Tag: special needs parents

Exceptional Mom Friends-Lifeline In Times of Stress

I am a lucky woman. There. I’ve said it. I know I am blessed beyond reason. I not only have a great family, but amazing Mom friends just like me who “get it,” in other words, who get what I am going through. I don’t get a chance to see them in person as much as I like (or they like too). We are all busy with our families, even when things are going well. And when they are not going well, it’s even crazier.  We try to get out for Mommy dinners with wine, but it doesn’t always work out.  Still, I know I can have the world’s worst Mom day, feel like a total failure and email, text or call them, and be told, “You’re amazing.” Just knowing they are  out there brings tears to my eyes. I am not alone, I think! The other day at camp pick up I saw one of these Mom friends. She spontaneously gave me a hug. It meant the world to me on a week where things have been less than perfect at home with Michael. And of course, like every Mom, I am blaming myself. I know as a professional that things are not all my fault. But as a Mom, naturally it is your fault. You are the glue that holds the family together. And when that glue dries up, good night Charlie.

As a parent coach who works with families, I am professional, calm, centered and trust my instincts. As a Mom I am usually that. On my best days. On the other days when my kid throws me new curve balls like he did this week,  I am tired and scared. I sometimes question myself. Am I doing this motherhood thing right? Do I really know my kid? Am I missing something major? The answer is usually, No, you are fine by my inner voice, but when that voice is tired, scared and fearful  I hear the voice of  God and that of my Mom friends. God  speaks through them, giving me strength and hope, as well as reminding me I love my child and am doing everything I can to teach him how to handle the new obstacles life has thrown at him. He is a great kid who will get through this challenges as is his Mom.

I think back to all the Mom friends I have met over the years. I have met them at Michael’s schools, support groups, volunteering at his school, and at other online support groups .They make me laugh. They make me remember the joys of being a mother to a specific kind of child with challenges, because no matter what, they all have children with challenges and different brains too. We can commiserate and laugh about the same things. Cry over the struggles. And then celebrate the victories. There are so many more victories than challenges. Another friend talks about our “little village” of Moms who support each other. Just knowing they are there makes all the difference.

It is so important for all exceptional parents to find their village-online, in person, or both. Talk with these parents. Meet with them regularly or as often as you can. You are not alone. You are a woman carrying what so many women carry- love, strength, fear, anger, hope, despair and resilience in the end to see things through for your child to the best of your ability. No matter what, Moms don’t give up, and if you ever feel yourself about to lose it, reach out and connect to another Mom. You will be rewarded with a kind ear, laughter, and understanding. I would not be where I am today (nor would Michael), without the help of my Mom friends who listened to me, gave me the names of therapists, schools, play centers, you name it, to make life less crazy and more manageable and fun.  Now, I occasionally find myself returning the favor when a Mom comes to me. I feel privileged to be able to help any Mom by providing information, a kind ear, or a hug (virtual or in person), that she is an incredible Mom and human being. As women, we are too hard on ourselves and we need to stop doing that. We need to let ourselves be loved and know that like our child is enough for us we are enough for ourselves and those around us. At least the ones who matter.

Exceptional Parents, how many of you reach out to your Mom or parent friends when you are down or scared? Remember, your journey is unique, but all Moms have shared your pain of fear for their child and struggle to make things better for them now and in the future. Support each other through the rough times and celebrate the victories together. You will never feel alone again. 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

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How to Handle Anxiety And Sensory Issues in an Older Child

analog, binder, blank

This week has been an interesting week with Michael. Well, pretty much every week is interesting. Some weeks are more challenging than others, good and bad. Last week was a good week overall, but I did notice a lot of anxiety in Michael. The good thing is he is learning to express himself better and talk about his feelings. The bad thing is that the same measures that used to work (offering him sensory massages, pillows to squeeze and showing him his exercise ball) don’t always work. He will sometimes actively fight me on even trying these techniques. This is what I am calling the curse of the tween hormones, with a touch of autism. I add the last part for a little bit of humor to get us through the tougher moments when Michael is pretty arguing with us about everything. This morning it was when he would do his chores so he could accumulate money to buy his next toy. Weekends are tough as the structure changes, and though it has been nice taking a break from extracurricular activities, Dad and I now he needs them again. The brain break was good, but physically for stress relief and sensory reasons we see how he really needs to move.

It’s tough though, as he is at the age when he does not like challenge. Our school physiotherapist warned us that due to a mild hypotonia, he may not like being physically pushed to go a little farther. But in order for him to get strong and build muscle,  he would need to move as this would help him. When he moves, just like any child, he also burns energy, feels more relaxed and positive, and handles stress and sensory issues better. It’s a tough balance, and one I am slowly learning to navigate as the mother of a tween. In all areas, he is growing up, pushing us away in daytime, and then pulling us closer at night. Sundays he dreads going back to school even though he is doing well. It is the pushing of limits. He wants to play it safe, as we are trying to teach him that only by taking risks can he make progress. I find that by giving him some freedom, I am helping him learn his own power. But then I must remind him, these are your strategies to calm down. Let’s write them on a paper. Let’s look at pictures of the equipment. Now you try what works.

Exceptional parents, what sensory issues/anxieties are your experiencing with your Exceptional Child? Are they close to or at the tween age or younger? You will see your child move through cycles, no matter what age they are. There will be good days and bad days. There will be victories and setbacks. The most important thing you can do is remind your child that though there are rules they have to follow with you and adults around them, they also have a measure of control over their life, their anxiety, and their sensory issues. Praise them when they make a good choice. Calmly redirect when they stumble. And if you need a minute, give yourself a time out to breathe and move forward. Only if you are calm and centered, can you help your child move forward into independence as stress-free as possible. Until next time.

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 OFFER: February is the month of love. We show love to our children, partners and friends But what about to ourselves as parents? Do you know how to practice self-care and truly love the amazing parent and person you are? If you need support in this area of your life, until Feb. 28th I am offering a FREE ONE HOUR one on one coaching session, as well as a second one hour one on one coaching session at 50% off regular price. Give yourself the gift of self-love, and learn some great tools to begin to put your needs first so you can parent in balance. Contact me at joanne@creatingexceptionalparenting.com or 514-827-7175 to book your Skype session. www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com

 

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Bedtime Battles-10 Ways For Exceptional Moms To Cool Down

So I did it again. I know better. I know how audio visual, and nighttime anxiety, and testing behaviors come out at night. And still, still I gave Michael a chance to get a later start on his bedtime routine. It quickly became a bedtime battle with Michael getting upset and me yelling. Really, I’m more disappointed in myself as I know better usually. He’s a great kid, but like any kid, he will do what he has to do to stall going to bed.

“I’m not tired Mommy. I can go to bed at 10:00 pm.” Yeah right. Then his eyes are closing at school, (his own admission) and I can see by the end of the day he is fried. So, I said it before but I did not stick to it. Sometimes, even with good intentions us Moms make mistakes. Starting tomorrow, I will be more firm that with a heavier bedtime schedule he needs to start earlier or else do a shorter routine. And I will plan on enforcing this more strictly and holding myself accountable. Another thing I did wrong was that I was not forceful enough after school that I needed to work. Michael was testing and rude, then apologetic and clingy, so much so that I got no work done after school then no work done after dinner due to fighting about bath so I was, well, feeling sorry for myself and licking my own wounds so to speak. I know now that this will not help anyone so I will not do it anymore.

Last night made me think of all the ways I can learn to hold my emotional stuff together and give other parents tips on what works for me. Some of these are harder to implement than others even though I know better, but I am getting there. So, here are my 5 tips:

  1. Rid yourself of your own emotional angst:  Lots of parents, Moms especially, keep their own feelings in until they burst. Don’t do this. You don’t help your child or yourself and you cause lots of stress that is not necessary. If you feel anger or resentment at your child, yourself, your partner, find a productive outlet to release it and do something positive for yourself.
  2. Make sure you are sleeping enough: Sleep deprivation or exhaustion does not help anyone in your family. A person will not tolerate stress well until they are rested and calm. The world will still turn if you go to bed early a night or two. Try it.
  3. Remind yourself your child is not trying to make your life miserable: It is hard sometimes when we are frustrated and tired to see challenging behavior for what it really is; a child’s cry for help and attention. We need to not take it personally, see what is bothering them, and go from there. But, we need the emotional distance from our own feelings before getting there.
  4. Breathing and meditation: I know. I’ve probably said breathing and meditation a million times in my blog posts (and will put them in a million more), but it is so important to take are of yourself with mindfulness and staying the moment. Even when I fail to do this, yoga and meditation have showed me HOW to get back on the right track.
  5. Exercise regularly: Finally am getting back to a regular exercise routine in 2017. I always am shocked how I make excuses not to do something that makes me feel wonderful inside. I was having some mini anxiety attacks earlier in the week, and then I realized why: tired and not exercising to handle stress. I did one workout this week and am planning two more, but even after one I felt like a million dollars. I did a 2o minute Zumba routine. Do anything Moms. Walk. Go on a treadmill, swim, bike. Your body will thank you a million times.
  6. Get a massage or go to a spa: For those of you lucky enough that your partner can do it, ask for one and give one in return. It’ll spark something else. For everyone else, go every  few months if you can afford the splurge. Lots of spas have gifts cards, discounts and I like to go to a Hammam experience at a local spa near me. It is in my price range and can tide me over till I get a one hour or one hour and a half massage.
  7. Make quality time with your child before bedtime to bond: When you are truly bonding with your child in all senses of the word, you will feel the connection. They will not need to act out and will feel secure and you won’t get upset.
  8. Find out what about their behavior is triggering you: This is something I just learned about recently. What our kids do that bug us is usually what we did to our parents or how they responded to us. See if you can get to the bottom of it by journaling about your feelings or talk to a therapist.
  9.  Spend time out with family and friends: This is important to do alone and with your child. You’ve got to see them in a good context and not just in when they are misbehaving.
  10. Cry, scream, write, get it out of your system: Don’t be afraid to let out your emotions when you are alone and it is safe to do so. You need to leave room for everything in your body, mind and soul, including the bad emotions.  As long as it is cathartic and does not make you delve deeper into depression, it is the way to go.

Exceptional Parents, do you have your own tricks to stay calm with your children that are different from those above? If so, great. I’d love to hear them! If they work, more power to you. If not, feel free to try any and all of the above. The important thing is to remember we all have our breaking point, but to try to not let yourself get to that point for everyone around you. Until next time.

  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 OFFER: February is the month of love. We show love to our children, partners and friends But what about to ourselves as parents? Do you know how to practice self-care and truly love the amazing parent and person you are? If you need support in this area of your life, until Feb. 28th I am offering a FREE ONE HOUR one on one coaching session, as well as a second one hour one on one coaching session at 50% off regular price. Give yourself the gift of self-love, and learn some great tools to begin to put your needs first so you can parent in balance. Contact me at joanne@exceptionalparenting.com or 514-827-17175 to book your Skype session. 

How Exceptional Mom Calm Makes All the Difference for Exceptional Children

Today Michael was home on a PED DAY. As usual I made sure to structure it with him so that he would know what to expect. He is getting better with leaving some unstructured time, but I find for both of us, particularly as I work at home, that we need on again, off again time where he is alone, I am with him, and then I am alone working. He knows Mom gets up early to work. Mom works while she is not with him. And Mom works at night. I remind him that having your own business and working from home means that and also that this way I am flexible to be there for him too. There is a lot of juggling, but both of us are getting the hang of it.

What I have been finding more and more lately is how when I am calm about anything it registers on a deeper level in Michael. Obviously, he is surface calm too seeing me laughing and we make jokes together. This morning we even had some affectionate moments when he was hugging and kissing me. These don’t happen that often anymore as he is getting older and starting to push away. I treasure them when I have them. He senses how happy I am to be with him and how calm. He picks up on my vibes. Likewise, the other day I was a little stressed and he picked up on that too. The challenging behaviors started coming out. It’s tough. As parents, we try to hold it together, but sometimes we just collapse and yell, swear (guilty of that one recently) and feel like we have failed. But we haven’t. We have simply seen what is not working and observed the difference in our child.

Michael asks lots of questions. He is curious about everything and everyone. I both love it and sometimes am exasperated by it. Still, I realize this is the only way to learn. By asking. By trying. By being. Isn’t that when I started making headway in my life? Yes, it was when I stopped being afraid to ask questions. When I stopped being afraid to try and conquer my anxiety and my fear. That is when I was reborn and now, hopefully, after a challenging December can start imparting that peace to Michael and others in my family.

Exceptional Parents, when you stop and are calm no matter what, how does this affect your Exceptional Child? Watch them next time; their face, their mannerisms, their voice, their body language. Don’t be afraid to just be with them no matter what else is happening. You are their most important connection even when they are angry at you. Show them how much they are loved by keeping calm body, mind and soul. 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 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”

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.

 

Exceptional Mommy Resolutions for 2017

We are almost at the close of another year. It’s incredible how fast the time goes whether we want it to or not. As I look back over this year, I see how far Michael, his Dad and I have come as individuals and as a family. Dad and I have started to not make any more excuses for where we are not and start to work on where we want to be as individuals and as parents. We have showed and continue to show that to Michael. It is hard sometimes. There are days of self-pity for all of us. But I am happy that I can now step back when I am in this mode and look at myself as if I am a character in a play and even laugh a little, “Oh, there she goes singing the I have no time for me card. Oh, there she goes singing the oh this is so hard card.” And I realize. Things are only as hard as we want to make them. Sure, there are challenges in life and obstacles. But if we break them down into small steps, we can succeed. If we instead decide to pity ourselves, we cut ourselves and our abilities short.

resolutions, scrabble

2016 was a terrible year for a lot of close people around me. Family and friends have struggled and continue to struggle with health issues, personal and psychological. Dad and I struggled to help Michael when he started exhibiting more challenging behaviors and had to rule out more serious mental health issues, which we were so relieved were not present. We also had to look at our own personal situation: financial and our home and see what changes we needed to start making to move forward. We had our share of challenges too. Isn’t that always what a New Year does? It’s a chance to start over fresh and make positive changes. So, here if anyone is interested, are my Exceptional Mommy New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Show more patience and kindness: This is something I am going to start doing with me first and then work outwards with family, friends and the world. When we feel positive and light we affect those around us with that same light.
  2. Take care of my overall health: I do a pretty good job here, but I want to really make a point to continue my regular meditation, yoga, exercise routine along with eating well and regular medical checkups as well as prioritizing things like personal time to read and unwind. As a business owner my leisure time is non existent at the moment unless I’ve had a really tough day. That is going to change.
  3. Work on my fiction regularly and send out a completed fiction novel to publishers: I have my dream job of freelance writing and love connecting with parents as a coach. The problem is that I do not have a heck of a lot of time for my fiction writing. I want to carve out regular fiction writing time and send out an old novel to publishers. You never know ! 🙂
  4. Make time for more prayer, spiritual reading and reflection: This is something that I have been talking about since the fall. I will make the time to do this, as I have seen just like exercise, without my time in prayer and reflection, other things in my life come apart.
  5. I will try new things that scare the bleep out of me: I did a few of these in 2016. More to come in 2017. I have seen that it is only by pushing ourselves to the edge of that cliff that we can say we are truly alive and growing. We need to trust that there is a net to catch us below. God help me, I will teach this to Michael too. Autism or not, he has to learn to trust his instincts and I will work with him to do that.

Exceptional Parents, what are some of your New  Year’s resolutions for you and your Exceptional Child? What do you need to let go of and move towards? We all have things we want to change. Use this time as a time of rebirth and renewal. Teach your child to make realistic resolutions if they are capable of it. If not, model for them your own personal transformation, the best example you could set. Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year in 2017! 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.

It’s almost the new year.  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.

 

Exceptional Birthdays, Milestones And Surprises Along the Way

So I can’t believe it. Today is Michael’s 10th birthday. My little baby boy is officially entering into the double digits! I can still remember how I held him briefly in my arms and counted his little fingers and toes before his Dad whisked him away. I had to be sewn up from my C-Section.  I could not be more proud of him and his accomplishments, and even with the ups and downs of behavior, I have had so many proud Exceptional Mommy moments. The first one was last year when he began to read by himself and learn to write legibly. The second one, when he began to understand where his emotions were coming from, and how he could feel the tension in his stomach before he erupted. The third thing that stands out is how he is now choosing his friends based on common interests, respect and other regular kid reasons. He is growing up. It is not always easy for him or us, but we are in this life together for a reason. God has a master plan and I am proud to be part of it. I do my best to go along for the ride.

As many other Exceptional Parents have shared with me, our kids make or break us. Most of us are made stronger due to them, both in their times of strength and weakness and our own. It’s impossible not to grow when raising a child that tests all you have as parent and human being. They see right down to your core and beyond. They force you to do that and you grow and figure out what the heck it is this life is supposed to be. That is not always something I see as a gift, especially when I am struggling with redefining who I am, but in actuality it is. It is the closest thing Michael and kids like him have to reading people, as long as they learn to trust their inner compass in a world that does not always get their literalness and need for complete explanations and control. Oh, another thing I am super proud of. Michael’s keen sense of observation. He will see what someone is wearing or doing and comment on it. I am learning how to praise that power of observations while teaching him to keep those details to himself. He may make a fine writer one day, I say. 🙂

Exceptional Parents, what are you most proud of in regards to your Exceptional Children’s accomplishments? They all have talents be it musical, memory, computer, or other. Praise them. Encourage them. Set appropriate and healthy limits. And if you fail, admit it. Tell them what you need to fix to grow. That will continue to help you both grow for the better. Until next time.

am a writer and parent coach at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance.” I am 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.

How are you holding up this holiday as an Exceptional Parent? 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

How To Get Your Special Need Child To Open Up To You

 

Communication is something tough for all Exceptional Children, including the super verbal ones like Michael. And now that he is entering puberty, yikes. Out come the metaphorical claws and holding back. He has openly said that he is keeping details of his day from me. He has openly told me not to touch him. He is not a baby. He does not want my hugs like before. And he does not want to play certain things. ” I am a big boy now.” He’ll tell me. I’m proud of his growing up, but this combined with his smart mouth where he’ll utter things like he is the boss and in charge, and well, I love my child but there are days I don’t like him. There are days I say the wrong thing too. He is already making sure he gets ALL his birthday presents he had asked for. We told him he will get most, and he cannot be looking at getting everything. That is not possible for any kid. I got so angry to  that I called him a spoiled brat. I felt so ashamed once the words were out of my mouth. He was pushing his luck, testing his boundaries, but is not spoiled. Yes, we give him things, but not oodles. It was my anger at him pushing me more away and yet demanding more from me with questions, challenging my authority, and complaining that we had to stay home yesterday afternoon due to freezing rain. At bedtime, he asked me if I meant the comment I said or did I say it in anger. He says a lot of bad things to me in anger, which he apologizes for. Dad and I are always reminding him to think before he speaks and to use better language. I admitted that I failed on these accounts that evening myself.

We also had a fight at bedtime with stalling, but then lying down next to him for those ten minutes he opened up and apologized for everything. I accepted and told him I loved him. Another time I was lying there wondering if I was staying too long next to him after a very challenging evening where we’d had several face offs. We’d made up and it was quiet. I was just about to leave when he shared something with me a classmate had done.

“He threw a computer Mommy. ”

“Oh my. Were you scared Michael?”

“NO, but I did jump. Then the teacher took him to the psychologist’s office and it was ok in the class.”

I would not have had the privilege of hearing this had I not been in his room at 9:15 pm that night. It showed my how exceptional kids open up at the strangest times and in the strangest ways to their parents sometimes. It also reminded me how in spite of how much he is testing and wearing me down lately, I must be firm, clear on what I expect, but also show him how important he is to me and how much I love him. Yesterday afternoon I had to work for a few hours. He asked Dad to wait for me to start the movie that he wanted to watch. He really wanted to watch it as a family. Usually for the logistics, Dad will be with him while I work and vice versa. Other than church or visiting family, we are not often in the same room. We are trying to remedy that now.

Exceptional Parents, how do you get your Exceptional Children to share things with you? I think the first thing to do is just be present for them, physically, mentally and spiritually. Show them and tell them every day how much you love them. Make them feel special because they are even when they drive you crazy. Love is about being there through it all. Make sure they know you are. Until next time.

am a writer and parent coach at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance.” I am 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.

 Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety around the holidays? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

 

 

 

 

 

After the Festivities Are Over-5 Ways to Fine Tune And Help With Difficulties

 

As you will all see this post is late today. VERY late. I am in “Christmas Recovery” mode which lasts for two days before we go into “Birthday Recovery Mode” for Michael with which I need another day’s recovery, but that is a separate post. 🙂 Like most families with exceptional kids, the holidays are beautiful and stressful all in one breath. There are the moments you see them sitting quietly and listening and you take a breath in and are able to talk to family. Then, there are the other moments when, well, you look forward to coming home and having that nice glass of wine when they are finally asleep. I had many of both moments throughout the day yesterday. I had my discouraging moments when I was kind of feeling sorry for myself among my family whose children are neuro typical and listen. Then of course, I immediately felt guilty. Guilty due to the fact that Michael, and all kids like him who have autism or are exceptional in some other way, are doing the best that they can. It is not an excuse for rudeness and disrespect. We had a talk yesterday about how he needs to follow the rules, and if he is having a hard time he needs to tell us. I also reminded him, as he knows about his autism, that it is not an excuse to be used to misbehave. We know he is capable of more than what he is doing. We spoke some more this in the am. He is so anxious, has a lot of difficulty regulating himself and friendships are challenging though he is starting to learn how to play and talk with his many good friends.

What did I learn this holiday? Well, every year I look at what our family did right and what we did wrong. I tally them up and keep it in mind for the next year. This year, my mind is in a better place. I not only accept that there will be ups and downs in the next two weeks, but I am using better ways to cope with my own feelings of success and failure as parent. We all have those moments. We are human. What are the ways I fine tune my own thinking for future holidays? Here are 5 of them:

 

  1. Each day I do the best I can with what I have: This is my new mantra. I have moments when I doubt myself and my mothering, but I remind myself what I remind Michael: do the best that you can and go with your instinct.
  2. Get as much sleep as you can or grab a rest here or there: Sleep is essential. The first two days of the holidays I slept a total of 10 hours, never mind the bad sleeping of the nights before leading up to the holidays.What I did instead to make up for it, was grabbing a rest on the couch when Dad was with Michael. He did the same. This morning I felt much better waking up after seven hours of sleep.
  3. Laugh at the silly things: Our kids do SO many silly things. As long as it is not rude, it’s alright t to laugh. Hey, sometimes even the rude things are a little funny like when Michael repeated back to me when I was getting upset, “Mommy, you’re not using your strategies.” Just don’t laugh out loud.
  4. What went right? What could I change? This is where can see what strategies worked in preparing their child for a family visit and which didn’t. Don’t beat yourself up. I learned that arriving near the beginning of my family gatherings at a house is easier on Michael even if he gets bored and we have to leave early. Coming in midway like we did this year was too overwhelming for all of us.
  5. Have a wind down routine after if you need to: Oh yes. Now after two days of celebrating with both our families which is wonderful but exhausting, I make sure to take my glass of wine or spirits (or both) with me and curl up with a good book. It’s my way to unwind from the two days and tell myself, “Girl, you survived and learned what to do and not to do.”

Exceptional Parents, what are your holiday survival techniques? How do you recover alone and as a family? Another great thing is to not be afraid to cry or let out anger in a constructive way. The holidays are not picture perfect for anyone, except in the movies. I also highly recommend popping into online parent support group and attending any in person ones you are a member of in the new year. Comparing notes with others in your shoes will remind you that you are not alone. You and your families are doing the best that you can. Until next time.

am a writer and parent coach at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance.” I am 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.

It’s the holidays, one of the most beautiful and crazy times of the year! Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety and stress? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS