How to Manage Your Own Feelings About Having A Child with Special Needs

You have been informed that your child has a disability, developmental delay, or some other diagnosis. How does that make you feel?  Denial? Fear? Ready to do anything necessary to give your child tools? Grief?

How do you know if you are grieving?  Does it even make sense?  Can you grieve about something like this?  Absolutely, and here is why:

The world we live in paints many perfect pictures of what life should look like, but how many of us can actually say we fit that picture?  When the doctor tells us “Your baby has…a hearing loss, diabetes, autism spectrum disorder, or cerebral palsy…” it is very common to enter a state of grief. Even a child with sensory processing problems is more than a full-time job. These children won’t wear the adorable outfits we buy them because the clothing tags drive them crazy. They won’t eat the food we make.  We can’t even take them to restaurants, movies, or the shopping mall without them having a meltdown!  It’s simply not what we planned and it causes us a lot of grief.

The truth is that it is okay, and even healthy, to mourn the loss of the child you envisioned.  It is the first positive step in being able to help your child succeed to his or her fullest abilities.

These detours in our planned path of parenthood are painful to all of us, but we must help ourselves to gain acceptance so that we can be the best parents we can be for our children. Take a moment for yourself…breathe…exercise…take a parenting class…take care of you. You are the driving force for your family; the one who keeps things going. Be the best parent you can be by honoring your own feelings, allowing yourself to experience your sadness, and then healing yourself so that you can come to acceptance and do the most important job you will ever do in your life….the job of being a responsible, proactive, and supportive parent to a child who loves you and needs your support and guidance.

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