Parents of kids with special needs are already in a lot of pain and responsibilities. Their life is hectic and now and then they need our support and help. However, sometimes, not knowing perhaps, even our well-meant statements can come across as wrong and offend them.
So today, I came up with these 12 statements every parent of kids with special needs should hear, which will make them feel that they have our love and good-intentions all the time.
1) Take time to enjoy yourself too.
I understand as a parent of kids with special needs you are almost always placed in a position of looking after others. However, you still need to take care of yourself and enjoy life too – meaning inviting friends or family members for a meal now and then, going out for a date, taking a short vacation in a new place, or whatever else that makes you feel taken care of. Take time to enjoy your life because you need it.
2) You are not an average parent.
Even though you may not be able to fly out of buildings or run faster than a speeding bullet, nevertheless, you’re still not an average parent. Every day, you handle life situations that a parent of a healthy child would think are impossible. You remember pills, infuse medicine, and stretch tight muscles.
You put up with meltdowns and tantrums, while managing not to meltdowns or have a tantrum yourself. You never give up hope and motivate your children to do things the doctors say they’d never do.
In short, you’re a doctor, motivator, therapist, confidante, and a friend.
3) You aren’t perfect – and that’s beautiful!
We all know that no one is perfect – and that’s fine. Everyone makes mistakes, otherwise, we wouldn’t be human. We can either get stuck in life thinking about our past mistakes or move on!
Try to change your thinking for a moment: maybe there was an excellent reason why you missed that appointment, even though you were sure it was on Monday, but apparently, it shifted on Tuesday. Maybe, your kid was having a long day at school, and he just wanted to go back to sleep.
So don’t beat yourself up because it’s not going to change the situation. Instead, learn from your mistakes and know that it happened for a good reason, and try to move on.
4) You are not alone
Even though no other kids may have the same kind of symptoms as your kid has, you’ll find parents of kids with similar threats. So go out and find these people to network with them. You’ll not only make amazing friendships with them, but they’ll also provide a great deal of support you need in your day to day life. Whenever I feel that I might be alone, I just have to open up one of my Facebook groups, and immediately I’m reminded, I am not.
5) Take out time to enjoy your kids
While it’s true that your schedule is almost always busy, however, it’s also supercritical to make some time to enjoy, play, be silly, laugh, and just enjoy your kids. Snuggle with them, read to them, create new memories outside the walls of the hospitals, and engage with your kids with what’s essential in their worlds.
6) Forgive yourself.
Despite your good intentions, yes, you will mess things up sometimes. But beating yourself for it won’t make you feel good, nor will it encourage you to make better decisions in the future. Learn to let go and forgive yourself. Remember, many of the difficult choices you make in life have no ‘right’ answer.
7) You won’t always get it right.
Many of the decisions you make for your kids may not give you the best results, only the lesser of the difficult and painful choices. Your intention is always to do your best when it comes to looking after your kids, but you need to understand that you won’t always get it right no matter how many hours you spend thinking over how to handle a situation better.
8) Celebrate little successes with people you care.
Brag about all those achievements that might seem so small to others but are significant accomplishments for your kids! Your kids with special needs often develop their clock – they master some skills late, while they never master others. A smile, a sentence, a word, a hug, a wiggling toe that wouldn’t wiggle before, whatever that little achievement may be, go out and share it with those who love you and your kid.
9) Don’t compare your kids with others.
Not comparing kids with others is a big challenge for some folks, but the work is worth it in the end. You see, all children are typical, with different problems and they will develop and grow at their clock.
If a milestone wasn’t met as it should have been, go and talk to your kid’s doctor, but never compare your kids with their siblings, cousins, other kids in the daycare class, or kids with similar disability type. Why? Because it hardly ever helps to make you feel better about your efforts.
You see, your child is different (unique), and hence, they’ll have their own set of strengths and challenges.
10) Don’t sacrifice your life!
You may be a parent of kids with special needs, but no way it should affect your identity as a whole. You may be many things, and being a parent to a child with special needs is just a part of your whole personality – not all of your identity.
So when you devote all of your life, energy, time, contacts around your child and meeting their needs, you can easily get lost. Find things you enjoy doing in your life, a hobby, a glass of wine, shopping for yourself.
11) Being a parent to a kid with special needs is not just hard, but super hard.
It could also make you extra passionate. Make your life extra rewarding. And, of course, you’ll make your life extra spicy. With every challenge comes the rewards. Sometimes you have to search for the rewards, but you’ll always find it there if you look for them.
12) Listen to your gut feelings
No one knows your child better than you. Teachers, doctors, therapists are all awesome resources but if you seriously think you’re not being heard, or your kid’s needs are not being met, it’s very obvious to get a second opinion from the experts. Don’t quit fighting for your kids and their needs. Although the “experts” are professionals in their areas, you are at least professional on your child.
This is a guest post by Annabelle Short.
Annabelle Short is a writer and a seamstress of more than 5 years. Annabelle is a mother and she loves making crafts with her two children, Leo (age 9) and Michelle (age 11). Annabelle writes about crafting, sewing, and parenting. She splits her time between London and Los Angeles and writes for Wunderlabel. You can visit her blog to learn more about her and her work.
Disclaimer: All the views expressed in the article are of the Author.
Featured image courtesy: Pixabay