Finding Patience: Parenting a Child with Special Needs
Before I write any more, I want to establish this: I am not comparing my child to any other with special needs. There are some parents who are in a more difficult situation when compared to our dynamics. I am only explaining how we are dealing with what life hands us when it comes to our children in hopes to encourage others in some way.
Now that I have that cleared, let’s talk about patience. Even outside of parenting, I struggle with the concept of patience. Why wait when I can get things done now. I was once ‘Johnny on the Spot’. After having kids, life changed. Things did not happen right away, and I had to dig deep to find that patience.
So how do you find this patience when you didn’t think you ever had any? This is a tough one. The way I found my patience was by continuously reminding myself that life is not a race. When we rush through life, we miss things. Who wants to miss things when it comes to our children? I know I don’t, especially when I am continuously reminded that I need to take in every second because they grow up so fast. ”Don’t blink!”
Changing our perspective is how we go about finding this patience. Y’all, this is crucial. Instead of thinking about how we need to rush and get this and that done, think about how much fun it is going to be during the time we do something. Think about how we are going to go about completing whatever task we have at hand. Stop thinking about the clock and think about the action itself.
Throwing in the wrench.
So, we already know how difficult it is to have patience. Adding children to the picture kicks up the struggle a bit, but what about adding a child who has some sort of learning disability or delay. Yep, things get really tricky.
When dealing with a child who is not typical, you are facing communication difficulties which can even lead to emotional and behavioral difficulties. If you have read any of my previous posts, like Don’t Be Afraid of the A Word, Autism or Emotional Ride of Motherhood , you will know that our middle child was born with a speech delay. It didn’t seem as difficult of a thing at the time since he was only a little over 2 years. As he got older, it was more apparent how it kept things interesting. There were lots of speech therapy sessions and much needed patience dealing with a child who could not communicate.
If you have never been around a child with a speech delay, it isn’t just about the fact that the child can’t communicate. The child will also struggle emotionally due to the inability to express him/herself. My son can be easily angered still to this day due to him still trying to ‘catch up’ . He was delayed for at least the first three years of his life that he is now trying to learn how to cope with all those emotions that he has never been able to express.
What about a child who has more severe learning disabilities or medical issues? Life can be very testing, and a lot of that testing is on one’s patience. Not only do you have to have patience for taking care of someone other than yourself, but someone who truly depends on you for all aspects of life. You are having to monitor medical issues, behavioral issues, physical issues, etc. on top of the routine daily needs.
What about patience now?
Patience can be found through help.
Ok, I am so one of those mothers who want to do it all. This is especially true when it comes to my family. I continuously tell myself that I got it and don’t need help. A lot of this is due to the pressure society puts on us as parents . We should be able to handle it all on our own. I also have a type A personality. Let me tell you, there is only some much one can take let alone with a child. You can dig deep and change that perspective when it comes to patience, but sometimes it is going to take more than that to deal with the everyday tasks.
I learned this recently when trying to manage my house of 3 kids, including a head strong 7 year old, my middle child with the delays, and my wild almost 2 year old. Some days get real long and difficult. While others seem to flow, with a few bumps. Some days my patience was on a roll and others not so good. You know what helped me on those days that were ridiculous and had me wanting to run down the street? Knowing that I wasn’t alone in how I felt.
You are not alone.
The feeling of isolation can make our patience dwindle even more. We begin to beat ourselves up as the patience slowly disappears after another sibling fight or an emotional breakdown from your child with a disability. If you find yourself to this point, it is time to realize that you are not alone. There are other parents out there who can relate. I am so thankful for the mothers I have found that can motivate me and tell me they understand.
They understand because they too have a child who is struggling with a delay or some other type of disability. Finding that mother who can relate to me and give me that extra boost of encouragement is seriously all I need when I am at my wits end.
Find that mom or mom group that can encourage you when your patience seems to be dwindling. I promise you, it will be just when you need it most.