak. Make no mistake parents should never be afraid to parent with clear expectations, boundaries and love. They should also not be afraid to show all range of emotions, including anger, as long as it is reasonable. But reacting emotionally to everything your child does means you need to take a step back, detach, and see the behavior for what it is. A control battle where no one will win. The only way success can happen is when your child knows you are in charge, but they have the free reign to either make a positive or negative choice and reap the benefits or have to handle the consequences. Make no mistake, it is a LONG road. Some days are harder than others. You need your strength, rest and a sense of humor. But when you make a list of non negotiable things where you will pick battles no matter what, and they usually fall under life/death safety, and the other important issues which range from important to minimal, you and your child will have an easier time co-existing in the same home.

Exceptional Parents, how many times a day are you picking battles with your Exceptional Child? Are you exhausted, angry and frustrated? Step back for a minute and see who are fighting against and what is the purpose of hanging on to that control? Who is winning? Chances are, neither you nor your child. Once you are in a calm state of mind, look at what objectives are really important for your child to meet and which you can agree to disagree on. Then, let go and let your child experience the good or bad of what happens. You will parent in a whole new way, and they will probably surprise you with how fast they also respond to firm boundaries, love and acceptance, and some flexibility in making decisions. Until next time.

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

Learning From And Teaching Your Exceptional Child-Finding The Balance

So this week has been both an exercise in learning from Michael and in teaching him how to handle some of life’s stresses and strains. There have been times, like the other night when Michael handled low blood sugar in the middle of the evening all by himself, that I stood totally in awe of my son, how he is handling a disease that is not always easy to manage, particularly with blood sugars that go up and down and not always with any reason. I often think that I would not be so good at handling diabetes as calmly as Michael does, particularly as I still have a lot of anger that Michael has this problem. I see how Michael is teaching me to stop fearing this and to move forward.

Then there was another night when the opposite happened. Michael escalated to fury and aggression so quickly over something so silly, a future outing that may or may not come to pass, that I became the teacher, once again reminding him after he had calmed down, that the next time he needed to pause and think before jumping the gun. We often interchange in these rules, of teacher and student. And even when at times he has triggered my anger, impatience or anxiety, I ask myself the question, why? What do I have to fear? What need of mine is not being met? What do I need to change? And I thank Michael. Ok, maybe not directly at that time when I am angry or upset, but afterwards. I see that I am meant to learn life lessons from him just as he is from me.

That’s the thing. Our children are our greatest teachers, and exceptional kids’ brains see the world a whole lot differently than ours. This means that if we keep an open mind and heart, we will see the world through their eyes and learn to think like them too, especially when they are on the right track. Of course, there are times that they learn to think like us and get themselves on the right track too. That is also great. We are each other’s guide in a world that does not always make sense, but that is a journey of self-growth if we remember it like that.

Exceptional Parents, who are the teacher and student in your parent/child relationship? If you chose one or the other, it’s probably not accurate. In all relationships, you learn from each other. We learn from co-workers, family members, strangers, even our pets. If we look deep enough at the lessons life is trying to teach us through adversity, joys, blessings and pain, we will be on our way to parenting our children, and ourselves, in a whole new way. Until next time.

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

 

Seizing Those Precious Moments With Your Exceptional Child

They say to enjoy every moment of motherhood because soon they grow up and it changes. I used to wonder how this would work for Michael and I as it took him longer to reach his milestones and then when he did, he would sometimes skip the next step and zoom ahead at top speed. Still, I did my best once I caught Michael’s unique rhythm, to enjoy moment with Michael, each day where he would say or do something cute, funny, smart or charming. When I first realized he loved directions and he would tell me where to turn on streets, both in the car and on foot during our mother/son walks, as he had navigated on Google Maps beforehand. I also enjoyed when he first took an interest in cooking. And like with anything Michael does, when he does it he does it with gusto and such intensity that you can’t help but fall in love with the subject too.  I enjoyed when he became fascinated with experimenting with music, singing briefly with hip hop dancing.

Then though, there were the moments that were not so precious. The moments, of anger, anxiety, fear, and pain. These were hard to live through with Michael. I kept feeling I was failing him as he would ask me to help him, cry sometimes, and I didn’t have the answers. I would sometimes find temporary band aids and our wonderful team behind us would help, but then we’d be right back to where we started. What changed? Michael, in time, grew up. He started seeing how now as a young tween he has power over his emotions. He is not as helpless as he thought he was over his OCD thoughts, his anxiety, or his anger. He is learning better how to manage his diabetes everyday. Most important of all, I am losing importance as the one to “fix” everything as he sees that he is responsible for doing that. This, of course, is a learning curve and takes times, but I know he and I will get there.

I am proud of the way he has grown. I am proud of how though the process is hard on both of us, he does learn from mistakes and eventually connects the dots of the changes he has to make. As a result, in a strange way I am not as stressed anymore about the hard moments. This doesn’t mean I feel happy or relaxed, of course or still don’t lose my top from time to time. Neither does Michael. However, I see that he is growing from them. He is becoming stronger, more sure of himself and I am seeing the transition slowly. First my baby became a toddler, then my toddler became a little boy, and now in the last two years, my little boy has turned into a tween soon teen with very definite adult ideas. He is putting up his boundaries in how he wants to spend time with Dad and I, as we do with him. He is wanting to be more with friends or alone pondering life. He is growing up and pushing away from me. And I couldn’t be happier. Yes, there is some nostalgia. No Mom ever has none, especially when the journey to bring your child into the world in an interactive and healthy way was not an easy road for him and you. In fact, you celebrate even more because you see that your child will be ok in the world one day when you are no longer in it.

But, as any Mom will tell you, it is all worth it. It was also worth all those times I wished he’d leave me alone and not want to play and do things with me. I’m so glad I pushed on and enjoyed that time as it’s slowly slowly coming to an end as Michael finds new ways to entertain himself and in a healthy way, moves away from Dad and I.  Of course, as a parent it is still important to be there present in your child’s life even as they grow. You need to know their friends, what interests them. You need to find some special activities to do together. I promised myself I will enjoy these moments too that will soon be gone when he is in his teens. For now as always, I am taking things at Michael’s pace, and letting it lead me and him where we are supposed to go, and all of this in his own exceptional way, because life with Michael is anything but ordinary.

Exceptional Parents, do you enjoy the precious moments you have with your Exceptional Child? Remember even if it does not look like a neuro typical child’s development, your Exceptional Child will change and take you on a different road. So have fun exploring with them every day. Honor what interests them and let them show you how they see the world. It will help you both grow and appreciate the diversity that is out there. Until next time.

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