Six tips for staying positive when you have a child with disabilities or difficulties
Bismillah al Rahman al Rahim
I met a family recently whose first little son has a chromosomal syndrome. Put simply, this young boy is not able to walk, in addition to being deaf and not able to talk coherently yet either. This is one of the more challenging conditions I have seen, but the love and positivity of his parents is heartwarming for me to see – and it comes from both parents!
Far too often, Dad will find it too hard to accept that his son may never be able to play football with him, or follow him in his business. As a result, I have seen fathers often opt out, even from the whole family.
In one case, a couple’s acceptance and strong drive to get all possible treatment for their son even went against the opinions of the family. I find it inspiring to see how this couple are pursuing all possible means of therapy and solutions for their child, showing how genuine their love is for this little one who is providing them such a challenge. When I see families like this, I always have the greatest of respect for them and their efforts.
To this end, here are some tips for you if your child has a disability:
Find honour and confidence in the responsibility you have been given
Hold your head up high and know you are one of a special group of parents who are trusted from God with more responsibility than most others
Seek out positive help
There are many communities and organisations that are totally committed to supporting families with disabled children. For recommendations, subscribe to my updates and you shall be the first to know when I have put my list of recommendations together. I am always happy to suggest or include new ideas and groups as they come to my attention
Turn your grief into positive action
When you are alone, at home, dealing with the challenges, turn your grief into positive action. There are always two sides to any picture, even the most gloomy one. Find a cheerful thing to do, preferably with your child, and turn the difficult time into one in which you can make your child and yourself smile.
Turn worry into action plans
The future looms up with no sense of relief for this little person in your life. One day you may not be there to care for him. Worry can paralyse, so - be realistic, prepare for the future as much as you can, discuss it with people you trust. Seek out those who can step in if necessary if you are not able to care for your child any longer. Then leave that plan clearly documented.
Worrying will not change anything: it is such a wasteful emotion! If you believe in God, put your worries before your Creator who made you and your child, and in whose hands you will both always be.
There are so many others in a similar situation to yours. Share the things that you have found helpful. Meet for coffee with parents who are just trying to come to terms with the news of their child's disability. It's amazing how energising it is to feel you are not always the one receiving help: you can give help too.
Writing has been shown to help soothe, calm and regulate one’s sanity! Make sure to focus on positivity and gratitude - keep a diary, pour your heart out, but also note down 3 things each day that are positive: small victories or things that make you smile. It will be so encouraging to look back on these entries later.
So – What do you think you can do to make life better for you and your child today? I would love to hear your ideas and to share them with other parents.