Tag: handling exhaustion

Teaching And Learning Life Skills-What My Exceptional Child Is Teaching Me

Sometimes there is a day when I see it all coming together and I worry less, especially lately. Yesterday, was such a day. Michael did so well. There were changes in our plans in the am. With some advance warning and options, he had a fun morning at home while I worked, and in the afternoon we adjusted the schedule slightly too. He wanted to go to some stores to buy a toy for a friend and to spend some of his holiday money on some stuff for himself. I especially liked that he was spending some of the money on a friend. His birthday has kind of gone over the top this year, which has been challenging for everyone. I also was so proud of him for how he handled paying at the cash, counting out his money, as well as understanding the concept of how much things cost. It is coming. Life skills. Independence. When he succeeds, I see his confidence blooming. For a Mom who is seeing just how anxious he is and how much stress he carries around, this is truly a victory.

Between communicating better this week, seeing how good behavior is rewarded and learning to apply basic life skills, I know how not only Michael, but all exceptional children can succeed with the right tools. He also helped me be more patient. In watching him at the stores looking for my guidance and when he made a mistake apologizing, I realized how there had been times recently when for various personal reasons I may not have been as patient and calm as I wished I had been. It’s hard. It’s especially challenging when both parent and child are tired and communication is not clear. This is when the parent, who in theory is usually the calmer one, needs to take a deep breath and get control of a situation that could become stressful. Easier said than done. Yesterday, I was exhausted. But I remembered to stay calm on the outside and inside to set the example for Michael. I remembered how I always tell him to “turn it around” so at moments when my body was crying out for coffee and quiet, I reminded myself, he is watching how you handle yourself if there are challenges. Model calm, quiet, peace and he will learn those things eventually.

Exceptional Parents, how has your Exceptional Child started growing up? This is essentially what I have been seeing with mine. They all grow up in different ways, and help us grow up too; either by guiding them and ourselves better, teaching us more patience, and reminding us that even when our kids drive us crazy we love them to pieces as they do us. They and we are doing the best that we can. Let’s do our best together by encouraging, loving and modeling calm. Until next time.

The Importance of Handling Anger and Exhaustion in Exceptional Families

I can’t believe all that was in there.  This is what I was thinking on New Year’s Eve when all hell broke loose inside me, all the stress of trying to hold it together during the last month of 2016, hold it together while Michael’s behaviors became more challenging, and Dad was busy at work and in the evenings turned in early to bed to keep his sanity. I thought I was doing ok. I was wrong. I had tried my best, but when Michael started to debate about the quality of his birthday presents, the latest bunch he was getting from relatives, I couldn’t keep it together anymore. All week I was defusing defiance, temper tantrums and misunderstandings. I pictured a quiet unassuming New Year’s Eve and instead got a huge fight where I had to completely disconnect. I unfortunately was not done with my anger on New Year’s Day. I woke up with it. I realized I was angry at Michael and at me for not handling my emotions better, not taking better mental care at a time of year that is challenging for all of us. Mostly, I was filled with self-pity, something I hate to give others and try not to, and something I hate to receive.

Feeling better yesterday and slowly coming back to myself, I realized that lots of exceptional people and their families struggle so much at this time of year to try to do  things right, to fit themselves into the holiday. It should be the other way around. They need to find ways to celebrate that are less demanding and stressful on their nervous system. Through various things out of our control, Michael’s 10th birthday was blown a little out of proportion. When he gets overstimulated, he talks and obsesses more about something and gets quite wound up. I mistook this in my own wound-up-ness as him being spoiled and privileged. That is how my parents would have seen it with their neuro typical children. I was wrong. I was also trying so hard to downplay the festivities and was so exhausted by New Year’s Eve, that my patience level was at zero. So Michael’s misunderstandings were misinterpreted by me and my anger exploded. I had so much of it. So much stress and worry from 2016 just kept pouring out. It was the purge to finally reset myself and hopefully, my boys did the same.

After looking back yesterday to learn from my mistakes, I realized something.  I always tell Michael about the importance of letting out his emotions as they come up. Bottling up anger hurts you. I need to remember as a Mom to do the same. I also remembered that people mean well, but that Dad and I need to be on top of things when we see Michael feeling overloaded even in a good way. We can teach him ways to regulate during this time and demonstrate how we do it. Calm is contagious, but so is stress. I am glad we are back to calm in these new days of 2017.

Exceptional Parents, how do you model calm and keep yourself from getting burned out? Yes, it starts with you. Only when you as a parent have it together, can you show your Exceptional Child that they too have a safe place to regulate and reset their own anxiety. Find what works for you, and don’t be afraid to put those methods into place all year around. 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.exceptionalparenting.net.

New Year. New anxiety management strategies may be a good idea. Download my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS.