Most parents with special needs children, especially those who have just been diagnosed, tend to often feel depressed, frustrated and could experience a lot of emotional swings. They can be emotionally disturbed when they experience-
- Humiliation when the kids are unable to adhere to the basic rules of the society.
- Embarrassment when they become the hot topics of discussion in public places.
- Anxiety when the kids are left far behind their peers in terms of social cognitive and intellectual development.
- Fear of not being able to cope with the highly demanding educational system and society
- Insecurity about the kid’s future.
- Depression when they find minimal progress in-spite of the abundance effort they put to progress the child.
It is, indeed, human nature to experience such emotions when our expectations are not met. Unfortunately we start setting the expectations based on comparison. That is the reason I say that comparison is the culprit! The journey of each parent sailing in this boat is very unique to themselves. They cannot be compared with the neuro typical crowd nor the neuro diverse crowd.
Parents invest a lot of money for their child’s intervention and therapies. Few parents quit their profession to work with their children. They invest a lot of money to buy toys and other reinforcing items and their time researching to help their child. Few even work day in and day out compromising their own needs. In spite of all these efforts they feel that there is little or no success. I feel success or failure is relative. It comes with comparison. It is wise to compare the child to himself. Is he doing better than yesterday? Has he achieved a milestone compared to him a year back? Every child is different. They have their own challenges to overcome. The skill one kid can easily achieve can be a struggle for the other.
I know, it’s very hard not to compare, especially in social settings. Sometimes it’s inevitable. It’s natural to start comparing our child with another child of the same age and start cribbing and regretting .We should all note that each negative vibe we get not only affects us but also our children. We are unknowingly transferring those vibes to our child. We are losing our valuable time cribbing and comparing which will not make anything better. Please note a happy parent and a happy child makes learning happen in each step. Every trigger which induces negativity is a setback for the parent and the child.
So In these situations we have two options to address. One to avoid such triggers and another to find a plan to regulate ourselves while we face such situations. To avoid such situations would not be a good option as we want our children to integrate with this society and get every opportunity this world has to offer. But we can definitely work on regulating ourselves by filtering what to take home & what not to.
We can take back home a few new targets to work with our children which helps them to better integrate with this society and relate their peers. I know it is not as easy as said to not take it personally so there should be a way to vent out our emotions. A better way is to take some personal time to relax and refocus. It’s even better to make a habit to meditate,exercise, paint,blog or focus on things which helps us to relax and refocus. Another way to relax and regulate is to note down the things which we are thankful for as well as things which we regret on a sheet of paper. Read it and shred the sheet which we regret. In this way we practice to have more gratitude every day. Let’s be grateful for what God has given us today. There are many people who are still struggling to achieve the things what we have achieved today.
Parents, let’s not lose our confidence and attitude with all such comparisons…
- Let us learn to celebrate each minute success of our children.
- Let us not depend on external motivation to keep us going-People outside of your life do not know what your journey is all about.
- Let us cultivate the habit to appreciate and acknowledge ourselves for each milestone achieved and stop looking for external validations.
- Let us cultivate the habit to dedicate some time from our busy life for self-realization and work on being a better version of us.
- Let’s face this world with a smile and the best attitude ever the “GRATITUDE”.
Motivational Blogger & ABA Therapist