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Supporting the well-being of parents of special needs children

Updated: Sep 22, 2022




The Child Mind Institute notes that “Parents who are the main caregivers for kids with special needs can be at risk for burnout. Symptoms of burnout include anxiety, depression, feeling tired and feeling cut off from other people. Studies show that parents of children with developmental, psychiatric or learning disorders are far more likely than others to experience: Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, Fatigue, Marital problems.


Caring for a child with a developmental or mental health disorder can put a big strain on your marriage or relationship.” The constant stress can also increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

In fact SCIRP quotes “Various studies have shown that parenting a child with special needs comes at a high emotional, financial and familial cost (Craig et al., 2020; Hayes & Watson, 2013).” Parents of special needs children often have to make significant changes in their lives, including social and professional.


So what does it mean for you as a parent of a special needs child?

Having the right support and taking care of your well-being is essential for you as the parent, but also for your child. In fact, your child’s ability to thrive and reach their full potential is tied your own well-being.

Well-being comes in many forms and different parents have different needs.

1. It can be having people to rely on for breaks and assistance to do some of the necessary things so it’s not all on your shoulders – having a tribe to rely on.

2. It can be a support group to talk to.

3. It can be taking time for yourself to recharge or do something you love (even if it means hiring a caregiver or partnering with other parents to relieve each other).

4. It can be pursuing a dream.

5. It can be taking the time to meditate or reconnect with nature and regain a sense of peace.

6. It’s also about taking the time to take care of yourself including proper rest, exercise and nutrition.


Sometimes the above is not sufficient or impractical. Being a parent and caregiver can truly be exhausting, day in and day out. We get caught up in the to do’s of the day, just trying to do it all so that at the end of the day we can put our head on the pillow knowing we did our best (though we sometimes don’t feel that way). That’s when coaching may be a good alternative option.


One question you may want to ask yourself to gauge where you are at is: How do you feel when you wake up? Do you feel energized? Or do you feel like today you have to fight another battle? That feeling is a great indicator of where you are at mentally, emotionally and physically. And that’s where working on your mindset can help.


Parents of special needs children also deal with another set of concerns regarding their child’s future – which often results in worry, fear, and anxiety.

And this is where working on your mindset can make a significant difference. When parents work on their mindset, parents shift from being the victim of circumstances, feeling like things are happening to them and out of their control to feeling that they are in control of their lives, that they are able to create better circumstances for themselves and their family. In fact, when parents are empowered through mindset, their thoughts, feelings and behaviors change and the child picks up on it. It is important to note that the parents’ attitude and outlook on life has a great influence on the child’s future. Parents who consciously work on their mindset are happier, more balanced, healthier, have better marriages or relationships and better sleep. They also experience less stress, worry, exhaustion, depression or burnout. In fact, while circumstances may appear challenging, parents working on their mindset are much more apt at handling challenges. Working on your mindset is an individual choice that can yield incredible results.


Written by Lu Tandazo – mom of a special needs child and Mindset Coach.

For assistance or more information about mindset coaching for special needs parents, click here: https://www.dreamintosuccessnow.com/specialneeds



References:

The Child Mind Institute:


SCIRP

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