Tag: austim

How Sharing My Weaknesses Have Helped My Son With Autism Share His and Grow

I was told by a Psycho Educator we worked with a few years ago that I sometimes share too much with Michael, and that this could have been one of the contributing factors to his rising anxiety and aggressive behavior. She was not blaming me for things Michael was born with and that are a part of his autism, but did tell me to be careful not to give him any extra adult worries. For example, I was job searching at the time and was stressed about that. I was also emotionally coming out of a very difficult time for me, when I had been recovering from burnout and depression. I still felt fragile, but I understood what she meant that it was better I stay strong in front of Michael, so he would have that sense of security. I did also know though, that honesty is the best policy, and that autism or not, I would do Michael no favors if I was constantly sugar-coating my life and feelings.

Fast forward to many years later. I am stronger, wiser, and even I have a very rough month emotionally and with Michael which the month of December was for us, I now know that the best thing I can do is share my weaknesses with Michael and show him how I handle myself and get stronger. I showed him how I took time for self-care. I showed him how I would cry when I needed to. I showed him how I didn’t tolerate aggression towards me or anyone else. I also showed him he mattered. Over the last few weeks, he has been talking to me a lot. What has come out? He has felt sometimes his Dad and I don’t listen to him when we are not doing what he wants. This is not the Michael who was having all kinds of tantrums, but the Michael who feels his feelings aren’t getting listened to. He has said he misses me, and made comments of  why am I always on my phone? It’s true. I am glued to it, and when he is around, I remind him he is top priority. He always was, but would think otherwise when he would see me working or on my phone. Due to working from home, this complicates the work/home divide, but I am getting better at getting the message across to him.

What it all boils down to is communicating your love to your child, and letting them know you are there. Yesterday afternoon Michael was very talkative, more than usual. He was telling me all about his day, the exciting things that happened and was enjoying himself being silly with me as I with him. It was beautiful, and it was something that has been happening a lot more lately. I know it is due to the fact that I have put in boundaries when needed, but that I am flexible too, and have told Michael that I am always there for him to talk and listen and that he is the most important thing to me. This has made a huge difference. Yesterday, we had a bit of a fight. I told Michael it was inappropriate what he said to me and he had to apologize. He did and said, “I guess I’m a bad kid.” I was upset on hearing this, so I turned it around to what the words really meant, “You’re a good kid, who made a bad choice.” I will make sure to remind him how every day he can make good or bad choices and learn from the bad and keep performing the good. But I realize that being there is everything for a child. The more they try and push you away, (which is what had started happening as Michael approached his birthday in December) the more they need parents there to remind them they are loved and special.

Exceptional Parents, how do you remind your Exceptional Children they are unique, beautiful and smart human beings? How do you bond with your children and show them they are your priority regardless of their past mistakes? It does not matter that they do not always communicate with us the same as neuro typical children do. Feelings travel across different brains and language issues. If they feel a parent’s love truly and deeply, see you sharing with them openly and freely, they will start opening up to you or continue to open up to you. Don’t be afraid to pull them in close. Being vulnerable yourself opens them up to be the same. Until next time.

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 OFFER: February is the month of love. We show love to our children, partners and friends But what about to ourselves as parents? Do you know how to practice self-care and truly love the amazing parent and person you are? If you need support in this area of your life, until Feb. 28th I am offering a FREE ONE HOUR one on one coaching session, as well as a second one hour one on one coaching session at 50% off regular price. Give yourself the gift of self-love, and learn some great tools to begin to put your needs first so you can parent in balance. Contact me at joanne@exceptionalparenting.com or 514-827-7175 to book your Skype session. 

Social Filters and How To Navigate My Exceptional Child’s Outburts

 

Michael is a very outspoken child. He was outspoken even before he could speak with words, and was always very expressive in negative and positive ways, and with negative and positive behavior. Now that is completely verbal and able to speak about exactly what is on his mind, the things that come out are, well, not always too positive. As some parents have remarked about their own children, they do not have social filters. It’s not their fault. It’s how their brain is hard-wired so they say what they feel in the moment.  Also it is sometimes too hard for them to stop themselves. This is  a skill that needs to be taught. And it’s hard as their parent not to react and get embarrassed, angry, even sometimes laugh because though what they say is inappropriate, it is darn funny. I’m constantly in this situation myself now, and am looking for ways around it. Like all parents, some days I do better at it than others.

Talking about appropriate behavior in  public and at home are good. Teaching that there will be good consequences for good behavior and bad consequences for bad behavior is another thing a parent could do. Still, what are other the best ways to navigate our exceptional children’s outbursts?

  1. Write a social story on how to handle situation: This is great to explain many of the situations our children find themselves in as do we. What is the proper language we use to speak? How do we address people?
  2. Stay calm as a parent when they are testing: This is still a hard one for me sometimes when I am tired and my son pushes my buttons with stalling at bedtime and swearing, his new favorite behavior. What a parent needs to do is make clear the proper behavior in advance, and then give a warning to the child. If they do not listen, the parent has to stick to their guns with whatever the consequence is.
  3. Model for them good behavior and rewards: Yes, it is hard for children with autism to imitate, but not impossible. They are able to do it with enough concentration and practice, so as parents, we need to lead the way.
  4. Be firm about leaving where you are if the behavior continues to be insulting and then follow through: This will result in loud protests or tantrums, but eventually your child will learn you follow through with what you say.
  5. When they do positive behavior in public and private, remember to praise them a lot: This is a step a lot of parents forget. It’s important to remember to praise the child when they make positive changes in their behavior and listen. It goes a long way in ensuring they continue with the good behavior.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle your child’s outbursts? What strategies have worked and which haven’t? Remember, to make notes when you are calm about this so you know what to avoid in the future, and cut yourself some slack if you make a mistake. We all do as parents from time to time. Until next time.

One of the hardest and most stressful times of the year for special needs families is fast approaching. Are you and your exceptional family ready? Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS