At present, approximately 7.7% of Australian children up to the age of 14 are living with some type of disability according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Although the majority of parents do everything in their power to help their children lead healthy, happy lives despite their disabilities, Regardless of how much you love your son or daughter, parenting a child with disabilities is not always smooth sailing. It is perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed, despondent, and even frustrated at times. Thankfully, a few useful tips are often all that is needed to help to care for your child considerably easier.
Learn as much as you can
Regardless of what disability your child is living with, whether it is Cerebral Palsy (CP), Down Syndrome, or any other physical or intellectual disability, it is important that you learn as much about the condition as possible. Ask yourself vital questions such as ‘what is CP?’ or ‘how does the disability impact everyday life’ and gauge just how familiar you actually are with your child’s condition. You can learn more by reading the plethora of information available. Just make sure you are getting the information from trusted sources such as medical journals and the websites of relevant organizations. You can also benefit by speaking to your child’s medical team and other parents raising children with disabilities.
Lean on others for support
Don’t ever feel that you have to walk the road you are on, alone. Apart from reaching out to reputable organizations and other parents as a source of verified information, you can also lean on them for support. Apart from gaining invaluable knowledge, joining support groups and connecting with other parents can prove to be very beneficial. Having people you can relate to and vent to will do wonders for your emotional well-being. Not only will you be able to interact with people who are familiar with what it entails to parent a child with a disability, but you will also be able to share your own insights and experiences with others.
Take care of yourself too
Being a parent is hard work and as much as you want to dedicate every moment of your life to your child, you can’t. It is essential that you make your own health and well-being a priority too. Not only do you deserve to be looked after, but you will also be able to look after your child better if you are happy and healthy. Make sure you eat nutritious food, remain hydrated, and get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night. If you struggle to get proper sleep or enough time to look after yourself, take turns with your spouse or even a trusted family member or friend to do solo shifts that will allow you at least some time to relax and do things for yourself.
When raising a child with disabilities it is natural to feel overwhelmed and even frustrated at times. Thankfully, by going back to basics and following a few useful tips you may find yourself increasingly relaxed and ready to tackle any obstacles life may throw at you.