In the realm of parenting, navigating the delicate balance of accommodating the needs of 2e (twice-exceptional) teens can often feel like tiptoeing through a minefield. It's a world where brilliance and struggle coexist, where understanding and accommodating these complexities become paramount for fostering well-being and avoiding inflicting trauma.
A recent self-care discussion in a high school social group unveiled a perspective that likely resonates deeply with many parents facing similar challenges. These teens, dubbed 'wicked smart' aka gifted in some arenas, can face significant hurdles in others—a phenomenon commonly known as a 'spiky profile.'
One insightful takeaway from this conversation was the concept that you can't enable someone who is already disabled. It's a powerful reminder for parents trying to figure out how to accommodate their 2e kids- i.e. give them accommodations!
Consider the daily battle of reminding teenagers about basic tasks like brushing their teeth. It's a constant cycle, an unending tug-of-war that can leave parents feeling exasperated. Here's where the concept of inviting them to 'half-ass' (yes, we cuss in group sometimes) things comes into play—a liberating approach to acknowledging limitations and adapting accordingly.
Can't manage to brush teeth twice a day? Do it once, or chew minty gum, or mouthwash. Can't muster the energy for a full-on shower? A quick wipe-down can suffice. The idea is to encourage doing what's feasible with the energy available, embracing the philosophy of the Spoon Theory—an analogy for managing limited energy reserves among individuals dealing with various challenges.
For those unfamiliar, the Spoon Theory is a metaphor that beautifully illustrates the finite energy reserves of individuals dealing with chronic illnesses or disabilities. Each activity, each task, requires a certain amount of 'spoons,' symbolizing energy. Once these spoons are depleted, energy becomes scarce, impacting the ability to accomplish more tasks.
So, the next time the battle over toothbrushing ensues or the struggle to engage in a full self-care routine feels overwhelming, remember: it's okay to 'half-ass' it when needed. Embrace flexibility, adapt to circumstances, and prioritize well-being from a neuroaffirming lens above all else.
Stay supportive, stay adaptable, and most importantly, stay kind—to yourself and your exceptional teens.