Tag: strategies

What I Learned From Having An Exceptional Mommy Meltdown

About a week ago in the late afternoon, Michael and I  got into a very heated argument about Michael not accepting something I told him couldn’t happen that afternoon. I knew it when he got off the bus that something was wrong and we would be in for a rough ride. I tried to stay calm. Really I did, but due to feeling tired and stressed myself, I instead joined in Michael’s anger. He had been having more and more of these aggressive outbursts as is usually the case at this time of year. The next thing I knew he did something he’d never done before. He slapped me on the side of my head so hard my glasses went flying off and crashing to the floor. For a split second I stared in shock at the floor where my glasses lay, then quickly picked them up. In a voice trembling with rage and an anger, I uttered that there is no hitting. He tried to hit me again and I stopped his hand, and then roughly pushed him into the couch directly behind him. We were in our living room. Now he was scared. So was I. I was holding tight to his arms and repeating in an angry voice no hitting. That’s when Michael started to yell I was hurting him. I immediately released his arms and told him I needed to go calm down in my room.

The other reason I went to my room to calm down was that I could not stop the angry thoughts going through my head and the rage and hurt that he had attacked me. The tears came almost instantly minutes after I was alone, and then they went on for over thirty minutes. Even after that though, they did not dissolve the anger. Why had I lost it? Where had  I gone wrong? How had it escalated so quickly? I couldn’t even remember how the fight had started. So what did I learn from my Mommy Meltdown that afternoon? I learned to be honest with myself with where I was. I learned to check in with myself when I’ve neglected de-stressing things like exercise and not getting enough sleep. Like a lot of children with autism, regulating his emotions is one of Michael’s greatest difficulties. But a rested, refreshed me would have known to stay apart from the storm and not take it personally. Yesterday morning after another tantrum that escalated, I helped Michael calm his storm. It took time, but was over with faster than last week’s. It was not easy, but what helped is, you guessed it, I stayed calm. I was feeling rested too, as I had slept well the night before. We even talked about strategies he needs to start using. He left on the school bus with his usual kiss on the cheek and I love you from me and one back to me.

Exceptional Parents, are you angry and ashamed to admit when you lose it with your children by yelling and joining their anger? Don’t be. All of us have been there as parents. Just remember you need to take care of yourself so that you can weather any exceptional parenting storm that comes your way, and show your child how to handle themselves too. And you know what, if you fail, you and your child can discuss strategies for managing stress together. Until next time.

am a  writer, speaker, and parent coach at “Exceptional Parenting/Exceptional Balance, http://www.exceptionalparenting.net. I  am passionate about empowering parents to trust their own instinct when raising their exceptional children with autism. I help guide them with the right tools for their children’s challenging behaviors, as well as help them see the beauty in their children again.  Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and GooglePlus. For more information on my parent coaching programs, and to book a FREE 30 Minute Consultation Session with me, see my website: http://www.exceptionalparenting.net. 

One of the hardest and most stressful times of the year for special needs families is fast approaching. Are you and your exceptional family ready? Do you need new strategies to cope with anxiety? Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” http://www.exceptionalparenting.net/EBOOKS




Hormones and Boys With Autism-The Scary, The Funny and Learning to Navigate Between the Two

This has been an interesting few months for Michael and I. He is learning new ways to test as a young preteen, hormones raging pushing me away as he is a “big boy,” and at other times trying to pull me in close telling me he is “a little guy, a baby.” Both descriptions are not completely accurate as he is neither completely an adolescent or completely a little boy. He is a mix of the two, and he rides that mix well. There are times it is funny, such as when he doesn’t like what I say and will tell me, “You’re not the good parent now. I can’t wait for Daddy to come home”, or when he is really upset and cursing or becoming aggressive towards us and himself due to frustration and stress. It is a learning curve for him and us, and we are slowly learning to ride that curve the best way we can while all keeping our balance.

The first thing I and many special needs parents learn with handling challenging behaviors is to remain calm and collected. They tend to exacerbate when the parent wigs out and starts yelling too. So I have learned not to join in on Michael’s chaos, and remain as calm and detached as I can. When I have had an off day or am closing to losing it myself, I excuse myself and tell him I am going to my Mommy calm corner as I have mentioned before. Fortunately, this happens less and less as I have learned better strategies for managing my stress too. It is a challenging time for any child when they are at the crossroads of leaving childhood behind and embracing adolescence. There is so much going on in their minds and bodies. Parents need to be patient and help guide them as best as possible. Autism makes it all that much more difficult to guide at times. What is working for me are the following techniques:

  1. Reminding child you are there to listen to them or staying close even if they don’t want to talk.
  2. Redirecting them to use their “calm down” techniques like fidget toys, various sensory equipment, and yoga or deep breathing or any form of exercise.
  3. Talking about how they could have handled the feelings better afterwards. This works for adults too.
  4. Setting limits on negative behavior in a calm and gentle way- Do not tolerate hitting, screaming, biting, swearing. And try not to use “taking things away” too much. If you have a token system stay true to it if it is helping the child.
  5. Look for signs of physical issues- i.e. upset stomach, loose baby teeth, muscle pain, virus etc. All of this can affect behavior.

Exceptional Parents, what changes have you noticed with your Exceptional Children when they go from one age to another and achieve one milestone only to be frustrated at the next stage? What techniques do you use the have worked and which have failed? As with many parents, I’m sure you have learned through trial and error how to put the best foot forward. Remember, stay calm, stay in the moment, and remind your child that you love and are there for them always. 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