The publishing house “Alpina publisher” has published a book by therapist and family consultant Natalia Kerri “Special children: how to give a happy life to the child with deviations in development”. Author of more than 20 years advising families of children with special needs.
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When it comes to families raising children with special needs, all first of all think of the mothers: basically you’re asking the authors of articles and books. Perhaps this is due not only to the fact that the mother gives the child life, but with the fact that for a long time, the fathers worked and the mothers stayed home with children, including those with special.
Now, however, traditional roles are blurred, and often fathers take an active part in a child’s life, and sometimes sit with him at home. For anyone who is working or lot of communicating with families raising children with special needs, it is obvious that the crisis affects both mothers and fathers, and other children and grandparents, although going through it all different.
The media are actively introducing into the consciousness of the “classical” scheme of a family raising a child with special needs, which is characterized by the image of the “irresponsible father” completely eliminates from education and/or deserting the family, and the “sacrificial mother”, which in the physical and moral senses drags himself child.
Just want to note that families that break up due to the birth of a child with special needs, in reality, significantly less than in the view of the townsfolk, who never had a parenting “from the inside”. In consultations I often see families in which mothers have a whole heap of complaints, demands, questions to the father, and he, at best, finished with short phrases.
Immediately note those options where one of the parents is a dishonorable man, vanish into space at the first hint of complexity in a child, as I have already mentioned, such situations in real life are not as often as they are spoken.
More often, there is another situation: the mother remains with the child at home or working small number of hours per week, that is, all the problems of home care, communication with experts, mothers of “normal” children in the Playground and sympathetic passengers in public transport as well as daily homework (which in most cases has not been canceled) falls on her shoulders. Father gets the responsibilities for maintenance and… “the need to be a reliable pillar and a stone wall.”
Men often feel powerless over the fact that they can’t solve the problem immediately, to protect his woman and his child from the fact that promises seem to destroy the whole family life.
Child’s future largely depends on the professionals. Father can difficult to overcome this addiction, which deprives its leading role, the role of the master of life.
Besides, boys are traditionally brought up is that “men don’t cry”, and the father suffers because he can’t control his life, and because it does not have the right to Express their emotions, forced to endure everything deep inside.
Fathers can accuse of mothers in the inadequate care of the child, in their view, there is a “miraculous” cure or specialist, which will solve at once all problems, you just need to be more active in the search, the responsibility for which lies with the “free” mothers. It gives mothers a sense of guilt that prevents to make a difference and help the child to perceive the situation.
It turns out that people who love each other and your child and sincerely want to help him move away. Mother exhausted the daily care of the child, mentally exhausted from the constant worrying about his fate, and sometimes physically exhausted — especially if we are talking about children with severe autism or with complex structure of defect when a combination of mental and physical problems when the child’s disturbed sleep and the whole mode of life, so that his mother does not have the ability to sleep.
And problem all the region: it is difficult to sleep, difficult to dress, to undress, to feed, to wash, to sit down to do. It not only can keep the baby for a minute (to the point that she has to take a shower for a couple of minutes, leaving the door open in the bathroom) often don’t have time to not only lie down but also to really eat. Plus on her the necessity of communication with experts, which is not always joyfully, and all the difficulties associated with the appearance of a child in public areas (questions and comments from strangers about his condition, the need for constant control behavior in stores, etc.).
And so gradually the mother begins to seem that the father is “resting” at work, at the first opportunity tries to escape from the house, not enough is included in the child’s life and all the difficulties — it is one.
On my father’s side, the situation looks different: it is concerned about the need to earn more than before: the duration and the costs of unpredictable (in our country, unfortunately, the material support of the upbringing of the child with special needs often falls squarely on the shoulders of the parents); worried about the collapse of their plans. And it is necessary to consider that the parents see the child in different ways: if the mother is more focused on the experience of the moments in the here and now, the father is more thoughts in the future.
Accordingly, when it becomes clear that the child has features of development, the mother is more worried about how to provide daily care to adapt to the life, and the father that threatened the safe future of the child: his education, work and social realization.
It also generates a lot of conflict situations, when mothers think that the father understands the seriousness of the situation and “does not accept” the diagnosis, and the father did not understand why the mother does not think about the future son or daughter. The father returns home and runs into the irritation of his mother, who spent the entire day with the child. Often, all thoughts and themes in the family start to revolve around the child, the problems of the education, treatment, etc.
The father begins to feel superfluous and unnecessary. When he tries to take over part of the care of the child on the weekends or after work — wife thinks that he is acting wrong, too clumsy, she pulls him based on the fact that she will do better and faster. It was at this point the family begins to fall apart. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that mental disorders often do not affect the appearance of the child (especially when it’s small) and parents can assume that he just doesn’t want to “pull myself together” and behave normally, doing exactly what he should do. It adds to the stress in family environment and gives parents the mutual claims to the correct education.
What to do in order to keep the family together?
1. Talk to one another. Do not think that the partner will guess that the reason for your bad mood — tired after several sleepless nights in a row, and no irritation at him. People can’t read our thoughts, have the courage to speak out about your true feelings.
2. Mention that men and women experience stress differently. What the father doesn’t say anything out loud, doesn’t mean he’s not worried. To accept the fact of having a child features, men usually need more time. Perception is also built differently: men are more concerned about the future of the child, which would not be such as was seen the Pope, inability to complete College and build a career, and mothers concerned about the difficulties of daily care, scares its duration and complexity. This often creates the illusion of “he/she doesn’t want me to hear.”
3. Do not exclude the other parent from the child’s upbringing, even if you feel that he does not know and does not know how. He will learn with time, but with contact with the child, if it is not build from the start can be difficult. Highlight the area that is best given in collaboration with the parent who is with the child a lot of time (in Russian families the traditional role of look more often: dad works and takes on the function of material support of the family, and mom organized the home and remedial work. Although in modern society, the roles may change). For example, to entrust the conduct of physical education classes in the evening or long walks on weekends.
Do not have this area of cooperation needs to take a long time, but this interaction must be regular (for example, my father spends a lot of time at work, but every evening after work, bathes the child). The allocation of the small zones in the distribution of responsibilities will not only help to strengthen the family, but also allow you to relax and switch to that parent, which for most of the day “is on duty at the child,” even if it earns him a very short time span.
4. Not confined only to the child. In your life have to be some other topics, people who are not associated with particular childhood. Sometimes it happens that the parent, sitting at home, begins to take plenty of time to communicate at specialized sites and forums: it creates the illusion that only there he can hear and understand, and the parent who is at home only in the evenings, — “off topic”. This illusion of understanding is often strongly undermines family relationships. If you want to keep the family together — not keep from each other and not otheriwise his family from the rest of the world.
5. Rest is essential. Well, if there are grandparents or the ability to hire a nanny at least for a few hours when you can go somewhere without the baby. Around the clock, without breaks over the years, circle “home–work–class” is obviously not good for family life. If you can not get out and do something together — start a weekend of each other, hold each other in turn (although often “on duty” parent need not so much a publication as an opportunity just to sleep or take a bath).
6. It is necessary to discuss the cost of a child: training, treatment, purchase of necessary equipment. Sometimes someone who earns really sincerely do not understand why you need this or that. Do not ask the spouse of unconditional understanding and acquiescence to everything, and in their absence to pick a fight. Sometimes a person needs to calmly explain why, in your opinion, need to do just that. Especially considering that the cost of a special child long — term and considerable.
7. Honesty with each other. Definitely need to voice out loud the time, now that the future is not what it was drawn to the birth of a child with special needs, and ahead — years of work. Discuss what each of you can do, how best to distribute responsibilities and how much you are willing to life in this new space. This is a difficult conversation, but it is necessary in order to avoid a situation where one of the parents planning long-term correction, and the other hopes for a miracle and when the miracle happens, she feels betrayed and doesn’t see the point then disappointment is to keep the family together.
8. Together learn about abuse of a child, but definitely try to find not only a medical descriptions, statistics and correction, but also books written by parents about their experiences to overcome. Remember, if anyone in the world at least once managed to cope with this problem — there is a huge probability that it will turn out for you. If there is no such cases you may well be the first.
9. You are not going anywhere from thinking about your child’s future, and these thoughts will not always be rosy. But try as much as possible to live in today, to enjoy even the small successes of the child and to engage in the joy of your spouse.
10. Public opinion about the inevitability of the collapse of families raising children with special needs, does not reflect the real situation. Initially, a huge percentage of families aims to preserve the relationship and to help the child. It often happens that destroys families is not a special child, and the fact that people are not willing to communicate with each other on the subject of the difficulties encountered. Think about it.
11. It is important on the other side to agree on the requirements you present to the child, especially in relation to discipline (and when they change, every time to discuss them). This rule is important to observe in the education of any child, but in relation to the child with special it takes on a special importance. Because when my mom today permits that banned yesterday dad and Vice versa — this not only hinders the process of socialization, but also further weakens the fragile child’s psyche. To keep the family together and strengthen it even more than the birth of a child with special needs, is real, although it will require a revision of some views, changes of family traditions and the efforts.
Is there a situation when a family to maintain is not worth it?
Yes, definitely, there are such cases. First of all, when one of the parents is defiantly rude and neglects the child with special or eliminated from education (sometimes leaving for a few days without warning, turning off the phone in those moments when you need his presence, etc.), sees no point in working with a child, considering it a waste of time and money. The birth of a child with special often reveals all the problems that in everyday life already, but could occur very implicitly, without affecting the relationship inside a couple.
Sometimes women are afraid to end the relationship due to the fact that they value the status of married, including in the couple and also that the “child needs a father.” If the child has features of development, can also add the fear of “Who would I need such a child?” (as the experience of many happy couples that developed after the divorce with mother father or mother of the child — fear is completely unfounded).
This is the wrong approach, remember that sometimes the absence of one of the parents is a much lesser evil than its nominal presence or the presence that can be harmful to the child’s condition: rudeness, aggression, contempt and dismissive attitude to the child or the other parent is the chronic psychological trauma, which harm is much stronger than the parent family.
Destroying and painful relationship is what I feel all children and not being able to say that they are concerned about, react to this bad behaviour, screaming, aggression, self-injurious, sleeping problems and frequent illnesses.
Children with disabilities are not always able to speak and to perceive it is addressed, but the emotions they feel great, especially the emotions of their loved ones.