Written by Jana Angeles
There comes a point where we question our own parenting style when raising special needs kids. Though it’s rewarding to raise them, there will be unique challenges that we all have to face and sometimes, it becomes a hard battle when managing their behaviour. Children with special needs are unpredictable with their habits and though this is a strong assumption, we don’t know what to expect each day.
There will be moments where everything feels smooth sailing and other times where you’ll feel like you’re biting off more than you can chew. As with all parents, we face unique challenges on a day-to-day basis and we simply can’t take the blame for everything that happens to our children.
It’s easier to take on the blame but in reality, it isn’t your fault. There are ways to manage your child’s behaviour even if there are days where you’ll feel like everything is impossible. All you need is a positive attitude and the resilience in knowing you can survive another day.
Keep Track of Their Behaviour Using A Handbook
This is a handy tip to take on board when it comes to monitoring the behaviour of your children with special needs. You can write down any notes that reflect on positive and negative habits. Write down specific triggers and their reactions to certain things.
Don’t be afraid to observe and monitor your child’s behaviour even if it feels weird. You are only trying to understand the roots of their behaviour and finding ways of improvement.
Find a Physical Activity that Works For Them
If you find that your child with special needs struggles with managing their anger/upsetting feelings, take on a physical activity that can release their emotions in a healthy way.
Picking up some martial arts or even doing boxing can help them release that tension and can be a weekly activity they can enjoy for themselves. It will also benefit their emotional and physical well-being overall.
Stay Calm But Also Show Assertiveness
There will be times where you’ll feel like you’ve run out of patience for your children and that’s okay. No one expects you to keep it altogether, especially when things become difficult between you and your child with special needs.
If you find that the way you deal with things has been passive recently, show assertiveness in everything you do from now on. Find ways to create a calming atmosphere for you and your child so you can find some balance in your lives.
Encourage Them To Make Friends
If your child with special needs is struggling through some behavioural issues, encourage them to make meaningful friendships with other children. It can be healthy for them to be around peers the same age and can help boost their self-esteem and allow open communication between you and your child.
You can try and help their friends identify your child’s likes and dislikes and to encourage participation in all activities that they are part of (only if it is safe and comfortable to do so). Though making interpersonal connections with special needs kids can be difficult at first, children who show kindness and genuine support are the ones that make the greatest friends.
Take Care of Yourself
You can’t have it all and if your child with special needs has consistently showed challenging behaviour, just remember that none of this is your fault. Doing your best to take care of them is a priority but also learning how to take better care of yourself is equally important too.
If you need to recharge, find activities that help you relax and keep calm. Pick up a yoga class, treat yourself to a day spa or take yourself to your favourite cafe and have a coffee. Self-care is important and we need to look after ourselves, especially when our stress levels are through the roof.
Managing challenging behaviour in special needs kids has its unique challenges. Some days you’ll feel burnt out and cry, other times you’ll feel like a superhero surviving another day. Remember to not carry everything on your shoulders and ask for support when you really need it. You are not alone in this and even if it doesn’t feel like it, your child with special needs appreciates everything you do and does love you.