Tag: independence

4 Ways To Know It Is Time To Give Your Exceptional Child More Independence

Michael is asking for more space, literal and figurative. He wants to go places by himself, have a phone, have more responsibilities for his choices. He is a tween in full blown puberty and as he nears adolescence, is craving more independence to make choices. Still, then he has other moments when he wants to me to look at him, praise him, hang out with him. He is clingy and wants hugs, very much like when he was a small child. I was told that the 11/12 year age is exhausting as kids are still young, yet burgeoning with adolescent energy. Things actually can become a little easier once they hit adolescence and they become teenagers able to make some adult choices, still under parents’ guidance, of course. It is all stressful for me though, and I’m sure for many Moms. You don’t know who you are raising. Then there are the times he is deliberately “playing us” with behaviors and provocative actions to get a reaction. This has to be downplayed, unless of course a serious accident is underway. I always try to focus on the positive, and when I mess up, I am the first one to admit it to myself and to Michael. This was we both can learn from it.

Lately, I have begun taking Michael to the park up the street and deliberately sitting on a bench far from the park area. Michael loves this. He goes to the park himself, yet I am still there on the premises if something happens. He had asked me about a month ago, when he will be able to walk to this park up the street himself. I told him possibly next year or the year after. Dad and I needed to know that he would be appropriate by talking non aggressively and following traffic rules. I think he is ready to do this most of the time, but there have been issues in the past with safety, so Dad and I decided to hold out for now. I am proud of Michael’s independence however, as is Dad. He started by asking for more responsibility to make his lunches, cook meals, choose who HE invited to birthday parties, where we go,  and if he could stay up late once in a while. It’s been an adjustment for me learning how to stretch the boundaries to keep him safe, while also opening up other realms to give him more flexibility. It’s been challenging, to say the least, especially as Dad and I have had to factor in severe aggression and anxiety issues and continue working with him to manage that.

I have learned in the meantime, that there are ways to spot when it is time to step back as an Exceptional Parent and give your Exceptional Child more freedom and independence. Here are some of them:

  1. Child Asks For It With Words Or By Moving Away From You: Sometimes it is as easy as your child telling you they want more independence or wanting to do more things on their own.
  2. Child Wants To Be More With Peers: If your child wants to be on play dates with peers versus hanging out with Mom, there is another sure sign.
  3. Child Seems Happy When Given Responsibilities: If your child loves the feeling of independence they get doing chores or other responsibilities, they are ready for more independence.
  4. Child  Talks About Being Older With Excitement: This is a surefire way to tell that the child is ready for more independence in doing things on their own.

Exceptional Parents, how often are you conflicted if you are micro managing your Exceptional Child too much and not giving them any personal space to grow? We all struggle with this. It is especially challenging when your Exceptional Child has a different brain and ways of perceiving the world as well as mental health issues which require additional parental support. Still, if you take the time as a parent to read your child’s cues, you will begin to see when they need more of parent time, and when they need more alone time. Don’t be afraid to let them try things on their own. This is a surefire way to help them build self-confidence and become more risk takers. These are life skills that will help them out tremendously as they get to adulthood. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with autism and type 1 diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com.

Differentiate Between Sensory Sensitivities, Boredom and Challenging Behaviors-Let Your Exceptional Child Lead the Way

I used to think I knew Michael one hundred percent. I used to think that surely all the books, articles, and experts I’d talked to about him and his various behaviors could give me an accurate peak into his mind pretty much 24/7. Then I saw that wasn’t the case as he got older. Yes, I know a lot. The books and articles accurately describe a lot of what Michael and kids like him experience, and his therapists know a great deal. But none of us really knows Michael or the individual with autism better than the individual himself. Maybe another person with autism could come closer than us neuro typical parents, educators, and experts. So this has helped me greatly to trust that Michael will usually know what is right for himself.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This does not mean that he does not need guidance and rules to follow like any kid. Believe me, he has tried and continues to try to get his own way with staying up later, not wanting to listen to us, etc. But I see that when I give a little as far as asking him how he is feeling, he will give back more. Some days I have less patience than others. I shared a great quote on Facebook yesterday about pausing and showing patience before we respond to our children. This is hard when we are tired and low on energy, but mandatory. It is the way to their hearts and souls as it is to ours. Understanding and giving them space will go a long way to help us as parents understand what they are going through. I now can tell the difference when Michael is having real sensory sensitivites, experiencing boredom, and showing challenging behaviors. When I look back, I can now see the pattern and know where he needs help.

Exceptional Parents, how do you know what is going through your Exceptional Child’s mind? You don’t know everything, but you definitively have an idea. To get more details, you need to let your child open up to me in a way that only they can. Let them express how they are feeling and with time you’ll recognize if they need space, a hug, sleep or new strategies to deal with sensory issues. The important thing is to give them the steering wheel and let them steer you to where they need help. 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 Session, see my website: http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. For a limited time, I am also offering a special New Year’s Promotion: Refer a friend for one of my six month programs, and receive 2 one on one 1 hour coaching sessions with me for 50% off the regular price. Don’t be afraid to move forward while parenting your exceptional child in a happier and healthier way.

Looking to make a fresh start in 2017 with the way you handle anxiety in your special needs family? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS.



Planning Playdates without Mom Exceptional Style

Michael has been doing something for awhile that is really cute and can cause both of us some stress too. He makes “play dates” with friends at school in his class and those outside of his class. For all his comprehension, he still will shake his head when I remind him that 1) I need to know how to contact the parents of this child if we are to schedule a play date and 2) Even if I have their info and they mine, they have to be free on the day and time that Michael and said buddy are arranging this “play date.” I have a joke with one of the Moms who Michael likes a lot. I will call her and tell her “our boys made plans again for this Saturday at 1:00 pm,” for example. We laugh about it, and try our best to see if we can arrange something. If not, both Michael and the other boy handle it, but with other kids I don’t have the option of knowing how to contact their parents. Sometimes I’ve had to break the news to Michael about not having all the information. What I did for another friend in the class was ask the teacher if she could relay our home phone and telephone number to this particular boy, his classroom BFF this year. He has two other BFF’s in other classes that he gets together with as well. Now we will be planning something with them for a future PED DAY.

It has struck me how Michael’s brain processes things differently, including comprehending something like a play date. He is learning more and more to go with the flow, but sometimes will still get caught up in details. Pre- planning his free time to avoid anxiety is something that has helped enormously, but sometimes he will still worry. We are both learning ways to navigate around this. I am so happy that he wants to interact with friends and chooses things like sledding, swimming or a movie, typical pre teen boy things. No more play dates with toys. My little guy is growing up.

Exceptional Parents, how do your Exceptional Children do on play dates with friends? Do they prefer their own company instead? Don’t forget, not all kids on the autism fit the “loner label,” though it is hard for them to relate to others socially. The important thing if for parents not to push either way. Let your child decide what friends they want to see, and do not want to see. Let them set the pace of social encounters. You will not be disappointed when you give them free reign. They will find what works for them. Your job at that point is simply to guide and support 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 this year? Contact me at  joanne.giacomini@gmail.com for a FREE COPY of my EBOOK  “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY”

Victories and Gains-How My Exceptional Child Is Learning To Regulate


I was so proud of Michael at the store once again today. He now understands how money works and knows how to count his money as well as how much things cost, for the most part. He had some very generous friends give him money for his birthday to buy what he wanted. He has been taking advantage of this in pure Michael excitement. With autism, when someone is into something, they are into it. Now he is into going to the store and proudly buying things with his own money. He has even learned how to converse with the cashier. Today he remembered to say Happy New Year to the cashier at the Dollarstore we went to. He needed to buy new bath toys. Yes, he loves baths. We recently had our bathroom renovated and he so excited to start taking baths again so that has become his other thing. He always liked baths, but had to start taking showers when our only tub started leaking a while ago. He will repeatedly tell me how baths relax him. I know. They do the same for me.

I love how he is learning to find his own in the world, and even when things worry him, like the first day of school back from Christmas holiday, he compensates by getting up early to give himself time to play, get ready calmly, prepare his toys and his mind for change. He plans on doing the same thing today. We’ll see. I tell him that he needs to find strategies that work for him and go from there. I also remind him though, that eventually he will be tired and have to catch up on his sleep. When that happens he can get up his usual seven am instead of five thirty. The important thing is that he is recognizing where he has control, what he can control, and learning how good behavior produces good results. He told me today, “Mommy I am really trying to listen. Sometimes I forget and I feel bad.” I answered him back that he is doing well and I am very proud of him. I know he is capable of listening all the time. And if he makes a mistake, he can apologize and start again. As with any child he is not perfect, but is doing the best that he can. So am I.

Exceptional Parents, what victories and gains do you notice in your Exceptional Children? Sometimes after many falls you may notice a few gains. The reverse happens too. That is ok. Just be patient with them.  Be firm. Be steady. Be loving. And remember, sometimes in their struggle if we leave them alone, they will figure it out and find their own strategies to manage stress and anxiety. As long as they have love, they can get through anything. 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. Remember,  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? Are you looking to make a fresh start this year? Contact me at joanne.giacomini@gmail.com to downloand my FREE EBOOK:  “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” 





Issues of Control and Needing Love-Michael’s and My Exceptional Journey

child, family, generation

Michael is going through a period of life now where he is asserting himself. He is becoming more independent which I love, but it can sometimes be annoying. How, you ask? Well, he will insist on doing EVERYTHING by himself. And by that, I mean like for instance if I got the food for his snack he would take the food, put it back in the cupboard and get it himself. It is a part independence/part OCD thing, but I am proud all the same. I am trying to teach him though that you can work together with someone in a team AND be independent. That is proving the harder lesson to teach, but we are getting there slowly.

As frustrating as it is when he tests my patience with doing things over, and knowing he can’t swear will say a silly word, I know my little boy is blooming. When I get frustrated, I remind myself of when he was little and I prayed he would be aware of us. Then he was. Then I prayed he would begin talking and communicating, and he did. Then I prayed he would read and write which he is starting to do. The next thing I pray for is for Michael to learn to handle this anxiety and stress and figure out when he can do things himself and when he can ask for help.  I am proud he is communicating stress to me.

Yesterday evening Michael and I navigated baking together for the first time in about six months. It was trying at times and fun at others. All of the time I was reminding him about balance, asking for help or clarification if you needed it, and then telling me he was ready to do it alone if I was still being the protector Mama. I am getting better at stepping away from that role though. I am learning that even if it is harder for Michael or takes longer, he needs to experience doing things on his own by himself. I am proud as I watch him struggle then figure it out. I was not allowed to do this until I was older. It impacted my confidence, and I want to make sure Michael’s confidence gets a boost before his twenties. My parents did their best and what they did helped me, but hindered me in other ways. I hope to teach Michael to fly with confidence at a younger age, and still show him the unconditional love my parents still have for my brother and I now that we are adults.

Exceptional Parents, when do you notice your Exceptional Children pulling away from you to seek control? When do you notice them pushing into you at other times for reassurance of your love in their way? It’s important as you know, to strike a balance between the two, control and love and let them see that by working with you they gain independence and keep your love. Until next time.

Overwhelmed by anxiety? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” at: www.exceptionalparenting.net under EBOOKS. Fill in the submission form to receive your FREE EBOOK.