Tag: stress management

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


Exceptional Strategies to Handle Stress



Michael continues to amaze me both with what is stressing him out, as well as with how he is coping with stress. He made me laugh today when in his Social Skills class, the teacher asked the class how they coped with stress. They all talked about their strategies; deep breathing, swinging ,trampoline. Michael mentioned walking around the house or sometimes outside and then surprised me by telling the teachers one of my strategies: going into the bathroom, locking the door and breathing. The only thing is that Michael added his own touch. He closed the lights and lay in the dark on the floor. I remember the first time he did this. I got scared and knocked on the door to see if he was OK. He answered that he was fine, and lying on the cold floor was calming. Go figure. This is the same child who cannot lie down in a warm comfy bed alone at night, but I digress.:) He then added that Mommy does this sometimes when she is upset, then made the teachers laugh by telling them in the summer I sometimes would go take a glass of wine out to the patio to calm down. True, but I thankfully use that a lot less now that I have developed healthier coping mechanisms for anger.


Michael is learning to do this too and it is great. He is able to tell me that he is sick to his stomach with worry and I am trying to help him connect how he physically feels with how he will mentally respond. By the same token, he is helping me to see how I need to make those same connections in my body and mind. Michael has helped me fine tune my own ways of handling stress, being “off” in my own body, and what I need to change to be balanced or calm. He will say “Mommy, you are talking in your mad or scratchy voice.” Sometimes he is not reading my emotions right, but more often than not, he is right on the mark. And this is helping me to focus on how I need and want to grow to be more patient, kind and open to him, and to others around me.

Exceptional Parents, how have your coping mechanisms for stress changed over the years since having your Exceptional Children? How have you changed the way you see and handle things in your body? If it’s been awhile since you revamped this, have another look. It’s important to fine tune how you view things with how your views of the world change as you get older. Remember, let your gut inside guide you and model that calm positive energy for your children. Until next time.