Wow…there ARE others struggling with their kids’ overexcitablities

Sometimes I think that I am the only one in the world that struggles with raising a family. I thought that maybe, perhaps, I’m just not cut out for parenting. Especially parenting kids that are gifted.

I thought maybe it’s me…that I have some terrible defect that prevents me from parenting with poise. I thought, perhaps maybe it was my own childhood issues being unearthed (which, to an extent, it IS) and some communication difficulties with my dear husband (and it does play a part) that affect my ability to be an ever flowing font of calm energy, and providing a home that is a refuge from life’s upsets. And I thought as late as last night, there is something “broken” within me that makes me flip out from time to time. The most recent upset was regarding a neighbor whose child can’t seem to get along with mine and we had some very cross words. In the end, I was called a “whack job” as she was walking away, and I called her an expletive. Yeah, not nice. I know. Someone ought to take my “enlightened” card away from me because I acted horribly. And yet again, we have to be excluded from playing with others. It really stinks.

I forget, sometimes that while the past certainly does color my present, there is something I keep overlooking in myself. My daughter’s aren’t the only ones struggling with overexcitabilities, but I am too. After all, just because I’m an adult, doesn’t mean I have perfect control over those areas in my life that induce stress in me, particularly, since one of my strongest OE’s is emotional. My husband reacts to my reactions because he’s not immune to my emotional upsets. He’s strong if I’m strong. He’s calm if I’m calm. He’s open-minded if I am. And not if I’m not. You get the picture. He seems to reflect whatever mood I’m in, which may or may not be a good thing.

I related, all too well, to a scenario from a blog that was shared with me on my post Understanding Psychomotor Overexcitabilities in the Gifted Child by ecemom. She co-writes a blog called So Over Everything with another mom of a gifted child.

In a post called, Let’s talk about ‘stress’ baby, So Over writes

You see I can handle all the demands and pressure and craziness that my family provides on a daily basis to a point and then I seem to ‘pop’ – kind of like a balloon. I say ‘pop’ because it is not a slow leak of pressure escaping…it is generally a full on explosion of emotion and folks – it ain’t pretty! It usually involves either tears or a total conniption fit…or perhaps both. This particular fit has several origins, but in order to survive these moments of emotional overload that I experience, I have to find something physical and concrete to fix.

and this too

He is an amazing husband – whatever quirks he may possess – he is my support system and I love him for it. He ‘gets’ me….which is no easy task. He knows that by ‘organizing’ our home….it will help me to organize my emotions and find a happy place.

Yeah…I get upset by external organizational issues too (mostly because I am constantly moving 2 steps back for every 1 step forward it seems with regards to keeping things in their place here).

There’s lots of resources out there about raising gifted kids, but SO few about what it’s REALLY like to be in the trenches. I love people who blog transparently who offer me a glimpse of their lives and how it really feels to try raise gifted kiddos, especially when you have your own OE’s to contend with.

You just don’t know what kind of child you are going to get and even being aware of normal childhood development does not adequately prepare one for the realities of an asynchronously developing gifted child. Not all gifted kids have adjustment difficulties, but sometimes the intellectual development outpaces the emotional development and creates frustration not only for the child but for the parents that love them too. Especially since it’s so easy to be lulled into thinking the child is much more mature based on what they intellectually grasp. Sometimes it comes as a real surprise that the child acts emotionally his or her age or even less than their age.

Ecemom writes in a post called Occupational Hazards, about how being an early childhood professional did not quite prepare her for the realities of having a gifted child.

In a nut shell, knowing about development didn’t help me, my child or my family. I was lost, as many of you are…thus your internet search. My friend and I have been great refuge to each other. Our thought is by our sharing our trials and tribulations about living with giftedness, you hopefully relate and help us make some sense of this all.

At any rate, I just wanted to share this blog, partly for my HUSBAND’s benefit, since he has to put up with my emotional OE’s and I want him to understand that others have similar family situations, and partly for my readers’ benefit, since I think that, especially in a case like mine, I have NO one in real life to talk to about such matters. It’s not that there aren’t other gifted kids in their school, it’s just that I haven’t yet been able to talk with the parents much. So, essentially, I AM alone in real life. It’s good to read other parents perspectives on the matter.

Thanks Ecemom, for sharing your blog with me.

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12 Responses to Wow…there ARE others struggling with their kids’ overexcitablities

  1. Papa T says:

    Open mouth, insert foot…

    Almost-last-things-first…Mr. RSG doesn’t HAVE to put up with you. For whatever reasons, he chooses to. Yes, I know you know this. And, yes–depending on your present “level of excitement”–you are likely to react to my reminder with a cringe (at least). But I thought it, and figured I might as well share it.

    The last few months I have pondered the effects of our response to the pains, losses, and frustrations of the past–particularly Family of Origin issues–wherein we consciously and intentionally or not develop a disdain for our “struggles” and determination to do things differently. That’s just the first step in a long and winding journey. [Again, yes, I know you know this.] The thing that has become “really big” for me is that even though we become determined to do things differently, we initially try to accomplish the feat with the tools that we “gathered” from the same people who were flailing about trying to simultaneously live their lives and mentor the new lives they had brought into the world.

    Another REALLY weird and difficult part of this process is that EVEN WHEN WE MAKE ATTEMPTS TO GATHER NEW TOOLS, those attempts are made using the “old tools.” You talk about asynchronous development in your children. And I DOUBT that you are arbitrarily discounting YOUR OWN ongoing experiences with this reality, but I know that it is a reality in MY OWN experience. This stuff is hard as hell!

    You say that there are “lots of resources out there about raising gifted kids, but SO few about what it’s REALLY like to be in the trenches.” True…and true. But consider this: There is NOTHING “out there” about what it’s like raising YOUR kids…nothing “out there” about what it’s like being in YOUR trenches…NOTHING.

    “In REAL life,” we need affirmation, reflection, support, encouragement, HELP! We do NOT get these things by going on and on and on about the particulars of our very own, UNIQUE circumstances. Yes, the going-on CAN provide a pressure relief valve of sorts. [I just had a vivid flashback to the rocking little gravity-controlled valve atop my mama’s old pressure cooker.]

    I feel your pain. I don’t have the answers. I’m still searching myself. For me, I’m finding a little more peace each day learning to experience the joy and pleasure that comes to me with and from my challengingly lovely charges…and now my “grand-charges.” I celebrate small victories…baby steps. And this is really hard for me when I allow myself to be trapped by the I-should-have-figured-this-out-a-long-time-ago monster. Okay…perhaps I SHOULD have…but I DIDN’T.

    The world can go to hell in a hand-basket. There is SO little I can do about that. I want to find a way–every day–to be a LITTLE less delusional…a LITTLE more expressive…a LITTLE more able to ask for and receive help…so that MY world won’t go to hell in a hand-basket.

    Gotta run. I’m not nearly as limber as in early days…open mouth, extract foot.

    Peace!

    • raisingsmartgirls says:

      Well, you are right PapaT…he doesn’t HAVE to put up with my upsets any more than I have to put up with his. And yes, I did cringe a bit, though I completely understood it. We both actively choose to put up with each others’ shortcomings. The good outweigh the bad and even when it doesn’t, we re-focus our efforts.

      It IS reassuring, to me anyway, knowing the struggles others face. I always never understood how to relate to those who appear to have their acts together when I feel mine is so fragile.

      No, the situations are different, but enough the same that I can relate. No there is nothing “out there” about raising MY kids, but I’m not looking for the handbook either. We are creating the handbook as we go along.

      Like for instance, I know my middle daughter needs a snack and water AS SOON AS I pick her up from school, otherwise she is melt-down city. She is one that needs to keep eating because she burns through her energy stores quickly.

      For me though, I need to know how others are handling THEIR situations. I need to know I’m not the only one struggling. I AM comforted by the fact that this parenting job isn’t easy to others. I am comforted by the fact that some parents aren’t making a joke about it or dismissing their kids’ needs altogether (I’ve seen way too much of BOTH), but are seeking to understand how to help them just like I am. There’s not enough caring parents out there who are honest enough to admit they don’t know it all but want to try to help their kids through some tough emotional issues (their kids’ and their own).

      I feel, in many ways, the perpetual undercurrent of failing as a human being sometimes. I’m getting better at ignoring that negative self-talk, but sometimes…it’s hard.

      As far as the world going to hell in a hand-basket, it is, and there is nothing I can do about it, either, though it was sweet to see my daughters helping out yesterday by picking up trash at the school park with a few of their friends.

      I don’t always need my situation fixed, just understood. Reading about other people’s struggles makes me feel, perhaps vicariously, a little understood. I don’ t know how that is.

      I suppose that could be a difference between men and women, though. Sometimes it’s enough to just see what’s going on in someone else’s world. I read a few of their posts and I cried, because I’d been there too in some of the scenarios they talk about. It’s just a feeling of relief that someone has had to deal with difficult situations too.

      That in itself, is a form of support, if it allows you to access some of your emotions, I think.

      No, crying about things don’t really solve anything, but it sure does make me feel better.

      • raisingsmartgirls says:

        Oh, and I just quoted this for someone today. It’s from Miguel de Unamuno’s The Tragic Sense of Life:

        “Man yearns to be loved, or, what is the same thing, to be pitied. Man wishes others to feel and share his hardships and his sorrows.”

        To me, that simply reflects being able to be understood, though it could be exaggerated – there are some who long to revel in pity parties and do it quite often. I don’t want to revel in it, but definitely it can be good when someone seems to understand what my hardships and sorrows are.

  2. So Over says:

    Thanks for visiting our little corner of the ‘net and sharing our site here. You are NOT alone! Ecemom and I are truly very lucky to have each other IRL, but we love to share with others who are also experiencing the ‘opportunities’ of living with a gifted child(ren).

    Your blog is great and I am glad we ‘bumped’ into each other in cyberspace.

    • raisingsmartgirls says:

      Thank you for the compliment, So Over.

      Yes, I am glad too we bumped into each other in cyberspace, too. I think cyberspace where I receive some of the most important support I’ve gotten in recent years.

      I’ll be adding you to my blogroll, and I’ll be reading up more of your blog tonight.

      Take care.

      Casey

  3. Spacemom says:

    Heh- You should have been at my house two nights ago when I had a shouting match with my 7, almost 8 year old because she was running rings around me logically. Ugh.
    You are not alone!

  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Oh, to be a fly on the wall….

    My 8 year old has been expressing her frustrations more and more lately and it’s been challenging.

    And of course, you know, you can’t easily shut ’em down with a “because I said so and that’s that”. I mean, you can…but it’s not helpful and it causes more problems.

    I think it’s time to implement ye old “conflict resolution skills”

    I found this kid friendly link a while back

    http://www.cyh.sa.gov.au/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetailsKids.aspx?p=335&np=287&id=1521

    Here’s a very brief overview:
    Conflict Resolution
    Try to sort things out so that everyone gets a fair go and something of what they want. There are 4 things that you need to do.
    1 Understand
    2 Avoid making things worse
    3 Work together
    4 Find the solution

    Yeah, I know this should be obvious, but sometimes the emotions get in the way.

  5. ecemom says:

    I might just have to post 1-4 on my fridge for my hubby and others who encounter / interact with my children. It was a pleasure to read your blog today. Glad to have found you!

  6. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Here’s something else I know worked for my sensory sensitive daughter – which helped when her meltdowns got really bad.

    I should reprint this from my other blog because I refer to it so much over here.

    Kid’s Problem Solving Binder –

    http://growinginpeace.wordpress.com/2008/10/31/kids-problem-solving-binder/

    I have to make a new binder, because I seem to have misplaced ours and haven’t seen it in quite some time. I’m really not happy about that. But it was working quite well to help her articulate her feelings. I think it’s time to implement more things for the older daughter too and for all of us to help sort out everyone’s needs.

    If you click on the link, there are more ideas for emotion coaching and problem solving.

  7. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Oh, and yes, the pleasure’s been mutual!

    Have a great evening!

  8. Becky says:

    I do not have a gifted child, but always thought it would be nice to have one- whatever his/her gift might be. It wasn’t until I read a memoir titled, “I Promised You Daisies: Book Two of the Trilogy Imperfectly Ordinary” by Robert A. Benjamin that I was able to get a good picture of what it would be like. Although I still think it would be nice if one of my children had a gift, I now realize that gifted children also have their own struggles, that life isn’t perfect for them or their parents. I truly believe that behind each gifted child is a parent guiding the way. I can only hope to be such a great parent.

  9. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Becky –

    You are the SECOND person who has recommended this book recently. I heard it’s available at Barnes and Noble. There is a B&N a bit further out than where I am (Borders is closer to me).

    But, that being said, being gifted doesn’t always translate into having “gifts” that others do not or can not achieve.

    I think you are thinking of prodigy-like skills that come effortlessly. My kids aren’t like that. They aren’t like some kind of wunderkind. That’s a profoundly gifted child and I do not think I have that kind of child.

    Most days my kids seem quite ordinary, to me. They read books, they play with their toys, they ride their bikes, and they fight with each other.

    Then I see what they are interested in and what they are reading in comparison to their age-mates.

    Or they’ll want to do math problems for fun at home. But they aren’t doing algebra like I know one 5 year old was doing.

    Sometimes I think they are fighting more and more with each other because they are in need of stimulation – so they stimulate each other by getting on each others’ nerves.

    I’m not entirely sure I am not doing my kids a disservice, because I don’t have the funds to send them to lots of lessons, or enroll them in sports like lots of parents around here do.

    Right now, I’m trying to preserve as much of a fun, happy, natural, childhood for them as I can. Lots of regular, normal kid stuff.

    But, who knows, maybe in time they will be writing a book about ME and how I didn’t aggressively take the lead when they were young to give them the “best” head-start, enrolling them in 3-4 afterschool activities starting at preschool.

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