6 Ways to Encourage a Mom of a Special Needs Child



Accepting differences.  Sounds simple, right?  It should be, but too often, I’ve found it to be one of the hardest aspects of my life as a mom.  Two and a half years ago I was given someone who would crack open my self-created life bubble and my attempts to force my family to fit into some society-driven unattainable mold.  This little someone would drastically change me, my parenting, my family, and every day of the rest of my life.

When I first became a mom, more than 9 years ago, the thought of raising a special needs child never entered my head.  Over the years when I encountered moms of children with special needs, I would treat or view them with sympathy and, I’ll admit it, pity.  Sadness for them that their child will “never do this” or “can never try that” . I also felt sadness for the mom, whose adventure into motherhood was nothing like she dreamed it would be.  Sadness that their child was different.

And then I was given – blessed with – one of these beautiful children and I will never be the same.  There’s no way I can be.  I would love to share with you all the ways I’ve grown, all the changes that have had to happen in my life – the ups, the downs – and every side of what it’s really like to parent a special needs child. But I can’t because there is just far too much for this one little post.

What I would love to share with you are some great ways to support and encourage a mom who is parenting a special needs child.

1. Accept their differences – don’t compare them.  Comparing a special needs child (even a mildly special needs child) to a healthy functioning one is like comparing apples and oranges.  As a mom who parents both, there are a few overlapping commonalities but overall, my special needs son is a whole new ball game.  When I try to compare my kids – to each other, to other peoples kids – it gets me nowhere.  When I, and others we encounter, accept my son just as he is, I feel more confident, encouraged and loving as a mom.

2. Don’t feel bad for me.  Like every mom, there are good days and bad days. What means that more than sympathy? I could really just use a hug and an encouraging word.

3. Don’t assume my child’s behavior is a result of bad parenting.  It is wonderful being asked why my son is behaving the way he is instead of assuming I need to learn how to discipline or control him.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  I love when other moms ask me why my son does some of the things he does.  Not so I can excuse the behavior, but so that there is a deeper understanding of him and how he functions differently.

5. Ask about their accomplishments.  Just like any kid, kids with special needs have many milestones – they are just a little different.  And just like any mom, we love talking about the things our children are accomplishing.

6. Interact with my child as if they were “normal”.

Are you a parent to a special needs child?  What are some other ways you feel encouraged by other moms?



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