Tag: sports

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. ūüôā 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.

I¬†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 ‚Äú5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY‚ÄĚ http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS

 

 

 

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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.¬†

 

Rockin’ Tennis And Being A Positive Mirror

 

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I love being proven wrong and I never get tired being amazed by my little guy. I didn’t name the blog “Exceptional Mom/Exceptional Child” for nothing people. ūüôā All the worry I had over Tuesday afternoon’s tennis difficulties were blown away yesterday when Michael did amazing at tennis in another park outside. Next time Mom will bring her racket and we’ll have a game! It was one of those gifts and perfect afternoons when a Mom sees the pride in her child’s eyes at succeeding and doing something he loves. His teacher and Dad, as I previously mentioned, were blown away by his performance at this indoor tennis class.

I know I have talked about this program before (and this is not a sponsored post, just this Mom’s opinion), but I will say it again. The program is out of this world, and I have seen Michael’s confidence and coordination improve so much since starting adapted tennis. You can check it out at ¬†www.prosetautism.ca. Hearing him tell me “I’m proud Mommy,” and seeing his shy little grin, made my whole evening yesterday. There is nothing quite like seeing your child light up with¬†pride in a big accomplishment. Nothing is greater to a parent.

This was also a good lesson to me, as I always say that Michael teaches me, to remember that tomorrow is another day, and our kids will always surprise us if we give them a chance to try new things, do their best, and show up for life. This has been an amazing week. My little guy is growing up. He is helping at home, he is getting used to sleeping alone again after a challenging two years of nighttime fears, and he is becoming interested in sports as well as trying new things. I am beyond proud of his spirit of adventure. He is making me more adventurous, and whenever I think of turning something down now as not being “Me”, I am learning to try it anyway. Life is an adventure, and only by embracing it, will ¬†we be free and grow.

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Exceptional Parents, how do your Exceptional Children blow you away? Do you give them opportunities to try new things, and do you make a habit of trying new things yourself, food, sports, places to go? As I’ve said before you are your child’s mirror. Reflect back to them that life is full of wonder and beauty and that is what they will become and manifest in their life. You’ll also have the bonus of seeing it manifest in your life. Until next time.

Revisiting Self-Esteem And Failure Issues

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Yesterday afternoon started out on a great note. Michael came home from school, shared his day, and then was so excited to go to the park and play tennis with me. Yes, I said tennis! He has been taking tennis lessons indoors at a school gym since the fall, and I cannot begin to say how blown away his Dad and I are by his progress. In the last few classes particularly, we have seen him bloom, and though Dad usually takes him alone, the last videos I watched brought tears to my eyes. He was doing back hand, forehand. He went from not being able to connect with the ball to hitting it over the net and playing understanding where to aim his ball. This is huge for this Mom who is always worried about how he would do at sports.

So though I was a little worried about playing outside with the winds and Mom throwing the ball (who is twenty years out of practice of playing tennis, by the way), I agreed to go. Michael went over on his scooter and was so full of confidence and happiness that I was beaming along side him. Then we settled in at the tennis courts up the street from our house. And it happened. He kept trying to hit the ball the way he did in class, but missed many times or would hit backhand not forehand and the ball would go off course. It was windy and I was not sure how to adjust my throwing, half way through I figured that out. No matter. He got discouraged and we ended up leaving with Michael in tears saying he is not a good person and he is not proud of himself. ¬†He didn’t even want to scooter home, he was so upset.

 

 

Watching him suffer through this was like looking into a mirror. That was me at his age, though I didn’t always say out loud just how bad I felt about myself. ¬†Of course I repeated to him that he is wonderful and did his best, then when we got home after he finished crying, I hugged him and told him that he needed practice outside more. On our first try, things don’t always go perfectly. This summer the same teacher will be teaching outside tennis and he is eager to take those lessons too. Thank God the experience yesterday did not discourage him from the progress he made and from trying. But watching him suffer was hard as his Mom. I felt so helpless in giving him a pep talk at first, as I remembered my Mom with me. She’d been baffled as to why I had such low self-esteem, and it took years for me, into adulthood, to learn about my worth. It broke my heart¬†to see that¬†Michael takes after me, and I prayed that I could give him the tools to learn about his own worth before adulthood, especially given his more intense anxiety and esteem issues. My Mom did amazing work, but I still had long road to learning to manage my own anxiety.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle failure in your own life? How do your Exceptional Children handle it? This is tough one, as some failures are easier to bounce back from than others. Still, as with every challenge now, you can choose to see¬†failure and mistakes as a chance to learn something new about¬†yourself, your limits, and beliefs about right and wrong. If you frame it in a question of, “what can I learn from this, or what can I do differently?” your child will learn in time to do the same. Until next time.