Parenting a child in the best of conditions can be difficult, however, when you have a child with special needs, life often creates its own unique challenges. In fact, the divorce rate for parents with special needs kids is significantly higher than the average divorce rate that hovers around 50 percent. On Jan. 4 Wicked Local offers tips on how parents can stay connected with each other during the trials and challenges of raising a child with special needs.
- Learning something new together- When you are parenting a child that has special needs, often times, it is imperative that you learn a new technique or skill that can help your child that is completely outside of your ideals of parenting. Taking a course together in a topic that may help your parenting such as first aid, CPR, or even proper lifting techniques for a child with minimal movement, can help parents feel more connected and on the same page with each other.
- Seek outside help- Whether you are looking at going to counseling, or you are simply needing some support to deal with the fact that your child has autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, or any other special needs, seeking help to deal with big emotions can be beneficial for your own self preservation and your marriage. If you and your spouse are both in denial about your child's issues, often times they will get worse before they will get better because nobody has come to terms with the fact that your child needs extra help. Seeking help isn't a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength as you are willing to do something to help yourself and your child.
- Make time for each other- This might sound like a no-brainer, but most of the time, when our children are afflicted with a complication that we don't fully comprehend, we often become overwhelmed with learning everything we can of the issue, and spend as much time as possible trying to help your child. This often pushes your partner away and makes them, and you, feel isolated from one another. Make time to go out with each other alone and enjoy just being together. Seriously, it makes a huge difference.
- Appreciate each others strengths and weaknesses- Each parent brings their own special skills to the table whether they know it or not. One parent doesn't have to be good at everything, because you are a team and together you make a whole. If you can appreciate that one partner is awesome at something, let them take on that parenting role while you fill in some of their weaker gaps. Working together makes the job a lot easier, especially when you aren't trying to do the same thing all the time.
- Don't hold onto anger and resentment- Angry and resentful feelings are bound to bubble up every once in a while. If you can't let these feelings go, then you're going to end up being unhappy. It will be easy to drift apart if you are always mad at each other and resentful of the other parent that isn't responsible for some part of your child's care that you wish you didn't have to do.
What are some of the ways that you stay connected with your partner as you raise your special needs child?