Advice to your younger self….

By Claire Absolum, 26 June 2017 , Comments

Parenting a child with disability is no easy journey and while parenting is challenging for everyone, the extra demands placed on parents of kids with disabilities – especially mothers – are enormous.

So, knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to your younger self at the start of your parenting journey?

We asked a few mums around the Northcott community about their thoughts on this subject and here’s what they said: 

 “Know that you are not alone”

Even though it can feel like it at times, as one of our mums said know that; “so many others have been in the same situation as you”.

Another mum suggested finding a relevant support group so you can connect with other individuals and families who are facing similar challenges. As she said; “you can gain a wealth of support and knowledge by speaking to other parents” and if you don’t know which groups to join – Facebook and Google are great places to start.

“Never feel you failed – it’s not your fault”

In fact give yourself the credit you deserve. You are no regular parent and the leaps and bounds you perform every day for your kids deserves a medal not an undeserved sense of ‘mother guilt’.

Seek professional support and advice”

As one mum said “although attending all the appointments, therapy sessions and outings can be really hard in the beginning – it definitely pays off in the end.” There are a range of professional services and resources out there that can support you and as another parent said; “find them and use them – you will be rewarded in the long run.”

 “Look after yourself”

While we all acknowledge that finding time for yourself as a carer is really hard, as one mum said “if you’re not well then everything else can fall down”. As much as possible try to take time out to care for yourself as well as others.

If and when you feel sad..”

Feelings of grief and depression are very common and when you feel like this, know that there is help available – talk to your family and friends, make an appointment to see your GP or call Lifeline on ph 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on ph 1300 224 636.

“Turn therapy into play”

The more fun and engaging therapy is the greater the benefit you and your child will get from it. As much as possible, turn play into therapy and therapy into play.  

“Celebrate your child’s achievements”  

As one mum said “always praise your child for what they’ve achieved and let them surprise you with what they can do”.  Another said, “I chose not to settle for what [my son] thought he could do but for what I knew he could do”.

For others, it’s a case of being open to what your kids can teach you. As another parent commented; “kids with disability have a knack of showing us unexpected ways of seeing things and teaching us invaluable lessons in life”.  

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