Being a parent is hard. Being a parent to a child with extra care is extra hard. My whole coaching journey began after a personal experience, that opened my eye to the fact that parents with complex-needs children are in dire need for support.
As we raise our children, we tend to focus on their needs. What motivates them, what makes them behave in a certain matter, what’s the best way to approach them. Finally, we find ourselves so caught up in taking care of their needs, that we end up forgetting about our own. By constantly positioning ourselves in the secondary place we reach frustration and depletion.
In this article, I would like to share with you – as a parent for an extra-care child – what you need to know.
- Know that you are not alone: even if no case is like another, when it comes to mental health and disability for children, parents’ challenges – to a certain extent – are all the same. Therefore, it’s helpful to look for this community, where you will find a beautiful group of supportive peers. If you couldn’t find any, then create your own. Make it clear that our mission is to support each other and lift one another.
- Ask for help: I always say, ask for help even when you don’t know what is the help that you need. You don’t have to go through all this all alone. Asking for help won’t step you down from being a super mom. That’s why a coach or therapist can help you reach where you want to be without any judgment and in a complete safe zone.
- You owe the care you give freely to others: keep in mind that your children are watching, and they’re experimental learners. So if they see you taking care of yourself, they are more likely to follow suit than if you ask them to take care of themselves. Now think about it, self-care is in high priority for kids with issues that require self-management.
- Do not compare: don’t compare yourself – not even your child – to anyone. Do not compare yourself to that mom in the supermarket, in the daycare pickups, on Instagram, or at the mall. You have your own personal case, and you don’t need to explain it to anyone, just go with your values and what makes you in peace with yourself. You are doing a great job!
- Don’t lose yourself along the way: being a parent for a complex-need child doesn’t mean that this is all what you had come to life for. Being that parent is part of your identity, not your whole identity. Therefore, never stop chasing your dreams; keep working on achieving your goals. Let’s shift your perspective today and start looking at this child as a motivator for you to fulfill whatever you are aspiring for, instead of thinking that they are the brakes that are pulling you backwards.
Finally, I would tell you that your children don’t need a perfect mom; all they need is a happy mom. You don’t want to be that mother who is showing her children how she’s dying for them, instead, be that person who models how bravely a mother can live while taking responsibility of herself and her children’s lives!
By, Tanya Hamdan, Certified Life Coach & NLP Practitioner
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