Parenting A Special Needs Child

When you decide to be a parent, you imagine that perfect little baby swaddled in a cute blanket that was knit by your Mom. You imagine the moments like bringing them home and changing their diapers and breast feeding them and having them cuddle on your chest. You imagine them learning how to walk and rambling through the house like drunken sailors while you make sure that their falls will be pain free. You imagine teaching them how to read or write their names or ride a bike or drive a car or go to college. You never imagine seeing your child in an incubator or in an MRI machine or being tested. But, for some of us, this is reality.

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Giving Your Children Hope

Being a parent is a mix of Betty Crocker mixed with a personal assistant and maid with the same stress as a person diffusing a nuclear bomb. We do everything that we can to keep our kids safe and healthy and educated and protected from predators including sex offenders, bullies, coyotes and eagles. We are so worried about whether little Hershel is learning disabled or allergic to peanuts that we completely forget that the true danger that face our children day in and day out is Mom and Dad’s attitude towards life. That’s right; we are the predators behind the wall. Our attitudes will be the foundation that they will draw from when they are in a quandary or find themselves inundated with stressors.

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Post Traumatic Stress In Children

When a child is born we assume they are a clean slate. In fact, there are Psychologists out there who still refer to tabula rasa as the state of a child’s mind. We think we can program them much like a brand new computer. We think we can load drives and programs that will make them little mini me’s without the added baggage of a life scars, mistakes and regrets. However, a baby is not a blank slate and we are not able to program them exactly as we wish. Sometimes our kids will get hurt. Sometimes our kids will suffer trauma. We cannot always prevent or stop the hurts but we can prepare ourselves to teach our kids how to deal with them.

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Parenting Fail 101

We aren’t your average parents. We are those weirdoes with kids ranging in age from 19 to 5. For the first time in many years, two of our children are in the same school while one goes to school 3 states away. So, when we tell you we understand things about parenting, it comes from our experience with three kids, one who is multiply handicapped, and parenting through our 20s, 30s and 40s. Oh, and lest we forget, both of us have been teachers and one of us just happens to have a graduate degree in counseling and over 25 years of family therapy experience. Now, does all that mean we are perfect parents? Absolutely not! What it means is that we understand that no matter what we do, we will fail our children.

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Bliss And Mexican Hats

There are moments in life when everything becomes crystal clear; a moment that can only be described as bliss. Recently, this moment occurred to me while riding the Mexican Hat Dance at Knott’s Berry Farm. The ride is reminiscent of the Tea Cups of Disneyland. In other words, I was spinning uncontrollably. Sure, I could probably credit this moment of revelation to being dizzy and a little nauseous but I like to think it was an epiphany.

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Hope and optimism of the future

When we talk about a life worth living, we are speaking directly to what you value. We are not referring to some secret document that a guru keeps on a mountain. We are not discussing the question that has tortured philosophers for eons. We are talking about what you think makes life good. We are talking about what makes it easier to haul your ass out of bed every day and what makes you smile before you close your eyes at night. Simply put, what makes this all worth it?

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Kids And Empathy

As parents of a child with Asperger’s, we had to do things a little differently. We had no idea how different the experience was until we had our second and third child. When it came to feelings, our children, at a young age were as different as day and night. Happily, nowadays, you can’t tell much difference. Even though we have discussed this before, it definitely bears repeating.

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Psychological Foreplay

In the world of a parent, we all need to know how to juggle. We juggle the kids, their routines and schedules, our work, our home, our meals, our lives and not to mention our interaction with our extended families and friends. Being a parent requires multi-tasking on the order of a covert operative diffusing a bomb while being shot. Maybe not as dangerous but the consequences of dropping the ball could be bad for your family. If you do not experience this level of stress while parenting, you have a secret for which you will be paid handsomely. For the rest of us, we trudge on and wait for the days where things calm down.

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Let’s Talk About Masturbation

We teach kids how to walk. We teach them how to talk. We teach them how to drive a car, boil an egg and even how to tie their shoes. If we are feeling omnipresent, we teach our kids about love, loss and how not to wear conflicting patterns and colors. With all this education, we completely ignore that our children are growing up and becoming sexual beings. The latest research shows that parents are giving the sex talk after the fact. That’s right, our kids are having sex before we explain who, what, why and how to stay safe. We teach them everything but expect our children to figure out one of the most important things about humanity on their own because we feel uncomfortable.

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Top 5 things we do to mess up our kids

Relationships do not end with your lovers. We are in relationship with everyone and everything. For many of us, the prospect of having children was a natural process of development. We put little thought into how to parent. We placed lots of effort into making sure they had a great nursery that was both stimulating and visually appealing. We chose a name that was both meaningful and unique. We did our research into how we would give birth, what diapers they would use and weighed the benefits and drawbacks to co-sleeping over independence. Our birth-plans resembled tomes and their outfits that we picked for bringing them home from the hospital are nicely packed away in their keepsakes. In all of this planning, did you think how you would actually parent them?

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