Tag: special needs

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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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

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.

 

 

How To Get Back Into Routine With Your Exceptional Child

Well, for most of us today is the day kids are back in school and some parents are back at work. It is a happy day for some, not for others. You know your ages. 🙂 But all jokes aside, it is a struggle for a lot of families to get back into routine. All people, with and without children have a hard time getting back into the swing of things after vacation, but with kids you have the extra thing of getting them organized and ready for school. We all know what does not work for us or our kids, but what are some of the true and tested things that do work? This is tricky. With Exceptional Children, a lot of the traditional stuff the rest of us use may not work or even make things worse. In our house we’ve used a combination of a few things, and every year Michael tries different strategies himself, good and bad, in preparation for the first day back.

  1. Get a good night’s sleep the night before: This is a no-brainer for all us, but something many forget. If you are tired the first day back, things will be harder. The best scenario is to make sure your child and you get a good night’s rest. If that can’t be managed, if parents are rested at least they will have more patience to help their child.
  2. Remind your child about seeing his/her friends if that is incentive or some other thing they like at school: For some Exceptional Children, seeing their friends is great incentive, especially if they have not had a chance to see them over the holidays. For others, maybe they like the bus ride or some other subject at school or recess.
  3. All kids are feeling the same as them: This is a tricky one due to theory of mind, but I’ve found as Michael has gotten older he will appreciate hearing how he is not alone in stress about “back to school.”
  4. Remind them of future PED DAYS/Spring Break or give immediate rewards for a good first day back: Again, teaching them to look forward to something works too if they are able to understand this concept. For those who can’t do this yet, the promise of a favorite activity, treat, or other special reward can go a long way to helping motivation and a positive attitude.
  5. Give them (and yourself) time to adjust: The first week back for everyone will have its challenges. Go in knowing that. Try to keep your sense of humor as a parent. Give yourself little rewards at the the end of the day for making it through- a bath, reading a chapter from a favorite book, watching a favorite show etc.

Exceptional Parents, what are some tried and true methods that have worked to make back to school work for you and your family? Remember, as long as rest, patience and love are involved in some form you can’t go wrong. You will find the right formula and adjust it to your family and household. Go easy on yourself too when you make mistakes. You are only human after all. Happy first week back! Until next time.

Learning to Live in the Moment of Christmas With My Exceptional Son

Each Christmas has posed its own challenges for me as an Exceptional Mom. And every year, I have made the same promise to myself; that I will not get overwhelmed myself, get angry, and feel stressed when I can’t help Michael. I have usually failed in having this success at going with the flow of the holidays for one simple reason;  I was just saying words. The words were lovely in essence, but I wasn’t really practicing what I was preaching; tolerance for things not going exactly according to plan, worries about other member of my family or friends judging my parenting decisions, and my own little girl notions of what a “perfect” family Christmas should be. Heck, even my friends with neuro typical kids don’t experience that perfect a Christmas. But what could I say? I was a perfectionist. Now, I am a realist. I make mistakes with Michael. I make personal mistakes too. But that critical inner voice, the one that used to tell me I was stupid and something was wrong with me is gone. The hard work I started doing years ago has paid off, and though there are still things I am working on to improve in myself, the process is gentle and loving now, as I would do with Michael.

What is different about this year is that I know Christmas won’t be perfect. I don’t want perfection anymore. What I want is the best Christmas I and my family can have within our emotional parameters. I also remind myself what I have always known, but this year due to work and Michael’s exta challenges, I got away from. All cliches aside, Christmas is not about presents, decorations, or parties. It’s about a feeling deep down inside of light, peace, gratitude, helping others and goodness. Whether you celebrate  Christmas, Hanukkah, Qwanza, or the Winter Solstice, it’s really all about the same things; light and love coming into the world. It’s about people coming together to bring this light and remember we are all one people. This year I had to miss two Sundays of Church. I did my Advent prayers and lit the candles once a week, but I did not take a lot of time for God and prayer and contemplation like I had planned in between mass and my quick prayers of thanksgiving in morning and at bedtime. No matter. I will start today on Christmas Eve, get immersed in the beauty of Christmas Eve Mass as usual, and I  will continue for the holiday season and beyond to try and be a light in the world for myself, my family, and  others who cross my path. I will be that light for Michael even when we both struggle with peace inside.

Exceptional Parents, do you know that you are the light of your child’s world? The holidays are a great time to connect to whatever religions or spirituality you believe in, if you are a spiritual person. If not, meditation is a wonderful way to connect to a powerful Source, to nature to the Universe and feel recharged and whole. Take this holiday season to slow down. There is no “one” way to celebrate the holidays, other than finding that light inside of yourself, keeping your loved ones near, and remembering to charge your spirit with love and peace to be the best channel for your child. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza and a Blesssed Winter Solstice. Wishing you and your families Happy and Healthy Holidays. 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

Are you and your exceptional family ready for the holiday season? 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

How To Plan For A Calm And Peaceful Holiday With Your Exceptional Child

It’s here. The last day of school before Christmas Eve. I am filled with excitement and fear, as I always am at this time of year. I feel excitement for obvious reasons; seeing family, catching up, eating great food, opening presents. Fear is something only other families of exceptional children will understand. It’s the fear of the new routine, and how it will affect Michael and our family. It is the fear of increased tantrums and meltdowns, Michael’s and ours, as we try to make the holiday a peaceful and happy one for the most part. My expectations for Michael are different than when he was a baby. My own expectations about the holiday are different too as are Dad’s. We just want peace. Not perfection. We just want to make it through the day without battles, crying and feeling overwhelmed. We know this is hard. Someone with autism has challenges in a regular routine in our crazy world. Throw in a holiday that lasts two weeks without the same structure and well, you need to expect some chaos. It’s how you manage the chaos as a parent. I can never get used to the fact that the happiest times of the year for other people are the hardest ones for families whose children have exceptional challenges.

Dad and I have had our good days managing our emotions around Michael’s behaviors and our bad days. This week has been a mix of both. It is with caution this year that we are embarking on Christmas. We spoke earlier this morning about what has to change in our household, with Michael, and with how we individually handle our own emotions. The time of year is difficult too with the shorter darker days.  All I know is what I don’t want to do. I love my child, but the last month it has been hard to like him. There I said it. Dad feels this way too. When he tests and fights us on everything it is draining and frustrating. I count down the minutes till bedtime when I can have an hour or two of peace and pray for strength to be there for him in the morning. It is not how I want to go into Christmas, but there you have it. I know Michael has entered puberty and is trying out new things. He’s seeing how far he can push. As parents, we need to remain strong, united. Most of the time we are , but we are only human and have our moments when we fail Michael and ourselves. We get up, dust ourselves off, and start again.

Exceptional Parents, what are you planning to do to have a calm and peaceful holiday? Are you visiting relatives or staying in? Are they coming to you? Remember, whatever you decide to do, make sure it will bring you and your family peace overall. You need to think of the whole picture of the holiday and what will make your child, and other children as well as you and your partner, happy and content. There are no perfect families and holiday scenarios even in neuro typical families. Don’t strive for that. Strive instead to be true to yourself and your family, and do what will give everyone happiness and health and balance. Happy Holidays! Until next time.

Joanne Giacomini is a writer, speaker and parent coach at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance” www.exceptionalparenting.net. She also blogs on her personal blog, “Exceptional Mom/Exceptional Child” at www.exceptionalmomchild. com,  about how her son with autism is raising her! She writes regularly about parenting and autism at “M List,” as “Montreal Autism Mom”, “The West Island Suburban’s “Parenting 101 bloggers,” and “Huff Post Parents Canada”. Her posts on parenting and autism have been featured on “BlogHer Family-Special Needs”, ”Her View From Home”,  “Romper”, “Yummy Mummy Club Canada, as well as “Scary Mommy.” She also writes for “The Things”,“Baby Gaga” and “The Talko.”You can follow Joanne on Twitter @exceptmomchild.

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

Peer Relationships and Understanding Real Friendship-How Far My Exceptional Son Has Come

 

Last night at dinnertime Michael started talking about what happened at school during the day. He spoke about a violent altercation one of his classmates had with the teaching assistant. The behavior technician came in and the child went with her and was removed from the class. This is something that does happen from time to time at Michael’s school as the children have emotional challenges. It is well handled, but I was still worried about its effect on Michael. He told me he was smiling when the boy did it, but when I asked him if he thought it was funny he said no. I reminded him to think how he would feel if someone did that to me. “Oh boy. No, that’s terrible Mommy!”

But that was not what shocked me. What surprised me was that Michael is pursuing this boy in friendship. I have heard about this child from time to time how he will tell Michael he does not want to play with him, go away. My heart goes out to my little guy, even though when he recounts these stories to me he sounds more surprised that his “friend” would do that to him and puzzled as well. This opened up the floor for me to talk to Michael about what real friends are, and which people are either not your friends or casual friends at best. I asked him if the three really close friends he speaks of and has play dates with would ever have treated him the way this boy did. He said no. I asked him if they enjoyed playing with him and didn’t avoid him as this boy does. He agreed, yes they played with him all or most of the time. It was rare they did not want to play with him. While I was so happy that I was having such a regular conversation with my son about friends, it broke my heart that my little guy was trying to win someone over who clearly didn’t see him for who he was. I repeatedly, and in a gentle way, told Michael how special and good a friend he was, and if this boy didn’t see it, he wasn’t meant to be his friend. I reminded my little guy to cherish the good friends he has and not run after those who are not interested in him.

Exceptional Parents, how do your Exceptional Children do on play dates with friends or at school with peers? Are they chasing after kids that are not really friends? Hopefully they have found two or three really good friends and understand what friendship is. If not, it will come. As a parent, all you can do is encourage them and remind them how special they really are.

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. You can 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, 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

Classical Mommy, Beard Daddy-See Ourselves Through Our Exceptional Son’s Eyes

 

So the other night at bedtime I was cuddling with Michael, over twelve minute (not five, not ten, but twelve) minute cuddle before I left his room. We were lying side by side and he grabbed me in a hug. Then he said the strangest and cutest thing:

“Mommy, you are a classical Mommy, and Daddy is a beard Daddy.”

Ok Daddy with the beard I got. When he hugs and kisses his Dad he sometimes rubs up against stubbble on Dad’s cheek, but classical Mommy? What did that mean? I asked him.

“It means classical. You help people Mommy. You help Mommies and Daddies and kids with autism.”

My eyes welled up with tears and I hugged him back hard while my own heart soared. He understood what I was trying to do with my coaching and writing.  He understood how I wanted to help people and give back to others what had been given to me; hope, community and belief again in myself as a good parent with a child who simply thinks outside the box and needs special guidance. He would lead me if I let him.

“Will you always help me Mommy?”

“Always buddy.”

“I love you too Mommy. You’re the best Mommy I ever had.”

Then we did our usual ten minute good night kiss (he is ever the lovey dovey one at bedtime) then he asked me where I would be, upstairs on the couch or downstairs working. Most of the time he knows what the answer is.

“Downstairs  working buddy.”

“You’re going to do your blog?”

“Yes, honey.”

We said our good nights and off I went to work while Michael went to bed. As I made my way downstairs to my home office I started thinking about all the changes I’ve been noticing in Michael. He is becoming even more observant about the details of my life and his Dad’s. He is picking up nuances in conversations, (ones he is supposed to overhear and those he is not). Dad and I have to be really careful. And he is becoming a really thoughtful young man in the way he expresses himself and his caring ways towards his friends. We do have to deal with some insensitive  feelings he doesn’t always realize he is displaying, but we understand that it comes with the territory of having  confused social understandings sometimes about people and occasions. We are handling it.

Seeing his displaying this kind of maturity though, knowing his own mind so clearly, whether he is happy or upset, is really inspiring for me. On the days when he and I struggle, I remember how smart and special my little guy is and know that whatever he will do one day in the world it will be an incredible contribution.

Exceptional Parents, how many times have your Exceptional Children amazed you with things they’ve said or come up with? Our children have such a unique view and vision of the world. It’s important we encourage their unique mind and what comes out of it. They will do amazing things and constantly surprise us and the world if we show them how cool we know they 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. You can 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, see my website: http://www.exceptionalparenting.n

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

Social Filters and How To Navigate My Exceptional Child’s Outburts

 

Michael is a very outspoken child. He was outspoken even before he could speak with words, and was always very expressive in negative and positive ways, and with negative and positive behavior. Now that is completely verbal and able to speak about exactly what is on his mind, the things that come out are, well, not always too positive. As some parents have remarked about their own children, they do not have social filters. It’s not their fault. It’s how their brain is hard-wired so they say what they feel in the moment.  Also it is sometimes too hard for them to stop themselves. This is  a skill that needs to be taught. And it’s hard as their parent not to react and get embarrassed, angry, even sometimes laugh because though what they say is inappropriate, it is darn funny. I’m constantly in this situation myself now, and am looking for ways around it. Like all parents, some days I do better at it than others.

Talking about appropriate behavior in  public and at home are good. Teaching that there will be good consequences for good behavior and bad consequences for bad behavior is another thing a parent could do. Still, what are other the best ways to navigate our exceptional children’s outbursts?

  1. Write a social story on how to handle situation: This is great to explain many of the situations our children find themselves in as do we. What is the proper language we use to speak? How do we address people?
  2. Stay calm as a parent when they are testing: This is still a hard one for me sometimes when I am tired and my son pushes my buttons with stalling at bedtime and swearing, his new favorite behavior. What a parent needs to do is make clear the proper behavior in advance, and then give a warning to the child. If they do not listen, the parent has to stick to their guns with whatever the consequence is.
  3. Model for them good behavior and rewards: Yes, it is hard for children with autism to imitate, but not impossible. They are able to do it with enough concentration and practice, so as parents, we need to lead the way.
  4. Be firm about leaving where you are if the behavior continues to be insulting and then follow through: This will result in loud protests or tantrums, but eventually your child will learn you follow through with what you say.
  5. When they do positive behavior in public and private, remember to praise them a lot: This is a step a lot of parents forget. It’s important to remember to praise the child when they make positive changes in their behavior and listen. It goes a long way in ensuring they continue with the good behavior.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle your child’s outbursts? What strategies have worked and which haven’t? Remember, to make notes when you are calm about this so you know what to avoid in the future, and cut yourself some slack if you make a mistake. We all do as parents from time to time. Until next time.

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

Milestone Jump for My Exceptional Son- Articulating Feelings, Fears and Making Sense of The World Outside

 

So Michael continues to amaze me. I know I say this a lot and it must sound boring to a lot of people. We have our highs and lows like any family, but what I am continuing to see from Michael more and more each day is how well he is able to articulate how he is feeling, what he is upset/confused about, and what makes his angry. The challenge, however, is how to handle these intense feelings. He will still have moments he lashes out physically with hitting and will utter angry swear words. Immediately, he apologizes though. He is beginning to understand the consequences behind his actions learning to do damage control.

At the same time he is learning to push boundaries, to see how far he can aggravate, yell, cry and what will happen. Will I give in? Will his  Dad? Will we still love him? It is funny. As much as he sometimes will openly say, “You’re the better parent” to his father if I upset him and vice versa if Dad upsets him, in the next breath it’s “I’m sorry Mommy. I’m sorry Daddy. Do you forgive me?” Last night I had told him how proud I was of his academic achievements and how well he did at some social events in our community. Michael looked at me almost in shock and said, “Really Mommy? You’re really proud of me?” Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not a perfect parent. Heck, I’ve admitted that often enough in print and verbally. But I do my best to hug and tell Michael I love him very much every single day and night. I also tell him I am proud of him and want him to be safe and healthy. Still, like all kids, he needs to hear that reinforcement of the “I love you” many times. I don’t mind. I am so amazed with how far he is going. I am also beginning to understand more and more each day how to help him. He, of course, is guiding me. Most recently he shared something with me:

“Mommy, do you know why I repeat things sometimes, like at bedtime I say, “see you tomorrow morning two times?”

“Why buddy?”

He pauses. “It’s because I want to make sure it happens. If I say it a few times, it will happen.”

Wow. He is able to process and understand how his brain works.And share that with me. Of course. That makes sense. I smile and feel both joy at his realization and pain that he is suffering with worry about this.

“Morning will always come Michael. No matter how many times you say it or not. Day and night will always come. It is outside of our control.”

“Really Mommy?”

“Yes, honey.”

Another incident a few days later he shared with me how he only wants to go to adapted activities where he knows the kids because he hates change. Even if it is adapted and those kids have autism like him and other things similar to mine, he doesn’t know them. Wow again. He is making those connections and bringing me along for the ride in understanding them.

Exceptional Parents, do you see your children connecting the dots emotionally in their inner and outer world? Are they able to let you in to help or meet you halfway? That is the tricky part. Until you are both able to meet at the halfway mark, communication is challenging. Be patient. Play. Interact with them at their level the games that interest them. In time you will find a way in to their world as they will to yours. That is when the next milestone will be achieved. Until next time.

One of the 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