If your child has been recently diagnosed with a disability, it’s important to accept the fact that your life will change.
Being able to process what that means for you, your child, and your family can make a big difference.
Children with disabilities often need different types of care. In many cases, they don’t learn or behave like other children. So, having strategies in place that are beneficial for your child, while also helping to balance your own life, can make things easier.
Having a child with a disability can cause many challenges. But they don’t have to feel overwhelming.
Learning to balance your child’s needs with your own can help to make things feel more “normal” once again.
Consider three helpful strategies.
1. Take Care of Your Needs
One of the best things you can do if you have a child with a disability is to take care of yourself. It’s any parent’s instinct to put their child’s needs first. While that’s important, you won’t be able to take care of your child properly if you don’t also take care of yourself.
Finding time for yourself and your needs may not be easy, but it will be a big help. You might consider joining a support group with other parents going through something similar. That alone can be huge, simply so you don’t feel so alone.
Even finding time to exercise, meditate, or take part in a hobby you love can help you to feel more relaxed and rejuvenated.
2. Take Care of Your Family
Whether you have other kids or not, it’s important to make a family plan to move forward once your child has been diagnosed.
One helpful way to do that is to specifically outline your goals and dreams. Create a 5-10 year plan for your family that makes adjustments for your child with a disability. Once you have a plan in place, make sure to give the rest of your family the attention they deserve.
If you do have other children, make time for them in particular. Plan special outings with each child individually, as well as full-family events.
And don’t ignore your spouse, either!
Planning simple date nights or just letting them know how much they mean to you can go a long way. Things will feel overwhelming at times, and it’s not always easy to focus on keeping the romance alive. But a little effort will make a big difference in keeping your relationship strong.
3. Encourage Your Child
Sometimes, when a child is diagnosed with a disability, their parents think their entire world has to change. They spend too much time focusing on the disability itself, instead of on the whole child.
Instead of defining your child by their disability, look for their strengths and what makes them unique. Encourage them to do as much as they can, instead of worrying about what they can’t do.
In many cases, children with disabilities hit a lot of the same milestones as other kids their age. Don’t overcompensate for them. Instead, encourage them to have goals and dream big!
Helping You Parent with Confidence
Having people who understand what you’re going through can be your best resource. That isn’t always the case when you’re the only one in your family/group of friends who has a child with a disability.
Use the above-mentioned tips as a starter guide to help life be a little less overwhelming. But, if you feel you need more parenting advice that can help you respond better to challenging behaviors, professional help is available. You don’t have to deal with these changes alone.
Together we’ll work through some of the common challenges you may face. Then, we’ll go over more of what you can do to balance your own life if your child has a disability.