top of page
  • Writer's pictureYvette E. McDonald, LCSW-QS

Help! I'm lost and exasperated!?

Ever sit in the confusion of your child, wondering what you are doing wrong, what you did wrong, why they don’t get it, how many times you’ll have to teach or go over the same concept, routine or behavior choice?

You’ve tried everything to help them or perhaps you haven’t tried anything cause you don’t even know where to begin. Welcome to the world of raising a complex child. What do I mean by a complex child. Well the short and sweet of it is a child that takes the simple out of everything and interacts with life at an intense level. For the most part everything that should be a task becomes a project. They struggle with a little bit of everything, having you scratch your head questioning if they are Gifted, ADHD, Sensory, Bipolar or if it’s just temperament and you have the strongest willed child known. There is hope! I’ll go through the amazing strengths and experiences that come from these complex children in a later post but for now here’s some tips to manage the gift of complexity.

  1. Stop and Catch your breath. There’s something therapeutic about just closing your mouth and catching your breathe in the journey of parenting.

  2. Be mindful of your thoughts. There’s nothing quicker that can escalate a situation for the worst than an unmanaged thought closet. Am I saying you don’t acknowledge your feeling? Absolutely not! You just acknowledge them and then work through them. However, if you don’t mind what you think you can escalate the situation choosing reactive over responsive choices, which can easily snowball the situation with negative consequences ranging from damaged relationships and feelings of quilt and shame.

  3. Break it down. There’s a concept I train parents in that has you distinguish what we can control and what we cannot known as "The Rock and Play Dough Technique". As situations arise, ask yourself is this a rock situation or a play-dough situation. Then sit in it for a second and figure out your next best move. If it’s a play-dough situation then problem solving is in order. If it’s a rock situation then turn to your coping tool box and breathe. Sometimes you’ll find that it’s both but always start with breathing before problem solving in order that you have a good brain to work with.

  4. Work together. When you’re calm, cool and collected talk over the situation or problem with your child and discuss the actions steps that will occur next. This is also a great time to "sit on the sidewalk" with them and get their perspective on things.

  5. Self Care. Take care of yourself on a regular basis. Complex kids have a way of using up every bit of your resources.....mental, emotional, physical and even spiritual. You need to rest and recharge daily. Taking care of yourself enables you to be the very best you, you can be.

Some days will be easier than others. Life with a complex child is both a 'blessing and a curse' as some parents describe it and something I help you find clarity on in our time together through the avenue of Parent Coaching. Complex children experience and interact with the world so intensely. Everything seems to have an extra dose of that intensity even their loving nature.


Traveling Light Counseling is in the heart of Port Saint Lucie, FL and easily assessable from both Vero Beach and Martin County due to our close proximity to US1 and the Turnpike. I am committed to helping relationships be the best version they can be. Nothing excites me more that helping relationships level up and find fun and creative ways to connect, learn and grow. One such relationship is that of the parent child relationship. I offer relational support, education and help families and parents navigate through the twist and turns of the parenting journey. Please do not hesitate to bring me onto your journey, I'd be honored. Please give me a call at 772-361-8448 for a free, 15-minute phone consultation.


bottom of page