Tag: self-care

Exceptional Alone Time-Recharge, Re-Energize and Help Your Child Learn Its Value

As I climbed into my lovely hot bath with the required candle burning in the corner of the tub, I thought how wonderful it was to take this time for me last night. I usually don’t allow myself this luxury at nine o’clock at night. On the weekends, I try to make time to spend with my partner. We hardly have time to talk during the week. Or sometimes I will get back to my fiction writing or to reading the latest novel I have started. I always say I will take this time to unwind in the bath by myself when the house is quiet and only the cat is patiently waiting outside the door for me to feed her. But yesterday was one of the few evenings I allowed myself to do this. Why, I thought? I need to do this a few times a week. It is free respite, in my home, and I was so zen I did not even need the glass of wine I was looking to drinking afterwards. I drink my lemon water, went to do some Social Media work, and the headed off to bed. I slept really well.

As Exceptional parents, we have so many more stresses and worries about our children. We have strains and guilt, and think that maybe we could have done better today. Why didn’t we? Even when things are going well like they have been for me with Michael, I still question and second guess myself sometimes. Michael will remind me faster than I him , “Mommy, you’re doing a good job.” I have taught Michael well and his self-esteem is strong. So is mine in every respect pretty much, even as a mother. There are those moments when I lapse though and am hard on myself. More therapeutic things could have been done. More I love you’s could have been said. But now I stop myself. I am enough. He is enough. We are enough. When I stop to take a rest by a nice bath, a good book, a night out or listening to music, I remind myself that I am strong, beautiful and doing the best that I can. Michael is doing all of these things too. I have taught him how to take care of himself and now he reminds me.

White Hot Mug on Book Near Linen

Exceptional Parents, how often do you recharge and take respite at home in your territory? Your child needs to see you prioritizing that as they prioritize their relaxation, health and well-being. It’s only by doing that, that both of you will grow stronger and healthier and be able to tackle the big issues up ahead. 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.

Looking to beat the winter blahs? Download my FREE EBOOK: “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com/EBOOKS

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Recognizing When I Need A Break As An Exceptional Mom

So the other day Michael asked if he could show me a new way home from school. I had picked him up at school as he had a swimming lesson directly after school. The week before had been stressful at the lesson and I was tired. It had been a short, but busy work day and I had stopped in to buy groceries before picking Michael up. Maybe that was why when Michael told me to turn right like his bus did and not left, that I let out the swear word and felt my anger explode out of me. Michael grinned and then I realized my mistake. I apologized for swearing and then seeing where I was redirected myself out through the small streets and back the way he had meant to tell me. We were both tired and a little distracted and mistakes happen. Still, where did all the anger come from? I realized I hadn’t been sleeping much and was feeling a little stressed. I also realized I needed to do something for me and practice some self-care which was lacking this week. I realized I needed to get back to exercise and yoga. At least I was still meditating. That was what had given me the strength to apologize for my blunder and turn the rest of the afternoon around as I teach Michael.

But what I also realized is that that woman who was hard on herself is gone. The woman who would call herself a bad mother was gone. The one who said she couldn’t this anymore was gone. Thank God. Wow. I’d come a long way from three years ago when I was so hard on myself. And it was because I didn’t know how to be anything else. I didn’t know when I was burning out, or when I was being a martyr, a victim. Now, I recognize when I am not practicing proper self-care and when I need to get on the bandwagon of recharging my batteries. When I start thinking, “I have to cancel that lunch,”  “I can’t exercise today,” or “I can’t go out.” That is my self-sacrificing side coming out which, if not tempered with a firm, “Joanne, you need to take care of you by doing this today,” will fizzle and burn out and then I’ll be no good to anybody. I was so happy I recognized I was there the other day with Michael. And I stopped, paused and reminded myself: You are going to make time for you this week. And that is what I have been doing. Lunch with friends on Thursday, and later today, I will be going to a spa near me for a Hamamm experience: hot tubs and saunas. This is what helps me recharge. I actually have made a habit to go every January to this Hamamm as it is like a reset for me. Next thing will be booking a massage in February.

Exceptional Parents, do you notice when you are running on empty? What are your signs? What are your child’s? The great thing when we notice our own signs of wear and tear is that we can teach our Exceptional Children to notice theirs and find ways that they can unwind and recharge their own batteries. You’ve come a long way as a parent when you see you can do this. It means you are seeing your own humanity and limits, and this will help you connect to your child in an even more intimate way. 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.

SPECIAL NEW YEAR PROMOTION: Refer a friend for a six month coaching program, and receive two personal one on one coaching sessions with me at a 50% price discount.

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Endings, Beginnings And Seeing The Right Path With My Exceptional Child

What a weekend! I don’t think we have had such an amazing weekend as a family like this in about a month. Saturday’s beautiful fall sunshine weather just added to my joy, the joy of being with Michael outside in the park. I watched him play serenely on all the park equipment, and then play quietly on the grass with his Skylander figurines, a new interest.

“There are no more picnic tables Mommy. Did the city put them away?”

“Yes, winter is coming. Enjoy today. We are getting snow on Monday.”

A small smile plays on his lips. “I’m so excited. Will we be able to go sledding?”

I laugh. “There won’t be that much snow. But it’s good you have your new snow pants.”

He runs off to play. I sit down in the grass and feel lighter than I have in a long while. Michael’s challenging behaviors had started up again last week. I think I figured out what the problem was. He had another loose tooth that came out Friday afternoon. The beginning of the week had been so hard for both of us. Then I remembered a few weeks previously there had been pain with the other tooth too. He was feeling calm again. The pain was gone. I knew this was not the only reason. I had also been making sure to really be present for him. I had been turning off my phone and listening, and most importantly, feeling calm around Michael by practicing self-care. I had made sure to go back to my weekly exercise along with meditation and yoga. I had all that much more to give him even if I’d had a busy work day. It’s so important for parents to take care of themselves so they can be there for their kids.

I witnessed a calmer and more mature son this weekend. He was feeling good. He was rested. He knew his limits, and he asked calmly for what he wanted to do. I even had some extra beautiful surprises. He bonded with his Dad in a way I haven’t seen for quite a while. It’s been strained between them due to stress on both their parts. But as Dad has gotten back into his self-care, the two of them spent a beautiful Sunday. They went to shopping centers, out to lunch, a tennis lesson, and a holiday craft bazaar. The child that came home was not the son of the last few weeks who was stressed, anxious, fighting. He was clearly happy to have had time with his Dad and thrilled to tell me all about his day. It was so nice to see my little guy so happy.

Pain can do a lot to all of us. It can make us think and act crazy. I was reminded this weekend of something I read in a book a long while ago about children and behavior. It is important to always see if there is a physical cause for behaviors or outbursts. The child could be overtired or in physical discomfort in a way that we had not thought of. It works the same for us adults, though we usually can hold it together better. I had forgotten this life lesson, and was so happy that Michael reminded me of it by showing me the truly wonderful little boy he is when he too is feeling balanced and good inside.

Exceptional Parents, how many times have you missed the real culprit behind your child’s challenging behaviors? How many times have you been so stressed trying to help your child, that you forgot to be calm around them and not join their chaos? We’ve all made these mistakes. No one is perfect. The important thing is not only to be keen observers when we see our child on the right path, but also to be a keen observer when we see ourselves on that right path. 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

 

How To Balance Motherhood, Work and Exceptional Childcare

Seeing Michael pull yet another bedtime academy award performance for yelling, not listening and rudeness, made me realize something at the end of a very long hour. I absolutely cannot alter anything in his bedtime routine until we get his challenging behaviors under control. It was a question of me needing ten more minutes to finish something for work and he stayed with Dad. He had ten more minutes of the audio visual he had worked so hard to get by good listening. There had even been a nice snack and talking time after school. He had shared news with me about school, though not the details like he used to share until a couple of weeks ago. I had thought things were turning around. I was wrong. He needed the routine to stay exactly the same last night. He needed me to stay calm when he started testing, but all I could think, was NOT AGAIN. He and I were not on the same wavelength last night. We were both tired and not communicating properly.

All Moms and Dads have those days, but if you see you are falling into a pattern in your family of fights, stress, and the same anxieties coming up, it is time to look at your patterns of communication with your child, your partner, and yourself. Our family is going through that now. We have our good days, and our bad days. What is important is to learn from the bad days, to see what changes we could make and to do them. It is important to honestly communicate with your partner about what you and they could do differently and individually. And then, the hardest part. Both partners have to be on the same page and show a united front to the child. Also, both partners have to be open and loving with the child. Authoritarian parenting does not work, and that is where many of us go wrong. We start out loving, present, but as exhaustion and frustrations in us build, we veer to the authoritarian model and who loses, our child.

Being a Mom and Dad is hard work. You have your child, your job, your home. You are pulled in millions of different directions and it is hard to know where to prioritize things sometimes. But at the top of the list is your own self-care. If you are not focused and centered, you cannot handle any curve balls your child will throw at you. Do what you need to do to put things like exercise, sleep and some personal leisure time at the top of your list. If not, it will show in your parenting over time as you reserves of patience and love will run thin. Remember too, as we all tend to forget, that challenging behavior is a sign of something bothering your child, some need that is not getting met in a positive way. When you are both calm, talk to your child about it. Figure out what is bothering them, and then structure their time so they know what to expect.

Exceptional Parents, how do you balance it all and are you at the top of that list of balance? Do you take care of yourself well so you can take care of your child the best way possible? If not, make that change today. Small ways you give yourself care and attention will translate into your parenting, and before long you will be connecting with your child on a whole new level again. Be gentle with yourself. We all make mistakes. 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. 

How Embracing Failure Has Made Me A Better Mom

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Failure. Who would ever label that a positive word, but still it can be. Why? Only when we fail and fall down, can we rise and learn from our mistakes, new ways of being and doing. I used to be so hard on myself when I would come up against challenges with Michael in the past. Now, I see that it is not me failing him, but him needing to learn the proper tools to help himself handle failure, obstacles and stress. Life is not easy for him. Life is not easy for any of us. Most of us though know how to regulate our emotions though, and look to others for our cues. For exceptional kids, this is hard. They have a more difficult time relating to people and what people are saying. Still, when I have failed in reaching Michael, or in losing my temper it has shown me something amazing.

It has shown me what I need to work on to be stronger, more compassionate and a better all around human being. It’s not that I am a bad human being when I fail. None of us is. It’s just that I have temporarily lost touch with what I need to be working on, honing my energy in taking better care of my internal compass and inner workings, so I can model that for Michael. And believe me, even though I know what I need to do to keep the balance in my life, I still sometimes fall back into old habits of ruminating, worrying, getting angry when I can’t control anything, all the things I tell Michael to not worry about. I re-learn the lesson the same time I am teaching it Michael. I also learn that it is alright to be vulnerable, ask for help, as well as offer help at the same time. It is alright to be human and to teach Michael the same thing.

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While I have been finding new ways to reach Michael and keep my own spirits strong while navigating new challenges with him, I have also had the privilege of supporting other Moms in their journey. And a privilege it is. While I help them, they help me. Just as while I help Michael, he helps me. And we all heal. We heal from the need to be perfect, untouchable, fearless. We are all afraid sometimes. We are all brave at other times. Life is a roller coaster. You can choose to ride it in full glory and brace yourself as best you can with the ups and downs, enjoying the ups and knowing you’ll figure out how to handle the downs when you get there. Or, you can choose to not ride it, fearing the downs only. As each day goes by, I know I will sometimes have down times, stressful times, times when I feel weak. But I know it is temporary and will pass. The up times are coming, and I will have what I need by then to coast beautifully. This is what I now teach Michael too.

Exceptional Parents, how often do you fail as parents, as human beings? If it’s often, that’s good. It means you are human. It means you are trying. It means you will find the tools if you search and look in your heart for them. They are there. As we tell our children, they are perfect in their imperfections and so are we. So don’t worry. Treat your failure as a gift. Let it take you to new heights and help you overcome hardship. Let yourself and your child soar. 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. 

4 Tips to Handle Exceptional Mommy Meltdowns

I am not proud of the way I have been handling Michael’s stress lately. In part, in large part, it has been because I have not been taking the best care of myself. I have not been sleeping, exercising and eating the way I want to. I have done my best to be present for him, but when I am not at my best physically, mentally and spiritually it is hard.

Our kids are treasures. Michael is not exception to this rule. He teaches me lessons every day about life, love, respect, faith and what really, I mean really matters. But it doesn’t make it easy. For either of us. He doesn’t always understand that Mom needs time alone. Away from him? With her writing? A blog? A friend’s book launch?  A writer’s meeting? Her business? What is this? Then, just as soon as the anger flares up, it is gone. I feel like a failure when I yell, though I know what to tell other parents about patience. It is hard to practice it myself. Still, I do tell Michael that Mom needs to work better on using her strategies to handle anger. It is fine to be angry, but we can’t let it rule us.

Michael is very forgiving. We always make up before bedtime even when we have fights at bedtime. But I hate Mommy Meltdowns. I try to avoid them whenever I can. Still, sometimes in spite of my best intentions, they happen. So here are some tips for other Moms to handle their Mommy meltdowns better:

Tips to Help with Mommy Meltdowns:

  1. Am I sleeping enough? What is happening to cause your sleep to be interrupted? Are you not delegating things so as to alleviate stress? Are you not exercising? Are you not communicating to those around you about your problems? These can all trigger stressful episodes that get worse without you being pro-active.
  2. Are you not making time for 5-10 min of “Me Time” a day: This is especially hard if you have more than one child and/or if you are a single parent. But it is essential. I have one child and a partner, and still there have been times when I tend to get overwhelmed. Take the time for you. You, you partner and/or kids will thank you.
  3. Don’t be overly strict: Yep. As I write these words now, I know this is what I am striving for, yet I still have days and weeks when I fail to practice this. Why? Because it is easy to fall back on what we learned as children. The same strategies do not work for a child with autism. I sometimes need to be reminded of that. If you forget, don’t worry. Just remember for the next time.
  4. Reach out to other parents of exceptional children: I guarantee you. Whatever story you tell to your community of how you badly handled a situation with your child with autism, they will still support you and commiserate. I have been in both positions with my Mom friends, confessing and supporting.My parent community has always rallied  around me (as I did to them), and told me that my child and I are amazing and doing the best we both can. And we are and do!

 

Exceptional Parents, do you have Mommy and Daddy meltdowns with your Exceptional Child/dren? It’s alright. We all do, just as they do with us. We are human, and even if we know better, parenting and being a child is hard work. Forgive yourself, forgive your child, and learn from your mistakes. Don’t be afraid to try new things for you and your child either that will break the dynamic of tension. You will be amazed by the results. 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. 

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. 

 

Coming Back Home: Church and Nature: My Exceptional Sanctuaries From Stress

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I sat in the Church pews for the first time in two months yesterday. I was alone. Michael was not ready to come back to church. That is a whole other blog post. In this one, I want to talk about how I re-connected back yesterday to something important to me that I had been losing over the summer in the hectic day to day life. What was it? My ability to re-connect inwards with my soul and spirit to get strong for what lies ahead with Michael, and any other life events that are coming my way. It was bittersweet and emotional for me to be at mass alone yesterday, but I needed that time. Lately, Michael has still been having growing pains adjusting to school, homework, and his ever growing need to be on the move and keep busy. His stimming people tell him he has to. I think it is due to all the worrying and stress he carries around in his head. He is literally running from it. That, and the fact as he has told us, mapping out all these destinations on Google Maps means now he has to visit the countless stores and places everyday after school that he has seen. This is part of his love and hyper focus on directions. I am proud yet exhausted, and am slowly trying to find a compromise for both of us. I have told him we stay home once a week this month, twice in October, three times in November, and then in December four days a week, and that I will show him the fun things he can do at home. It has not been easy. There have been tears, fighting and stress on both our parts, but I know we will find a compromise.

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This is why being in church yesterday was so good for me. It helped me remember how to go in ward and find strength to help Michael and myself. The next place I went yesterday afternoon that recharged me, was a park with Michael. While he played, I sat on the bench, and after taking some pictures of the trees and nature around me, I lay back, closed my eyes, and began to slowly heal from the stress of our fights over the last few days, the mental and physical exhaustion of working, taking care of Michael, making time for my marriage, and catching up in my house. I felt my old positive spirit start to emerge again slowly. I was in danger of losing it due to stress and anxiety. And that is when the word hit me: sanctuary. Nature and religion are my sanctuaries and the places I must retreat to when times get tough and stormy.

Exceptional Parents, what are your sanctuaries in times of stress and difficulty? If you don’t know offhand, try experimenting BEFORE your tension levels skyrocket. Try out taking a nature walk or sitting near a body of water, try a new exercise routine or yoga routine, go sit in a coffee shop, do whatever you need to do to heal your spirit. Make sure you show and remind it what it needs to do to recharge so that when things do swirl out of control, you know where to go. I’m sure glad I did, and now I can show Michael to do the same thing. Until next time.

He Loves Me, He Hates Me- How Our Children Test Their Limits and Independence With Us

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One of the hardest things for a parent to deal with is both a child testing their limits and at the same time needing a parent’s gentle hand and understanding when the parent is on the verge of losing their own patience and temper. Yep. That’s what it has been like at my house lately. A few times I have yelled. Sometimes it helped. Michael took me seriously. He took the limits I placed on him seriously. Other times like the other day, I became a little bit of a control freak and disciplinarian by not picking my battles and really laying into him about small things. Yes, a parent of any child learns to pick their battles. A parent of an exceptional child with autism? You REALLY need to learn to pick your battles or there will be heck to pay. 🙂

I did not choose good battles to pick and now the last few days Michael has been using these “small obstacles” to test me. There was one day everything but go wash your hands became a fight between us. It was mentally and physically draining. It was the same with Dad. Then it all came out. He’s not used to school. He resents his teacher telling him what to do, and instead of using his words and strategies to manage his stress, he takes it out on trying to be a mini dictator with us, where he feels safe and has more control.

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Yes, parents. As frustrating and infuriating as it is, you must be stronger than your anger and see the child’s need. For me, it meant taking some time in nature to recollect my thoughts. Taking time to workout, even a short one when the rest of my house was falling apart, so I could be strong to weather the storm that is Michael. It is hard for him. My beautiful little boy struggles to be understood, to understand. We are lucky to be in an adapted school where he has services. I imagine what it would be like for him in mainstream school where some teachers would instinctively “get him” but others would not. He is considered high functioning due to his verbal ability and his social nature, but there are so many things he needs to be taught and does not understand. It is the same with me. I confess I am sometimes embarrassed by how little I know how much he knows. I am so glad when he opens my eyes. Then there are the times I overestimate his capability of understanding, of coping. And I curse myself again. It’s alright, Joanne. Tomorrow is another day. I know I know him better than anyone, and when I don’t, my son educates me on who he is. We climb that mountain of love together.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle your Exceptional Child’s behavior? How do you cope with their outbursts and your own? Know that however you do it, you are doing your best. In time you will learn how best to help your child who is, like any child, unique and special. Reach out to professionals, fellow parents and most importantly, your child themselves. He/she will show you what they are made of, and let me tell you, our kids are stronger and smarter than anyone gives them credit for. Stay strong, take care of your own health to be there for them, you and those around you, and remember. Life is a journey, not a destination. Until next time.