March 7, 2013

Solid Foundation

We have heard it a million times--It's an old saying, and a fundamental teaching in nearly all mental, spiritual, religious, and build-you-up, kind of programs.

It all starts with a solid foundation.

For parents it's based on love and respect for themselves and each other, a common vision, and dedication for the long haul.

For parents of children with special needs it may require some special efforts. The most important thing to remember is to always start at the foundation and work our way up. Our personal health and emotional stability can be the root of all success, and failures. Parenting is difficult under all circumstances and a long road. Children with special needs bring into our lives whatever our child's special needs require. The stronger our base, the better able we are to cope and move through the challenges our children add to basic parenting requirements.

Any set of special needs will include a long list of added issues for a parent to be responsible and able to advocate. It may include additional doctor or therapy appointments, additional school evaluations and meetings, additional matters to work through. I have had a child who was perfectly fine one day, and in the snap of a moment physically injured and facing a lifetime of change. Today, I am parenting siblings adopted from the foster care system with prenatal drug and alcohol exposure along with a list of emotional, behavioral, and learning needs. Each situation is very different. Each situation requires the best I have to offer as a mother.

There is a tendency when facing a crisis with our children for some of us to be swept into the whole thing and overwhelmed. It can become all consuming and overtime a parent can become lost in a world of trying to fix things for our children that we simply cannot control. I find, the best thing to do when I cannot control the world around myself, is to control myself.

It is generally, not wise to become lost in the whole situation. As parents, it is vital we keep our own identity and our personal relationship with each other. We need to remember, we are the solid foundation our children need most.

Each of us, have our own needs, and our own areas to work through. As a parent, one of the best ways we can show our children how to overcome their own issues is to set the example and never stop working on ourselves. As much as it seems while we are in the midst of parenting our children--they are the only concern--it is important to remember we need to keep our own identities and remember we are living our lives as well.

We will all have our own unique list of things about ourselves to watch out for, to change, to improve or to keep in mind. For me, it is remembering to keep myself fit and have my hair cut now and then. When I notice, I am lost for motivation or my hair is out of control I realize that I am making a project of my child special needs, and failing to meet my own needs. Yes, there are the times when things are in crisis or hectic and the little things slide. But, for me personally, the moment I notice I am stuck in a project it's time to take a break and tend to my needs.

A strong foundation starts with the parents involved and with effort and thought we can keep ourselves and our relationships while facing the challenges our special needs children bring to our lives.

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