Parents Of Children With Challenges

Parents Of Children With Challenges

           Being a parent is hard. Being a parent to a child with extra care is extra hard. My whole coaching journey began after a personal experience, that opened my eye to the fact that parents with complex-needs children are in deep need for support.

            As we raise our children, we tend to focus on their needs. What motivates them, what makes them behave in a certain matter, what’s the best way to approach them. Finally, we find ourselves caught up in taking care of their needs, that we end up forgetting about our own. By constantly positioning our ourselves in the secondary place we reach frustration and depletion.

In this article, I would like to share with you as a parent for an extra-care child what you need to know.

  1. Know that you are not alone: even if there’s no case like another, when it comes to mental health and disability for children, yet parents’ challenges- to a certain extent- are all the same. Therefore, it’s helpful to look for this community, you will find a beautiful group of supportive peers. If you couldn’t find any, then create your own. Make it clear that our mission is to support each other and lift one another.
  2. Ask for help: I always say, ask for help even when you don’t know what is the help that you need. You don’t have to go through all this all alone. Asking for help won’t step you down from being a super mom. That’s why a coach or therapist can help you reach where you want to be without any judgment and in a complete safe zone.
  3. You owe the care you give freely to others: keep in mind that your children are watching, and they’re experimental learners. So if they see you taking care of yourself, they are more likely to follow suit than if you ask them to take care of themselves. Now think about it, self-care is in high priority for kids with issues that require self-management.
  4. Do not compare: don’t compare yourself- not even your child- to anyone. Do not compare yourself to that mom in the supermarket, in the daycare pickups, on Instagram or at the mall. You have your own personal case, and you don’t need to explain it to anyone, just go with your values and what makes you in peace with yourself. You are doing a great job!
  5. Don’t lose yourself along the way: being a parent for an complex need child doesn’t mean that this is all what you had come to life for. Being that parent is part of your identity, not your whole identity. Therefore, never stop chasing your dreams; keep working on achieving your goals. Let’s shift your perspective today and start looking at this child as a motivator for you to fulfill whatever you are aspiring for, instead of thinking that they are the brakes that are pulling you backwards.

Finally, I would tell you that child doesn’t need a perfect mom, all they need is a happy mom. You don’t want to be that mother who is showing her children how she’s dying for them, instead be that person who models how bravely a mother can live while taking responsibility of herself and her children’s life.

Parenting With A Coaching Approach

Parenting With A Coaching Approach

         There is no role in life that sets you a roller-coaster of emotions (fear, love, anger, pride, guilt, joy and loneliness) more than parenting does. It is one of the most wonderful journeys, yet a very challenging one. That’s when a coaching approach becomes a key component for every parent because it takes them to a higher thinking and talking level.

         And because coaching is about supporting, responding to the moment, empathizing and listening without a preconceived judgment, – the coaching approach is fundamental in parenting dynamics. However, when I say a “coaching approach for parents”, I don’t mean coaching your child, it simply means to acquire the skills needed to do what is best for your family and what works for your child rather than only doing what you see is right as a parent.

As a parent and coach, adopting this method in our everyday life brings us to be more positive, compassionate, constructive and foster deep connection with our children. Our mission as parents, isn’t to raise children, it is to raise independent and responsible adults. The beauty of this method, and that’s what I –as a coach- help parents acquire, is that it is applicable in any case.

Here are some tips for applying the coach approach:

  1. Don’t take it personally: the minute we take our child’s behavior personal, we get triggered. Keep in mind that our children, just like us can have their personal issues (in school, with their friends or their teachers) that lead them to come home and explode. By learning to understand them and show compassion, we can lead a family with love.
  1. Ask curious questions: don’t follow a “yes-no” questions. Ask open ended questions that drag them to a story telling mode. Examples : tell me about your day? What was the best thing that happened today? What would you teach your friends if you were the teacher today?
  1. Listen: And I don’t mean here to be quite until it’s your turn to talk. I mean to be in the moment with your child, feel their energy, shred any judgmental thoughts. Understand their needs before offering solutions. Learn to give them the gift of attention.
  1. Set them up to success: there is no way to flourish a child’s confidence better than believing in them. As parents we raise from IN CONTROL position, because that’s our comfort zone. However, we should realize when it’s time for us -as parents- to step back gradually and give them the chance to handle small situations.
  1. Cheerleading: it’s always a good idea to celebrate small achievement rather than criticize failure, get the habit of cheering for them even when they show a tiny progress.