As a parent, you have most probably bonded with your child even before he was born. You have started to talk to him while he was in your tummy. Excitement would be an understatement. Little did you know that with the news given to you right after delivery, you were shocked and after the initial reaction, your mind shifted to question yourself, ” Is parenting a special child for me? Will I be able to handle it ? “
Even if you knew during pregnancy that your child is special, you might still be overwhelmed during and after delivery. Or you might even feel guilty that you have done something wrong to have conceived a special child.
Or maybe, your baby is having awesome development on his first few months to his second year or 18 months and gradually declines or show signs of regression, it’s also very depressing.
It’s not your fault. Nobody wants her kid to have special needs.
Nevertheless, he is your child, you waited for him for nine months, and he needs you. Always remember that he is an angel, a source of joy for your family.
There will be challenges in taking care of him, but with the support of your family and relatives, you will be okay. Don’t feel guilty, don’t be embarrassed, accept your child ” as he is.”
We know that parenting a special child involves a lot of struggles, but just be open and offer him unconditional love and surviving the challenges will come naturally.
After all, a mother’s love is all it takes to nurture your special kid.
A gift from God
He was given to you because you have the capacity to take care of him, to love him, and to help him develop to his fullest potential.
Celebrate the birth of your son or daughter, including his or her inadequacies.
Don’t focus on his disability. Be happy with his milestones, even though they are slow.
Here are some tips on parenting a special child, your child, and in the end, surviving the challenges.
Remember you are an awesome mom or dad, and you are the primary caregiver of your baby. You owe him your care and concern and your whole self.
Love your child unconditionally
- If you are the mom, be proud that you have carried this baby yourself. You have nurtured him even before he was born, so just continue to be there for him, no matter what.
- If you are the dad, pour out your love to your kid and be hands on in taking care of him. Support your wife and take turns in taking care of your special child. He needs you more than ever.
- Ask your doctor and therapists if you have questions or doubts.
- Read books or journals about your child. The more you know about his condition, the more you will understand how he behaves.
- Connect with other parents who have the same child as yours. Share information with one another. Join social media groups if you can.
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Bond with your child
- Involve yourself as much as possible in his activities especially in his playtime.
- Find time to include playing and reading with your child as part of your daily schedule, even for just half an hour. The longer, the better.
- Daily time with him is really important for your child to develop deep trust in you.
- He will feel that he is important and that you really care for him.
- You will have firsthand observation on his progress.
- Playtime and reading are some of the greatest bonding activities that you will have with him. You will share with his fun and joy as he learns to explore things.
Connect with your family and friends
- Don’t isolate yourself.
- Make regular dates with your partner.
- Continue to attend family gatherings.
- Share with your family the progress and milestones of your child.
- Communicate regularly with your family, especially with your spouse, parents and siblings. They could always support you emotionally as well as help you with baby-sitting from time to time.
- Schedule playtime for your child with his cousins, to develop rapport and acceptance.
Take care of yourself
- Have lots of sleep and rest. Eat nutritious food. You need to be healthy and not get sick.
- Exercise regularly. Daily walks will enable you to have time to think and recharge.
- Go out and find time to relax with your friends and other adult members of your family.
- Be proud that you are able to take care of your special child. Don’t dwell on self-pity.
Find and join support groups
- Know that there are lots of parents and families out there who are in the same boat as you are.
- Learning from other parents will help you how to be always ready for your kid if problems arise.
- Knowing that you’re not the only one having struggles will make your load light.
- Schedule playtime with other kids with the same special needs as your child.
- Celebrate milestones of your kids with other parents.
Collaborate with his teachers, caregivers and health advocates
- Attend meetings and consultations when the teacher and therapist schedule them. Be open to their suggestions.
- Ask questions and follow up the progress of your child.
- Suggest to his teacher and therapist if you think something needs to be done or addressed with about your kid’s behavior. After all, you are always with him and you are able to observe him close enough and somehow, you know how he copes up with challenges.
- When your child arrives from school, look at his backpack for homework and help him do it.
- Acknowledge the support that his teacher and therapist gives him.
Celebrate your child’s progress and milestones
- Keep a record of his milestones and progress in his baby book.
- Capture his first walk, first word, etc in pictures or videos.
- Share his progress with your friends and family.
- Reward him with a toy or food for something that he has accomplished, like toilet training or being able to write the alphabet or his name.
- Let him join the class concert or program and be there for him.
Ask for help
- Inquire from your child’s doctor and therapist about any problem or struggle that arises and seek advise on how to deal with it.
- Support from family, even from grandparents are really important. Babysitting , turns in caring if child is sick or in the hospital, or company for you to the doctor or therapist visits are all important.
- There is always help and support if you feel overwhelmed. I’m sure even neighbors and friends can pitch in help if you ask them.
You and your child are partners
Parenting a child with special needs maybe overwhelming and tiring, but seeking the help of others, accepting your child as he is, focusing on his strengths, milestones and progress and taking care of yourself are all very important so you can thrive and your child likewise will develop to his fullest potential.
Being a parent of a child with special needs is indeed very challenging but your rewards will come from your kid himself when he shows you his progress, even though they are slow.
When he calls you ” Mom,” or ” Dad, ” for the first time at 3-5 years old or even if he’s older, then you will jump with joy. You know that from there, everything will just fall into place.
You are capable of becoming the best mom or the best dad to your child with special needs and be proud of that.
After all, caring for your child, loving him for what he is and celebrating his milestones will always bring immense joy in you and your whole family.
As a parent, how do you take care of your special child? How do you bond with him or her? Do you find time for yourself and ask help from other family members as well? Please share your experiences with us.
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