So, you’ve entered a club you’ve never expected to be a member of. Your child is different. You have a child with special needs. The baby books that adorn your shelves don’t have the answers and neither do your well-meaning friends. You’re confused and a little afraid. You feel guilty. Your child is different. You mourn a little and then you feel guilty for that, too. It’s a rough go at first and it’s okay to cry. You love your little one more than you ever thought possible but this new reality is taking its toll. Here are few ways for your family to not only cope but thrive when your child is different.
Read, Read, and Read Some More
The baby books might not have the answers but there is help out there. Some of the reading will be peer reviewed research but most of it is going to be written by parents just like you. There are numerous blogs and websites dedicated to life with a child with special needs. They will make you laugh and cry and most importantly they will remind you that you are not alone. Spend some time exploring how other people manage and you’ll learn a few tips and tricks and you might even realize you’re not doing half bad yourself.
Make Friend That Are in Your Boat
Your friends are great and hugely supportive, no doubt. They just can’t understand your world the way another parent living the same reality can. Are there play groups, coffee time, or support meeting for parents of children with special needs in your area? Take advantage of these opportunities to meet people who can offer advice and friendship that
will help you cope and grow as a family. The solidarity felt between families dealing with children that need a little extra help and a lot of extra love is second to none. You might just make the greatest friends of your lifetime.
Get Away From It All Once in a While
All parents need a break and you are no exception. It can be pretty exhausting to care for a child with special needs and a little respite is necessary for you to maintain a healthy balance for your family. Finding a sitter isn’t always easy because of the level of care they may be required but with a little effort you’ll find someone who is more than capable. Allow yourself to trust a little and take a break from parenting and do something for yourself. Eat a meal that someone else prepared, spend some Your health and your family will thank you.
You’ve accepted that your life didn’t turn out exactly as you had planned and you’ve come to terms with your new reality. You love your child more than could ever be expressed and you’re ready for the challenges to come. It’s time to gather friends and supports around to make sure your family is not only surviving but thriving, too. It’s not going to be easy but it can be wonderful.