“Positive parenting, peaceful parenting, respectful parenting, gentle parenting”- all those big words- we read it all over the blogs, news and articles. But the harsh reality penetrates deep down your mind tearing and crumbling your life when you see your special needs child struggling every day. It’s utterly shocking and depressing for parents when they come to know that, their child is suffering from some psychological problem, for the first time. I have seen moms breaking down and dads going numb when they get the first diagnosis of their kid. Many go in denial for years. Many recline and hide in their closed nests away from their social circle. They find it very difficult to accept the fact and be in consensus with the reality. Sometimes they are angry, sometimes despaired, hopeless and sad. Consequently they vent their anger, frustration or anxiety and start blaming them.
Here are a few tips for parents which I have found to be successful to help parents cope in such a situation, where their child is in some kind of special mental health condition:
- A little bit of mindfulness goes a very long way: Do not vent your frustrations or transfer anxiety on to your kid. Your distress and worry may negatively impact your child. He or she can feel your emotions and vibes. Keep your calm and maintain a cool head. Your job is significant, but it is difficult too. Do not lose hope. Things will be better one day
- Do not blame yourself: Often parents blame themselves for their child’s suffering because he/she is born out of them, or they feel that they have not trained the child properly from the beginning. They also hold themselves responsible for not discovering the problem earlier. But in reality the parents are not to be blamed at all!
- Carve out time for yourself. Be compassionate with yourself. Use your compassion and sensitivity towards yourself, and can you be compassionate towards the needful child. Be stable and read positive things to have a paradigm shift and better and positive outlook. Feel yourself special, that you are adorned with this big responsibility. You have a lot to do, and you are the best at it, and you will do it.
- Make connection with special needs parent: Just sharing your situation with some close friends can help you keep calm. A few words of empathy can cheer you up again. Just the statement “everything will be all right”, can create the magic. You will start feeling better all over again when you see how other parents are coping.
- Involve the family: Taking all the responsibility on your shoulders can affect your mental and emotional health badly. You may also suffer from the fear that if you are unable to help your child, the society will blame it on you. Involve other members in the family in your situation to guide you, and decide what is best for your kid.
It is very rightly said that every second person is a doctor and every individual you will meet and share your experience with, will have tons of suggestions for you. Its on you to decide what you feel is the best for your child. After all, parenting a special needs child requires a courageous heart that is capable of containing all the love and happiness that comes with this special role. Accepting the way he or she is, is the first step to become the super moms and dads.
Embrace the unique way your child is blooming- even if it is not in the garden you imagined. Never give up, never surrender and always rise up against the odds. Take a step back and soak in the sight of your child smiling at you. In the end that’s all that matters.