Raising a child is a full time job, but being the parent of a child with special needs is a horse of another color. It takes extreme dedication, resilience, and patience to give your kid everything they need as they develop.
While the journey is rewarding, it can also be incredibly trying at times. From developmental challenges to dealing with educational systems and less-than-understanding adults, there are moments when your challenge as a parent is enough to make you break down and cry. Sound familiar? If so, here are five important things you need to know.
1. You’re Never Alone
Every special needs child is unique. Their symptoms and the challenges they face are theirs and theirs alone, but there are thousands of individuals who share in their struggles. The same goes for your challenge as a parent.
Seek these families and individuals out. One of the best things you can do for yourself and your child is form a support group with individuals who understand your situation. In some cases, you might find yourself with support groups for each diagnoses your child has.
2. Don’t Forget Self-Care
Every parent ultimately neglects their own needs in favor of their child’s, but you are far more inclined to do so. Child support attorneys who work with families in challenging situations on a regular basis, encourage their clients to keep up on self-care routines.
Exercise, eat healthy, and make time to do the things you love. Finding “you time” allows you to recharge, which increases your parenting abilities. Self-care activates also help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
3. Embrace Your Child’s Uniqueness
It isn’t easy to hear that another parent’s child is walking or talking months before your own. Neither is having a stranger point out one of your child’s habits without knowing the full context of the situation. All of that is okay, though.
These individuals couldn’t possible begin to understand the full extent of your or your child’s situation. Instead of getting upset, laugh it off. Every child is wholly unique and yours deserves to grow in their own way. Take these moments to educate individuals and help spread awareness.
4. It’s a Marathon
Raising a child with special needs isn’t a short race, it’s a lifetime endeavor. There’s no winning or losing, there’s just making it to the end with your sanity intact. So, don’t get discouraged by every little thing or forget to take a break now and again.
Potty training, buttoning shirts, and lacing shoes take more than one day to teach any child. Be patient and enjoy these little things now. ADA defense attorneys at Karlin Law warn that someday those little parent-child moments could turn into suing an employer someday. Again, there’s no winning. Just strap yourself in and go along with the ride no matter what the future might hold.
5. It’s Okay to Forgive Yourself
Along the way, you are going to screw up. There’s no such thing as perfect parents, and that includes you. Torturing yourself over a situation isn’t going to make anything better. So, cut yourself a little slack. It’s okay to forgive yourself and keep working on being the best parent you can be.