So Michael is in puberty. He actually has been for awhile. What I have seen over the last two years is a child who is fighting for his independence while simultaneously trying to handle the ups and downs of coping with emotions that are sometimes out of his control. This is further complicated by his other conditions and his diabetes. Still, I am proud to see the inroads he has made, and equally frustrated when there have been battle of the wills between us. I admit to sometimes getting too caught up in trying to control the situation. This is exactly what infuriates tweens and teens the most, a battle for control. I am learning that while Michael needs my rules and structure on the one hand, he also needs me to be able to step back and give him some room to make mistakes or decisions that may be for the best. This is not always easy for me to do, but I am learning when I need to step in, and when I need to step back.
Here are some tips I can offer for other exceptional families navigating puberty:
1) Stay calm: There is nothing worse when your kid loses it and you do too. Keep your cool.
2) Let your child set the pace whenever possible: Give them leeway for decisions whenever you can, whether or not it is a good or bad decision, as long as it does not endanger them. Don’t always try and correct them. They need to learn MANY times often through trial and error.
3) Be open to new therapies and medications: It is also good to keep an open mind about new therapies and medications that could help your child function more calmly.
4) Be prepared for sexuality as if they were neuro typical: This is both cool and frightening for many exceptional parents, as we are both happy if our child is experiencing sexual thoughts, but worry how to explain things to them. Go with their flow and speak in simple concrete language to explain things.
5) Seek help and support with a sexologist certified to work with special needs kids or a good psychotherapist: It’s important to line up your team to help your child navigate puberty ideally right before they hit puberty or shortly thereafter. These people will be able to give you and your child support on how to handle the difficult moments puberty can bring.
Exceptional Parents, are you or your Exceptional Child feeling stressed handling the day to day effects of puberty? Is your child having a hard time understanding what is happening? Reach out for help. Everyone from your child’s doctor, to other parents, to schools can have good strategies to offer. Yes, there is not a lot of information on how kids who are exceptional handle puberty from their perspective, but search out blogs of adults on the spectrum who have been through this. They will have words of wisdom to offer you and your child. Finally, as a parent it is important to trust your own gut when it comes to how best to help your child through this exciting and challenging time. Don’t be afraid to experiment while also trusting that you may know exactly what they need to move forward confidently in their future. Until next time.
Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. I have been there before realizing the gift of who my son is. For more information about me and my journey, check out my website :www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com as well as my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL PARENTING” at http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/ebooks.