Did you ever stop and think about what happens when you worry about your high or special needs child??? Does worrying serve you??? Does it help you achieve a goal??? With a few exceptions, usually the answer to that question is, no. Being a parent of a high or special needs child, takes worrying to another level. So what can we do instead of worrying??? Here are 5 rules I have been trying to live by this year to help my special needs child.
1. Be Present.
When we are worrying, we are living in the future. We have taken our eyes off the present and are often trying control things that we can’t. I have done this myself quite a bit in the past (and even present). When I find myself saying things like “I wish…” and fill in the blank with something about our child, like wishing they had a normal life, could do things other kids could and all of that, I need to stop and think in the present. It isn’t always easy to stay in the present, but I find when I get to worrying to much, asking myself, will this affect life next week, helps to decide what is truly worth thinking about and what isn’t. When I think in the present I can find ways to help my child tackle that which they have trouble with.
2. Be Grateful.
So, we as parents of a high or special needs child know what it is like to live a different life. We made plans and had dreams of the life we would live only to have most of it turned upside down by reality. If you have never read the poem Welcome to Holland, it is worth the read for sure. So, what do we do when we feel like we haven’t gotten the hand we wanted dealt to us??? What do we do when we worry about our children living fulfilling lives??? We look for all the reasons we have to be grateful. We spend time thinking about all that we have, and suddenly we will start to feel much better about life. Going from worrying to being grateful also brings peace to the home, which can also help us not worry.
3. Be Optimistic.
We worry about our children’s education. Each and every one of us were born different. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. When we start focusing on our children’s strengths and finding ways to lift them up and make them feel good about themselves, we change their mindset. A changed mindset leads to growth and also more confidence which also helps with learning new skills. Mindset is AMAZING, we should always be uplifting and positive, and also help our children understand that learning takes time, but they should keep trying and they will get it.
4. Be Flexible.
This can be a difficult one. We desperately want things to be in order. We thrive off schedules and we often feel like order helps with all the other chaos our life is filled with. It can be hard to let go of the hopes and dreams we had for our child/children. Will they ever marry, will they have a job, will they be unfulfilled because they aren’t living a “normal” life??? We tend to push our idea of “happiness” and “Fulfillment” on our children. Sometimes we need to be flexible. Let our children lead, and decide what their version of happy and fulfilled is, and be thankful for that. It’s not easy to let go of our deepest desires for our children, but when we let them decide what they want their life to look like, it can become a magical time.
5. Be Encouraging.
This goes hand in hand with optimistic, but it deserves to be repeated. Encouraging our high and special needs child to do their best, to try and not give up, and to point out their strengths when they feel frustrated can really help a child keep going. We worry about them giving up, or not getting the education to help them get ahead in life. If we continue to encourage, they will get there, they will learn what they need to, to fulfill their purpose in life and be happy.
I hope this gave you some ideas on how to reframe your thinking when it comes to a high or special needs child. We as parents have the privilege and responsibility to watch our children turn into the amazing human beings they are. With our guidance, they can move mountains, and we can live an even more fulfilling life than we ever dreamed possible. How do you get past worry??? Let me know in the comments.