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Becoming A Parent To A Child With Special Needs

Special Needs

When your child is born with a disability, whether it is a learning or walking disability or any other kind of challenge, it can come as a shock to many parents who has not been prepared to deal with a special needs child. The following are guidelines to help you through the process and a few first-hand tips and advice.

When you are raising a child who requires special attention, there will come times when you may feel overwhelmed and it can be very strenuous, especially when you don’t know how to deal with a certain situation or when you don’t get the support you need. Not to worry, this is normal; all parents go through it at some point. But in many cases, this can lead to more serious problems such as depression and can even cause conflict in the relationship.

For most parents, when they find out that their child is challenged in any way, it’s common to feel overwhelmed or frightened at first. Here are some guidelines to help you process and deal with some challenges you are faced with to put your mind at ease:

Mental Preparation

Facing facts:

As harsh as it may sound, but you need to make peace with the fact that your child will require special attention and will be more dependent on you for a large part of their lives. Accept that and learn to embrace the gift you have been given. Once you have come to terms with your child’s disability or challenge and learn to accept it as a part of your life, things will become a bit easier.

Special Needs

Prepare Yourselves Mentally

Research:

Educate yourself about your child’s condition and needs. Learn as much as you can by speaking to your doctor or other parents who can help you understand every aspect of your child’s needs.

Blame:

Many parents will blame themselves or even their partners for the fact that their child is born with a disability. Stop placing blame on yourself or your partner, these things happen. What is done, is done. Placing blame will not help anyone and will most certainly not make things any easier for your relationship.

Special Needs

Emotions:

Experiencing emotions such as guilt, feeling like it’s your fault or hopelessness, when you feel there is nothing you can do, even anger or sadness. All of these emotions can lead to depression or other emotional states, which can hurt your relationship and your child. As hard as it may be, you need to push those negative emotions aside; they have no place in your life anymore. Separate yourself from these negative emotions, because your child needs you as well as your partner. You are stronger than you know.

Creating a strong support system

Relationship:

You and your partner will need to work as a team. Many relationships will take strain at times, but if you work as a team, help each other and build each other up instead of breaking the other one down. Most importantly, don’t close up and keep things to yourself. You cannot work as a team if you shut your teammate out. Work as a team and you can overcome just about any obstacle you encounter, together!

Special Needs

Be Strong

Support group:

Join a support group. Speaking to other parents, who is going through the same emotions as you are, really does help and gives you a place to express and share your own.

Friends and family:

You need to explain and educate your friends and family about your child’s condition. They need to fully understand your child’s needs and what is expected from them as well as what to do in certain situations. Insist that they treat your child accordingly, regardless of how many kids they have raised, here, you know what’s best for your child.

“Having a child changes your life and gives you a new purpose and direction in life. Just because your child is faced with a few more challenges in life, makes them no different from any other kid out there. My child has thought me the value of life; what some people see as weakness, I see as strength.”

Article Author: Lynette Redelinghuys

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Comments (4)

  • Avatar

    Lynne

    |

    I have a special needs daughter and been a firs time mother made me angry because of her special needs she has, but with time i grew stronger and i accepted that God Blessed me with her,
    She is my blessing that God gave me:) Tara will be turning 9 in August and i’m so blessed to have her around, Lynne

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Joshua

      |

      What a beautiful and inspiring message, Lynne. I often think that parents of children with special needs are among the most caring and loving parents there are, and I say that as a father of an 11 month old girl myself. We would love to hear more about your story. Please get in touch at josh@liferetreat.co.za

      Reply

    • Avatar

      Lynette

      |

      It’s amazing how much strength we discover in ourselves, not true Lynne? I just wanted to add: ‘Whatever the situation or challenge is, whatever obstacle we find on our road; has been placed there not to test us, but because we are strong enough to handle it…even if we don’t yet know it ourselves’

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Trish

    |

    HI Lynne
    Thank you for your message. It is so beautiful, and you are truly an inspiration to other parents with children with special needs. Tara is beautiful, and I agree that you are Blessed to have your precious child, and she is blessed to have you as her Mom xxxx

    Reply

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