The world is made up of millions of children that each have their own unique needs. Children with special needs- whether it be emotional or physical- are actually a fairly common occurrence. In fact, over 14 percent of children in the United States have special needs, which means many parents may struggle with the challenge of raising them to become kind and productive members of society.
Ways to Cope
Having a special needs child does not mean that parenting will always be difficult. Special needs children bring their own brand of humor and fun to life, just like other children do. However, there are ways to make the day-to-day less stressful, such as:
- Taking some “me” time to focus on one’s own health and well-being. This could mean a day at the spa, exercising a few times weekly, regular date nights with a spouse, or even splurging on a much-needed vacation without the kids.
- Journaling on a regular basis to keep track of day-to-day behaviors which may be beneficial to look back on in the future.
- Seeking therapy to talk about the challenges of parenting a special needs child.
Managing a Child’s Behavior
Whether special needs are brought on by emotional or physical reasons, seeking a professional’s help that specializes in behavioral issues will help make things easier for both the parents and the child. They can help a parent understand why their child is acting the way they are, and how they can settle situations that may arise. Tips they may give include:
- Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule.
- Making opportunities for frequent socialization with their peers.
- Keeping track of medications and ensuring they are taken on time each day.
- How to keep calm when a child is having a meltdown so as not to escalate the situation further.
- Ways to meet a child’s educational needs despite their behavioral challenges.
- Finding Support
Realizing that childhood behavioral issues are a common occurrence is the first step towards not feeling alone. There are local support groups, online support groups through social media platforms, educators that specialize in working with special needs children, and qualified medical professionals that are there to listen and provide support options.
Lisa Landman has a passion for helping others and has worked with special need adults throughout her career. Learn more about her professional work or check out her Twitter!