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Parenting in the recent past has become extremely stressful than what it used to be a couple of generations earlier. This stress has increased manifold if the child has special needs. Be it a physical or an emotional disability, the caretaker has a lot of additional responsibilities when raising a child with special needs. Also bringing up such a child is extremely rewarding in the long run, when you see them accomplish things in life, for which your contribution is far greater than in normal children.
Read on to for some guidance on how to manage a child with special need.
- Understand the problem your child is facing: The problem may become evident prenatally, at birth, or sometimes it will reveal itself as the child grows up. Whatever the case, once identified, understand the various issues it brings along. This is true especially in case of syndromes like Down's or learning disabilities, which have more implications. Review the medical history thoroughly with the doctor to understand the child better and play your role better.
- Supportive community: There are a lot of supportive communities, which will consist of similar people and so a lot of mutual support and help would be available. The emotional components of empathy and sympathy play an equally important role here.
- Let’s face it: Caring for such a child is an ongoing process. The sooner this fact is accepted, the easier the journey will be. The children need to be reassured that they are not alone, they are differently perfect, they need to forgive themselves, to not be hard on themselves, and not to lose heart. The parent and the caretakers also need to realize that it is like a never-ending marathon and bracing up for this long haul is very important. There might be times when mistakes happen, tough decisions are taken, and you have to be hard on the child and yourself. However, don’t lose heart and encourage both the child and yourself. It is okay for these slips to happen, just accept them.
- Live for today: On a daily basis, forgive small wrongs both for your child and yourself. Trust your instincts, celebrate the little wins, don’t compare your child to anybody else, and protect him from getting bullied. The child needs to be told that you are unique and special and to set your own pace and compete against yourself. Work on your sense of humor and get professional help for both the child’s needs and your additional responsibilities.
While the stress of caring for a child with special needs is quite high, these are very small and simple ways to deal with the stress of raising a child with special needs. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a general physician.