Raising children is hard but raising children with a disability or special needs, adds additional challenges.
That is why it is so important to be a team, a “united front.”
To be on side, to be each other’s ally’s and support, work on a plan together on how to manage everything, from discipline to schooling, food and eating habits to socializing and recreation.
What are your expectations?
Do you have the same values and expectations as your partner? You both need to be realistic in your expectations.
Take turns to be the strong parent – life can be difficult, you need to have each other’s back.
But you also need to live a life and be able to have fun and switch off, have a support system that you both agree with. Do you have parents or siblings who are able to offer support, or do you have friends in a similar situation that you are able to support each other?
Speak up if either of you is overwhelmed – no matter what your duties are and what is expected – you are only human.
There is an element of loss of the perceived future each of you would have envisaged and dreamt of for your child. Be kind to each other.
Remember – don’t compare – that is dangerous and counterproductive….
Believe in yourselves, be strong but also vulnerable and ask for help when it is needed.
Have a plan and remember routine is so important.
Parenting a child with special needs can be likened to a marathon.
You will have to make heart wrenching decisions and you won’t always get it right. Forgive yourself.
Don’t lose yourself and try to not let being the parent of a special needs child help define you. Find things in life that you enjoy doing, have a hobby, plan time to relax and enjoy yourself, as this will help you to cope.
Keep your sense of humour. Understand that people say things out of ignorance that could trigger you.
Celebrate the little things. Our special needs children do things at their own pace and are not bound by average milestones – so celebrate them non the less.