In my earlier parenting days, I was hard on myself and…I guess, I was hard on my child.
It was difficult for me to develop my own parenting style, especially during the harder days.
When all else failed, I would fall back on “Because I said so…” This was almost a sure way of escalating the situation that lead to exhausting power struggles.
Everyone would end up frustrated and later, we realized that a lot of energy was spent over something that wasn’t that important in the first place.
When I looked around as a new parent, it seemed that I had a harder time than others. I learned that it did take more patience and different strategies to parent a twice-exceptional child.
One of the things that helped my parenting was when I realized lectures didn’t work. This was a hard habit to break and if I am being honest, it is still hard.
I am embarrassed to say, that not only would I lecture, I would follow him up the stairs to continue my sermon instead of letting him go to his room to recover.
I should have known, but I didn’t, that this stretched out our conflict and caused the recovery time to be longer.
Those days were exhausting!
Here’s what I have figured out… I need to give my child time to recover and he must be able to return with grace.
When I stop talking and listen, it helps.
Showing empathy goes a long way.
A tired or hungry TBP cannot do his best thinking.
We understand this now, but not everyone does.
Unexpected behavior is challenging for other kids and their parents to forget, unless you are the parent of a kid like mine.
Those parents get it.
These parents that have seen it, heard it, experienced it and remind me that I am not alone; everyone has bad days.
Now, I don’t care (as much) if a stranger sees my son challenging me.
I don’t apologize (as much) for my son’s sensory issues during holiday dinners or birthday parties.
He has to calm down, reflect, and then apologize on his own when he does something wrong or hurts someone’s feelings.
We let him recover and return without lectures.
What are the best parenting lessons that you have learned?
We learned with our son just NOT to engage. If we kept talking with him on a subject we were firm on, he would debate round the clock. I had to remind my husband of that ALL the time because he’s obsessive about getting the last word. With our younger daughter, it was always a tight rope of dealing with her moods. There was almost never misbehavior, but she’d erupt like a volcano if she was frustrated or upset. My husband could handle these explosions better than I could – I just felt angry whereas he was sympathetic. Eventually we learned that giving her some paper on which to write out her feelings AND some old newspaper to rip up as a steam valve helped her to come back down. Wow, just the memory is exhausting.
Great reminder to tag team with spouse and use your strengths. I like the paper ripping idea…I could have fine that myself when my computer hard drive crashed yesterday !
Thanks for your visit and time 🙂
You know how they say your children will mirror your worst qualities? Well I like to be “right”, and wouldn’t you know it, so does my oldest! Even when you know better, it is difficult to not fall back into old habits, so even when you “get it”, those bad moments can come back from time to time.
So true! The debating is a family trait. Funny thing is that it happens most when I hungry or tired too-just like him.
Thanks for talking about the strain of using empathy all the time. It’s hard to hold on to it when you are stressed yet compassionate. Fortunately, empathy rolls back in when you need it and children are forgiving when you lose it momentarily.