Tag: control

What I Learned From Having An Exceptional Mommy Meltdown

About a week ago in the late afternoon, Michael and I  got into a very heated argument about Michael not accepting something I told him couldn’t happen that afternoon. I knew it when he got off the bus that something was wrong and we would be in for a rough ride. I tried to stay calm. Really I did, but due to feeling tired and stressed myself, I instead joined in Michael’s anger. He had been having more and more of these aggressive outbursts as is usually the case at this time of year. The next thing I knew he did something he’d never done before. He slapped me on the side of my head so hard my glasses went flying off and crashing to the floor. For a split second I stared in shock at the floor where my glasses lay, then quickly picked them up. In a voice trembling with rage and an anger, I uttered that there is no hitting. He tried to hit me again and I stopped his hand, and then roughly pushed him into the couch directly behind him. We were in our living room. Now he was scared. So was I. I was holding tight to his arms and repeating in an angry voice no hitting. That’s when Michael started to yell I was hurting him. I immediately released his arms and told him I needed to go calm down in my room.

The other reason I went to my room to calm down was that I could not stop the angry thoughts going through my head and the rage and hurt that he had attacked me. The tears came almost instantly minutes after I was alone, and then they went on for over thirty minutes. Even after that though, they did not dissolve the anger. Why had I lost it? Where had  I gone wrong? How had it escalated so quickly? I couldn’t even remember how the fight had started. So what did I learn from my Mommy Meltdown that afternoon? I learned to be honest with myself with where I was. I learned to check in with myself when I’ve neglected de-stressing things like exercise and not getting enough sleep. Like a lot of children with autism, regulating his emotions is one of Michael’s greatest difficulties. But a rested, refreshed me would have known to stay apart from the storm and not take it personally. Yesterday morning after another tantrum that escalated, I helped Michael calm his storm. It took time, but was over with faster than last week’s. It was not easy, but what helped is, you guessed it, I stayed calm. I was feeling rested too, as I had slept well the night before. We even talked about strategies he needs to start using. He left on the school bus with his usual kiss on the cheek and I love you from me and one back to me.

Exceptional Parents, are you angry and ashamed to admit when you lose it with your children by yelling and joining their anger? Don’t be. All of us have been there as parents. Just remember you need to take care of yourself so that you can weather any exceptional parenting storm that comes your way, and show your child how to handle themselves too. And you know what, if you fail, you and your child can discuss strategies for managing stress together. Until next time.

am a  writer, speaker, and parent coach at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance, http://www.exceptionalparenting.net. I  am passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism. I help guide them with the right tools for their children’s challenging behaviors, as well as help them see the beauty in their children again.  Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and GooglePlus. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session with me, see my website: http://www.exceptionalparenting.net. 

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




Bedtime Sharing And Stalling-How To Know The Difference


Michael may have delays in expressive and receptive language as well as grapple with some fine and gross motor delays. He may have other emotional challenges due to autism, but he most certainly is as intelligent as anyone. Kids and adults with autism are just as capable and just as smart as the rest of us. I am happy to say that I no longer doubt or worry about that, though I do worry about his innocence sometimes. That is something beautiful too however, and I hope the world will never take that away. I just want to prepare him as much as possible to get along well.

What I have found are the amazing ways and capacity he has for tapping into his emotions in a pure way and how he can manipulate in typical kid fashion. It is frustrating and exciting at the same time to see the milestones he has achieved. This week has been a tough week with Dad putting him to bed for a few nights as I was out. Dad was also having a rough time himself, and Michael picked up on that and things did not go well between them. So what did I do last night? I tried to be there to do more hugging, emotional connection, and love. It worked! When Dad came home, Michael was no longer angry and hurt with what had occurred between him and Dad. He hugged his father good nigh,t and went off to happily do his complete bedtime for the first time in two days with me. Perfect, right? Not quite.That is when the stalling and silliness for bedtime began. And that was when a pretty reasonable one hour and a bit bedtime got stretched to one hour and almost forty five minutes, with me barely tearing myself away the end. Sigh. I’d been had.


What Dad and I can usually recognize, but sometimes still fail to do, is real bedtime stress and “bedtime stalling” as I like to call it. Our Exceptional kids are very smart, and can read us like books. Though I don’t regret the connecting we did with lots of talking, hugging and being there, I also see how Michael used this to push his bedtime limit a little farther. He was making up for a rather military approach over the last two nights that Dad had to push for due to his aggression and anger. It occurred to me last night that the pendulum had swung too far in either direction. Tonight at bedtime I will be better able to recognize the signs of stalling versus real affection. What are these signs you ask? Here are some indications:

  1. One more time”…: Yes, one more minute to get a toy, one more trip to bathroom. You get the idea. And be careful if your child is aware of your getting stressed. They will start playing you with off putting behaviors so you  get upset and they gain more time.
  2. Feeling angry for a good reason vs a silly one: As your child’s parent, your gut will tell you when they are truly worried about something. When Michael told me last night why didn’t Daddy hug him like I do, I realized he missed that from Dad.That was no act. When he started doing silly walking to shower and I called him on it as he got angry, well that’s another story.
  3. Humor masking fear or stress versus silliness: Humor as a shield is another way some of our kids function , and even some adults. If we look closely though we will see if what they are joking about is something stressful to them. Then we can act accordingly.

Exceptional Parents, do you give your Exceptional Child credit for being able to stall and be silly? I hope so. Just because they have a different brain, does not mean they are not intelligent and capable of misleading us or manipulation to get their own way as any child. And count yourself lucky if they are manipulating. It means that everything is adding up as it should be, and they are developing and moving into their own. Until next time.

Tired of anxiety controlling you and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS



Keeping Busy and Having Choices-How This Has Helped My Son With Autism Handle Anxiety Better

Michael has a lot of anxiety. I have talked about this in previous posts, and will touch on it from time to time as it is an important part of what he and many other children with autism must live with every day. I constantly am amazed though by how well he does lately in handling his anxious thoughts and feelings. He is beginning to ask questions about techniques he could use, remembering he can’t hit his head, the wall, or other people or things, and where he can go to calm down. What most impresses me is how he is connecting activity and movement to regulating his emotions and calming down.

“Mommy, I changed my mind about baking tonight. Can we go to the park and finish playing tennis and bake another night. I need to move Mommy.”

I am so impressed with him and how he is learning to read his body and mind. I am impressed with how good his tennis game and other physical skills are improving, and even though I cringe when I hear how hard on himself he is when he misses the tennis ball, or gets stuck on a word in reading, I am calmly able to point out to him it’s ok, we all make mistakes. Lately, he has been saying it back to me if he hears me saying it to myself. What is striking me is how far he has come in identifying his feelings, his likes, and dislikes. He will tell me who his “real” friends are, “my best buddies are”, and who are friends that he is not as close to. He does not want hugs “because I am a big boy”, but at night wants cuddles for a few minutes. He is my baby, my preteen, and my teenager all in one.

Where we are still grappling with is Michael’s difficulty letting go of worrying about the future. He will come up with elaborate scenarios of what will go wrong, what he will hate on a field trip, at an activity, and I will have to remind him one day at a time. He will also experience something he does not want to hear from me, and will say, quite dramatically, “now my day at school will be ruined tomorrow.” Again,  I tell him stories of how I used to think that way when I was little, and how I suffered a lot because of it when I did not need to. I teach him strategies like taking it one day at a time, looking at the positive things in his life, and venting about it for a bit before moving on. What is helping Michael  is something I had completely overlooked prior to the last few months; giving him the floor to be heard and a choice of what he can say and do. That freedom is helping him handle anxiety a lot better.

Exceptional Parents, what kind of surprises do your Exceptional Children throw your way? How have they impressed you with their insight, ability to cope, and intelligence? Do you remember to give them a positive choice in how they could respond to things? Do you let them talk and have the floor? This will make a big difference in their ability to handle things in their world. Until next time.

Tired of anxiety controlling you and your child? Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS