Tag: exercise

Weight Issues, Food Cravings and Anxiety-How My Exceptional Son Is Handling Stress

 

To start with I am so happy that Michael loves food. I have watched so many of his friends struggle with eating, allergies and other food issues, that it is great that he can pretty much eat anything he wants to. Unfortunately, due to his Dad and I having been a little too relaxed at birthday parties and other social occasions and focusing more on behavior issues which were the priority (and still are quite important), Michael formed some bad food habits and has put on some excess belly weight. What worries me most is why he is eating. I realize it has become a habit, but I also think it has become his way of dealing with stress and anxiety. He has told me that when he eats he feels better. Don’t we all! The problem is that his food choices are the processed ones versus fresh fruit and vegetables. Even though I make fresh fruit an option and he will when pressed have some, he prefers the granola bars and dried fruit and of course cookies to fresh options. Dad and I are modeling eating good fresh food ourselves, but the habit has been formed so now it will be more difficult to change. But change it we must. His pants don’t fit around the stomach, and though he is not considered obese, he is dangerously veering on that line according to his pediatrician.

 

We have been talking to him about making healthy food choices and being more active. He is active, but we need to increase the activity now which will be a lot easier than decreasing caloric intake. I am especially worried as we don’t want him facing obesity struggles later in life. But with food he is obsessed, wants more of something, and seems out of control. When we push for control, he becomes even more rigid and now we are dealing with some of those issues. Our next step will be consulting with a professional who deals in nutrition about starting over with good health habits. Michael’s issue and his eating choices have given me much food for thought, no pun intended. If children can draw the emotional reasons behind why they overeat, then adults need to be able to do the same thing. Particularly adult parents of Exceptional Kids who are very controlling and rigid in their behavior due to anxiety and sensory issues. They really need parents who can find a way to demonstrate the balance of healthy eating and exercise versus overindulging. This is not always easy as parents, and I speak for myself and Michael’s Dad, are constantly worrying about our children’s sleep, academic progress, life skills, social skills, that nutrition will get left aside sometimes. In our family now, however, we are making it a priority as it is as important to healthy functioning of our child than anything else.

Exceptional Parents, how is your child’s appetite? Are they little, medium or big eaters? Do they eat a balanced diet? It’s important, as I have learned, to monitor this as well as your Exceptional Child’s other relevant issues so that they can be healthy and grow in mind and spirit. New tools may have to be introduced to help with anxiety, control and other factors, but you know your child best and will be able to find your team. Until next time.

 

am a writer and parent coach at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance.” I am 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. You can 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, 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

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Finding the Right Tools To Help Your Child Handle Their Overpowering Emotions

 

Man in White and Black Sneakers Standing Outdoor during Daytime

 

So yesterday Michael and I went on a power walk. Well, he power walked. I kept telling him to slow down. I’m in pretty good shape, but late afternoons are not the best time for me to exercise unless I’m alone and can go at my own pace. Still, I saw he needed it. He was a boy on a mission to rid himself of stress. As with other times, he walked and talked quickly, then gradually as he began to relax he slowed down his pace. I was relieved, yet as always, worried about the kind of stress he carries inside of him. Right now the main issues are about working and focusing at school, as well as  learning to sit quietly in a body that has hard time doing that due to his sensory issues. Michael also has a hard time asking for help or letting people know he is in distress.

I am experimenting with different ways to help him learn to calm down. Right now he pushes emotions down and then explodes in the evenings when things don’t go one hundred percent his way. Being told what to do all day is extremely draining and stressful, so at home he bargains and tries to change the rules on EVERYTHING. It’s been a process, and we are still teaching him that all of us have to follow rules, listen to either teachers or bosses, and find ways to manage our anxiety, stress and negative emotions. Exercise, yoga and different sensory tools can help. I am constantly adding or taking away from our toolbox. Talking too and giving him the space to share is also important.

 

Photo by: Frank Mckenna at Unsplash

 

This is challenging for adults, but even more so for kids, and exceptional kids have a more difficult time due to their very complex nervous systems. I remind him that he needs and can always turn to TEAM MICHAEL for help. It’s been tough though. Positive moments have been our talks about music, watching his agility improve climbing on park equipment, and he is interested in going on his scooter again soon. I’m also happy he is continuing with tennis. It, swimming, and soon soccer, will be great outlets for his nervous energy release. As parents, we have to find outlets for our kids. As with neuro typical ones, sports and being active is very important, but there are always other things to consider. Would they benefit from talking to a therapist privately? Do they need a new more structured home routine?  An educator can help with that. Are they sleeping enough? Parents, as teacher, caregiver and therapist have to not be afraid to try any of the above (or all) so that they can give their child the best tools for success out there.

Exceptional Parents, what’s in your toolbox to help your child regulate their emotions? Have you made any changes recently? Sometimes shaking things up a bit can be helpful. Our kids are growing all the time so what worked previously may not anymore. Don’t be afraid to try new approaches. Talk to other parents. Talk to professionals. Read books and articles. Remember, you are your child’s voice to the world and can help explain them to their team the best. In the end, it’s all about giving them success in life to be the best they can be. Until next time.

 

Looking for new tools to help with anxiety management? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

 

Patience Is The Key: How To Dig Deep Down In Your Parent Arsenal

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Patience is a virtue. Once you become a parent, you really realize how you have to ooze patience. You have to live it, breathe it, and practice it. Things don’t always go according to plan. For Michael’s Dad and I, as I’ve said many times in this blog, he has taken us down a path that is not one we thought we’d be on. At times it is brutal. At times it is beautiful. At times, it is spiritual. Michael too is learning from us, good and bad, though lately more good, I hope how to be patient and calm. This is something hard for the adults around him.

So where does this leave most parents, stressed with jobs, housework, family responsibility and personal space? It’s hard. I know it is even tougher for single parents out there. They must shoulder having patience for the child, themselves and life stresses all on their own. I take my hat off to them. It is hard enough to parent with a partner, especially as sometimes you can’t talk to each other due to time constraints (Dad and I), or work responsibilities, but sometimes you clash on perspectives too. However, you can sit down, listen to the other’s point of view and go forward with a united front. This is mandatory for the child and the parents and for the family to survive as a unit. The single parent has to do it all with no break. In this case, finding your extended family (blood and other) is very important for you and your child to thrive. You need a break. Don’t be afraid to reach out if patience is wearing thin in either case. Some strategies that have worked for me to maintain patience or find it again are the following:

  1. Finding 5-10 minutes of alone time every day: This could be through meditation, prayer, sitting in nature, going for a massage etc. You need to connect to you to find your power center again.
  2. Call or meet up with a friend at least once a month: Connections to each other have been known to build immunity, strength, resilience in times of stress. Call up a friend on the phone, meet for lunch, a coffee, a drink and laugh. Oh yes, make sure you laugh as it is medicine for the soul.
  3. Exercise: Walking, aerobics, running. Your body think and handles stress so much better when it is healthy and fit from physical activity. Michael’s Dad gets up early and walks to the bus stop when he can’t make the gym. Likewise I get up at an early hour now to do my workout to recharge for the day.
  4. Watch a funny movie or read a great book: Escaping through a great film, book or reading poetry or looking at beautiful artwork can remind us of beauty that is all around. It’s so important when we are frazzled to remember that.
  5. Spas, baths or swimming: Being in water can recharge us in a way nothing else can. If you are able to, once the kid(s) are in bed, try lighting some candles, putting on soft music and taking a bath. It can do wonders.

 

Exceptional Parents, what do you do to build your patience arsenal? What has and has not worked? Remember, you know your body best, and you need to be at your best to stay strong and resilient for the tough times you will encounter with your children. However, it is also important to stay strong so you can enjoy the beautiful moments and the happy times you will have with your Exceptional Child/dren. There will be many, I promise you.  Until next time.

Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net. 

 

Long Walks And Exceptional Conversations

A few weeks ago when the weather was nicer, Michael and I did something we had not done in awhile. We went for a long walk and talked about things on his mind, silly things, serious things, and everything in between. Despite talking a lot and having an easier time expressing himself, it is hard for Michael to fully tell me what he is feeling at times. That is why on walks it is easier. I love these times with him, though it is sometimes tiring walking and talking at the same time! (This is incentive for Mom to get back into regular exercising alone EVERY week, but I digress). I am always amazed by Michael’s questions about life, his observations around him, his knowledge of where we are directions-wise and where he is going in other areas. I love his curiosity about the world, about life around him, and about people. This is how you learn, I am never tired of telling him.

Seeing Michael like this, reminds me about how I am at my best when I exhibit curiosity about the world, and about the people and places around me. When I walk and move in general, it empties my mind of stress and fills it with positive thoughts and ideas to push me further into personal growth and happiness, as an individual and as a Mom. Once again, Michael is showing me the way here, as many children remind us “adults” how to open ourselves up to learning new things, exploring and being in the “joy of the moment.”

Exceptional Parents, what do you learn when you are out and about with your Exceptional Children, particularly on walks or out playing? I’m sure when they are physical and moving it gets their brains going in a whole new direction and yours too. I’m sure your communication, in whatever way you communicate, is better, and you are both able to grow as individuals. Never underestimate the power of movement and exercise to help stimulate the brain in a whole new way. Until next time.

Exceptional Scootering

 

With the weather we’ve been having in our neck of the woods it has not been conducive to spending a lot of time outside, but a week ago when it was beautiful, Michael went out for the first time on his scooter. It was wonderful seeing him trying out something new. It was not like the one he said he went on at school, where he went on his belly, but still he pushed himself off several times and moved himself through the streets of our local neighborhood. As always, I loved to see his concentration, the attention he paid when doing something new and how he knew his limits for the first time out.

“That was fun Mommy. I’m tired now. Can we bring the scooter home?”

We did, and now he is talking excitedly about his next scooter adventure. Like with all new things he tries, Michael is positive, does his best, and keeps going until he needs a break. We always give that to him, especially when we see how he is doing his best. I love his spirit, his sense of adventure, and how ‘matter of fact’ he is when he is done. He is direct, no nonsense, and like a lot of things in his life, he approaches thing directly.

Watching him soar also showed me how unafraid he is, within reason of course, to try new things, how he is beginning to believe in himself, and despite some lingering fears, how he is adventurous in trying new things. He has passed that same spirit down to his father and I. We love him more with each passing day for spirit, that wonderful attitude that a lot of so-called ‘regular’ people don’t have, which is the attitude of fun, adventure, and trying out new things.

What new things do your Exceptional Children try and like to do? What adventures do they take you on? It’s important for all of us to embrace the unknown, to do our best to figure out where our limits are, then surpass them, just like our kids. My son is phenomenal, all our Exceptional Children are in their own way, and it is up to us to remember that and to show them that all people how the ability to be phenomenal, extraordinary and lead a life of purpose and joy. Until next time.