So this afternoon the honeymoon period was over, the honeymoon period of NO behaviors for a good three weeks. I wasn’t clear and concise with something. I said one thing, then changed my mind. Michael was hungry, tired. It was just before dinner. As a matter of fact, I was getting dinner on the table. I said something he did not like. He started protesting, yelling, then before I could stop him, he broke a glass that was near the sink. Immediately he looked to see if his hand wasn’t cut. It wasn’t. I informed him this had cost him one of his tokens. He was upset, started to hit his head and continued trying to bargain with me and justify what he had done. I told him to calm down. I spilled the water from draining the pasta that I had cooked, and was losing my temper too. I quickly took a deep breath, and told Michael to go get washed up for dinner. We would talk at dinner. He finally listened, did what he was told and we talked strategies- how he could have handled himself better, why he needs to listen (not just to get things), and the importance of learning from our mistakes. It was a good conversation. Due to losing one of his 6 tokens, he did not get the usual one hour reward of time on the computer as he normally did, but the thirty minutes he gets for earning 5 tokens. We show him he can still succeed, and next time do better.
I’m sure this scenario plays out, and will play out I’m sure, many more times at homes where exceptional children reside. It’s normal. They don’t hear the boundaries. They are tired. They get frustrated and don’t have good coping mechanisms and they blow. It’s not easy. Even children who are on medication have these moments. I used to wonder as a Mom who has not gone down that route, if this would solve the problem. I think it is helpful, like any intervention, but should be used when it is used, in conjunction with good anger management strategies. When the child is aware and can grasp consequences for their actions, this is the best time to teach. I always do a rewind with Michael after such an incident and have been for the last year. I think it is helping him like it helps me, as long as we don’t overdue it.
What did I learn from last night’s episode? Yes, I am a parent coach and have learned many strategies to cope with my own anger, stress, and feelings of being overwhelmed in the last three years. But I am also a human being, and I have my breaking point. I allow myself the room to make mistakes, learn from them and regroup. I could have paid a little more attention to my words and been more concrete. Now, I’m not blaming myself for Michael’s outburst. His feelings reactions are his responsibility. But I am only saying that I need to be conscious of my words, stress level, and what I mean. With exceptional kids, they can often go from 0 to 100 very easily, particularly at times of the day when they are tired. Michael has made leaps and bounds in his awareness. As I have blogged before he is even trying to do some neuro typical manipulating (as all kids do), with it in mind. I am proud, but it also means as a Mom, my job title got harder. It’s ok. I am ready for it.
Exceptional Parents, have you recently had breaks in your honeymoon behavior period with your children? How does this make you feel? It’s normal if your first reaction is stress and despondency. Self-pity sometimes comes in too. Give in to it for a few moments, but then it’s time to get back in the saddle. Think of the gift of the mistake. Learn from it and help your child to learn from it. Together the two of you will become stronger and closer as a result. 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.
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