Ten Suggestions for Embracing Your Special Needs Child
- Monday, October 21, 2002
Parents today are often confronted with tough decisions in regard to their children's lives and education. The parent whose child has been diagnosed with learning or behavioral problems encounters a heightened number of dilemmas and problems that parents often feel ill equipped to handle.
Following are some pointers in dealing with a child who has unique needs. You have been entrusted with your child's life to nurture and raise him. Embrace the task with faith and fervor.
1. Become your child's chief advocate. Learn all you can about your child's learning/behavior problems. Become a student of your child. Learn what makes him* tick-what motivates and discourages him, what his strengths and weaknesses are. As his parent, you are uniquely equipped to understand him and help him.
2. If medication has been recommended as a possibility for your child, carefully analyze the reasons behind the recommendation. Research is a crucial part of aiding your child in his life's journey. Should she be on Prozac; should he be on Ritalin? These are questions with which you, the parent, must come to grips.
Read books and search the Internet for information on your child's particular problems. Interview other parents and health-care professionals. Don't be afraid to ask a lot of questions. And then make the decision you deem best. God has ordained parents to raise and nurture children-He will give you wisdom in your efforts.
3. Find a doctor or learning specialist that you trust and respect.
4. Being a parent is a little like being a football coach. Everyone wants to be an armchair coach-supplying you with advice, whether you want it or not. Realize that you will feel tremendous pressure from different people in varying camps to do what they think is best for your child. Expecting this type of pressure makes it is easier to handle. Learn to stand against this peer pressure (as we teach our children to do), so that you are free to do what is best for your child and your family. No one knows your child better than you do.
5. Don't be afraid of mistakes or failures. Most decisions are not carved in stone. If you make a mistake (and we all do) in a decision concerning your child's welfare, make the appropriate changes and adjustments. Effective parenting is a fluid process-not one that we master once and for all. If love covers a multitude of sins, surely it covers mistakes! Just make sure you constantly communicate your unconditional love to your child.
6. Be positive with your child. Teach him that God makes each one of us unique-for His glory and our good. If you are overly depressed about your child's situation, he will sense it and internalize your disposition toward his problem.
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