We survived. Oops. Maybe I am being a little presumptious. After all, it is only Friday morning. There is still a whole day to get through before I can really say that we survived the first week back from the Christmas holidays, but all things considered with Michael anxieties, aggression and stress, it went fabulously. My little guy is doing so well, yet still I see the struggles- the struggle to find his voice yet learn to follow rules, the struggle to structure his after school time after home work because now he can’t play outside like before, and the struggle to control his ever raging hormones that tell him he is a big boy, but don’t help him when he is frightened and needs reassurance he is smart, listening and can handle change. And change is coming his way in his family, at school, with friendships. It both exhilarates and frightens him. He does not know if he is a big boy or a baby, and will play each role as it suits him. He does not always like when I call him on it, but call him on it I do. I am being firm but gentle with him teaching him loving boundaries and how he can’t just blow up because he does not like something. I also will praise him when he does good and correct him when he says crying like he did the other night, ” I am a bad boy.” I responded with, “No Michael. You made a bad choice. It’s time to make choices. You are smart enough to do that.”
The look of surprise he gave me almost made me cry. How sad that our children to automatically say they are bad when it is the choices they make that are bad. I have to be careful how I phrase things though. In the past, when he would yell, hit or insult me, I would tell him that it was wrong, but then after he apologized tell him I love him. He would say the same. He told the school psychologist that I love him no matter what he does so he could insult me. Sigh. We have been working ever since then on teaching him saying something like that is not acceptable. I think he is finally getting it. There are some days that are easier than others. He is also funny at other times. My budding teenager responds to everything I say with a “Uh cool.” And the other day it was funny but I still had to correct him as it was highly inappropriate. He told me the teacher was sick. He told me he missed her but was happy in a way she was sick as he got no homework. So typical, yet so not. This is autism. This is Michael. I would not have him any other way. I just want to help him learn to relax, find himself, and see that even if the world is not always going his way, it is not a bad place. He is a great kid, and I see his potential more and more each day. Even those days I can’t wait for bedtime when it is quiet and I can devise new ways of reaching him tomorrow.
Exceptional Parents, how was your child’s first week back from holidays? What were the highs and lows? I’m sure the return to routine was good, but I’m sure it will still take time for them to settle in. Be patient. Be firm. Be loving. And remember, take care of you. Only when you are gentle and loving with yourself, can you be gentle and loving with them. Until next time.
Are you looking to make changes in your special needs parenting life? Do you need support on your journey? I am a writer and parent coach who is passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism, and remembering that parenthood is as much a journey for us as childhood is for our children. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation, see my website: http://www.exceptionalparentnet.wordpress.com
Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety in the new year? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY.”