Tag: stress

Navigating Exceptional Family Anxiety And Following Your Child’s Cues

adorable, baby, bear

Spring is around the corner so I know that is one of the reasons Michael is starting to get more anxious He has, however, made great progress with using strategies to handle his stress such as talking about his feelings, going to a calm spot to recharge, and crying without hitting himself, others or property.  I have seen how hard he is working and our home token system has been fine tuned as well. He has been testing us with this, but understands the way it works and overall I am very impressed. He has adjusted to some changes in my work schedule, and now communicates his fears and anger better too. We are happy to see the aggression and horrible language replaced by true expressions of fear and anger and worry. The thing is that Dad and I are worried just how anxious he is about everything and how much control and reassurance he needs to have about everything in his life. Dad and I are worried about how hard he is on himself, how he stresses about things he is good at, and how upset he gets when something can’t get resolved immediately. We are constantly looking to add more tools to his toolbox, and are strongly considering some medication for his anxiety, though we are nervous about this step.  There are pros and cons as with everything else. We need to find out all we can and then make the best decision possible.

At the same time I am beginning to see that Michael needs a little more TLC these days. He is a little clingier in some ways, only wanting me to put him to bed, worried when he can’t find me in the house and talking A LOT when he does find me. Yet, he openly says he does not want to share certain things about his day with me and he does not want me to hug or kiss him unless he specifies when or where on his cheek. As I said before, he is a tween with  some little boy fears left over. I am simply reminding him I am there if he needs me. He has also been there for me too though. When I was feeling particularly stressed one afternoon, he wrapped his arms around me and said, “you’re the best Mommy ever,” and “it’s ok if you are sad or got angry Mommy. We all feel that way sometimes.” My favorite is still when he will give me a big hug/squeeze due to love and sensory issues an then say, “Ahh, I love Mommy’s neck. It is so warm. It is like a spa.” Our relationship has gotten much closer. And even with Dad they fight, but he loves his father very much and jumps up in excitement when Dad’s key turns in the lock. It’s just navigating the worries, the obsessive questions, and the loudness. I know they are all due to stress, and we are doing our best to remind him to pace himself, but it is not always easy. Still, we follow his pace. I have learned new ways Michael needs me.

 

He’ll need me to reassure him, to do a quick drawing or explanation of what’s about to happen or sometimes it’s reminding him how proud I am of him. Other times it is stopping completely what I am doing and focusing on him. He and I both do well with that and it works to help us both feel calm and connected. Last night for the first time in awhile, I was able to give Michael his full bedtime routine. At the end as he wrapped his arms around my neck and we cuddled for the ten minutes I stay in his room, he sighed happily and said, “this is my favorite part of the night. I love when you lie down with me and I can hug you.” My heart melted instantly. I quickly went over all the things I did right and vowed to set us both up for success with future anxious times.

Exceptional Parents, how do you handle your child’s anxiety and stress? What is part of their toolbox and yours? The hardest and most important thing to remember is to stop and really look and listen to your child and where they are coming from. Only when you see their pain and hurt, (and stay calm and centered yourself), can you guide them to make healthier choices for handling stress. Until next time.

 

Return To Routine And Exceptional Transitions

 

So today is back to school from Spring Break and the wear and tear on Michael’s nerves erupted a bit on Saturday night and last night. Change and the unknown have always been difficult for Michael to handle. As he has gotten older, and fortunately better at expressing himself, we have seen the toll change and transitions have taken on his nerves. First, he gets VERY physically active, then talks a lot, more than usual. Finally, things start adding up and his nerves get pushed over the edge until an innocent comment from his Dad or I send him over the edge. We had two mini meltdowns on the weekend based on exhaustion, nerves and transition/changes. I’m beginning to read his signs better, but as we haven’t seen outbursts like these in two months, they took me a little by surprise. Then I realized. Ah, yes, the back to school routine is stressful. He will act out with behaviors when he doesn’t know how to read his own signs. He will be extra wild until he gets those feelings out. Too late, both nights I realized and though I helped him defuse his meltdown and went over his calming down strategies with him, there was still something I learned from these incidents as did Michael. We both need to read his signs of stress better, him more than me, because he knows the tools, only needs to be reminded to use them. Once I reminded him, he knew what to do.

 

We had so many beautiful moments even with the stress. He has been cuddling more, talking and dancing and laughing a lot too. He had a great visit with his grandparents and godmother, but brewing beneath the surface was that tension, that dread, that stress eating him up. At least that’s the way I see it. I used to feel a bit like that as a child myself. I learned later in life techniques to manage it, or I would suffer in silence. The result was low self-esteem,  and stomach or leg pain, but as I found ways to heal myself, I found ways to deal with stress too. I hope to encourage Michael to find his own now so he doesn’t have  to wait until adulthood to battle his inner demons.

Exceptional Parents, how do your Exceptional Children and you handle transitions and change? What has worked ? What hasn’t? I know for us staying true to who Michael is and who we are as his parents have helped us find our balance in what works and what doesn’t. Michael is a mover and shaker, so no more pushing him to deep breath. I have our Psycho Educator to thank for that reminder. We also try to model different techniques for him too. Whatever way you handle it with your children, remember you know them best. You are their caregiver. So trust your instinct and always go with that first. Until next time.